Mathew's Reviews > Sunset Express

Sunset Express by Robert Crais
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

it was ok
Read from March 07 to 15, 2012

Sometimes one needs to take a break from the dense foliage of 'literature' and enjoy the simple(r) pleasure of something decidedly pulpy. Thus I pick up Sunset Express and, of course, I don't put it down. One thing I'll say for Crais, he has a talent for visually crystallizing a character with two or three precisely chosen details. It's an art in itself and I consider myself schooled. I'm actually very curious as to his method when it comes to this sort of succinct development. How does he decide? Does he start from the details and work his way out or, conversely, does he return later, after developing the inner workings of a character, to apply the correct skin and bones. So, Crais, if you're reading this, how about a quick comment, below, to explain your process. It shouldn't take more than a sentence or two.

(continued) - continuing on, I'm a bit further in and have an additional observation. While on one level I'm enjoying the developing relationship between Elvis and his new love, Lucy, I'm also a little tired of them grinning relentlessly at each other with the joy if it all and I'm very ready for something to happen to her to give a plot point and heighten the damn tension, which, frankly, is beginning to sag. Altho, now that I think about it, all this mooning at each other might be part of the larger arc of the Elvis Cole 'series' of which, I remember now, Sunset Express is merely but one unit. Which subtly annoys me, if so.

(cont) Aaaaannnnndddd down it goes. Actually, I'm so close to putting it down. For a murder/detective/whodunit it sure is duuuulllll. It's not just the insufferable unending g-rated flirtation between Cole and Lucy, but nothing else happens either. The old evidenciaryswitcheroo can be seen coming chapters away. I guess I'm curious to see if Cole teams up with the framed Rossi to expose the true criminals, but only mildly.

Bottom line... for the same acerbic maverick main character (but funnier and less cloyingly 'good') in a much more relentlessly gripping narrative, read Lion's Game by Nelson DeMille.

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