Alibiserver's Reviews > Undercurrents

Undercurrents by Ridley Pearson
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's review
Jun 23, 2011

really liked it

Leave no stone unturned.

That is perhaps one of Lou Boldt's trademarks when you prod your way throughout the book's 430+ pages. As a nearly-fortyish detective with a crumbling marriage and serial killings on the loose, your mind will be boggled in reading details, why Boldt will even bother keeping simple things as evidence. And then, Chekhov's Gun reckons.

I first encountered Undercurrents in one of St Martin Paperback's promotions in Silence of the Lambs. When I found the book, I picked it up, lusting after another mystery read. While it took me weeks to finish the book, it comes to me as the better, more superior one than Silence. One of the most obvious similarity between the two books was the mention of Quantico's Behavioral Analysis Unit, the lab that does the psychological profiling of the killers. However, I find Undercurrents a more engaging read, in that it fleshes out the psychotic and twisted element of the killers very well.

Lou Boldt is your normal, fallible detective- he's often mistaken for a lieutenant, is paired with a shitty partner, has a marriage on the rocks, and dotes on his jazz music. The novel starts with a shocker- when a perceived mass murderer was assasinated in the court room months ago, everyone thought the nightmare was over, not until the ritual begins again.

The prose is simple, filled with cop talk, but bogs you down with too much detail. However, as you read on, your immersion to Boldt's environment, his fellow cops, and his troubles with news blackout on mass media outlets makes you pour out your sympathy on him. As his work eats him up, so is his married life, and he goes on an affair. Tensions rises as clues pile up, and Pearson puts ballast on it by devising cleverly wrought lines, gradually incensed bits of dialogue, and emphasis.

I only had one trouble with reading the book. Pearson, isn't red a color? Why do you use SCARLET too much?!

Still, a recommended read. Believable, biting, and one heck of a thriller.
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