Monday, November 28, 2011

The Last Good Man

The Last Good ManThe Last Good Man by A.J. Kazinski

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

According to the Talmud, thirty-six righteous people exist on earth and if they all die, so does humanity. Now, people are dying all over the world with strange marks on their backs and it's up to a Danish policeman named Niels Bentzon to find out why. There have been thirty-four deaths already. Can Niels save the last two good men and save the world?

First off, I received this ARC from Scribner in exchange for reviewing it. This did not influence my opinion in the least. To be honest, The Last Good Man didn't have a whole lot going for it when I read the back cover blurb comparing it to The DaVinci Code and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a book I'll never read and one I'm skeptical of because of all the hype. Still, free is free, and I begrudgingly gave it a read. Despite my initial misgivings, I wound up liking The Last Good Man quite a bit.

The main characters are an interesting bunch. Niels Bentzon, the protagonist, is a hostage negotiator who's manic depressive, can't bring himself to shoot anyone, and is manic depressive. He's a far cry from the macho hero I was dreading in this outing. The female lead, Hannah Lund, is also atypical. She's a divorced astrophysicist with a dead son and difficulty relating to anyone who isn't a genius. Interested yet?

Here's something else to pique your curiosity. This book has so many twists that it could be called The Last Good Man and his One Hundred Red Herrings. Some of the twists are predictable, many are not. One thing that I loved was that Kazinski avoided a lot of the thriller cliches that I hate.

For a thriller, it's surprisingly deep. The nature of good and evil are explored, as well as the existence of God. I liked that the plot was rooted in Jewish texts. The way Hannah figured out how to predict where the final two victims would be was pretty cool. Also, loved the ending. Not what I expected at all when I first picked up the book.

That's about all I can say without blowing any surprises. The Last Good Man is a good thriller and good entertainment for a rainy evening.

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