Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tribeca BluesTribeca Blues by Jim Fusilli
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

"The patient, a 37-year-old male, is a historian by trade who suspended his career following the sudden, violent death of his wife and son some five years ago."

The patient is, of course, Terry Orr, still looking for Raymond Weisz, the madman responsible for the death of Terry's family. Tribeca Blues is the third installment of Jim Fusilli's series, following Closing Time and A Well-Known Secret , both pretty good novels that I rated with three solid stars on Goodreads. I did not expect much from the final novel in the series - after all, how many interesting variants of the same book can one produce - but neither did I expect that the novel will be so bad. I lost interest even before the middle of the story and I have been gnashing my teeth in frustration, forcing myself to finish reading.

In addition to the usual thread covering Terry's search for Weisz we have a story about Terry's and Diddio's friend, Leo Mallard. Leo dies, leaving a letter in which he asks Terry to find his ex-wife, Loretta, and "make her pay" for destroying his life. To me the worst thing about the novel are the totally unexpected turns of events. While some readers may enjoy the stunning plot surprises, I find them implausible, contrived, and just plain silly. The author must have tried hard to invent the most unlikely plot twists, and he succeeded at the expense of the realism and quality of the novel.

Absent is the wonderful portrayal of New York and the author's great sense of the place - the best aspect of the first book in the series - is nowhere to be seen. In the second book Mr. Fusilli was able to capture the deep wounds in the post-9/11 city's collective psyche, and this is also absent in Tribeca Blues, save for two token mentions. Even the thread involving Bella, Terry's 15-year-old daughter, has no spark in the third novel. What's worse, several dialogues are unforgivably cringeworthy, most notably the conversation between Terry and Loretta, and the Daniel Wu shtick is lame. The book escapes my bottom rating only because there are several fragments and passages, where - despite Mr. Fusilli's efforts to make the plot as ridiculously twisted as possible - his writing talent shows.

One and a half stars.

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