Tim's Reviews > The Man Who Tried to Get Away

The Man Who Tried to Get Away by Stephen R. Donaldson
Rate this book
Clear rating

M 50x66
's review
Jan 25, 2011

it was ok
Read in January, 2011

I am a Stephen R. Donaldson fan, and this is the fourth series of his work that I've read. I first read them years ago, and I had fond memories of them...enough so, that I decided to re-read them. These books don't do well on the second read. Maybe no mystery stories do, but I found the writing almost painful this time.

In this genre, the mystery is often either so inscrutable that it becomes irrelevant, or it is so obvious that the reader has to wait whole chapters for the "detectives" to catch up. This book is much more of the former.

The detectives form a theory, commit themselves wholly to it's correctness, have it disproved with the very next clue, then commit themselves wholly to another perfectly rational theory, rinse, repeat. It's very confusing for the reader, because each new theory could very well fit the situation. When the theory falls apart, it seems kind of random. I wanted to believe that these detectives are good at their job, and that the theories they spin make sense. When they turn out to be nonsense, we wonder why the professionals didn't see through it.

Donaldson has these hard-nosed characters make that most annoying and unrealistic of mistakes associated most closely with the climax of a Scooby-Doo mystery: they confront and accuse the villain without drawing their guns first. They spend minutes explaining every detail of how they know he's guilty, then are taken by surprise when he pulls a gun on them. They allowed that to happen in the second book of this theory, that's why it's falls into the category of irritatingly unrealistic writing that they let it happen to them again in this book...two more times!

I remain a Donaldson fan, but these book made me realize that his real talent is in writing characters. I didn't like this book, but these characters are memorable, even iconic. Mysteries are apparently not a great area for him to apply his talent.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Man Who Tried to Get Away.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.