I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about Riot Most Uncouth by Daniel Friedman. While I enjoyed the novel and perhaps simply had too high of expectations, I had hoped for a pragmatic conclusion.
The main character, Lord Bryon, is arrogant, odd, and narcissistic; making it difficult to feel connected to the story as it begins. Since taking a detective fiction literature class in college, sleuth stories have always been my favorite. Perhaps my natural affinity for a good, classic mystery created unrealistically high expectations, but I had certainly hoped for more. Fairly far into the storyline, (I’ll avoid spoilers by intentionally speaking in very vague terms) the plot takes a drastic and unexpected turn away from conventional detective story characteristics to more of a new age fantasy feel. I could see bits of this being foreshadowed and spent the rest of the novel hoping the author wouldn’t take the story in the direction it continued to follow.
Putting my disappointments with the solution to the mystery aside, this is clearly a marvelously written piece of literature. Although I didn’t really care for the main character and I could see a less than ideal ending coming down the road, I found that I still couldn’t put the book down and finished it in just a few days. The word choice is spectacular and I found myself really enjoying Daniel Friedman’s overall writing style. I do plan on reading Friedman’s first novel Don’t Ever Get Old in the near future. I just hope it follows more realistic elements of classic mysteries.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.