Friday, April 25, 2014

Aftershock by Andrew Vachss - Book Review

          When I saw that Andrew Vachss came out with Aftershock, I was very excited to read it considering the fact that I am an Andrew Vachss fan who has enjoyed the PI Burke series which include some great books like Flood, Strega, Hard Candy, and Sacrifice, just to name a few. Now that Vachss has ended the series, my thought was that this book should be at the same level of suspense and have the edgy characters I’m used to reading in his books. 

             If you are a Vachss fan like I am, maybe the first thing to be concerned about was the cover which said Aftershock, A thriller. I think that it would have been fair to say that if you said legal thriller, then it would have given me a better perspective of what to expect to read in this book. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of legal thrillers and I avoid these books like the plague so I might have considered giving this book a pass if I knew that this would be the case. 

            The plot seems interesting and something that you would would expect from Vachss. There is a school shooting which is compared to what happened at Columbine but in this book, there was a twist since Mary Lou, who was involved in the school shooting, seemed to have some justification for this crime. Other reviewers didn’t find it to be believable but if you have read other Vachss books, this type of plot is expected and I thought that it was believable in any case. 

            The two main characters that come to the aid of Mary Lou are Dell and Dolly. Both characters have interesting backgrounds that only Vachss can create and while he does a great job on that front, I though that the characters felt flat and were not memorable like other characters Vachss has portrayed in his previous novels. Other reviewers may disagree with me but that was my feelings. 

             As far as the plot goes, much of it is done through legal maneuvering of how Mary Lou’s lawyer would get her crime thrown out of court with the advice of Dell. This may seem interesting and the courtroom scenes seem comic at times with the DA being referred to as Fat Face throughout the trial, which wasn’t very long in any case. Other than the trial, the book lacked suspense and I found myself just turning the last few pages, not really caring how the book would end. 

             Part of the problem I had with the book had to do with the fact that I’m not a fan of legal thrillers. I don’t watch Law and Order or other legal shows such as The Good Wife or any other legal shows for that matter. If you’re a fan of legal thrillers, then you may like this book. As for me, I was disappointed and find myself giving this book two stars. 

Ron Hummer

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