book and television commentary

Last week I read most of Lisa Scottoline's book Devil's Corner. I took nearly 5 days to bother with the last 3 chapters but finally did finish the book last night. I've read 3 other books by Scottoline and have found her to be a decent writer. This book doesn't merit that designation though. I was quite disappointed with it and don't recommend it. Most of the reviews I've seen of the book on the web are positive, so if you like her as an author--feel free to give it a shot but don't say I didn't warn you!

Okay. This is a stand alone book by Scottoline though it still takes place in Philidelphia like her other books. The protagonist is Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA as it's referred to constantly in the book) Vicki Allegretti and she's an overly earnest and emotional caricature. Seriously, this struck me many times as a book written by a man since the depiction of Vicki Allegretti was so often just sketchy and 2-Dimensional.

Here's the gist of the book, Allegretti and her partner walk into an execution of one of their CIs (confidential informants) and her partner is killed as a result. His death motivates Allegretti to piss off her parents, risk being fired repeatedly by defying her boss on many occasions, her coworkers, and her "new partners" one who is actually the woman that Alligretti was trying to prosecute at the start of the book and the other is a guy that she works with. In this book Scottoline wants you to believe that a junior level lawyer would be doing field work that even the cops were reluctant to do and that she'd be partnered with a woman that initially wanted to kill her (don't ask!) and also had no credentials to be doing field work.

I have no problem with a certain level of suspension of disbelief when reading a novel but Scottoline goes a little too far with this book for me. At least a dozen times I tossed the book aside thinking "no fuckin' way" when one character or another did something really asinine. Hell, at one point Allegretti buttonholes a guy and keeps telling him that she's going to turn him in and doesn't seem to realize at all that this might make him desperate and do something rash. Jeeze--hard to believe thaat she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law (Allegretti that is, not Scottoline who went to University of Pennsylvania for her law degree).

On to television...! Now I've seen 3 episodes of Men in Trees and have only liked the second one. I'll still watch a few more since it's not really bad but I don't think this show is going to deliver much. Studio 60 on Sunset Strip, on the other hand, seems to be building well. I liked both episodes so far quite a bit. I'm glad to see that the second show built on the promise of the debut show--I think that this might be another show like West Wing where the writing quality holds throughout the entire season.

Another show that I've seen two episodes of, and liked, is The Class. I don't recommend it for most people though. The jokes are obvious--just your standard sit-com stuff and there's few if any surprises. But I still like it. Go figure. Give it a try if you like the tired old sit-coms of the 70s. This is pretty much the same type of thing.


kenju said…
Thanks for the visit - but what typo?
Teresa said…
Last week, I said to someone that I'll probably have to give up Men in Trees if Anne Heche doesn't stop taking her clothes off... and true to the format she took them off again for the last episode. I don't know if I'll give up on it yet, but I should! However, I can't help thinking that the show would be better without her character in it. Just quirky small town life would be fine.

I haven't seen the 2nd episode of Studio 60 yet. I'll probably see it in the morning...

I agree about The Class. It's acceptible. I don't like the forced feeling of the soap-opera-like cliffhangers though. The closest to a favorite character is the nerdy guy who ran over the girl at the end of the first episode, but get the feeling I'm supposed to be liking someone else.

I watched an episode of a new show this morning called Runaway and spent the whole show trying to figure out where I'd seen the daughter before. Now that I know, I'll have to rewatch that one again to decide if it's worth a second try. I hate when I get distracted like that!

Tonight is the premiere of Gilmore Girls (followed by a reairing of Runaway)... something to look forward to! :-)
No_Newz said…
This time of year on your blog is one of my favorites. You spare me the trouble of trying out the new shows. Thanks! Can't wait for the fall pictures to start rolling in. We got our first frost a couple of days ago, so the changes should be coming soon. :)
NAncy said…
No new TV for me. We are just finishing the first season of LOST! LOL! I am always behind. But, I love to watch TV on DVD. We can zip thru 3 or 4 episodes in one night. ANd, no commercials!

I do like some of Scottoline's books. I will probably pick it up if I see it at the library.
utenzi said…
That's funny, Nancy. I just finished watching a bunch of Lost episodes from last season that I'd not seen yet. 9 of them, in fact. Now I'm all set for the new season of Lost.

Teresa, I never even noticed that Heche was taking off her clothes. She's not a type that interests me so I don't notice that stuff. I think she plays her character well so I don't mind her on the show.

I've not seen Runaway and I'll never see Gilmore Girls...
srp said…
Hello. Here all on my own today.

Saw the Gilmore Girls last night. It was OK, but predictable. It must be hard to have to memorize sooooooo much dialogue that goes on and on and on and never really says anything. Sometimes this show just puts my nerves on edge. Makes me want to walk up to them, slap their faces and say "Get on with it!"
tiff said…
You should check out hyperion's latest blog post - he's got a whole slew of things he's recommending, much along the lines of your faves.
Michelle said…
None of those shows are on here as yet. However we do have a new one starting next week called The Unit, looks quite interesting, a police type drama with the original president Palmer from 24.
rennratt said…
I highly recommend

Dead Like Me (Sci Fi, Tues, 7 pm)

NCIS (CBS, Tues, 8 pm)

House (Fox, Tues, 8 pm) TAPE

Eureka (Sci Fi, Tues, 9 pm)

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