Tag Archives: Crime Fiction

Review & Tour: All Day and a Night

All Day and a Night

All Day and a Night
By Alafair Burke
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062208385, June 2014, 368pp.)

The Short of It:

Steady pacing, a slightly predictable plot but overall an entertaining read.

The Rest of It:

All Day and a Night is part of the Ellie Hatcher detective series. I wasn’t aware of this when I agreed to review the book but it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone, which I was very happy to find out.

This time, Ellie Hatcher and her partner J.J. Rogan, are asked by her District Attorney boyfriend, Max Donovan, to take a look at a long closed murder case. The recent murder of a local psychiatrist and the details surrounding the case lead him and his office to believe that the killer that they have in prison, is the wrong guy and that the real killer is still on the loose. Hatcher and Rogan’s task is to take a fresh look at the case to see if anything was missed in the initial investigation.

There are several problems with this. One of which has to do with the fact that they are being asked to work outside of their jurisdiction and any cop knows that taking a speculative look at another cop’s work, is not going to be taken lightly. Plus, most of the crimes took place in the small town of Utica, where everyone knows everybody else.  Getting the info they need could be a challenge. To complicate things further, the attorney hired to prove her client was wrongly accused is Linda Moreland. Known for her aggressive tactics, she takes on attorney Carrie Blank to assist with the case, but Carrie is much too close to the case. Her half-sister Donna Blank was one of the victims and although she wants to find the real killer, she questions herself repeatedly, wondering if she is doing the right thing.

Some have said that All Day a Night was very predictable. It was a little predictable towards the end and maybe a tad far-fetched, but for the most part, it was a classic detective story. Burke gives the reader the clues a little at a time and what I especially liked, is that it wasn’t overrun with red herrings. I never felt as if the author was “yanking my chain” if you know what I mean. I also noticed how smooth the dialogue was. Sometimes, in crime fiction especially, I find the dialogue to be a little stiff. Not the case here.

I’ve not read the other books in the series but my overall experience was a positive one. Did you know that Burke’s written ten books between two different series? Have you read any?

Alafair Burke

Ms. Burke’s website, Facebook page, Twitter account and tour stops.

TLC Book Tours

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: Joyland

Joyland

Joyland
By Stephen King
(Hard Case Crime, Paperback, 9781781162644, June 3, 2013, 288pp.)

The Short of It:

Campy amusement park goodness.

The Rest of It:

Devin Jones, recovering from the heartache of losing his girl, takes a job at an amusement park during the summer of ’73. The park in question has lost its shine. It’s lure is the fact that it’s old fashioned fun with your typical rides and carnival attractions but each years it’s a struggle to keep things going. You have your long time employees such as Lane Hardy and Madame Fortuna, but the lifeblood of the park seems to be the kids that work there over the summer.

Devin finds himself a room to rent and meets Erin and Tom. Both students trying to make a little money over the summer. They become his family while at Joyland along with a host of regulars to keep things interesting. But what interests them the most is the murder that took place at the park years ago. Linda Gray and her boyfriend visited Horror House together but only one of them came out alive. Rumor has it that Linda’s throat was cut by her boyfriend and her body was thrown aside for employees to find later. The case was never solved but the repeated ghost sightings of Linda herself pique the interest of Devin and his friends. Enough for them to want to investigate the murder themselves.

Fans of Stephen King know that he writes a lot more than horror and this is one of those times. I think it’s safe to say that Joyland has been marketed as crime fiction and it is that, but only in the very loosest sense of the term. It’s not much of a “who-done-it” as there isn’t a whole lot of suspense to keep the story going. In fact, much of it felt a little lazy to me… lazy in the way a long, hot summer can be. The relaxed nature of the story seemed to take center stage, not so much the anticipation of solving the crime itself. Joyland was more of an experience, than a story to me but that’s not a bad thing. King has a way with setting the stage and the stage he set was welcoming to me in some odd way.

When the story meandered a bit and a young boy with a serious illness was introduced and ended up playing a central character in the story itself, I knew then that the murder was really just a backdrop for the summer that Devin needed to experience in order to move on to the next stage of his life. Truthfully, I didn’t mind this but Joyland felt more like a novella than a novel which left me wanting a little bit more.

Calling this a ghost story is a real stretch so if you pick it up for that alone, you might be disappointed. BUT, big but, it’s classic King. He knows how to paint a scene and he knows his characters. I love the little catch phrases he uses repeatedly throughout his books, too. It gives you a sense of existing within whatever construct he’s created on the page and you are successfully taken out of his world, and put into his world, often front and center.

Overall, it was an entertaining, fun read. I loved the amusement park lingo and the overall sense of place that King created but as crime fiction, there was little in the way of suspense and the resolution was rather anti-climactic. Not one of my faves but worth reading nonetheless. Especially for readers who have shied away from King before. This would be a good book to read as an introduction to King’s work.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.