Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review of Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta (St Martin’s Minatour, 2004)

Former marine turned private investigator Wayne Weston has seemingly committed suicide in a Cleveland suburb.  His wife and young daughter are missing and the police believe that Weston may have murdered them before turning the gun on himself.  Weston’s father thinks that theory stinks and hires PIs Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard to investigate, much to the annoyance of the local cops and FBI.  Both Perry and Pritchard served locally – Perry bounced out for assaulting the lawyer his fiancé left him for, and Pritchard has recently retired.  They quickly determine that Weston was working for a local tycoon and also had connections to the Russian mob.  Neither are happy at Perry and Pritchard’s involvement.  Then Weston’s best friend is shot dead as he meets Perry and Pritchard and the case takes a twist that ultimately leads back to revealing Weston’s fate.

Tonight I Said Goodbye is a solid piece of entertainment - good pace, plenty of action, well judged characterisation, effective dialogue, decent sense of place, and sound plotting (even though one aspect of the ending was telegraphed from quite a long way out).  There’s a little bit too much in the way of reflection and description in places, but Koryta writes in an easy-going manner that is deceptively rich and which draws the reader in and tugs them along.  There are plenty of twists, albeit none complete surprises, and the book builds in tension to become a real page-turner.  Just as with police procedurals, there are probably few new angles to be explored in the PI genre at this stage: what a reader is after then is a competent story that’s told in a strong voice – Koryta delivers on that score.

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Rob - As always, I appreciate your thoughtful review. It sounds like this is a solidly good read.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Have ENVY THE NIGHT in my towering TBR pile.

kathy d. said...

This sounds like a very good thriller.

Always the dilemma: whether to keep on reading international crime fiction as is my current goal vs. reading home-grown page-turners.

This definitely goes on my TBR list.