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AUTHOR: Daniel Annechino
PAGES: 256 pages
A serial killer crucifies his victims. A lone detective is on the case.
The Words in The Bound Text Square
Serial killers have had their day in popular fiction. A serial killer named Simon follows the guidance of his dead mother in this tale. Echoing Thomas Harris at his laziest, we then have to follow a plucky female detective as she leads the manhunt. I tried to work Red Dragon in there, but it didn’t fit. Sometimes, you should leave the title drops to Gene Shalit.
They Never Die Quietly continues this long line of crime dramas that started with the Harris mold, evolved into the work of Greg Rucka and then died here with Annechino. Issues of evil and personal integrity are old hat in detective fiction. But, Detective Sami Rizzo doesn’t wear the same hat of a Spade or Marlowe. At no time in the novel, do you feel that Rizzo is different than any other dick in San Diego. There’s also the whole issue involving the opening warning.
The book is a rather quick romp that doesn’t tug too hard on the brain stem. From the “not for the faint of heart” warning at the start of the book, Annechino creates a confused tome. Playing to the wider audience, he creates interesting concepts with no execution. The Room of Redemption is where the villain’s victims wait to die. But, page after page…it reads as a Saw retread. Nobody with a brain wants to copy Saw, so I’ll chalk that up to unfortunate coincidence.
The Things I Learned
Daniel Annechino isn’t a full-time writer. He works for an energy company on the Pacific Coast and has taken to writing part-time. I respect those that dare to venture into a crowded field of entertainment and carve out their stake. It’s the pioneer spirit and America needs more people willing to take a chance. You often fail, but it’s worth the time spent.
The violence in the novel is presented in this rather abstract sense. Brutal things happen, but there’s no passion behind the takedowns. You know what makes the books of Thomas Harris and other serial killer fiction work? It’s because you are drawn into the experience. Hannibal Lecter and others help to build a world where you could very well end up in a jar. Simon doesn’t provide that sense of fear. He just happens to attack people and there’s no build to the action.
The Section for People That Don’t Read So Good
God makes the mentally unstable do weird shit.
The Last Word
Detective Sami Rizzo is never going to be a franchise character. Annechino has plans to revisit this novel with a sequel, so the bar is set pretty low. In this second attempt to get the character right, I hope that Annechino takes his time to breakdown the detective. Where does she stand in the long line of a proud tradition of fictional American detectives? What sets her part? How she is more than dust in the wind of Agent Starling?
Then, there’s the central failure of the novel. You
don’t get the satisfaction of a well-developed crime story, as the last third is flat. The whole captivity angle has been so played out that it just feels like the writer is desperately trying to find a way to end the story. Endings are always a bitch, as you have to appeal to the lipmovers and die-hards. I wish I had a word of suggestion for the guy, but it’s something he needs to discover for himself.