September 2, 2009
Review: He Who Sings Last by Lisa Laird DiRosso
He Who Sings Last is Lisa Laird DiRosso's debut novel and the plotline in general is a winner. A washed up singer, a pathologically jealous younger brother, a fan who has been obsessed for two decades and a hardnosed detective who has been chasing a killer for more than 20 years. This foursome is literary gold from this reader's perspective.
However, Ms. Laird DiRosso added a plethora of other characters that, in my opinion, were generally unnecessary and distracted from the overall story. At times I felt a bit confused by the changing cast. And leading into perhaps my biggest criticism of the book . . . other than the lead detective and perhaps Jimmy Covelli, I felt the characters had not been adequately fleshed out. Without giving away too much of the plot, I would have liked to have further insight into Jimmy Covelli's background and his fractured relationship with his brother. I would also have appreciated a bit slower pace and more character development between the obsessive fan and another character early in the story.
Fortunately, such attention was paid to the character of John Vintoni, the tenacious detective who has been anxious to solve a homicide for years. I believe Vintoni to be the best part of the book - - a likable, relatable character you can empathize with and someone you want to succeed and get his man or woman.
The ending of He Who Sings Last will charm some and put off others. It clearly seems as though at least some of the characters will be returning. Here's hoping that John Vintoni will become a staple in Ms. Laird-DiRosso's future writings.
He Who Sings Last is available at major booksellers now, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.