Dennis Lehane's Nosedive
Reading Sacred by Dennis Lehane is a strange experience. The first two-thirds is magnificent. The prose, as always, shows why Lehane is praised as a stylist. The book offers good characters and surprising turns.
Then the book goes into a nosedive of insulting clichés and implausible plot twists. It almost seems Lehane had a checklist of the worst clichés of the field and managed to get them all in.
- Beautiful women cannot be trusted. Check.
- Even the best men can be manipulated into doing the worst things by a beautiful woman. Check.
- The villain kills dozens of people without hesitation, but when she wants to kill the protagonist, she instead ties him up and explains her diabolical schemes until he can be rescued. Check.
- If the protagonist has a partner who might rescue him, the murderer will pass up the chance to kill that partner, leaving the partner imprisoned but unguarded. Check.
- Everyone younger than 25 is either stupid or evil. Check.
- Young people who accuse older people of sex crimes are manipulative and untrustworthy. Check.
- Any youth who claims to have been raped by a parent is lying; parents never do those things, and besides, the children secretly want it. Check.
- Young women have lots of sex with older men. Check.
"I'm going to be on the air?"
"Absolutely. I just need your verbal consent, and - "
"You need to tell us it's okay... "
"Okay? Shìt, it's the balls, man. ... Hey, do I like win a prize or something?"
Gee, can you guess which speaker is supposed to be younger than 25? I can't even imagine a professional novelist giving a middle-aged character lines like this:
"But she, man, she came over here, like, supposedly to buy some weed, you know? And, man, she, I gotta tell ya, she, well, wow, is all I can say."
Yes, that's really in the book.
Dennis Lehane, you owe me an apology and $7.99 plus tax.