Saturday, May 23, 2020

Paint It Black

The Escape ArtistThe Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a group read for the Goodreads Action Adventure Aficionados group, and my library happened to have the audiobook, which was excellent. I honestly was somewhat underwhelmed. I liked the concept and I think Nola was an interesting character. Nola has a Lizbeth Salander feel, or if you've read any of the Informationist books by Taylor Stevens, she also reminds me of Vanessa Michael Monre. Zig was fine. I mean I liked him. He just didn't have enough charisma as a lead character for this book. I feel like this needed to be Nola's book. He was a very humane and sincere guy and I liked him. My heart broke for how he lost his daughter. I am glad he was able to get a little closure by the end of the book. I hope that Zig and Nola stay in each others' lives. I did like that Zig is a mortician. You just don't see lead characters who are morticians much. Or maybe it's just me.

I have never read Brad Meltzer, but I think I was expecting his writing to have more action. To me, the action scenes didn't have enough tension and punch to them. I didn't feel like I was there and it didn't feel cinematic to me. The action scenes were functional to me. The villains were a bit on the cardboard side except for Nola's stepfather. He was rancid. I almost expected him to be a molester, but he was just physically and mentally abusive and really twisted.

I admit that I was also rereading Orphan X around this time, and that book makes others pale in comparison. Maybe that's why I didn't feel too blown away by this book.

I think the storyline about Harry Houdini was pretty cool. It was a nice twist. I liked the background about Houdini and his determination to debunk the Spiritualist movement, which I had learned about before I read this from watching a history show. Although the reveal felt forced, and I'm not sure I am convinced that the person who turns out to be the mastermind has the smarts and the capability to pull it off. That person is a bit too lazy and basic to be the criminal mastermind behind everything. I didn't buy it, to be honest.

I kind of think that the narrators weren't into as much either. I mean Scott Brick and January LaVoy are both excellent narrators for other audiobook series that I have read and really got sucked into. In this book, they seemed more functional. I do think that January LaVoy did nail Nola's cadence pretty well.

I wasn't excited about this book. I'm not sure I would be that invested in reading a whole series about Zig unless Nola shows up in the books. I would definitely read a series about Nola.

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