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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders

Finished January 23, 2014

Synopsis at Good Reads

In the first novel in Lawrence Sanders’s bestselling Deadly Sins series, New York cop Edward Delaney chases a serial killer who’s armed with a mysterious weapon

New York Police Department Captain Edward Delaney is called to the scene of a brutal murder. A Brooklyn councilman was struck from behind, the back of his skull punctured and crushed with an unknown weapon. The victim wasn’t robbed, and there’s no known motive. The commissioner appoints Delaney to head up a clandestine task force, but soon this effort ignites an internecine war of departmental backstabbing.

Distracted by the serious illness of his wife, Barbara, Delaney begins his secret investigation. Then the killer claims another victim—slain in the exact same way, leaving the strange puncture wound. As more young men are found murdered, Delaney starts putting the pieces together. Soon, he’s faced with a cop’s dilemma: He knows who the killer is, but the man is untouchable. That’s when Delaney lays a trap to bring a monster to justice . . .

My review at Good Reads
1 of 5 stars

The five star system just hasn’t worked for me so far this year. This time I want to award negative stars. How do you rate a book that gave you serious pain for the last 50 pages because it just wouldn’t end?

I started to read The First Deadly Sin just after Christmas. After reading the first couple of chapters, I checked out the reviews on Amazon. There were a lot of people who hated this book, but they “hated” the whole book so much after reading just a little bit of the beginning. One reviewer made it through almost a third of the over 600-page book before he “couldn’t stomach it” any longer. But there are raving reviews about how great the story and book are. Of course those reviewers read the whole book. I decided I was going to go on reading the book until New Year’s Eve. At midnight I’d decide if I was going to continue reading the book or put it away and start something else begin 2014. This was not my first book of 2014. I enjoyed my first book of 2014.

The one positive I can say about The First Deadly Sin is that it’s only January and I’m quite sure I’ve already read this year’s worst book on my reading list! It’s an old book. I know in 1973, when it was written, it would’ve been a horrendous choice for seven-year-old. In 2013 and 2014 it was a horrendous choice for a 47-year-old.

The book is about 300 pages too long, 603 pages too long for my taste. It’s overly descriptive about unimportant things that don’t need to be described for character or plot development. Perhaps that added to the fact that I simply didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t care who the good guys were, who the bad guys were or who came out on top in the end. Add to that the subplot of the main character’s sick wife that really didn’t need to be part of the story and only added a flat character and made the main character less likable. The end of the book was 50+ pages, 10 days, of a long drawn out anti-climax. There was no shocking high point in the action. There was no “I can’t believe that!” There was no edge of your seat reading. There was just an incredibly boring description of the last 10 days of the story. It was just the same redundant over descriptive detail.

So there you have it. I read the whole book. I should be singing the praises of a great well-written story. What happened? Maybe I just live in the wrong state to legally like The First Deadly Sin.

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