The Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James detective series by Deborah Crombie became a go-to for me when my favorite British detective series, Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury, petered out. I found Crombie’s writing similar to Grimes, but with a fresher, modern style. Crombie’s development of the Kincaid and James characters has always been nicely handled, with just the right amount of mystery, suspense, and spice, and the crime stories have been clever and well-plotted. So, you may presume that I have looked forward to the release of Garden of Lamentations for awhile.
Unfortunately, my expectations seem to have been misplaced. While the story ties up loose ends from previous books, I was surprised and disappointed to find Kincaid and James some how less. Less in tune with each other, less trusting, less smart. I spent a good deal of time shaking my head at some of Kincaid’s actions. I was especially frustrated with how he seemed to forget that James is his partner in every sense of the word. Sure, he thought he was protecting her, but come on, she’s totally kick ass! She doesn’t need protecting. You’re supposed to be partners, man!
I will say that the back story to the Angus Craig/Ryan Marsh arc from the previous book was tied up nicely, and the parallel story of Reagan Keating was clever…exactly what I’ve come to expect from Crombie. It really was the sudden-stone-in-road with Kincaid and James that made me like this book less than others in the series. Kincaid’s behavior just did not make sense.
This is one I may have to go back and read again later, just to see if my first reaction was really to the story, or my state of mind when reading it. Sometimes, it’s not good to anticipate too much. If you’re a Crombie fan, definitely read this and tell me what you think. Am I off?