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Mswas’ CBR-III Review #2 – Midnight Angels by Lorenzo Carcaterra

01/07/2011

One thing I need to give myself permission to do during CBR is to quit reading a book that stinks. A couple of times last year I struggled through a crappy book just so that I could get the review done, and I’ve done that again.

Midnight Angels by Lorenzo Carcaterra has a great premise, but ultimately it just didn’t do it for me.  Listen, I know that all fiction is untrue, but it has to have some ring of truth to be compelling.

Protagonist Kate Wescott has come to Florence to study Michelangelo, who she’s already studied for her whole life at the behest of her guardian, Professor Richard Edwards. The professor is a member of a secret society that is devoted to hunting down lost works of art. Along with a fellow art student, Kate discovers Michelangelo’s Midnight Angel sculptures.

Tracked by criminals, the Rome art squad, and a man who has a vendetta against Prof. Edwards, Kate and her friend Marco try to save the statues and avoid getting killed in the process.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But I just don’t buy it. I don’t know what it was, exactly. Was it the predictable characters, such as an art  thief with the nickname Cat who fathers a daughter who becomes an insurance investigator looking into art crimes? Was it the trite dialogue?

“You’re not one for a warm bedside manner,” Clare said, taken aback by his harsh tone.

“I’m a detective,” Rumore said, “not a doctor. I didn’t come here to offer comfort. I’m here to find out what you wanted and why.”

While I appreciate the Star Trek reference, I think it was unintentional. Dialogue throughout the entire book is hamhanded and clunky.

I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the art, I didn’t cheer when the bad guy gets it in the end.  I think I’d have been better off with a biography on Michelangelo, rather than something that something trying too hard to be art.

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2 comments

  1. I read Carcaterra’s allegedly biographical Sleepers and liked it, but the other book of his I read left me cold. I guess his fiction is probably not worth it, either.



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