Carole Lanham's Reviews > Changes

Changes by Charles Colyott
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's review
Mar 18, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: action, cool, heros, mystery, romantical, series, suspense
Read from March 12 to 18, 2012

I’m pretty good at guessing what’s coming in a book or a movie and very often feel like it’s hard for anyone to surprise me, but Charles Colyott’s exciting new Randall Lee mystery, Changes, really kept me guessing every step of the way. I had no idea where he was going with this story and what’s more, I didn’t feel compelled to try and figure it out. I was having too much fun watching Randall Lee try and figure it out.

The Tai Chi angle is really cool and Colyott does a superb job of keeping readers up to speed on the philosophies and mechanics involved without ramming it down your throat. Rather, it’s interspersed in the most natural of ways, an admirable feat, seeing how this is an integral part of the story and a defining feature of the central character. It would have been so easy to give more info on the subject than is needed, yet that whole aspect of the story unfolds like a slowly developing friendship. Best of all, Colyott uses the Thai Chi to good in a variety of ways, not the least of which is setting. The neighborhood, the acupuncture/herbal shop Lee runs, and the whole complex nature of the culture really blend together in a wonderfully believable way. Tai Chi is more than an art in Changes. It’s a mood. It’s a discipline. It’s a weapon. It’s its own exotic little corner of the world.

And Colyott’s ability to apply a light touch does not end with Tai Chi. Despite the fact that Randall Lee is in possession of such a rare and lethal skill, the man is not without his vulnerabilities. He has his weaknesses like anyone else, and a self-deprecating sense of humor keeps him from coming off as too tough or too full of himself. He gets beat up. A lot. He isn’t always the smoothest guy around. Haunted by a tragic past, his motivations for helping the police and getting into trouble stem from a need for healing. You can’t help but pull for him. Some writers would be tempted to turn Lee into a caricature but fortunately for us, that never happens here.

Being from St. Louis, I particularly enjoyed the map of delicious locations that show up in the book. The city makes for a fascinating setting. Again, there’s no sense of over-arching (if you’ll excuse the pun) when it comes to slipping in some fun facts about the different neighborhoods that wind their way through this story. The various hot spots that pop up, pop up with good reason and add great local color.

In case you can’t tell, I enjoyed the heck out of this book and really look forward to reading more Randall Lee mysteries. This, in its self, is saying a lot because I don’t generally like series about crime fighters. This one, however, was fun, exciting, mysterious, and touching. In it’s surprisingly nuanced and kick-butt way, it turned me into a dedicated Randall Lee fan.
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30.0% "So far, very cool."

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