Joyce Lagow's Reviews > Hardscrabble Road

Hardscrabble Road by Jane Haddam
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's review
Apr 20, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: mystery, demarkian

No. 21 in the Gregor Demarkian series.[return][return]One of the very good aspects of this series one that allows Haddam to keep it interesting despite very formulaic plots is that she uses the genre to explore different social themes with each book. She does have recurring ones: religion, which she treats with great sympathy; the very rich, which she does not; and community. While her writing is not brilliant thematically, it is usually very good, adding interest and complexity to her stories.[return][return]Unfortunately, this time the  theme  contemporary politics gets in the way. Hadddam has a tendency to be heavy handed many times in her exposition of a point of view, and with this book, it really detracts from the story. I ve visited her Web site, and it does appear that she is a Libertarian, which is fine; I personally lean very strongly towards that stance myself. BUT Haddam pounds away and pounds away at what she views, through her characters, as the problem with contemporary politics, using even Father Tibor Kasparian as a mouthpiece; while I might agree with a good part of her analysis, the exposition finally becomes boring.[return][return]The plot and its development are standard Haddam for this series. She uses the homeless situation as a matrix for her plot and also for her exposition of her political views. She also touches on the preferential treatment given celebrities in the justice system. She does both very, very well, and that s what kept me reading through too many pages of  libertarianism vs authoritarianism ranting.[return][return]Not her best but still a good read for fans of the series.

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