Carlucci’s Edge by Richard Paul Russo is a detective story set in a grim, futuristic San Francisco. Modern society is collapsing, yet at the same time technology has continued to advance. Against that backdrop Lieutenant Carlucci must find the connection between a series of seemingly unrelated murders. Along the way he meets a handful of interesting characters who are also caught up in the events.
The prose is concise and very readable, tight and to the point, making it easy to keep turning the pages. The characters are generally believable (but not universally), and the author does a good job at times portraying their emotions. He uses “business” a lot (fiddling with coffee cups is a favorite) to control the pacing of conversations, and that works pretty well, but sometimes I found it overdone. (Note to self…)
Overall, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. I found myself, however, glancing at how much of the book was left and wondering how the story was going to fit in the remaining pages. It wasn’t that the characters weren’t making progress, it was that there was no increase in tension as they got closer to the truth. The bad guys who were willing to kill to protect their secrets at the start don’t seem to be very active as the good guys close in. The ending itself, while far more realistic that most things you will find in this genre, lacked the punch I expect in a novel of this sort. Perhaps the problem was in my own expectations.
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