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5.0 out of 5 stars An invocation to Laurie R. King
The fourth book in the Kate Martinelli series, "Night Work" is a suspenseful, dark, briliantly written mystery. The story centers around a series of murders with only one apparent connection-the victims are all perpetrators of violence against women. However, like "A Grave Talent," the story is far more dense and complex than it seems.
This was the last book I read...
Published on May 13 2003 by ktgirl1

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3.0 out of 5 stars Night Work
King's work in the Martinelli series certainly sits on the above-average end of the scale in comparison to the vast majority of other works available in this genre. Thankfully it does have a reasonable plot that does have a little more substance than that which one usually finds. What I did find disappointing however was the representation of some of the characters. It...
Published on April 29 2002 by Jennifer A Randle


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2.0 out of 5 stars not really a mystery; not really a character study, July 28 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I found the book quite unsatisfying for two reasons: First, the guilty party is revealed within a few pages of the start,so there is no mystery. This means the reason to read on is either to learn more about the the characters, or about the modus operandi of the killer. It is the authors obligation to provide one or the other. Here we learn neither, despite perservering through some lukewarm action, and some dreadful social interactions. For example, how on earth are these victims lured to their death. Failing to provide this information means the author is not confined by any rules of logic, and in so doing cheats the reader. Second, the dialogue is flat and forced. Do we really neat to create a lesbian relationship that suffers from the same irresponsible cliche behavior attributed to male detectives? I don t think this is a step forward. All in all, I ended the book feeling incredibly ripped off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An invocation to Laurie R. King, May 13 2003
By 
"ktgirl1" (Hamburg, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
The fourth book in the Kate Martinelli series, "Night Work" is a suspenseful, dark, briliantly written mystery. The story centers around a series of murders with only one apparent connection-the victims are all perpetrators of violence against women. However, like "A Grave Talent," the story is far more dense and complex than it seems.
This was the last book I read for a Women's Studies class entitled Murder Mysteries, and the second by Laurie King. The class focused on gender and violence, and I think this book was a fitting end to the class because it focuses on crimes that are specifically gendered, namely rape and wife battering. The book poses a number of hard questions for those of us readers who consider ourselves opposed to violence. First, when, if ever, is violence acceptable? What kind of violence? Perpetrated by whom, and for what reasons? Violence against women is clearly unacceptable, but is violence against those who are violent acceptable? I am 100% opposed to capital punishment and other forms of violence, but I found myself unwittingly tolerating, and almost agreeing with, the vigilante type murders of violent men who escaped the criminal justice system. When I realized this, I was shocked at myself.
I found the use of Kali and indeed the idea of Kali herself fascinating. First, King's use of Kali creates a somewhat mystical, mysteriouis atmosphere to the book, which I found very effective. From reading the Introduction, in which Kali is described, we know that she must have something to do with the novel, but we are not sure what, until the very end of the book. King keeps us guessing, with a quote from "The Invocation to Kali" at the beginning of every chapter. We know that there must be some connection between Kali and the murders, but we are never sure exactly what it is. I was captivated by this book because I wanted to know the truth about the murders, and what Kali had to do with it all. I had a hard time putting the book down, fascinated by this aspect of it.
This book had a profound effect on me. At one point, Kate reluctantly realizes that there is an energy force present in all of us-a force of both destruction and creation. Perhaps that explains why I did not disagree with the violence in this book. Though, once revealed, the symbolism of Kali seems somewhat heavy-handed, it made me question myself, and the nature of violence overall.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another thought-provoking Kate Martinelli, March 3 2003
By 
Laurie Fletcher "Laurie Fletcher" (Casper, Wyoming, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
After a few dozen pages of this book, I realized that I had read it before or at least had started it in some bookstore. I certainly couldn't remember how it ended so the journey was not impaired. Much of Laurie King's work can be characterized in a feminist vein, but none so much as this book. And in Laurie King's hands, feminism is a not-always-pretty, but always-present element in the lives of the women who populate this pages. This had a powerful effect on me. I found myself cringing at things I should have been applauding and completely taken in because of my own personal stereotyping. This was not a comfortable read (so many of Laurie King's books are not) but it was a good and necessary journey. As with some of Thomas Perry's books, we find ourselves understanding the motivations of people who do things we absolutely cannot condone. Having said all that, it is good to be back in the same orbit with Kate Martinelli and Al Hawkin and their assorted cast of friends and lovers.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a page turner, Jan. 3 2003
By 
R. H Porter (indianapolis, indiana USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
It took me several months to read this book. Everytime I was ready to throw in the towel on this book, something interesting would happen. The ending did not even move me. This book peaked my curiousity more than it held my interest. The premise was good, however it did not really follow through. I like murder mysteries that have conflict and confrontation.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Night Work, April 29 2002
By 
This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
King's work in the Martinelli series certainly sits on the above-average end of the scale in comparison to the vast majority of other works available in this genre. Thankfully it does have a reasonable plot that does have a little more substance than that which one usually finds. What I did find disappointing however was the representation of some of the characters. It is always interesting to see characters who are depicted as having a point of view on various issues, however, I found it a little tedious when these character traits crossed the line and came to resemble little more than soap-box speeches. A little more effort in character development and presentation may have overcome this. As it was, the opinions put forth on behalf of the characters began to be predictable and 'preachy'. A lot could have been done with the examination of the issues presented in this book, unfortunately King seems to have missed this grand opportunity, opting instead for the 'easy-out' of re/presenting easily-digestible and non-confronting images and ideas. Pity.
