RogerBW's Blog

Hardware, Linda Barnes 11 March 2022

1995 mystery, sixth in the Carlotta Carlyle series (neo-noir private investigation). She may not have a client, but when shenanigans affect the cab company she drives for part-time, Carlotta can't help but get involved.

I'm trying to work out why this book left me relatively cold. The stuff that's worked in previous books is largely still here: nobody can be trusted, Carlotta's relationships (of all sorts) are a mess, solving the case is less important than doing the right thing. But… is it going through the motions? The Big Subject that Barnes has read up on this time is computers and the world of online information services, as they stood in the mid 1990s, but while what's here is good and matches my recollections it never seems to become particularly important to the plot.

I think perhaps it's that, given some of what goes on here, I felt that there should be much bigger changes to the long-term situation than merely what actually happens (which isn't trivial, but even so). Maybe a coda of some sort?

It's… it's OK. It's not bad. It just feels a bit like marking time. Don't start here, not because you'll miss things, but because you're unlikely to feel much enthusiasm for reading the earlier better books (and, I hope, later better ones).

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