Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Conan Doyle had a small problem: he wanted to stop writing the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Solution? Kill off Holmes. Major fan uproar, and an implausible resurrection had to take place. I bring this up because I'm feeling like Ms. George wants to do the same, but is afraid that her legions of fans just won't let Lynley or Havers go (although killing Lady Helen Clyde several books back was easy). So instead, she's going to make them less likeable and just drive her fans away.
We're only a year past Lady Helen's death and several books have passed. This one, with its focus on Havers, should have been more interesting than it was, because this is truly a unique creation. The hair, the clothes, the attitude - nothing quite like it in a female detective, private or police. But here? She's almost a parody of herself. Lynley virtually sleepwalks through his role in the book, and Deborah, Charlie, Nkata and Simon are barely there.
Instead we get excruciatingly long stretches of plot in Italy. Where - WHERE??? - were the editorial shears? Who thought this 700+ page book was good to go? I found a few typos, but beyond that at least a third of the book could have easily been excised and it would have been better.
It really feels like the author is trying to drive readers away so she can just end the series. My advice? Help her out. Or, if she's reading these reviews, put the characters away for a bit. Stick with the Widbey Island series. And then, if people truly clamor for a new Lynley/Havers, or you have a great idea that just cries out for these people, write another.