Author: CS Boag
Series: Mister Rainbow, #1
Publisher: Black Prints
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: August 14th to 17th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Thank you to Goodreads and the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my review in any way.
Ahhh. I always feel bad when I’m given a book for review and I just…don’t like it. It’s not the genre’s fault – I’ve read a lot of detective and crime novels so the problem’s not there. I know where the problem is and unfortunately it is with the writing and the main character. Me and this book just did not get along.
Mister Rainbow, the product of 1960s flower-children, is a pretentious P.I. who speaks like he’s from 1920s Chicago, who has no respect for the law or the police and likes to take matters into his own hands. All the time. While checking out the background of a man who seems to have no history, Rainbow finds himself being tailed by two ‘hoods’ (and yes, one has no hands). Oh, and everyone who seems connected ends up dead. Except Rainbow.
There were quite a few factors that led to my 2 star rating for this book – it’s not just because I didn’t like the character of Mister Rainbow, although the way he spoke did grate on my nerves, especially as there is no escape from the first person perspective. No real reason is given for why he speaks this way. Are we meant to think it’s because he watched a lot of Bogart growing up and was home schooled? Mister Rainbow had a troubled childhood but how that has affected him seems to depend on where it is useful to the plot. At one moment, he believes his dead sister is still alive and thinks she is calling him, and allows his daughter to think that Sophie is her own sister who she has never met. The next, he calmly relates how she died, and in another point of the book, he says something to the effect of not being able to deal with fire after what happened to his mother and sister. Do you think she’s still alive or do you know she’s dead? There were also some terms or words that Rainbow used in the wrong context, for example, “a vacant rock”. How can the rock be vacant? Is it uninhabited, like a vacant house, or is it not there? And if it’s not there, how was it smashed into? He even had me doubting myself for a second so I looked up to see if there was another meaning for ‘vacant’ that I didn’t know about (there’s not).
The writing is chockfull of italics – to the effect of whole paragraphs being printed in italics. I would expect the use of italics only in a handful of situations: relating a past event or dream sequence, for words written in a language other than English, for emphasis on one word usually in dialogue. In this book, italic was used for all those situations and then some, particularly when something is considered important for particularly well written, like the paragraph is crying out “Look at me! Read me! I’m important to the plot!” or “Look how clever this is!” It is insufferable to read, and quite distracting because what I’m thinking is, here we go again, more italics. So sick of this! instead of what the italics are trying to show me or prove to me.
I found inconsistencies in other parts of the writing and characters, especially with the murderer. He seemed to have an MO, as psychopaths do, only to change it for the big finale which was also just a bit too coincidental for my liking and an unlikely course of action seeing as he had no idea of Rainbow’s history. He didn’t really feel like an honest to goodness villain that Rainbow was making him out to be. Obviously he was a killer and that is villain-y behaviour, but he wasn’t a strong character and if he really was a psychopath, then I would expect him to have an entirely different personality. Instead, he just shrugs his shoulders and says “I like killing”, which he does in order to cover his tracks when Rainbow starts getting close. Why wouldn’t you just kill Rainbow? That would seem like a more effective course of action.
There were other smaller things that irked me among these larger things, things that possibly could have been overlooked had I been enjoying the story. But I didn’t, so I guess that made me more likely to take into account all those little things.
I found myself feeling increasingly frustrated with this book and couldn’t have cared less about all the hinting at Rainbow’s nemesis Pandora, about who very little information is given, clearly on purpose. Even though the book finished on somewhat of a cliffhanger, by this point I was disinterested and can quite easily say I will put this one away and not pursue the rest of the series.