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1.0 out of 5 stars What a Waste of [price], Jan. 17 2002
By 
Kathryn Johnson "Katatonia" (Renton, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first and last experience of this author. I disliked the book so much I found myself getting irritated at the characters and the poor writing. King seems obsessed with Kate and her whole lesbian cop thing and instead of referring to her partner, Lee, as just that, she insists on calling her a "lover". Please. The other central characters, especially "Roz" are not particularly good. It seems that we are meant to admire her or something. In actual fact she comes across as someone you would want to leave in a corner to discuss her (...) issues with herself. If you met her in public, you certainly would not wish to spend any time with her. The plot went on and on and on then all in the space of a couple of chapters everything was fantastically solved. What a (...) attempt at a book. I hated this and wished I'd not wasted my money. The back cover sounds exciting but it seriously overrates the contents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective, Nov. 18 2001
By 
Linda Overholt "mystery fan" (Fullerton, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read all of the previous Kate Martinelli stories, and I particularly enjoyed this one. I think it was the unconventional feminist response to harm visited on other women that most appealed to me. I understood the use of the Hindu goddess Kali as the justification for the violence, but all the talk of blood, slaughter and gore kind of put me off. I would have liked to attend the play described in the book, and I thought that the description of the Indian family and its treatment of the bride was particularly good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too much correctness marrs Kate's return, Oct. 19 2001
By 
Carol Peterson Hennekens (Colorado Springs, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
It's been a long wait for the next episode in the Kate Martinelli series. On the whole, Night Work was worth the wait though it is far from perfect (or even the wonder of "A Grave Talent").
After the vague mystery of "With Child", it is refreshing to return to the police procedural foundation and a healthy dose of Kate's police partner, Al. I also got a kick out of the early crimes of the Ladies of Perpetual Disgruntalment. The core of the murders reads well between the pure evidence and the abusive history of victims. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of the marriage traditions of India when set in the US. The writing is good - if lacking a bit in the editing.
What didn't work for me in the book was the overwhelming sense of political correctness. I'm fine with the lesbian relationships but King got both preachy and redundant in this story. Likewise, this isn't the first time that she's explored religious themes. However, at times this book reads more like a piece of feminist religious propaganda trapped in a mystery. Sure, some of it figures into the plot but about 20% of the book seemed pretty irrelevant to either solving the crimes or growing the key characters. Likewise, the ending is pretty abrupt without clearly exploring the motivations of the killers (and not very many clues leading up to their identification).
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a series that is critical to read in order. This is the forth book in the series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The writing is still great..., July 27 2001
By 
Susan Shedd (South Woodbury, VT USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
but the research -- or lack of it -- hurts the book terribly! One of the reasons I'm a great admirer of King's is that she usually has fascinating intellectual themes, meticulously researched and beautifully woven into the plot. There is one such strand in this book: the scary information about present-day bride burning. Unfortunately, King seems to have assumed she already knew the answer to the perenially frustrating "Why do women stay?" question, but she doesn't. Indeed, the author seems as fogged as Kate about this, so that the issue lacks the insight and compassion King usually brings to her stories. The irony is that, if she'd done her work and read any one of the basic books on this topic, she'd have found a wealth of *really* terrifying information that would have snapped her plot into shape in no time. She'd have had a sharp focus for the relationship of bride burning to other forms of violence in the home, the violence against women that is such a strong theme in the Old Testament, and, ultimately, a better grounding for a good cop's belief that we can't afford to tolerate any form of vigilantism, even when it's sadistically funny.
I really enjoy delving into Old Testament interpretation, but this, too, was hampered by King's inability to line it up with her plot twists...and she was so close! Try reading Diamant's "The Red Tent" and you will see the richness and connections King missed with this.
I found the relationships among the characters compelling enough to keep me glued to the book, even when my mind was groaning at the cliched response to battering, so I don't think King's writing has lost any of its punch (so to speak). I'm hoping the next Martinelli will involve topics King knows she has to investigate thoroughly so that this series will get back to its usual standard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Complex, interesting but more a thriller than a mystery, May 13 2001
This review is from: Night Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I started to read Laurie King because I loved Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich but had run out of titles - a friend recommended her as another author I would like - and I think I do but this is the first of her books I have read and I don't think it was a good place to start.
The Kate Martinelli mysterys - of which this is one, seem to be very personal and there is a lot of history in them which would, I think, make more sense, if I had started with the first book in the series - which I think is called "A Grave Talent.". Either way all the crimes Martinelli is involved in seem to directly affect her, her partner or her friends.
So back to the story - Kate Martinelli is called in to investigate what seems to be the work of a serial killer. A man is found hand-cuffed, strangled and dumped - soon two other bodies appear. The only link seems to be that they have been involved with abusing women in some way (rape, murder, wife-beating). There are suspicions that this might be another step in the work of a women's vigilante group the 'Ladies' who have been humiliating these sort of men in the past - are they now murdering them?
It is certainly hard to find any sympathy with the victims of these crimes and Martinelli and her partner Al Hawkins are troubled by this - its an interesting dilemma in itself - but made far more personal when Kate meets two of the victims, a young husband suspected of a crime of murdering his wife, and a convicted child-molester who survives an attempt on his life.
As I said in the beginning, this seems more of a thriller than a mystery - perhaps because I am not used to mysteries I didn't feel that it would be easy to figure out given the clues available although there were plenty of suspects. I did enjoy King's writing, she has a nice easy style and the story really flows along.
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Night Work
Night Work by Laurie R. King (Mass Market Paperback - Nov. 28 2000)
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