Wednesday, June 8, 2011

212: A Novel by Alafair Burker

From back of book:

A celebrity mogul's bodyguard is slain in his boss's luxurious penthouse at an exclusive Manhattan address.  At NYU, a sophomore is menaced on the Internet, stalked...and murdered.

The two cases, equally sordid and shocking, end up falling to NYPD homicide detective Ellie Hatcher and her partner - who soon find out that this is just the tip of the terrifying iceberg.

Because in the city that never sleeps, death doesn't either. 

My thoughts:

I don't normally read crime thriller fiction, but have read enough of them to know what to expect.  And 212 did not disappoint on that front - it was exactly what I expected - solid writing; somewhat likeable characters; formulaic storyline; and, that description of the dark, gritty reality surrounding cops and their jobs (the kind you see on those L&O TV shows). 

The book consists of five parts that are made up of short chapters, some are merely one or two pages long.  Each chapter begins with either a time or date on it, letting the reader know the breakdown in the days throughout Ellie's investigation.  I suppose it helps the reader keep track of how long it takes for Ellie and Rogan (Ellie's partner) to figure it all out - of course, being that its pretty obvious early on who did what, the reader already has an idea of what's about to happen next.  So, no, this book didn't really have that element of surprise that I enjoy in a good thriller, but it still provided an engaging tone that made it easy for me to keep reading.

As for Rogan and Ellie, they are cops through and through- always working to get the job done.  Albeit, they do take breaks now and again to either go out on dates; call their mom; and hang out with their brother.  Afterall, you have to have some light relief in between all those crime scenes, right?  Oh,and don't forget they also need a boss who comes down hard on them when need be - which they have in Robin, who of course winds up dating one of the killers.  Oops, did I forget to mention that there are two killers in the book?

Now as far as the homicides within the book, well, one revolves around a young college co-ed who was being stalked on a college gossip website that posts salacious details about everyone and anyone at NYU; the other murder involves a bodyguard who happens to be a part of one NYC's most elite resident's security detail.  Both victims are connected by a very tenuous thread, which Ellie and Rogan quickly piece together with the help of google and twitter.  Oh, and also with the information they gather via their interrogations of suspects and witnesses - both of whom are always readily available to talk (not very realistic, eh?).  And, yes, Burke was inspired by the headlines when she wrote this book - can we say, Eliot Spitzer and Craigslist killer? 

Don't get me wrong, the book is a solid read.  Its great for airplane reading, the beach, long car rides and when you want something quick to read.  It kept me entertained for the day - yes, it only takes a day to read.  Overall, the book was okay.  I'm not sure I would read Burke again, but I'm glad I gave her book a go - it was a nice change of pace for me and my usual reading fare.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book!


bermudaonion said...

Yours is the second review that I've read that said it was odd the way the witnesses were always available to talk. I'll have to think about this one.

Anonymous said...

Well, a one-day airplane or beach read isn't exactly a "bad" thing, so I might have to give this one a shot. Thanks for being on the tour!

Jenna said...

NYC is such a popular place for crime fiction. I think it's really hard to write a truly original story in a genre that is so saturated. I do like that the author integrated social media into the plot. That seems pretty realistic. Sounds like the story could go either way for me though, but I love your review!

Anonymous said...

Just dropped in to tell you that I love your blog and your posts; you are really creative. Also, when you get a chance, check out my post about my experiences at the Blogger Convention in New York. ivan@ivanking.com

Nadia said...

bermudaonion, I just think its not very realistic to be able to have all of your witnesses readily available or even back up available in a pinch - makes it seem all too neat and tidy (two words which I wouldn't think of when describing a crime thriller).

heathertlc, its definitely not a bad thing. Thanks for having me!

Jenna, thanks! And I actually liked that the author included modern technology - that part did make the book more modern and real.

Ivan, thanks Ivan! I'll definitely check out your blog and read up on the BBC!

Ti said...

I do think that certain reads are just naturally geared towards certain tasks (traveling, beach trip, etc.) Not a bad niche if the book is marketed right.

I just bought two more of Nesbo's books for MY summer reading.

Nadia said...

Ti, I have to get me a Nesbo book - you are making them sound sooooo good!! And they sound like they would be perfect for summer reading :)

Wallace said...

This sounds juicy, but WAY too scary for me. I would be paranoid while reading it, I think - haha!

Nadia said...

Wallace, you wouldn't be scared - believe me. Paranoid, maybe :)