The Third Rail

Monday, April 19, 2010

Title: The Third Rail
Author: Michael Harvey
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Release Date: April 20, 2010
Pages: 304

The Third Rail is the 3rd in the Michael Kelly series but was the first one I read. Michael Kelly is a private investigator who unwittingly finds himself connected to a serial killing spree as he waits for the L train in Chicago one morning. As the killer progresses with his plans, however, Michael Kelly learns his connection wasn't as accidental as it may have originally seemed. In fact, utilizing some old friends as resources, Michael astutely pieces together the facets of the crime that match up with a significant incident from his own childhood. He then sets out to learn more about how it's all connected so he can prevent any more from being murdered.

I enjoyed this book, but there were aspects I liked and some I didn't. The main narration was by Michael Kelly and was in first person; there were parts that were narrated by the killer, and these were in third person and worked well to give the two narrators different voices. I had a little trouble connecting with the characters, though, and it took me a while to find Michael Kelly very likeable. I attributed this to the fact that this was the third book in the series and assume that by this point I may have been expected to know the characters a little better. (I do plan on reading from the beginning though, so I'll update you on that). Another interesting aspect to this book was the type of mystery it was. I saw it more of a regular mystery than a thriller. The beginning starts immediately with action, but it simmered out into more of a mystery story. This wasn't a negative thing, just not what I had expected.

The author, Michael Harvey, impressed me with the adept manner in which he brought everything together in the end. I was skeptical when the character, Michael Kelly, first started surmising as to his connections to the current crime. But as the story progressed more and more was revealed that solidified the earlier theories that initially seemed shady, at best. The ending of the mystery surprised me both for who the killer was and why. And then it didn't actually end there as I thought, because there was even more to the story. In a way, this book had two separate mysteries that sort of crossed paths; though different, the first mystery led to the second.

And lastly, I enjoyed the author's descriptions of the city of Chicago. I've never actually been there (will be soon!) so I don't know how accurate the portrayals in my head were from the descriptions, but I thought he did a good job with this.

I will also be checking out the first two in this series, The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor, (which I already bought, so stay tuned!)


Juju at Tales of said...

Great review.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

There are just so many mystery authors I can't keep up! Great review!

Zibilee said...

These types of books normally aren't my thing, but you make a very persuasive argument for this one. I will have to look for it the next time I am at the library! Thanks!

Miel Abeille said...

I recently saw "The Third Rail" somewhere and was curious about it. Now your review has me a little more interested, but I admit I also don't like starting a series anywhere but from the beginning.

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds like an series I want to try; I'll look for it at the library Thanks for the great review. said...

Sounds interesting. I like mysteries.

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