David's Reviews > The Big Dig

The Big Dig by Linda Barnes
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's review
Jun 10, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: completed

I've read one other mystery written by this author and featuring this female private investigator. This one features the P.I. going undercover on a big freeway tunnel project in Boston.

First, regarding the setting. I don't get the same feel for Boston as I do in Dennis Lehane's novels. Perhaps Lehane lives in a grimmer and grittier Boston than Barnes-- but I just don't feel Boston as she writes-- on the other hand, never having visited Boston, her depiction of Beantown may be a bit closer than Lehane's dark novels of underworld culture.

Second, the main character doesn't seem to have any pizzazz. Okay, she was once a cop. She once dated the son of a local organized crime czar-- but there is nothing really intriguing about her except she is a bit of a tomboy-- able to fit in as a chick working in the construction industry and equally at home working undercover as a secretary. In fact, in many ways, she is almost a Kinsey Milhone clone. (not that it is bad)

Finally, the plot.. The author takes two mysteries and contrives to twine them together in a conincidence that makes me feel like I'm watching a re-run of the old Rookies television show. You know what I mean.. The nurse chick wife of one of the officers befriends the girlfriend of this week's bad guy. Or the other officer has a cousin come to town who is involved in criminal acticity. Or the off duty cop just happens to get shot-- again!

Despite that, Barnes does a credible job building a fair mystery that has some clever ideas and plot twists that make the book worth readhing. A little bit above average, in my opinion, but not by much.

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