I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that I’m not a big fan of Crime Fiction. I’m pretty sure its because I’m a Curious Cathy and can’t help flipping to the end to see the whodunnit. Which, of course, completely defeats the purpose of the genre, which, obviously, is the waiting. To see whodunnit. As such, I have to exercise restraint when reading any type of suspense or mystery novel. And, anyone who knows me is well aware that restraint and patience aren’t necessarily my strong points.
But… also like I’ve said before, when I’m sent books by Simon & Schuster that I normally wouldn’t pick up, I’m usually pleasantly surprised. It’s nice when my own taste is trumped by someone else’s-I’m open-minded after all.
Stray Bullets is the second book I’ve read by Robert Rotenberg. The first was Guilty Plea (I can’t link to the review right now, because of this. However, hopefully the rest of my content will be added to this site, and I will be able to.)
Just like in his previous novel, Rotenberg sets the story in our mutual hometown of Toronto. The novel opens with a shooting at Tim Hortons, the home of the ubiquitous coffee us Canadian call a double double (two creams and two sugars). The victim? A little boy on his way into the coffee shop for a donut. The motive? A young woman has dumped her career criminal boyfriend while he’s still in prison. He’s out for revenge, and turns up at the Tim Hotons where she works.
The potential perps? The jealous boyfriend, his sidekick best friend, the new love? Who knows… the trouble is all caused by a stray bullet. And the phrase, ‘Here, take this.’
What I liked
Rotenberg is an actual criminal lawyer, which lends an element of realism to the tale. He weaves a true crime story, and what’s great is that you get perspectives from more than one level of the criminal justice system-the detective, the police officer, the defence and prosecution lawyers. Its also nice that he carries through many of the same characters from earlier books. Its always nice to see old friends, after all. I was enthralled the entire time with Stray Bullets. I was fooled, then I totally knew what happened, then I was fooled again. There were bad guys, good guys, redemption, and just rewards. All the elements of a great story were covered. Lovers of this genre, I believe, won’t be disappointed.
What I didn’t like
Really, the only complaint I have with the book are the extensive references to the city of Toronto,. Its obvious that Rotenberg loves his city dearly, and as such, gives it a starring role in his books. However, the mentions become forced after a while, particularly the descriptions of each location or site’s history or importance. When reading a book about New York or San Francisco, or even Detroit, natch, the reader is left to their own devices to place the locations in their imaginations. After all, one can always Wikipedia if more details are needed.
Recommend Factor: 7/10 (Totally genre based)
Unputdownable Factor 9/10 (after all, it is a mystery..)
If you like watching any of the CSIs , you’ll love Stray Bullets….
Here’s the author answering some of your fan questions
And..lastly,if you are in the Toronto area, and want to meet Mr. Rotenberg and ask him questions of your own, check out his free Indigo event
Date: Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Location: Indigo Books & Music, Toronto Eaton Centre