An Honest Man by Michael Koryta

An Honest ManAn Honest Man by Michael Koryta
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book started rather normally for a murder mystery, introducing Israel, the main character, a convicted murderer in Maine now out on parole; he’s also serving as an informant or source for Jenn Salazar, a state police agent, but we are not clued in as to what she is investigating or how he’s helping. We meet his uncle, a corrupt local cop who hates him. It all went downhill from there. Israel finds a yacht floating with seven dead bodies in it, including rival U.S. Senate candidates. (Eye roll) I only made it halfway through, but if a book hasn’t garnered my attention by then, I rarely see fit to spend further time on it. The characters became both cliched and unbelievable. Israel is a trite overused unreliable narrator although he is supposedly the honest man of the title. Salazar seems out of her depth and on some sort of a vendetta. Worse of all, though, Israel’s father (the one he murdered years earlier) and his uncle are unspeakably evil and equally ridiculous, almost comic book villains. There is another character, Lyman, introduced early, who hides from his equally cruel, abusive father and is confronted by a hatchet-wielding girl. Apparently no one in the state of Maine is a decent human being. Halfway through the book we still don’t know how Lyman and all these characters relate to each other. I’m retired law enforcement and nothing in the police actions (or non-action) made sense. The murders were on a boat in navigable waters and the victims were candidates for national office; the FBI would have swarmed all over this case and pushed all the locals aside including Salazar and the uncle, but they’re nowhere to be seen. I got bored and found the subject matter borderline offensive so I stopped reading.

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