Deadly Welcome by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Excellent double-edged plot about a disgraced hometown football hero who returns to his hometown to clandestinely investigate a murder. The beginning is kind of clumsy with page after page of information dump via totally unrealistic dialogue, but eventually Alex Doyle gets on the scene and the story gets into high gear. Plenty of action, but also plenty of exposition via disembodied dialogue. Not screenplay snappy dialogue. Long long paragraphs of summary delivered via speeches without any scene setting or facial expressions or gestures or anything. Even a scene where the characters are swimming and delivering speeches. That pet peeve aside, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The climactic sequence was done really well and with a lot of pace and that made for a satisfying ending. And despite my bemoaning the exposition via dialogue, MacDonald still delivers plenty of passages like this: "He felt the familiar tensions of the chase, a taste in the back of the throat of a breathless expectancy. It was, in a sense, a dreadful art, this manipulation of human beings. Discover the area of stress. And then nudge so gently and carefully. Back up the lions with a kitchen chair. But it had to be done delicately."
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