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Book review: <i>Eureka</i> by William Diehl

Eureka: where the California dream turns to deadly nightmare...

Pah-leeze. Who’s he trying to kid? More like Eureka: dull, plodding, took too long to get into the plot and when it did it was a bit of a let down... And the early 1900’s both-world-wars ambience didn’t really do much to improve matters in this trite and utterly standard saga replete with the wild west, whorehouses, and whodunit shoot’em mystery. I realise the man is famed for Primal Fear, but I think that is more famous thanks to Edward Norton than William Diehl’s writing skill, and Eureka didn’t even have the obligatory gore to keep the reader mildly interested.

The content

Eureka begins in 1945, with Zeke Bannon, the main detective, hospitalised with war wounds. His partner, Ski Agassi, comes to see him and drops of the “Eureka” file to keep him occupied during his recuperation. Then, the story begins... Culhane grew up rough, was adopted by wealth, and the left Eureka to fight in the first world war. On his return, he vowed to bring law and order to the streets, and, after the murder of the old sheriff, stepped in to clean up. Meanwhile, back in 1941, Bannon and Agassi are called to the death scene of a woman with no past and a lot of money. It looks like a suicide, but dig a little deeper and the trail keeps leading back to Culhane, who is running for governor now and doesn’t like strangers. Bannon is getting deeper and deeper in, and a lot of people seem to want him out of Eureka. Or out of the picture for good...

Okay. I almost stopped reading this book, and I haven’t done that for a while. It took ages to get to the substance of the story, and then when I did I just didn’t care. The characters had a minimum of personality and were complete stereotypes, with all their beliefs and actions and everything else not described in a manner that is essentially human or well developed (like so many of the good books I’ve been reading lately). Anybody could write the hard sheriff, the law man, the crook, and the madam like that. There was nothing unique in the characters or their actions, and the story just limped along until the almost predictable conclusion arrived and revelations were made that didn’t interest me. All in all, disappointing. It’s been a few years since I read Primal Fear, but I don’t remember it being that bad. I’d like to say something positive, but I can’t think of anything. Sorry.

Who is this book for?

People with LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO READ. Or with appallingly bad taste. Take your pick! Not recommended.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Something better, I hope? In this instance, I would even recommend James Patterson. At least he keeps you mildly interested. Or Tami Hoag. Who is even better than that, if not very textbook and not so original. I don’t want to freak you out by recommending anything too good...

In short

Title: Eureka
Author: William Diehl
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 0099439980
Year published: 1997
Pages: 504
Genre(s): Airport novel, Crime fiction, Family Saga, Historical fiction
Review Type: