Monday, June 9, 2014

book review: All Day and a Night by Alafair Burke

The backstory: Alafair Burke is one of my favorite mystery writers. All Day and a Night is the fifth novel in her NYPD detective Ellie Hatcher series (reviews of the first four: Dead Connection, Angel's Tip, 212, and Never Tell.) Also see my reviews of the three titles in her Portland ADA Samantha Kincaid series (Judgment CallsMissing Justice, and Close Case) and her two stand alone mysteries (Long Gone and If You Were Here).

The basics: When Brooklyn psychiatrist Helen Brunswick is murdered in a similar manner to how six prostitutes were murdered by Anthony Amaro in Utica and New York City twenty years ago, Ellie Hatcher and her partner are tasked with taking a fresh look at the original victims to see if the same person could have killed all the women. Amaro is in prison, so he didn't kill Brunswick.

My thoughts: As much as I love police procedural mysteries, there are special places in my heart for both stories about wrongful convictions and those about serial killers. All Day and a Night has both, plus Ellie Hatcher, one of my favorite fictional detectives. From the first page, I was hooked. After reading all of the Ellie Hatcher series in a few months, it was delightful to enter her world again after so long.

The pace of this mystery is just right. I read compulsively as Ellie and her partner JJ slowly pieced together these cold case clues. While they discussed theories based on evidence, the mystery reader in me correctly figured out the big reveal. I don't fault Ellie and JJ for figuring it out after I did, but admittedly the resolution was a little underwhelming. Despite figuring out the ending, it didn't dampen my enjoyment as I read. Burke is a great writer, and Ellie Hatcher is a dynamic character. This novel did not, however, leave me saying "wow," after I turned the last page, as most of Burke's novels have.

Favorite passage: "There's no such thing as merit separated from biography, he had told me. The only question is whether you're going to let your biography hold you down or help you up."

The verdict: I loved the experience of reading this book more than its resolution. The journey is a great one, but it's not quite as good as Burke's other books because it lacked her signature shocking twist. It's really good, and even great, but it stops just short of the fantastic standard Burke has set for herself. If you haven't read Alafair Burke yet: start at the beginning and enjoy.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 368 pages
Publication date: June 10, 2014
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy All Day and a Night from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Alafair Burke's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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1 comment:

  1. I had the same thing marked as my favorite passage. This was my first time reading Ellie. I feel like I never have time to go back and read in a series, but I may try to get to a few of these since it is such a manageable amount.


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