When I started this series, not knowing it was a series at all, I read in this order: First read in the series was #4, then #5, then #1 and lastly, this book #2, Rumpelstiltskin. Therefore I was already familiar with attorney Matthew Hope and his personal situation, divorced with a lovely 13 year old daughter, dating but unattached.
When I entered Rumpelstiltskin on Goodreads, I noticed that my buddy Jim Thane had read it and had given it three stars. When I emailed him he said he couldn’t believe he gave it only three stars because the main character, Matthew Hope, was one of his favorites. Now I know now why Jim gave it only three stars, which was what I offered. And I just love ole Matthew Hope, too, in part because he's quick witted (funny) which I really enjoy in some characters. McBain draws all his characters clearly and seldom puts in so many characters that the reader loses track of who's who, which to me, is a good thing.
Ed McBain was born in New York City as Salvatore Albert Lombino and wrote under the pen names Evan Hunter, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, Dean Hudson, Richard Marsten, Ezra Hannon, and John Abbott. I have no idea why so many pen names. Under his pen name Ed McBain he created the 87th Precinct series (police procedural series) which has gotten mixed reviews from my GR friends.
However, Rumpelstiltskin was something entirely different and unexpected compared to the the three Matthew Hope books I had already read. In my opinion, it deserved nothing higher than three stars. So, Jim, you were spot on from where I stand.
All my friends know I am far from being a prude. I seldom, if ever, say anything negative, about sex scenes in books, their description, nothing. However, four and one-half pages (paperback thank goodness) devoted entirely to the reason why a woman would have head hair the color of red or russet and her pubic hair, blond, is simply a bit more than needed or necessary for the story. It was not pertinent in any way that I could see except to take up space. (May have to eat my words in the next in the series, and if so, I will.)
However, the real reason it got three stars from me is because of the ending. It was so contrived, like McBain wasn’t sure who the bad guy was and just banged out (in 1981, banged out on typewriter) some silly, nonsensical ending. So Jim, in my mind, you were not off in your three stars.
James L. Thane, a Goodreads author, should know a good book since he’s written a dynamite of a book, No Place to Die
, which I really enjoyed and happily gave four stars. Check it out...it was better than this book by a nationally published author.
My hope is the next Matthew Hope, Beauty and the Beast, makes up for these three stars.