Can you have too much of a good thing?

I’ve got two books on the go at the moment and coincidentally am experiencing the same problem with both: they’re too long although neither is a bad book.

I’m about half way through Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer which runs to 12 CDs (just over 14 hours). It follows the plight of Mickey Haller, a 40-something defence lawyer in Los Angeles. There’s a big case where Mickey is defending a rich person who’s been accused  of assaulting a woman and there are a lot of other cases along the way. I’m quite engaged by Mickey and the big case has just gotten to a crucial point which I am very curious to see resolved. But, and it’s a big but, the thing is dragging like a wet weekend. I can’t believe the amount of detail included (long descriptions of meals eaten and every item of clothing someone is wearing etc).

I’m about a third of the way through the print version of Stephen Booth’s Blood on the Tongue. This one weighs in at 632 pages. The third in a series featuring DC Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry who operate in England’s Peak District. A Canadian woman wants the local war-time crash of her grandfather’s plane to be re-investigated 57 years after the incident occurred and an unidentified man has been found in the snow. Both cases are at least mildly interesting and Ben Cooper is a character who has the potential to be someone I would like. But, and again it’s a big but, this one is dragging even more slowly. I’m at page 184 and I’d only need the fingers of one hand to count the important plot developments. But I can tell you what everyone’s wearing and describe in some detail the shops in the high street of the local town.

It’s not a length issue precisely, I recently listened to Child 44 which was also 14+hours long and I loved it so much I’d have been happy for it to go on longer. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both the Stieg Larsson books that have been translated to English so far and they were nearly as long as Booth’s. It’s more an issue of the lack of a red pen during the editing process.

Normally I don’t have a problem stopping a book if I’m not enjoying it but in both these cases I’m quite interested in the stories.

I’m just not sure I’m interested enough to slog through the minutiae both have incorporated, especially with so many titles giving me come hither looks from my TBR shelves.


This entry was posted in Michael Connelly, progress report, random thoughts, rant or rave, Stephen Booth. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Can you have too much of a good thing?

  1. Kerrie says:

    Perhaps the Lincoln Lawyer is what THE MIND OF A GENIUS, David Snowdon ( was modelled on!
    I did read The Lincoln Lawyer back in 2006 and gave it 4.5

    Perhaps both authors are trying to give you value for money 🙂


  2. Dorte H says:

    Stephen Booth has admitted that he thinks Blood on the Tongue is too long. I really enjoyed it though. If the characters are interesting and something just happens now and then, I rarely stop reading a thick book.


  3. bernadetteinoz says:

    I’m definitely going to finish the Connelly, the Booth I’m not so sure.


  4. Maxine says:

    Perhaps it is to do with listening rather than eyeballing? I never find Michael Connellys too slow, I race through them – including Lincoln Lawyer (denouement slightly weak but loved it otherwise). Stephen Booth I agree – I enjoyed the first three or so, but have now stopped reading them because I find them terminally slow, not just in plot but also in not advancing the personal relationships. Sophie Hannah is getting like that for me – I found the last Charlie Zalier book dragged – there was plenty going on but it all seemed to be going round in circles, particularly for the regular characters. I agree that you can’t tell a lot from the length of a book, though — some short books seem very slow, other tomes seem to race by — sorry that is not a very helpful observation!


  5. Beth F says:

    I did The Lincoln Lawyer on audio and really liked it. So sorry to hear it’s not working as well for you.


  6. Pingback: Review: Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth « Reactions to Reading

  7. kathy durkin says:

    When I’m bored with too much description or detail, I speedread, just skim pages and turn them quickly. Sometimes I skip paragraphs which I’ll do if scenes are too violent or just way too much detail and I don’t care about it.


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