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Lie Down with the Devil by Linda Barnes
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Lie Down with the Devil (2008)

by Linda Barnes

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Six-word review: Last Carlotta Carlyle mystery is forgettable.

Extended review:

An accidental reread. And that's not good.

I'm sorry to say so, but when I picked this off my bookshelf I thought I still had one to go in the series. Apart from penciled notes (mostly in nonfiction), I handle books so lightly that this one looked untouched. Forty or so pages in, I kept having fleeting feelings of deja vu. But it wasn't until the midpoint that I realized: hey, I read this whole thing before.

Sure enough, there it is in my reading journal, December 2012. I wasn't writing reviews of everything then, but even if I had been, I don't think I'd have predicted that I could draw such a complete blank on a recently read murder mystery with a favorite series character that I wouldn't even recognize it in less than 150 pages. Even once I got to the part about a political controversy on the Cape over Indian casinos and I finally caught on, I couldn't remember a thing about how it turns out, who did it or why, never mind how Carlotta's romantic situation was resolved.

I really enjoyed the early books in this 12-book series. The character of Carlotta Carlyle, private investigator and part-time cabbie, was engaging and original. Unlike most series detectives, she sounded like someone I'd like to have coffee with. Perennially homesick as I am, I loved following her around the so-familiar streets of Cambridge and Boston and even down the South Shore; every book felt like a virtual trip home for me. I also got a kick out of the people close to her, charming Sam, serious Mooney, loyal Gloria, and infinitely quirky Roz. But her adopted "little sister" Paolina went from annoying to tiresome to an incredibly obnoxious presence in the stories, and I couldn't even stand to finish the one in which she played a central role--the eleventh book, Heart of the World. (I even analyzed the reasons for this as an exercise for an editing class.) Did author Barnes run out of steam on her too? There hasn't been a new Carlyle mystery since Lie Down with the Devil came out in 2008. I'm getting the feeling that there aren't going to be more.

I'm recalling advice I read years ago when I was editing a newsletter for my chapter of a national organization: when you burn out on the job, you should be the first to know it and not the last.

So, because I wasn't going to get a new library book for another few days, I kept on reading. This time, though, I expected the outcome to fade from mind rapidly. Too bad. Linda Barnes has gone on to write some other things, and I've read and enjoyed one of them so far: The Perfect Ghost. As for Carlotta, I wish she could have ended at a high point. I did enjoy most of the ride, and I'll miss her. ( )
1 vote Meredy | Jun 16, 2015 |
I couldn't find the first book in the series recommended to me, A Trouble of Fools, so this book, the twelfth in the series, was my introduction to the Carlotta Carlyle series.

Lots has obviously happened in previous books, and Carlyle is working as a private investigator and is no longer with the Boston Police Department, although she's still friends with her old partner Mooney who heads Homicide. The story is mostly told by Carlyle first person, and I did find it jarring when in the Fourth Part it switches to third person from Mooney's point of view, only to switch back to Carlyle telling the story first person. Most books that do this kind of switch have a consistent pattern of switching back and forth so it feels more natural. I also felt Carlyle came across as far too naive about her fiance Sam and the significance of his association with organized crime, given she's none too young and a former cop.

Still, I liked this one, mostly I think because of the chemistry between Carlyle and Mooney and having spent three years in the Boston area, I enjoyed the setting. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Jan 28, 2011 |
Of all the female detective series on the market, Carlotta is my favorite. Barnes just doesn't crank them out like Kellerman and Grafton. ( )
  madamepince | Aug 13, 2010 |
I always forget how much I enjoy these mysteries with Carlotta Carlyle until I remember to read the next one. Awesome ( )
  Kace | Jan 30, 2010 |
Good. ( )
  daisygrl09 | Nov 21, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312332890, Hardcover)

Bestseller and multiple award–winning author Linda Barnes returns with the most personal case to date for her popular Boston PI, Carlotta Carlyle. Carlotta, in unfamiliar territory working on her own behalf, finds herself in the middle of a complicated case that has as much to do with the people she loves as the backstreets of Boston, and beyond.

For starters, Carlotta wants to know what her on-again, off-again boyfriend Sam Gianelli did to earn himself a secret indictment for murder that’s keeping him out of the country. A man with plenty of secrets, he won’t tell her anything, much less let her help, and she isn’t having any more luck with her old friends at the Boston PD. Sam’s exile could be connected to the mob—he is in the family—but she’s not buying it. It couldn’t be that simple. Nothing involving Sam ever is.

Faced with nothing but dead ends, Carlotta goes back to basics and takes a case for a nervous bride-to-be who wants to make sure her fiancé is being faithful. Simple enough, but when her client turns up dead, Carlotta catches the kind of break she wished she hadn’t.

While nothing is as it seems in Lie Down with the Devil, one thing is clear: Readers know that when they’re reading Linda Barnes, they’re in the hands of a maestro.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Faced with nothing but dead ends in her boyfriend Sam Gianelli's secret indictment for murder, Boston P.I. Carlotta Carlyle goes back to basics and takes a case for a nervous bride-to-be who wants to make sure her fianc is being faithful. Simple enough, but when her client turns up dead, Carlotta catches the kind of break she wished she hadn't--From publisher description.… (more)

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