Well. At least I finished it. And what an unpleasureable chore it was. Why any romance fan would enjoy this story is a complete mystery to me. There is no romance. In fact by page 271 there had only been one kiss and absolutely zero emotions between the main couple.
The overwhelming problem is that there are just too too many threads within the novel. Mostly about people I cared nothing about.
Apart from the Johnny and Esmee thread. There is
the Dax thread...(goes nowhere)
the Loretta thread...(irrelevant)
the general Grant thread...that was ok..brought a little excitement to the table
the Franklin Bleak thread...
the Esmee's mom thread...
the Erick Werner and shoko thread...
the Kevin and Dovey thread
the Mitch and Leroy, Baby Duce, Katherine Gray, Dom Ramos threads. Crikey! I almost forget to mention the Patsy Cline thread. Does anyone under a 100 years of age actually know who she is? Or care?
Just enumerating them all makes me want to cross my eyes and yawn. Because so many of those threads were left hanging. They were completely irrelevent. And they felt irrelevent as I was reading them. That's the problem. What should have been explained and wasn't. Was. How come Esmee's dad kept finding all those paintings stolen in WW2? Why did Esmee keep coming to rescue her dead-beat dad when he'd been an habitual gambler for years? Plus. If I'd had my skin carved up by someone, I'd have changed careers....long ago. But not Esmee. One minute she's on the academic fast-track. The next she's a gumshoe. Not even high-tech investigations. But foot-work. None of that really made sense. Another thread that did not appear was the 'contemporary political landscape.' This story was too firmly rooted in Denver..with a small diversion into the huge irrelevence that is South America. You know what else. I didn't really appreciate the local gang-bangers being made into Johnny's helpers either. That's just cloud cuckoo land for me.
Just why did Johnny visit the Locos? No idea. What was the point of the long tunnel and Johnny's fears. Other than story padding. Eventually I lost interest and fell asleep. Give me pink leeches and butterflies anyday. Franklin Bleak...the bad guy. Ha ha ha. A limp dope. My mom could put him in his place. Bring back T. Royce...or Dr Souk. Is what I say.
You know. I wanted to ask. Sure. Johnny and Esmee had a crush on each other in school. But after so many years. Why couldn't they just give each other a hug and go share a drink together at some bar? As far as I could tell. There was no justification for them going to bed with each other. Other than they'd spent too much stress time together.
Three quarters of the way into the novel and the reader is still only about an hour from the start. Where's the progression in plot and character development? In a way it was like the final chapter was just stuck on by someone else's orders.
Also. A word about Suzi Toussi. Didn't she dump Hawkins and take up with another SDF member in a previous novel? And didn't Hawkins breathe a sigh of relief when she moved on from him? And suddenly she's being built up as the drop-dead gorgeous heroine for a future novel? No thank you. I had enough problems with seeing Cody as a deserving case after she slept with half of central europe in her search for her father.
Actually. It has taken me 3 weeks of olympic perseverence to get to the end of the novel. I read the first 300 pages at my usual fast pace. Then I got so bored that I could only read about a paragraph a day for a while.
I'm still wondering. Is the new J.T story line a great big tease for the next novel? Or is it an ongoing thread that will appear in all the following novels? Just like the original thread. Whatever. The new J.T thread completely overshadowed the main plot. Jeez!!! J.T is the big deep tragedy of Steel Street. And suddenly he's alive???!!! How could Tara even mention his name and expect regular readers to be interested in Esmee and Johnny's light-weight escapades? When General Grant first showed in chapter 11, well, that's when I lost 90% interest in the main couple. I don't know about other readers. But I could do with either or both Dylan and Hawkins featuring big in another novel. I want the J.T. mystery to be solved. Right now.