Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Capital CrimesCapital Crimes by Lawrence Sanders
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

"Kristos snarls like a cornered beast, lurching about and clawing. He uses his hard strength like a bludgeon. He savages them. He pierces, rends, splits, and tears, full lips drawn back from animal teeth, claws unsheathed."

There are numerous fragments of "prose" as unbelievably bad as the above fragment that describes a sex scene in Capital Crimes (1989). I refuse to believe that Lawrence Sanders himself wrote this abomination of a book. It must have been written by a ghostwriter, and I am just curious why Mr. Sanders, a competent author of many solid crime novels, was so short of cash that he allowed to have his name soiled. Even I can write better than the anonymous hack responsible for this insult to the word "novel".

Not only is the author unable to write prose that can be read without giggling, but also the plot is ridiculous and full of clichés. Brother Kristos has "piercing eyes" and his gaze is so intense and powerful that almost all people are instantaneously hypnotized into following his preaching. He claims he is a "brother of Christ, an apostle sent by God to bring you salvation". When he is not sipping vodka straight from the bottle, eating herring fillets, and having sex with his female acolytes and followers, he is a seer, and has the powers of healing people and farm animals. When the hemophiliac son of the president of the United States hurts himself the good brother stops the bleeding and thus becomes the spiritual advisor to the president. He gradually increases his influence on politics and no wonder: the vice-president is a cretin, and high level government officials discuss politics on the level of kindergarten.

Of course the inspiration for the plot was the story of Grigori Rasputin who achieved similar position in the court of Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia. How can one botch such an enthralling story so badly? Capital Crimes is a Really Bad Book, whose every chapter, every page, and every passage richly deserve a big fat zero.

One star (so minuscule that one can see it only with an electron microscope).

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