The Viking Funeral: A Shane Scully Novel Hardcover – Jan 11 2002
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Stephen J. Cannell has taken to heart Raymond Chandler's remark about writing crime fiction. "When in doubt," Chandler advised, "have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand." There are so many bullets flying in The Viking Funeral that readers might be forgiven for missing this author's subtler efforts to fill out the dimensions of his series protagonist, LAPD Detective Shane Scully, introduced in 2001's The Tin Collectors.
Nobody believes Scully when he says he's just seen Jody Dean (his boyhood buddy and former colleague, who supposedly committed suicide two years before) speeding down a freeway. So the detective sets out to prove that Dean is alive, only to fall in with a crew of undercover cops who've slipped their leash and are now running a convoluted money-laundering scheme that ties U.S. tobacco shipments to South American drug barons.
Cannell, the creator of TV series such as The Rockford Filesand Wiseguy, certainly knows how to choreograph an action scene. But his dialogue is occasionally stilted, and The Viking Funeralloses some narrative steam during a lengthy tour of tropical hideouts. The story is at its best in illuminating the deceptive friendship between the emotionally scarred Scully and the arrogant Dean. Fans of The Tin Collectorsshouldn't be disappointed. --J. Kingston Pierce
From Publishers Weekly
Readers willing to check their disbelief at the door will enjoy this latest over-the-top thriller by Cannell (The Tin Collectors). It's been three years since LAPD cop Shane Scully's best friend and fellow cop Jody Dean blew his brains out so what does it mean when Shane spots Jody driving in the next lane on the freeway? Shane's lover, Alexa Hamilton, herself a star in the LAPD, is skeptical of the sighting partly because Shane is undergoing psychiatric treatment until they find her boss dead in a faked suicide with a strange tattoo on his ankle. The tattoo is the symbol used by the Vikings, a group of brutal rogue cops in Jody's unit who were kicked off the force. A two-way radio at Sheperd's home leads Shane to Jody's hiding place, and it turns out he's involved in a lot more than just a rogue gang. Shane stumbles into a huge money-laundering conspiracy involving the cops, Colombian drug cartels and Big Tobacco. But in order to win Jody's trust and save his own life, Shane must betray Alexa. The action intensifies as the rogues, with Shane along with them undercover, face peril trying to keep ahead of murderous drug lords while the bodies pile up. Solid plotting with nail-biting suspense and multiple surprises keep the reader guessing and sweating right up to the cinematic ending. As the creator of such TV series as The Rockford Files and The A Team, Cannell has a knack for character and a bent for drama that will satisfy even the most jaded thrill lover. 10-city author tour.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Or, as Tony Filosiani, the ex-NYPD top cop picked up by the founding fathers to lead LA out of its incredible slump might say, 'You ain't gonna find Tolstoy in the rack at the drugstore. Ba-Da-Bing, Ba-Da-Bang.' Truer words and all that.
It begins with an old Alfred Hitchcock premise, doomed rebellious (read 'still believing') police officer sees best friend but dead best friend in a random LA traffic snarl. And he must do what doomed rebellious police officers must do. Dig. Scratch. Keep looking.
All of Shane Scully's friends, and by the telling of this story they are are few in number, tell him to stop. But Shane can't. And I think we're suppose to feel that this time, Shane will lose what few remaining chances he has to become, well, happy. But Shane can't.
He seeks to restore his best friend's death to comprehensible logic (always a herculean task in television) and this leads to dishonest cops, the always present "other" informant on the inside, the Columbian cartel, drugs, silly Amazon women, and all the usual suspects.
It's television. Visceral. Visual. Unfulfilling but pleasant in a superficial manner. If I had a feeling of distate, it was not over the repetitive torture or sex scenes, it was with Cannell's flirtation with racial and gender profiling. By now I find tedious that all Italians are overweight and talk like extras in Goodfellows, all African American men have rippling muscles, women are always calmed down by life altering sex (unless they're bad women and then they are evil and satanic), and that all South Americans have beady, black eyes. As Tony would say, 'wazupwitdat?Read more ›
Stephen Cannellï¿½s bang, bomb, pow writing style is made even more action packed by his use of short, six to ten page, chapters.
