Title: Dead Politician Society
Series: Clare Vengal Undercover Novels
Author: Robin Spano
Genre: murder mystery, thriller, undercover
Format: Trade Paperback, 325 pages
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Published By: ECW Press
Source: Publisher for Blog Tour
Synopsis from Goodreads
When the mayor keels over dead in the middle of a speech, a clandestine student society immediately takes credit for his demise. Their mission is to create a perfect political system by any means at their disposal. Clare Vengel, a rookie officer fresh from the police academy and beyond bored with her routine as a beat cop, volunteers to go undercover as a student to infiltrate the secretive organization. A streetwise amateur mechanic, Clare takes a dim view of book smarts—she is of the opinion that higher education is for people who can't handle the real world. In short order, she alienates a popular professor and begins to lose the respect of her police superiors. Soon, another politician is killed, and Clare steps up her clandestine involvement with the suspect students. When two more politicians die, the race begins to apprehend the culprits before her own duplicity can be revealed.
I received this book for review by Crazy Book Tours. It's not my typical kind of read, but it took place in Toronto, and I had the urge to participate in some book blog tours.
The first few chapters really confused and irritated me. So many characters were introduced and each chapter was told by a different narrator/character. It took me quite some time to get comfortable with the flow, and the characters in the story. I would say about half way through I was finally to the part where I didn't have to keep flipping back to see who was who.
I loved the setting, my current city of Toronto. It was great to recognize all the neat places and Subway stops, etc and to see them through each of the different character's eyes. I kind of want to know if the little cafe that is used in the story is a real place...because I would totally hang out there! It was also very interesting to dive into the whole University scene since I was never lucky enough to experience it first hand. It was very well done.
I found the story to be highly predictable and I knew who the murder was very early. The author gave out way too many clues, perhaps without even meaning too, simply by avoiding letting them share their voice with the reader as most of the other characters do.
I also wasn't a huge fan of most of the characters, and perhaps that is why it took me so long to differentiate between them. I found them all to be selfish, cold, and completely unlikeable. I really didn't care who the murderer was...I thought they pretty much all could rot in jail and the world would be a better place without the lot of them...but I can be harsh like that.
I think my biggest issue was with the murderer. There just didn't seem to be the amount of passion and hatred that you would expect someone to have before they run around murdering politicians (or anyone for that matter). I mean they had a story, and it was sad, but I think we all have those sad stories buried within us...but we don't all run around killing people off because of it! (And could you imagine the chaos if we did?)
It was too bad though, because even though it's not my usual type of story, the basis of the plot was highly intriguing and promising. It just didn't come together with the characters and everything else when the last page was read.
I am also on tour to read the second book in this series, Death Plays Poker. I really hope there are some stronger and more likeable characters involved, and I hope Clare "grows a pair" and becomes the true undercover cop I know she can be with a little maturity and experience.