CSI: New York

Author: Stuart M. Kaminsky
Pocket Books
RRP: 6.99, US $7.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4165 1107 6
ISBN-10: 1 4165 1107 5
Available 04 June 2007

Days and nights of heavy spring rain threaten to cripple New York City. Neighbourhoods are experiencing periodic blackouts. People have been reported electrocuted by fallen power lines. Flooding of some subway lines has stopped trains in their tracks. And in the midst of the deluge, the CSI team has three cases to solve: a series of grisly murders in which the victims all seem to have an unusual connection; the puzzling death of a teacher on the upper west side and the suspicious collapse of an entire building - which puts one of the team in deadly danger...

Deluge is the latest CSI: NY novel written by Suart M. Kaminsky. Although, fans of the TV show will be forgiven for not actually recognising this as a CSI tale at all - the forensic element is kept to a bare minimum. There's also no attempt to have the characters interact together as a team in the lab - in fact there are no lab scenes at all in this book.

Kaminsky splits up the characters into three different units and sets them off investigating their own crimes:

Mac Taylor and Don Flack are on the trail of the perpetrator of a string of grisly murders with one thing in common: initials carved into the victims' bodies. When an unusual connection is found between the victims' lives, Mac realises the killer is trying to send a message... quite literally.

Lindsay Monroe and Danny Messer investigate the death of a teacher in an exclusive Manhattan private school. The victim seems like everyone's favourite teacher on the surface - but they soon uncover a darker secret lurking beneath.

Stella Bonsaera and Sheldon Hawkes are on-site at a suspicious building collapse when shifting rubble traps Hawkes in a deep pit with a mysterious stranger. Tensions rise as their oxygen starts to run out.

The back drop to Deluge is a New York that has seen an usually high amount of rainfall in a short period of time - six straight days of heavy spring rain threaten to cripple New York. But, while this is mentioned in passing every now and then, it's never really focussed on as a problem for the investigators. Any one who has watched the show will realise that the worst thing for a forensics examiner is a crime committed outside in the rain. Sadly the writer fails to use this in his crimes at all - either as a hindrance to the investigators, or as a convenient help to the killer's crimes. As almost every crime is committed out of the rain, I was a little unsure why we kept getting reminders that the weather was bad.

I had only managed to get a dozen or so pages into the book when I started to get disoriented. The narrative flips backwards and forwards between locations and events way to quickly. And there are too many new people being introduced that don't really add that much to the narrative. A perfect example of this is The Hat - a homeless man who is introduced in the closing chapters of the book. His addition seemed forced - as though someone was trying to fill space. Nowhere is this space filling more obvious thank in the closing chapter, which flicks between several of the characters and tries to give each one a bit of closure

Another thing that confused me was why the blurb on the back cover of this book used American spellings. This is UK edition of the American book, and while I appreciate that the cost of reprinting all the pages for a UK audience was probably not cost effective, I couldn't understand why the back cover hadn't been altered. After all this cover was designed for a UK market only - the ISBN and fact that the price is in sterling reflect this.

For those with the attention span of a goldfish, this will be a welcome addition to your library. For everyone else, the chopping and changing may be too much to stand. It's almost as though the writer is trying to cover up a crime of his own - that he's not particularly comfortable with the characters and is trying his hardest to distract fans of the show from his unfamiliarity with it all.

Pete Boomer

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