Christopher Lawson's Reviews > Cached Out

Cached Out by Russell Atkinson
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it was amazing

CLIFF KNOWLES IS BACK, BUT WILL HE SURVIVE?

Like the author's first book, I thought this one starts in a deliberate fashion, as the scenario develops, facts are discovered, and all the players are introduced. In this sense, it seems a lot like a police procedural--just like the author's first novel. In Cached Out, however, the storyline is completely different, the cast is far fewer, and the reader doesn't need a "look-up" table to see who is who. Cliff has retired from the FBI, but that doesn't mean his investigatory skills are retired--they are as sharp as ever.

The story unfolds in a logical fashion, as Cliff Knowles, main character (but also main suspect) gathers evidence to help the investigating team (and get them off his back!) Along the way, we meet with some bunglers, but also some capable agents and rangers. This book seems to have fewer bunglers.

Readers who are geocachers will especially like the various caching puzzles that are introduced, as well as the hiking locales on the San Francisco peninsula. This was especially interesting for me, since I am a regular hiker/geocacher in the Open Space Preserves, near where the crimes take place. On several occasions, I opened up a satellite view of the area to spot the various trails and roads mentioned in the book. (What the heck is "Saratoga Toll Road Trail?" Do they charge hikers a toll?)

The last 100 pages are really excellent. I deliberately slowed down my reading, so as to fully appreciate the story.

As with the first novel, the writing style is excellent. The author has obviously spent a large amount of time perfecting the writing craft--especially the dialogue, which is no mean feat. f you've ever read an early novel, where the author struggles with dialogue, you will know what I mean. There's none of this, "He said," then "She said," then "Bob replied," etc. The author smoothly blends the conversation so that you know who is talking. I suspect readers don't realize how difficult a task that is for a writer. This cannot possibly be only the author's second book. I am willing to bet there are a ton of short stories out there, in which he perfected the writer's craft. (Or some outstanding editor.)

On a minor note, I appreciate the wide-margin formatting, so that the reader doesn't have to yank the book wide open to see the words near the inside margins.

Atkinson's descriptions are often very witty. Here's my favorite line in the book: "She took a leap of faith--and a corporeal one also." (Is this the lawyer in Atkinson coming out?)

A really excellent read. I look forward to reading Cliff's next adventure. Back with the FBI, or maybe a P.I.? The author isn't saying, but I have my suspicions.
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