Once a Crooked Man by David McCallum
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
As Jethro Gibbs might say, "Don't quit your day job, Duck."
I probably wouldn't have picked up this book at all if not for the fact that its author stars on one of my favorite TV shows. Reading it, I found it to be a fairly enjoyable read, with the same sort of mix of crime and humor that I've come to expect from James Patterson, particularly in his NYPD Red series. However, this book was also strongly impacted, negatively, by its meandering storytelling. The central mystery kept taking a backseat to a bunch of flashback sequences, many of which involve teenage or young-adult love. They seem more than a bit nostalgic, and I'm not faulting McCallum for that, but the way they enter the story feels more than a bit shoehorned in. It gets extremely distracting after a while because it keeps grinding the story to a halt like in "Kill Ari, Part II" when Gerald couldn't operate the stick shift on Ducky's old Morgan. ("Good God, man, use the clutch!")
For further NCIS-inspired reading, I think I'd rather look at a Castle-style defictionalization of McGee's - sorry, Thom E. Gemcity's L.J. Tibbs adventures.
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