Monday, June 10, 2013
Review of Penance by Dan O’Shea (Exhibit A, 2013)
Penance felt to me like a mash-up of Michael Connelly, Tom Clancy and Stuart Neville’s The Twelve -- a smart, well-written police procedural thriller, mixing cops with black ops spooks, political intrigue and a rogue operative seeking to avenge deaths through murder. The story is all tell and no show with engaging prose, and rattles along at a quick, page-turning pace. I was hooked from the get-go and zipped through in a couple of sittings. The characterisation is good across the cast and Lynch is especially likeable as the cop who’s determined to get his man regardless of the obstacles and odds. The plot builds in tension throughout, and does a good job at fleshing out some of Lynch’s back story and present life outside of work, such as a new romance with a journalist and his relationship to his mother and sister. It does, however, also use a couple too many plot devices to bind the whole story together, such as linking the present to Lynch’s father’s past, conveniently finding clues that he probably should have found year’s before, and having a member of his own team with black ops connections. Despite these niggles, Penance is an enjoyable and engaging read and I have a feeling that Detective John Lynch might do for Chicago what Harry Bosch has for Los Angeles. And that’s no bad thing. Here’s hoping the next book is the pipeline.