Snakes & Ladders – Sean Slater – 6/10

“What he saw made him reach for his pistol. Positioned on the other side of the glass was another camera.”

When Detective Jacob Striker is called to the shady end of town to deal with yet another suicide, he is shaken to discover the victim is a girl his daughter went to school with. Convinced that it wasn’t a suicide, Striker and his sassy hispanic partner Felicia race around town, hot on the trial of a rogue psychiatrist.

I always feel a bit so-so about these books. On the one hand, they’re pacy, exciting mysteries with plenty of hints but I never manage to guess the bad guy until the reveal. On the other hand, they’re filled with some pretty sick people and crimes. They often descend into stereotypes and clichés, and they always turn up on my doorstep in trade paperback form, taking up twice as much weight and volume as is really needed!

I enjoyed Slater’s previous effort The Survivor, particularly his detailed knowledge of the police system and all the bureaucracy that gets in the way of the good guys just doing their jobs. I enjoy the cynicism, the fact that we never know whether other police staff are crooked, which of the psychiatrists is the bad one, or whether those phone calls from a nearly lost contact are red herrings or helpful clues.

My criticisms are pretty foreseeable – the writing is pedestrian in quality, abounding with clichés (of course Striker and Felicia have an on-off relationship which makes his already dramatic teenaged daughter even more angry!), and we really don’t need a new chapter every 5 pages (109 chapters, 532 pages) – particularly when many of those chapters are only 2 pages long.

Great airport fiction. I’m not sure that the quality of the writing deserves hard-earned time off in a more tranquil environment.

Additional info:
This copy was sent by the publisher for an honest review.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 532 pages (paperback)
Order Snakes & Laddersfrom Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting costs.

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4 thoughts on “Snakes & Ladders – Sean Slater – 6/10

  1. Maxine 30 March 2012 at 5:29 pm Reply

    Sounds terrible! I avoid any kind of book with cover words like those. Just who is supposed to be attracted by them? (I wonder the same about serial killer books – who could be anything but repelled by some of these prominent front-cover blurbs?)

  2. Jo 31 March 2012 at 7:33 am Reply

    I do often wander how authors come up with chapter lengths? Possibly to build the tension. Though in this case, perhaps it did not need it.

    I think these books have the quality of read and forget. They have done their purpose but will not have and everlasting presence.

    I have huge pile of thriller books to read at the moment and I must get round to at least some of them.

  3. Alex 2 April 2012 at 9:58 am Reply

    These are exactly the reasons why thrillers are not really my thing. I always feel a bit empty afterwards – low nutritional value!

  4. [...] turns out that I pay very little attention to chapter breaks (except when they are every three pages!) so there’s no point telling myself I’ll read to the end of a [...]

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