2 IN THE HAT by Raffi Yessayan

Book Quote:

“Show me your hands!” Alves commanded, ducking behind another tree. He was less than ten yards away now. He put the light on the perp again.

In the artificial cone of yellow light, Alves saw that the figure was wearing a tuxedo.

Stepping from behind the tree, Alves made his way forward. The man stood unnaturally rigid. Not even a flinch as Alves stepped over brush and dry leaves to reach him. The man was ocean frank, like the girl. The scene was familiar. Nothing he had seen himself. But he had heard enough from his old sergeant Wayne Mooney to know what he had just found.

Book Review:

Review by Chuck Barksdale (JUN 12, 2010)

Raffi Yessayan’s second book, 2 in the Hat, is a somewhat disappointing, but still enjoyable sequel to his first book 8 in the Box. This book takes place 3 years after 8 in the Box and includes many of the same characters with continuing emphasis on Assistant District Attorney Connie Darget and police detectives Angel Alves and Wayne Mooney.

Detective Alves’ daughter accidently finds a dead girl in the playground where she and other members of the Mitey Mites football team that her father coaches are running a last lap after practice. Alves quickly runs to the scene and finds not only the dead girl but a dead man posed in a way that is similar to an old unsolved Prom Night Killer case his former sergeant Wayne Mooney told him about from ten years ago. Because of his prior experience, Mooney is reinstated to the homicide division to work with Alves to see if the Prom Night killer has returned or if this is the work of a copycat killer.

While Mooney and Alves are tied up on the Prom Night killer, Detective Ray Figgs is looking into neighborhood killings that appear to be gang related. Figgs has struggled in his job lately being more interested in drinking than solving murders, but something about these cases is keeping him sober enough to make him return to his former form.

Assistant District Connie Darget is always around to help the detectives with both cases and decides to look into the past Prom Night killings and provide his thoughts about the killer to the detectives. Detective Alves finds Darget more of a pain than a help as he ignores his ideas. Alves also becomes distracted by the three year old Blood Bath Killer case. He begins to think that maybe Mitch Beaulieu who they thought was the killer, and who had committed suicide before anyone could talk to him, may not have been the Blood Bath killer as he begins to suspect someone else who worked closely with Mitch Beaulieu.

The tension builds throughout the book as the detectives all work to find the killers while the killers work to keep the detectives from finding them. Yessayan includes a few twists along the way to keep the suspense building.

As in the first book, Yessayan uses a mix of third person perspectives to show the thoughts of Connie Darget, the homicide police detectives as well as a serial killer that keeps the police busy looking for clues. Of course, that is part of the problem I had with this book as much of the story seems familiar from the first book and not just because the characters are the same. Detective Alves is still having difficulty balancing work with family as he chases clues to a serial killer, Detective Sergeant Mooney keeps the pressure on Alves to work the case instead of going home to his family, Connie is still an attorney usually working to his own benefit and, of course, a serial killer is on the loose.

I’m not sure if reading the first book is beneficial or not to reading this book. Although Yessayan provides enough detail about the characters and back story that this book can be read as a standalone, he does keep some things from the reader that would be known if the first book had been read. However, I’m thinking that knowledge was not necessarily a good thing as some of the suspense that builds in the first book and again in the second book for a new reader was not as suspenseful to me since I knew something about a key character that was not provided to readers of only the second book. This may be another reason I was somewhat disappointed with this book.

Yessayan follows the same style as in his first book having many chapters (109 total) with each chapter in the perspective of one of the main characters. No doubt, James Patterson is one of the people who influenced his writing style. I actually enjoy this short chapter approach especially if I just have a few minutes to read a chapter. The change in perspective is done effectively as I never was confused about which character was the focus of that chapter.

One thing that is missing from this book that I enjoyed in the first book is more on the legal aspects and the lives and cases of the assistant district attorneys. This book is much more of a police procedural / serial killer suspense book and less of a legal thriller novel. With Yessayan’s own experience as a Boston district attorney, he was certainly able to bring much to these parts of the book and with less about legal issues and lawyers, he’s writing in areas that I’m sure he is familiar, but likely lacks the same in-depth experience that makes the story more realistic. Hopefully, he’ll bring more of his legal experiences to his future books and leave the serial killer novels to others.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 37 readers
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (April 13, 2010)
REVIEWER: Chuck Barksdale
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Raffi Yessayan
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

8 in the Box


June 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: NE & New York, Sleuths Series

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