Cannell is at his best when he takes you into the dark, dangerous ï¿½otherï¿½ world of the L.A. police.
'Viking Funeral' starts with a bang, boom, zing and stays that way as long as the story stays in Los Angeles. But the writing loses momentum, and feels disjointed, in the second half of the book. In the second half the cop hunting cops goes down bumpy, dirt roads in Venezuela and Colombia. Somewhere down in South America the story gets lost and bogged down. In an attempt to keep the story moving forward Cannell introduces the character of ex-Colonel Santander Cortez, an Aryan, Argentinean sadist. But the gruesome torture scenes (the ex-colonel peals strips of human flesh from his live, agonizing captives) takes you nowhere. Finally, a rescue and escape back to L.A. Yea.
Without giving anything away, the ending is both predictable and sappy; reading like an old Hollywood script where the good guy rides off into the sunset with his true love.
That said, this still is a worthwhile airport, pool or beach read. It keeps you engaged enough to be a decent diversion, but not enough where you would miss your flight or the not see the kids in the pool.
One day while driving on the freeway, Shane notices his best friend and fellow cop driving nearby. The only problem is that his friend died three years ago by suicide. Already in trouble with his superiors, Shane knows that reopening this case based on a fleeting glance is dangerous, but he can't let things lie.
This premise, while not completely original, is at least executed well. In fact, the first half of this novel is pretty exciting. Unfortunately, the second half gets muddled with its complex plot involving the parallel market and the various shady characters involved in this market. In addition, Cannell recycles some ideas from his first novel, The Plan, which also deals with childhood friends who wind up being on opposing sides.
The balance of good first half and bad second half is roughly equal, meriting this book an even three stars. If you enjoy Cannell's other works, you should continue with this one, but otherwise, you might want to go elsewhere.
I never pretended Mr. Cannel to be a philosopher, but he is repeating himself from previous books using the same old tricks:
-Spanish language bashing (which I particularly detest). ALL the sentences (supposedly from Spanish-speaking people) have misspellings, and all reference to the language is immersed in a derogatory context, always. Is there any Freudian reason you despise Spanish so much, Mr. Cannel?
-The sociopath-introspection deal (you already used that one in the Plan, Mr. Cannel).
-People who drive here, drive there, drive, drive, drive and then drive a little more. OK, California is sprawled, but when so much of the novel is an enumeration of streets, driveways and boulevards we have a plot-vacuum problem.
-The characters are simply not believable, let alone verisimilar. Drop Chooch and Scully, please.
-One good thing: in this novel Mr. Cannel didn't portrait a man and a woman that unexplainably copulate by the middle of the plot. Now they do it all along and customarily.
Should I continue? I hope this book achieves the success it deserves.
Most recent customer reviews
I have to disagree with the other reviewers; I enjoyed every page of this nail-biter. Cannell's unique writing style really brings the reader into the action. Read morePublished on May 1 2004 by Kosoku
The storyline in this book is better than its predecessor ("The Tin Collectors"), the concept is amazing (if a bit complicated), the writing is better than average... Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2004 by Skvoznyak
The concept of the book is interesting, and the writing is at times compelling. But taken on the whole, the book merits a so-so rating. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2004 by D. Dobson
I keep a database of books that I have read over the past few years, and I have to say that out of 360+ books, 'The Viking Funeral' is the absolute worst. Read morePublished on Dec 10 2002
All the time I was reading this book, I couldn't help but wonder who would win the starring roles?
Cannell's story of cops gone bad is a wild ride that hooks you on the first... Read more
Stephen Cannell may have provided the story line for The Viking Funeral, but he should read his book and think about taking it off the market. It's bad writing from page 1. Read morePublished on June 18 2002 by Eleanor R Hanes
I am not a writer, so I do not provide a review based on my ability to write. Stephen Cannell is an accomplished screen writer. I think that's what defines this book. Read morePublished on May 28 2002 by J. Cook
Well, this one seems to be a bit messy and farfetched. We should put the whole LAPD and its scandles behind as they are so boringly bothering us daily on the tv and newspapers. Read morePublished on March 19 2002 by justareader