Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review: Blackout by David Rosenfelt

A Quick Read with Some Suspense…but a Bit Trite

Blackout is the story of New Jersey state police officer Doug Brock, who in the course of an unauthorized investigation into notorious criminal Nicholas Bennett, is shot, falls from a balcony hitting his head, and goes into a coma.  When he awakens, he has amnesia, and so, he must relearn whatever made him such an irresistible target…while hopefully, saving the day before getting shot again.

Gun battles.  Dangerous knowledge about notorious criminals.  And yes, even some romance.  Blackout has a lot going on, so you won’t be reading long without encountering another challenge to be met and conquered.  And consequently, it seemed that the pages flew by; a couple of nights, and this one was back to the library.  Blackout also has a nice touch of humor, with a series of ‘lost my memory’ quips: ‘This is the best sandwich I’ve ever had.  Of course, I don’t remember having any sandwiches before yesterday.’  If there was any downfall in the humor, it was that Rosenfelt might have stuck with this basic formula a bit too long.  It was somewhat stale by the end…at least as long as you don’t get amnesia half-way through the book and get to enjoy it anew.

But my more general concern about the story was that, despite the continuous flow of events and characters, it felt somewhat trite.  The loose cannon detective with a death wish.  The trusty partner, faithful to a fault.  The jilted lover that our hero only wants after she is gone.  And even the twists – one was foreshadowed, one was predictable, and a third seemed like the end of about 20% of every TV police show.  I guess in bringing together so much well-worn territory, perhaps Rosenfelt created something unique.  But the tension was never fully there for me, because in its parts, it seemed to move to an inevitable conclusion.
Overall, the predictability of the story was mostly offset by the pace, making Blackout worth a couple of your reading nights.  Just don't expect to be laughing all the way through.

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