Continually disappointing, The Lies of Locke Lamora is mafia fantasy written in nearly unreadable “prose” that proves anybody can be a writer these days. Set in a carnaval city trying so hard not be fantasy Venice but actually is, Lies is the story of a thief and the adventures he and his crew have ripping off the wealthy and the subsequent trouble they get into with organized crime. It can also be summed up as follows: take the plot line of The Godfather, remove the sincerity and emotion, add the comedy-drama styling of Lethal Weapon, and voila, The Lies of Locke Lamora!
This formula leads to some pretty nauseating dialogue. Apart from lacking depth, it sounds like middle school boys making potty jokes when their parents are not around. I have no problem with bad language, but it should sound natural, like a drunk in a bar, not someone learning how to curse watching dubbed Chinese action movies. More disappointing is the lack of intelligent plotting. Throughout Lies we are told of the main character’s wits and cleverness. But nary is there a moment he displays such talents. Readers will be frustrated to the last page waiting for the other shoe to drop—for Lynch to spring that ultimate twist that satisfies all of the build-up. But it never happens. That ship sails, followed any chance of the book being taken seriously.
If you want cheesy dialogue, random violence, clichéd plot devices, and a completely unbuckled prosaic shoe slapping in the mud, by all means invest the money. But if you require more than a 13 year old Johnny burping the alphabet to interest you, look elsewhere. The glowing reviews are the result of the book’s strong mainstream appeal, and you know what that means... (For proof, see back cover copy comparisons to Oceans Eleven.)