LJ's Reviews > The Pallbearers

The Pallbearers by Stephen J. Cannell
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's review
Dec 08, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: arizona, california, contemporary_post_1945, male_author, mystery, mysterybookclub, police_procedural, so_cal_la
Read in November, 2010

First Sentence: In 1976 America was just coming out of a protracted depression called the Vietnam War, but back then I was still in the middle of mine.

Homicide Detective Shane Scully was abandoned as an infant and grew up in the system. The only person who ever tried to give him some sense of being cared for was Walter “Pop” Dix, executive director of Huntington House. When Shane is told Pop committed suicide and specifically asked that Shane be a pallbearer, it doesn’t make sense. Shane hadn’t seen Pop in years. When the other five pallbearers, all associated with Huntington House, convince Shane that Pop wouldn’t have committed suicide, and unofficial murder investigation, with a very unofficial team, begins.

As much as I’ve enjoyed Cannell’s television shows over the years, I’d never read one of his books. It seems I’d have been better staying with television.

On the positive side, Cannell does create an interesting cast of characters, providing background and dimension to each one, including the cat. He doesn’t assume you’ve read previous books in the series, which I appreciated. He links the characters by a common thread but doesn’t quite tie off all the ends, which I didn’t mind. I did appreciate not having Scully being infallible or supermacho, although there was macho there, such as being able to have sex after virtually no sleep for an extended period of time and having been beaten to a pulp. However, for the most part, his female characters are strong and very capable, which I also appreciated. Cannell’s writing can be characterized by short chapters that are very visual and action-packed.

On the downside, there are massive coincidences, an entire chapter of portents—those of you who’ve followed my reviews know how I despise portents—and some actions by the protagonist that were completely unbelievable. There points where the plot progression was so deliberately telegraphed it made it predictable.

I didn’t hate the book but even among airport books there are levels; those you deliberately take with you and those you’re stuck buying at the airport news shop of lack of choice. This is the latter but still an entertaining read to keep one occupied for a few hours.

THE PALLBARERS (Pol. Proc-Shane Scully-Los Angeles/Arizona-Cont) – Okay
Cannell, Stephen J.
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, ©2010, US Paperback – ISBN: 9780312532451

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