Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Man Who Tried To Get Away, Stephen R. Donaldson

The Man Who Tried To Get Away
Stephen R. Donaldson

The Man Who Tried To Get Away is the third of Stephen R. Donaldson's mystery novels. In content, it follows immediately on the heels of The Man Who Risked His Partner.

Here we see Mick Axebrewder and Ginny Fistoulari take on what appears to be a simple security job, only to find it is more than they anticipated. Brew's medical situation complicates things further, but to describe that would be a spoiler for those who haven't read the previous book.

As with the other Axebrewder/Fistoulari novels, Donaldson's main concerns are ethics and character. The convoluted relationship between Brew and Ginny is on center stage here.

The plot is complex and, alas, seems a bit contrived to me. Brew and Ginny are providing security for a week long murder mystery event at a remote lodge where - of course - the guests start dying. As I say, the setting felt contrived, but it also felt over used. I haven't read that many mysteries, but I am willing to bet this setting has been used a lot. It felt well worn right from the start.

Worse, there were too many characters for me to easily keep track of. Perhaps that is a fault of the writer - not making them different enough for me to sort them out - but I'm not so sure. I've had similar issues with books by other authors (George R. R. Martin for example) where other readers clearly didn't encounter such issues, so it may just be me. Regardless, some of the characters here ran together, making parts of the plot harder to follow.

What I am certain of is that Donaldson likes the Axebrewder character. There's a certain feeling to the writing that shows it. Ginny is never center stage, so it's harder to tell how he feels about her, but he clearly likes Brew.

In the end I call this a good book, but not a great book. It wasn't quite as enjoyable as The Man Who Risked His Partner, but it was still a reasonable read.

And that completes my reading of the Donaldson mystery novels. In the end I think they're OK books, but I'm just not that big a mystery fan. In my experience, mystery novels all seem alike, regardless of author. It's not a genre I will be spending a lot of time with.

For the record, the novels in question are, in order:
  1. The Man Killed His Brother
  2. The Man Who Risked His Partner
  3. The Man Who Tried To Get Away
  4. The Man Who Fought Alone