Tuesday, August 28

Hardscrabble Road - Jane Haddam

The twentieth in this series about retired FBI agent Gregory Demarkian (known as the Armenian-American Hercule Poirot) sees him investigating the case of a right-wing radio broadcaster found with unprescribed drugs in his car. According to Drew Harrigan's people (the great man himself is in isolation at a rehab centre), a homeless alcoholic named Sherman Markey procurred the drugs for him. Markey can't be found, and those few who knew him say that it's not possible for him to have functioned that highly.
Add a cloistered monastery full of Carmelite nuns, a university intent on political correctness, and a host of characters with hidden agendas, and you should have an interesting and complex mystery. However, although I usually enjoy Haddam's novels whole-heartedly, Hardscrabble Road didn't deliver as I'd hoped. Though the reviews on the jacket praise the politics, I found the repeated diatribes on left vs right, conservative vs liberal, Republican vs Democrat rants annoying, lengthy, and not useful in progressing the plot.
Gregor apparently knew who did it early on, but for some reason kept this information to himself, which I also found irritating. I've got the next book in the series from the library, so I'll soon discover if it's the series as a whole or just this installment that's the problem (at least for me). - Alex

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