Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The INSANE TRAIN by Sheldon Russell ***

This 'mystery' is written in the past (like mid 1900s?) it seems but the author is never specific about what time frame. There aren't many descriptions, a few of some characters but none about locations, towns, houses, or rooms or the train. Have no idea what the train car looked like or how the insane were located in each car. Were beds involved? Were there just seats? Curtains, windows? Food service? Other people aside from the travelers? Who cooked the meals?

Hook (protag) works for a railroad and for some odd reason unrelated to his normal job needs to accompany a bunch of loonies to another location on a train. No idea how many days passed, what day of week, time of day it was. Meanwhile people were being selectively murdered in various methods (unlike other serial killers) and at the end not many motives were explained for each one. Just the murderer had nothing better to do I guess? She was retaliating for the murder of a family member and didn't believe in an insanity verdict. Meanwhile somewhere in the story she states "These are NOT criminals, they are insane" when they were deemed by a jury or judge to be CRIMINALLY INSANE. So....yeah they are criminals... DUH. Or not? Confusing?

Phrases that are bizarre besides almost every character using stupid "GODDDANG":
"I have business to take care of blahblah so I might be out of pocket for a few days."
"I'm not much of a catch for a woman. Some say I'm too quick to drop the hat."
"The railroad isn't happy about putting rip-track up in no hotel."
"And tell Frenchy to lay up when his trick's over."
"Should have packed those journals in the yard."
These stupid phrases are distracting and WTF do they mean and do I care? NOPE.

Wasn't very enjoyable reading for me. I didn't like the stupid phrases, the bizarre off the wall murders without explaining each one, how, why, when, how'd Miss Murderer get it done. Wasn't much of a murder mystery for me. More like hobo-dirty under-the-bridge roughnecks breaking the law with regularity but turn out to be make believe good guys. I wouldn't think ANY of them 'good' in any sense of the term but maybe writer does? Even lead character is an asshole as well as his miserable loose running killer dog. It's readable but puzzling.

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