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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lizard Skin by Carsten Stroud

           Great book, except for the end.

Lizard Skin features veteran Montana state trooper Beau MacAllister, a wise-cracking good ol' boy who has great instincts and is not too concerned with protocol. Beau is called to a truck stop to stop a robbery in progress - but the whole thing seems fishy to him and he ends up shooting the supposed victim in the butt during a 3 way fight between Beau, the "victim" and several Indians using compound bows. Beau suspects something is amiss and tugs on this loose thread until he finds the conspiracy.

The characters in this story are well-written - Beau is particularly well developed, especially for a cop novel. The DA character (Vanessa Ballard) is quite memorable and "feels" like a real person, rather than a caricature. Even McAllister's nemesis, Dwight Hogelan, shows signs of growth during the book.

Carsten Stroud
All of this makes the end of Lizard Skin very disappointing. The first 90% of the book is a great cop thriller - but the end is very hoaky and formulaic. It is like he finished the book under pressure and ran out of time. For example, he was maneuvering an Indian character into becoming a second Crazy Horse destined to lead a spiritual revival of the Plains Indians. However, 50 pages of character development was quickly dismissed in one page at the end. Why bother?

Due to the disappointing end of this novel I have to lower the rating for this book from 5 stars to 3 stars.
Reviewed in February of 2005. 

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Lizardskin

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