Clean Hands

[Amazon Link]

This book made Tom Nolan's Best Mysteries list at the WSJ. Not my cup of tea, sorry Tom. Wish I liked it better.

It's not awful, just OK. It starts out with an everyday pickpocketing in a New York subway station. A lowly lawyer at a prestigious corporate law firm has his iPhone grabbed. Unfortunately, it contained critical evidence in upcoming multi-million dollar litigation. Elizabeth, the lowly lawyer's supervisor, calls in Valencia, an ex-CIA operative to retrieve the phone and secure the documents. But the firm's own investigator looks at the video of the theft and it looks a little sketchy to him. Could it have been prearranged? The book follows the twisty trail of the iPhone, a bewildering array of characters good and bad.

Wait, did I say "good"? Well, there aren't very many "good" people here. Everyone's morally compromised. The closest "good" character is Valencia, and mainly because she's so dogged and ruthless in tracking down the perps and the phone. She's not picky about breaking laws to accomplish her mission. Or apologetic, either.

At a certain point I realized I didn't care about these tedious people, and I didn't care how they resolved their problems. Page turning was not motivated by "Gee, I wonder what happens next", but instead "Let's get to the end so I can move on with my life".

It doesn't help, frankly, that a key development relies on Valencia and her crew never having seen Speed.


Last Modified 2021-03-19 7:39 AM EST