Thursday, February 4, 2010

Got the Look - James Grippando (audio)


I'm always on the lookout for a good crime novel to get my heart racing. This can be the perfect genre for an audio book - lots of action and thrills to keep your attention - so I was very appreciative that Kathy (@ Bermudaonion) offered me her copy of Got the Look. I was a little bothered knowing it was #5 in a series of 8 novels about legal eagle Jack Swytek, but it was only five discs. I called it a sampler. Not a huge commitment, so if I liked it, I could go back and read the rest. If I didn't, I wasn't in it for more than a few days.

Jack has found a new love interest, a hottie named Mia. She seems to have dark secrets in her past, but after only eight weeks, it's all stomach flutters and marathon bedroom sessions. So when Jack finds out Mia is actually married to a wealthy Hispanic businessman, he is heartbroken. But not as heartbroken as when Mia is kidnapped, with a random note left behind for the jilted hubby that says "Pay me what she's worth". Kinda clever, eh? Apparently this guy has struck before, and if the husband undervalues his beloved, she's dead meat. Problem is, Mia's husband thinks she's worth about a buck after he finds out she had been sleeping with Jack.

So it is Jack to the rescue; he can't leave her fate in the hands of her unloving, machismo spouse. With the assistance of FBI agent Andie Henning, he gets involved, and the more he digs, the more ugliness he discovers about Mia and her past. The conclusion builds up to an appropriate level of action, cat & mouse hi jinx, and the big bad-guy reveal, almost Scooby-Doo style. And Jack lives to see another day.

As you can probably tell by my description, this story follows a very predictable template for crime thrillers. There are 3.4 plot twists, an antagonist that comes out of the blue, a sidekick buddy, and a steady flow of clue-following. Perhaps because I'm coming into Jack's life midstream and I missed out on character development, I didn't connect with him as a person. I didn't like him, I didn't dislike him. I actually enjoyed his side-kick Theo, but he was a small part of the story.

It was a mildly entertaining book, with plenty of running around. But I fear this is one of those crime thrillers that I will forget in a month or two. I will admit, I may be jaded when it comes to this genre, as I've read hundreds of them. For me, it really takes something special to grab my attention and commitment to pick up a series.

On the bright side, the audio was narrated by Jonathan Davis (yes, the very same that narrated the intoxicating "Shadow of the Wind"). He has a "thing" for Spanish accents, it seems. He is an excellent narrator.

2.5 out of 5 stars



21 comments:

bermudaonion said...

This one was fairly predictable but I still enjoyed it. There aren't too many thrillers that stick with me a long time.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I like having a good mystery to turn to every now and then but I guess this might not be the one. I love the Tana French books for that reason. A little bit of a thrill and a mystery and still really good writing. I have read some P.D. James, but none of her mysteries. I am really excited to give those a try.

caite said...

For me, the real pleasure in a mystery, especially a series, is in the characters. If I don't connect with them, then it will just be a ho-hum experience at best. While it is true that you are coming in mid-series, I still think a really good writer can, in fact must, make us care about the main characters regardless.

Serena said...

hmm, sounds like a cookie cutout crime thriller. Have you thought about joining book chick city's thriller challenge??? Are you participating? You should! There are prizes and she has fun events going on over there.

ok, enough babbling.

stacybuckeye said...

I have this one on my shelf, but wasn't sure I wanted to read the series out of order. After reading your review I think I can let it sit a longer on my shelf without deciding :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I agree with Kathy - it's hard to find thrillers that stick. Still, they're entertaining enough for a little while - especially if you're stuck in an airport or something!

farmlanebooks said...

Sorry to hear that this one didn't work for you. I like to read series in order too, so understand you dilema. Let me know if you do find a good thriller on audio - I'm always on the look out for them!

christa @ mental foodie said...

When I saw the title, I thought it sounded familiar. When I read the description, I think I'd read it before but wasn't too sure. Sure enough, I read it back in early 2008, so I hardly remember! Especially since I didn't blog reviews then.

I used to read a lot of murder/mystery, and I tend to forget about them in a few weeks... I guess that's okay, they are my chosen "fluff" read :) But it does get boring though when they get too predictable or formula like! Especially those that gives you a twist, but you know the author is doing it on purpose because it's too obvious, then he throws you another twist because he knows that you know the last twist was a red herring, then he threw in another twist but you are catching on... and then come the final reveal when the bad guy is someone you don't even remember because that's the big surprise!

The Bumbles said...

Thrillers are for me what trashy romance or chick lit is to others. But I haven't read a goodie in a while. What are your top Thriller picks? Maybe I could try one of those.

Alyce said...

I loved the comparison with Scooby-Doo! My kids love Scooby's mysteries, but they do leave a bit to be desired. :)

Zibilee said...

This is not really my genre, but it sounds as though if I miss it, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Sorry that it wasn't an outstanding read for you. Can you recommend a suspense/thriller that really leaves an impression?

Julie P. said...

I was going to ask you if you do have very many mysteries/thrillers that stay with you. I can't think of many except maybe THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO!

Iliana said...

I read a lot of crime novels too and while there's plenty I like, if I'm not connecting with the characters then I probably won't follow the series. There's got to be something special about the main character and not just some cookie-cutter detective type to get me interested.

Melody said...

I'm with Iliana. If the plot is not gripping and most of all if I couldn't connect with the characters, I won't follow the series.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've been doing a terrible job of answering comments lately. I'm sorry! But I've seen a few people ask me about my favorite mystery/thiller novels. First and foremost, I must state that the Stieg Larsson books are by far some of the best ones I've read recently. Character development, depth of plot, twists, everything you need. Besides those, here are some authors that I enjoy:

Tana French
Elizabeth George
Harlan Coban
James Lee Burke
George Pelecanos
Benjamin Black
Lawrence Block

Jenners said...

I shudder to think what my husband would pay for me!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

James Patterson has had some really great audios lately - You Can Run was fantastic!

Beth F said...

I'm not huge into thrillers, so I"ll probably pass on this. Now a good mystery -- of any subgenre -- that's another story...

You've been going through a lot of audios lately -- thanks to walking, I guess.

Kathleen said...

These are the ones that are fun to read while they last and then they get forgotten. I've even caught myself rereading (without realizing it at first) books like these until I discover that the story is sounding awfully familiar...

Alice Teh said...

Sometimes predictability is good too. I like that and also happy endings. LOL

Anna said...

This one doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy, but thanks for the list of authors to check out in the comments.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric