March 10, 2010

Book Review: The Green Monster by Andrew Kent

Andrew Kent's second novel in the Johnny Denovo mystery series combines eco-terrorism, genetic engineering, anti-government types in rural New Hampshire, and the Monster Seats at Fenway Park.

The Green Monster begins innocently enough with what seems to be a simple case of adultery, blackmail, and some petty corporate vandalism. However, renowned Boston detective Denovo soon uncovers links to something much bigger and far more dangerous.

In a post on his website, Kent writes:
The Johnny Denovo Mysteries are based on emerging theories of how we think, how we reconcile internal realities with external stimuli, how we make decisions, how we blend rational and emotional thought, and how we express ideas, both intentionally and unintentionally.
As a former neuroscientist, Denovo is always on the lookout for tell-tale patterns in speech, movement, and behaviour. Kent has no problem working these ideas into his fast-paced, intricately-plotted narrative.

For anyone that likes mysteries, I can't imagine The Green Monster not being a satisfying book. I think it could also be turned into a terrific movie.

The one thing that bothered me, however, were the times when Denovo is busy brainstorming, separating signal from noise, trying to hit on connections between seemingly disparate elements of the plot -- or what might be elements of the plot. Kent's crisp writing style is perfect for taking us through the deductive process, but the quickness with which Denovo (who is working on a clear deadline) makes these connections was off-putting.

I realize this observation may reveal my ignorance with the genre more than anything else, but is it a mistake to include many of the false leads and dead ends that a detective would normally go through in such a case?

[Kent sent me a free copy of the book to review.]

2 comments:

FenFan said...

You're getting to be like the Oprah book club for Red Sox and baseball fans. I'll have to add it to my list.

Andrew Kent said...

Thanks for reading the book. I'm glad you liked it.

Denovo definitely comes from the same part of the mystery genre as Sherlock Holmes. One reason I created Denovo was to create a modern Sherlock Holmes, a brilliant deductive reasoner who could take just a few observations and, through an amazing knack and ability, reach the right conclusions. So, just like Holmes could deduce a person's home town and profession just by noting the kind of mud they track in and a smudge on their index finger, Denovo can observe the metaphors revealed in language and action, then interpret them correctly. One advantage of metaphors is that they allow you to predict how something will behave, which gives him a further advantage.

Thanks again for reading it. The third novel in the Denovo Mystery series should be out this fall.