Oct 16, 2012

Naked Cruelty

Naked Cruelty: A Carmine Delmonico Novel by Colleen McCullough

Description: Carmine Delmonico returns in another riveting page-turner by international bestselling author Colleen McCullough.
America in 1968 is in turmoil and the leafy Holloman suburb of Carew is being silently terrorized by a series of vicious and systematic rapes. When finally one victim finds the courage to speak out and go to the police, the rapist escalates to murder. For Captain Carmine Delmonico, it seems to be a case with no clues. And it comes as the Holloman Police Department is troubled: a lieutenant is out of his depth, a sergeant is out of control, and into this mix comes the beautiful, ruthlessly ambitious new trainee, Helen MacIntosh, daughter of the influential president of Chubb University.
As the killer makes his plans, Carmine and his team must use every resource at their disposal—including a highly motivated neighborhood watch, the Gentlemen Walkers.

This is the third novel staring Carmine Delmonico, Captain at Holloman Police Department. I didn't read the first two. When I picked this book up (for $4.99, off the bargain table at my local mall book store) I had a feeling that there were previous books but it wasn't super clear. I had no idea how many came before it until I started writing this review. I rightly assumed that it didn't matter - almost always when a book says it's an [insert name here] novel, it's just a bunch of books that that happen to star the same character. A few times while reading I thought, hmm, I'm sure that would make more sense if I'd read the other book(s)...but never during important plot points.

First and foremost I want to talk about the rape scenes. They were incredibly graphic and started as soon as the book did. If that's not the sort of thing you want to read, this is not the book for you. The graphic-ness of it came as a shock to me - generally you have some sort of warning about these things, even if it's just an inkling. I guess I'm used to police books having everyone show up after the fact, when everything is kind of glazed over and fuzzy. You get that something horrible has happened, but you aren't hit in the face with it. This book hits you in the face. You've been warned.

So, this book has a lot going on. That's another way it was different from most police investigation books I've read (and tv shows, and movies). Generally speaking, you usually have your one crime and it's the only thing (more or less) that the police unit in question is dealing with. Totally unrealistic but not something that's ever bothered me. Anyway, in this book you've got a sadistic rapist turned murder, you have someone vandalizing a glass shop, a bank robbery, a weapons cache found at a school and a kidnapping. And that's just the crime. There's also a bunch of personal and professional issues happening both within the police department and in Carmine's home. Even with all of that going on, it was still pretty easy to follow. I had really hoped that some - if not all - of the sub-crimes would be entirely unrelated to the big case (the rapes/murders). Sadly, all but one were connected together in one way or another, although some of the connections were tenuous at best. It wasn't exactly all wrapped up in a neat little box with a ribbon and a bow, but everything fit in there more or less. I was disappointed, but it was ok.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Pretty Good Boarding On Just Ok. I guess what kept me from really liking the book is that I didn't really like any of the characters. I also didn't hate them. They were just kind of there. That's a problem. But there was always something happening making it never boring. Would I read another Carmine Delmonico book? Probably not, but I wouldn't say never.


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