Some of Bev's Favorite Quotes...



Attention All Challengers! I have returned from the Wild West and have posted review sites where needed. I am working on the Check-in Posts for the Just the Facts & Mount TBR challenges. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Sign of the Book: Review

Full disclosure: I bought John Dunning's The Sign of the Book as an audio book on CD specifically so I would have an author I'd read and enjoyed before available the next time I needed/wanted to make a road trip up north to see my parents. That happened in early March and I popped the first CD in and headed to Wabash. Everything was fine until I got to the third disc (on the way back home, actually) and George Guidall (our reader) gave us a more in-depth introduction to Deputy Walsh, who is a WAY more annoying, bumbling, self-righteous, opinionated version of Barney Fife. The vocal impersonation he chose for this character drove me absolutely nuts. And there were six more CDs to get through and no way of knowing how much of that time was going to be devoted to the fine deputy. I couldn't do it. So, I abandoned my personal audio copy and ordered up the book from the library--because I wanted to claim it for challenges and, more importantly, I wanted to know who did it. So--although I started this on CD, I read more than two-thirds of it in print and am totally counting it for the Strictly Print Challenge among others.

John Dunning's Bookman Series features Cliff Janeway, a former cop who took up bookselling when he had to leave the force and who has become an expert in various aspects of the field. His expertise often leads him into murderous territory and his experience as a cop helps him solve crimes both bookish and deadly. In this, Janeway's fourth recorded case, he is asked by his bookstore partner, Erin D'Angelo, to help her childhood friend, Laura Marshall. Laura is accused of killing her husband and wants Erin, who is also a successful trial lawyer, to defend her. Ostensibly, Erin wants Cliff to look over the books in the Marshall home to see if their value would help Laura afford a high-quality lawyer. But Erin also wants Cliff to use his abilities as an ex-cop to assess the situation--does he think Laura did it? If not, why did she initially confess? And if she didn't, does he see a way to mount a defense? It's a lot to process in a short time, but it doesn't take Cliff long to figure out that there's something fishy going on. It may be that he doesn't like Deputy Walsh, but he's pretty sure it's not just a personality conflict that's got his instincts on full alert. Something about Walsh's story just doesn't click. And who are the mysterious men who try to get access to the Marshall home in the early hours one morning? Just how valuable are those books anyway? It all builds to a very surprising grand finale.

This was an enjoyable entry in the Janeway series. Cliff Janeway is an excellent character he's got his ex-cop background that gives him depth, but Dunning doesn't waste a lot of time on angst over what used to be (which seems to be a thing with modern mysteries--the detective has to have a lot of depressing crap going on in his/her life or they're just not interesting enough).Janeway uses his street smarts mixed with bookish know-how to solve his mysteries in interesting ways. Dunning does need to work on the way he represents relationships, though. Janeway and D'Angelo are more than just store partners and friends, but their conversations are not terribly natural. He gives Janeway a good understanding of his partner and expresses that when he tells us about the two of them together, but he doesn't show that understanding in the dialogue. That and the utterly stereotypical deputy caricature prevents a higher rating. ★★ and a half.

[Finished on 3/23/18]

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