Thursday, June 9, 2016

Book Reports: The Niceville Trilogy

These were recommended by a trusted reader friend, and blurbed by SK, so I grabbed the first two at the library one day and then had to buy the third one.  They were...all right.

They were good. Even really good. Well written, although the physical descriptions reminded me (A LOT) of tenth grade creative writing assignments: he was tall with jet black hair and emerald green eyes.

Cringeworthy. I think anyone who needs to use physical descriptions (and why?!?! Why do you need these?!?!) should take notes from Jack Reacher. Or I guess Lee Child. Since Jack Reacher is actually fake.

Anyway. The journey was great, the destination not so much. It just sort of fizzled out, there were things that got wrapped up ish but...meh. Did he not plan ahead? Did he now know where the journey was supposed to take us? I don't know.

From the back of the Niceville book: When ten-year-old Rainey Teague disappears on his way home from school in idyllic Niceville, Detective Nick Kavanaugh traces the boy to his last sighting - staring into the window of old pawn shop in town. CCTV shows Rainey there one minute and then gone the next. In the days that follow, any hope Rainey's family has of finding him alive starts to fade but then Rainey is found - alive but in a coma, and there's no telling when, or if, he'll ever wake up...

One year on, Kavanagh is still haunted by the case. And now another member of the town - this time an elderly woman - has been reported missing. It's as though she vanished into thin air. Once again, Kavanagh's on the case and, as he starts to dig back through the town's history, he can't help but notice that Niceville has a much higher than average number of stranger abductions...

My original review for the first oneGood, not great. Scary, but not scary enough. Hated the way he (she? Is carston a real name?) described the way the characters look. That always reminds me of like sixth grade creative writing assignments. It sounds like I'm bashing this whole book, but I'm really not!! It was decent. I'm glad I already have the next one checked out, I'm assuming they're more of a 'three books in one story' instead of standalones. At least I sincerely hope so.

Next was The Homecoming:  When two plane crashes set off a spellbinding chain reaction of murder, inadvertent kidnapping, corporate corruption and financial double-dealing, Niceville detective Nick Kavanaugh has to investigate. 
To add to his worries, he and his wife, Kate, have also just taken in brutally orphaned Rainey Teague. Something bothers Nick about Rainey - and it isn't just that the woman in charge of attendance at Rainey's school has suspiciously disappeared. In fact, people have long been disappearing from seemingly placid Niceville, including, most disturbingly, Kate's father.
Using his files, Kate and Nick start to unearth Niceville's blood-stained history, but something (or is it Nothing?) stands in their way ...
And my first thoughtsI could NOT put this book down!!!! It was so good. SO GOOD!!! I've even paid for the third one since my library doesn't have it- and I never pay for books!!! Plus there was a chapter called 'well, no matter what happens, there's always death' so this book just WINS.

Apparently I really enjoyed this one.  I gotta say, it was only like a month ago and I barely remember this excited feeling.  Take from that what you will.  

Then we've got the finale, The Reckoning. with its unmatching cover.  Ugh.  Apparently SK had a real man crush on this book, and I'm not sure why. Here's what he had to say: The Reckoning is brilliantly written and hypnotically readable. I’m amazed by the sheer energy and scope of the thing. It crosses genre boundaries with perfect confidence, jumping the crevasses that swallow lesser writers. . . . In my mind, Niceville has earned a place with some of the great destinations in the Land of Make Believe, like Middle Earth, Narnia, and Arkham.”

Um, no.  Niceville is not even on the same playing field as Narnia.  NOT EVEN CLOSE. 

Anyway. Back of the bookNiceville has an almost unearthly beauty when the sun tops the ancient nearby mountain called Tallulah’s Wall and bathes it in soft Southern light. But there’s a reason Native American tribes avoided the place:  An absence that inhabits the air and the depthless “sink” atop Tallulah’s Wall. This “Nothing” has long bent time and the desires of a chosen few to her shadowy ends.
As THE RECKONING begins, Detective Nick Kavanaugh and his wife, family lawyer Kate, have accepted that reality in Niceville is not normal.  Seemingly, they’ve fought Nothing to a draw. But now a buzzing emerges in the heads of some perfectly normal folks. Nothing isn’t finished. 
Come to Niceville and sink into Carsten Stroud’s inimitable blend of crime and supernatural thriller, as characters you’ll love throw in with bad guys you’ll like way more than you should as they battle evil.

My review:  More than a little disappointed in the ending. This was the most well written of the three and I loves every word, but the ending fell flat. I'm not against ambiguous endings and I loved the way Gone Girl wrapped up, but this felt sort of cheap and just unsatisfying. And while I didn't mind rooting for Danziger and even Coker (how did Stroud manage THAT?!) I never grew to like Deloris. At all. And I woulda drowned Rainey in the bathtub.

So there you go.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend these books, but they're decently written and enjoyable, so...there you go.

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with the book review prompt.



  1. nice review, I'm with you--books in a series should have matching covers.

  2. Huh. I LIVE in the real NICEVILLE! Never heard of this author. (He apparently lives in Destin, across the Bay from Niceville. Nothing so mysterious as the synopsis's suggest. The biggest excitement in the local police blotter is usually people having stuff stolen from their cars they left unlocked, reports of email scams occasionally and a lady finding underwear stuffed in her mailbox several days in a row she called the Sheriff about. Exciting. I have NEVER heard ANYONE use that expression about anything going into "Crater Sink." We've never had a sink hole. Glad to know the story telling is on the "meh" side. Since I live here, it probably wouldn't suspend my sense of reality.

  3. Well now you know who not to take book advice from anymore. ;) Kidding, they do seem spooky though!