Saturday, January 18, 2014

Void Moon - Michael Connelly

I mostly burned out on Michael Connelly years ago, but my dad has a lot of his books, so I find myself drifting back to them every so often.

Void Moon doesn't involve any cops, or feds, or even a private investigator, really. For this one, Connelly makes the main character Cassidy Black, recently paroled former thief. She and her partner used to rob big winners in the casinos in Vegas, until Max got trapped one night and did a skydive. Apparently, since he died in the commission of a felony, and Cassidy was involved in said felony, she's guilty of manslaughter. Even though she was down on the casino floor, 21 stories away from where the actual robbery took place. Which seems like a profoundly stupid and hidebound interpretation of a law to me, but I've reached the point in life where there's very little that's so stupid I'm actually surprised by it.

Anyway, Cassidy has been trying to go straight, follow the rules, but for various reasons, she's decided it's not going to happen. She's going on the run, and she needs cash. Which means pulling a job, and there just so happens to be one back in Vegas, in the same hotel, on the same floor, as where it all went wrong.

But it doesn't go wrong. The heist goes great. Takes a little longer, but hey, she found even more cash than she was supposed to. A lot more. Instead of 300, 400 grand, it was more like 2.5 million. Hmm. Yes, that's mob money, and the casino has a troubleshooter - emphasis on "shooter" - named Jack Karch who's going to get the cash, and leave a trail of bodies along the way.

I quite liked the actual theft and the ending, when Karch tries to force Cassidy into a confrontation on his terms, and she does her best to play it her way instead. Those moments were sufficiently tense, and some of the surprise reveals at the end were pretty good. One of them in particular played into the recurring idea of misdirection Connelly kept bringing up.

That said, the book really drags for the first half. I appreciate Connelly's attempt to inform us about the tools of the trade, and how Cassidy is going to plant and use hidden cameras to help her, but he fell into the Michael Crichton trap of information overload, which bogs down the story. The book still reads quickly, but in this case that's both a strength and a weakness. Good because I can breeze through it, bad because part of the reason I breeze through is there's nothing I needed to stop and reread. No comment or bit of dialogue that struck me as clever, one worth pausing to appreciate or read out loud.

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