The Big Exit by David Carnoy

October 16, 2013

carnoy Plot summary (from the publisher): The Big Exit is a suspenseful thrill ride through the high stakes world of Silicon Valley start-ups. Fresh out of prison, Richie Forman tries to settle back into his life in the Bay Area. By day, he works at a law firm dedicated to freeing innocent men from prison. By night, he makes a living impersonating Frank Sinatra. But then his ex-best friend is found hacked to death in his garage, and Richie becomes the prime suspect. In a murder mystery with the intricacies of a microchip, David Carnoy weaves his characters like a master.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • The pacing in this book was pretty good. Even though I wasn’t completely engaged with the story every step of the way, I never felt bored because the action just kept moving right along.
  • The tech blogger was the most interesting character for me. He was a selfish jerk, sure, but he still somehow felt like the most sincere one of the bunch.
  • The lawyer giving Richie a McGregor baseball glove at the end was funny. Nice touch!

Disliked:

  • The Frank Sinatra stuff was just so random and dumb. Go ahead and mention it a few times to make your character “quirky” and “unique” or whatever, but don’t keep bringing it up every 10 pages — especially when it has zero relevance to proving the guy’s guilt or innocence.
  • None of the main characters (Richie, Beth, the lawyer) were fun or likable. I didn’t identify with or care about what happened to any of them.
  • The narrative structure was a bit confusing. Because the story was told through an omniscient narrator and kept switching focus among the main characters, some of the action overlapped. For example, a cop would hear about a disturbance somewhere and get a call for backup and an ambulance. Then the next part will flip backwards to the location of the disturbance and narrate the events leading up to the call to the cop or the arrival of the ambulance. It was hard to get used to the author’s writing style.
  • The big “twist” — that McGregor had faked his death by killing an accomplice and faking dental/fingerprint records — wasn’t very original, nor was his motivation. Does it always have to be money or a big jewelry collection that compels people to commit these crimes? Can’t people be forced into action by something else? At any rate, I was expecting a better payoff than this.

Rating:

This was my first introduction to David Carnoy, and while I wasn’t overly impressed by the crime or characters, I found the novel as a whole to be passably entertaining. I probably won’t actively seek out more books from this writer, but if I happen to come across one at the library, I’d be willing to give it a try. As for The Big Exit, it’s an average book for the genre and thus gets an average rating from me: 3 stars out of 5.

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