Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bleeding Hearts by Ian Rankin

An assassin tries to figure out who set him up

Michael Weston is a meticulous paid assassin, who happens to be a hemophiliac. After he kills a prominent newscaster, he falls immediately under suspicion and is chased by his nemesis, the fat American detective Hoffer. Hoffer pursues him through England where Michael joins up with Bel, the lovely young sharpshooter daughter of his arms supplier. After a side trip through Scotland, Michael and Bel flee to America where they encounter the murderous machinations of a ruthless cult leader.

The only reason I read this genre novel was to learn about plotting because someone told me Ian Rankin was good at plotting. The prose was not unpleasant although the story relied heavily upon archetypes instead of actual character development. But plotting – hmm – there was a LOT of deus ex machina situations. We meet a new character in Texas on page 250 who fifty pages later roars out of a Seattle woods to save Michael’s ass from an impossible situation.

Reading this was sort of like doing a crossword puzzle but I don't do crossword puzzles. The book was a platform for somewhat entertaining ruminations about driving across America. The Michael and Bel romance made no sense to me because he’s a murderer and Bel’s mildly upset about that as if he were a slightly shady roofer.  The story almost degenerates into a romantic comedy, but who would cheerfully marry a paid assassin? The writing and the dialogue wasn’t so bad. The fundamental problem is that I didn’t care about a single one of the characters. Not the killer. Not the fat American not the cipher of a girl.  Also there were too many pages.

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