I had never read anything by Mike Nappa when I picked up The Raven, the second in the Coffey & Hill series. The concept of classic literature and crime drama piqued my interest, for I both love literature and enjoy a good whodunnit. I was diving in on the second in a series, which always poses problems, but I was hoping that it wouldn’t impede my enjoyment of the novel.
As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun–until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants,” The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named “Nevermore.”
Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.
I was glad that while some readers may be familiar with the main characters, namely Trudi Coffey and her ex-husband Samuel Hill, Nappa did a good enough job of introducing the characters and their intricate back story that it wasn’t necessary to have read the first novel in order to understand the second.
Coffey and Hill proved to be interesting characters, likeable, root-for-able (very important in my book), complex. Their back story, as revealed slowly throughout the novel engaged my curiosity and interest more than the main plot. Speaking of which, this is where I found the book lacking.
While the characters were interesting, varied and colorful, the plot was extremely slow. Half way through the book I bemoaned that “nothing had happened yet”. While that might be a slight stretch, it was mostly accurate. The book really didn’t pick up until three quarters of the way through. At that, while at least it started moving, it still wasn’t engrossing for me. In all honesty, the very end of the book — the epilogue — caught my interest and attention more than any other piece of the story. While the characters were nice, it was only the promise of intrigue there that makes me want to pick up the next novel in the series.
The setting was largely forgettable for me, and the plot unlikely with a tenuous (at best) link to the classic poem. The characters were the redeeming quality. The Raven is a slow read, but well enough written. If you have the time, it isn’t a bad read, but it isn’t the best either.
I received a complimentary copy of The Raven from Revell Books, but I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All writing, thoughts, and opinions are solely mine.
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