Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kill Switch by Neal Baer & Jonathan Greene

These guys aren't in the book,
but Meloni did offer his praises.
So it turns out that all kinds of storytelling are not equal.

Which you probably already knew.

But Kill Switch makes that apparent, in my opinion.  Others may disagree.  And, actually, they did on Amazon, so take this review with a grain of salt and remember that YMMV (your mileage may vary).  Kill Switch was written by Neal Baer (producer and showrunner for Law & Order: SVU) and Jonathan Greene (producer and writer for the same).  I've always been really fond of L&O:SVU, and I was excited to see that two of the people responsible for the show had written a book.  It's their first book, and I think it shows. I also think it's likely that at least one of the authors is related to Charles Dickens, because "Holy unlikely intertwining plot lines, Batman", there's a lot going on here.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Kill Switch is the story of a forensic psychologist, Claire Waters, and her first case in a new fellowship program.   She quickly decides that her new patient has ties to a string of unsolved murders that Detective Nick Lawler is trying to solve.  The two of them get off to a rocky start, but they eventually work well together.  Claire has some serious baggage, and Nick has a BIG secret and his own complicated backstory, so they characters are flawed.  They're still likable, and if the story had been a straightforward police procedural or psychological thriller, I would have been happy with it.  Based on the characters alone I would have probably given the book a high three or low four on a five-star scale.

If only.

Alas, in solving the original string of murders, Nick and Claire also solve the decades old crime that is responsible for Claire's baggage.  In that process, the entire book takes a super-secret-spy-government-defense-contractor-bio-warfare twist.  The plot zigs, and it zags, and then it twists again!  There's internal conflict (with both main characters) AND multiple external conflicts. At some point, I figured either Mme. Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities or the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files was going to show up.  Again, "Holy unlikely intertwining plot lines, Batman!" It was almost like two TV producers were afraid that absent the moving pictures and tension-building soundtracks of television they couldn't maintain a sense of suspense without adding multiple layers to the story.

Still, I did like Claire and Nick, so I would read another book with these characters.  In sticking with my first allusion to a five-star scale, I would give Kill Switch a low three.  It's not a bad book, it's just a lot of plot to get through. Pin It


  1. OK, I'm not going to point out the (approximately) 27 books and tv shows that you DO like that also use the unlikely/intertwined plot thing - and you know that I can - and just point out that contemporary writers no longer get paid by the word. So...cut the dead guy some slack already.

    That being said, I don't think I'm putting this one on my list.

  2. Sounds like I would have a hard time following this book. Right now I'm into simple and easy reading. My brain is tired right now and I just want to read and not really have to keep track of anything. I do enjoy this type of book, but maybe not this one.

  3. OK. Guess I'm just stubborn but I'm thinking I may read this book and see if I can keep all these plot lines separated and remembered. I LOVE a complex plot but this one may be a little too complex. Think I will at least check it out. And I STILL can't figure out how to put my name here so this is from Aunt Barb.

  4. So, if I typically am fine with oddly intertwined plots, than this one (and everything written by Dickens) clearly crosses a line. :)

    And it's not the ongoing storyline so much as the "solution" that is convoluted. The appeal of reading a "who-dunnit" is in trying to figure out if it was Miss Scarlet in a the Conservatory with a lead pipe. Kill Switch suddenly introduces new characters, new rooms and new weapons in the last 1/4 of the book.