Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Verge Practice and No Trace by Barry Maitland
The Verge Practice is the seventh book in the Brock and Kolla series. A world-famous architect's wife has been stabbed, and the architect has vanished. His car is found by the seaside with his clothes neatly folded and a note that just says "sorry," but police aren't buying it. They think he stabbed his wife and faked his suicide, and is hiding out in Barcelona. But when Detective Chief Inspector David Brock's team is assigned the case after it's gone cold, he and Detective Sergent Kathy Kolla start exploring other possibilities.
I really liked the book up until the time when I figured the whole plot out--with a hundred pages left to go. The theme of the book is basically The Meaning of Gender, and there are so many clues pointing to what actually happened that I didn't have any trouble figuring it out. I was really disappointed, even though the book itself is interesting as always. I also hated the ending.
No Trace is the eight book. In it, Brock's team has been assigned the case of two missing girls--and almost immediately, a third girl, six years old, is reported missing from her bedroom. Her father, a modern artist who made a splash five years ago after his wife's suicide, immediately starts a new work based on the girl's disappearance--and attracts immediate attention from his fans, who swarm into the area. But Brock and Kathy think there's something fishy about the third abduction, which is so much different from the first two.
This book was much, much better than the previous couple--dark, fascinating, themed The Meaning of Art (Maitland's insistence on themes is much more subtle usually than I'm making it sound, and adds to my enjoyment of the books). I thought I had guessed the murderer and was totally wrong, much to my pleasure. The plot has a number of twists that caught me by surprise, although the clues were laid cleverly and I should have caught them. And Brock's relationship with his sort-of girlfriend takes a surprising turn, while Kathy is still getting over her recent break-up with her boyfriend. In short, this is pure Maitland and exactly what I love about his books.
I'm glad I've reached the point in the series where the books are still in print and readily available. I bought No Trace at our local B&N and I'm hoping to pick up the next book today. But I am distressed that I've only got three more books to read before I've caught up and have to wait for the next one.
The Verge Practice B&N link (used book)
No Trace B&N link