As much as I really enjoyed Every Last Drop, and there is a lot to like, I can’t help but being just a little disappointed.
The biggest reason resides more on a personal reading level. Maybe unfairly, maybe not I readily admit that I brought certain expectations to the table before I even started reading Every last Drop. The end of Half the Blood of Brooklyn felt like a penultimate moment; the battle lines were being drawn and finalized, story arcs were forced closed with a suddenness that caught the reader (and Joe) off guard and, perhaps most importantly, a declaration of war. I’ll be the first to admit that some of these failings may be mine alone but I really felt that the end of Half the Blood of Brooklyn had us perched on the edge of a precipice and I was looking forward to the glorious slide.
I’m still convinced that the slide will come but Every Last Drop feels like it’s ultimately just treading water. I’d even go so far as to say that the possibility exists that elements of Half the Blood of Brooklyn might have worked better as a book four with other elements of Every Last Drop working better as book three.
Adding to the treading water feel is that the beginning of Every Last Drop, where Joe Pitt is stranded in the Bronx, is stutter step at best before he spends the rest of the novel bouncing back and forth like a pinball hitting all of the major players and setting up the final book. The story doesn’t really start until Joe meets with Terry and Predo, then Huston is back on comfortable territory and the book really takes off. And I want to be clear about this, it may be the weakest book in the series, but that doesn’t mean it’s a weak book, just, for me, a little out of place for a series book. I’m actually looking forward to a re-read of the book after a little time has passed, to look at it with fresh eyes and without any baggage.
Something bugged me while reading the Bronx section, something that struck me as odd, and it took me until later in the book to realize what it was. Based on Joe’s knowledge of the underground from his time spent with Joseph at the end of Half the Blood of Brooklyn, Joe should have the full chess board mobility of a queen instead of being stuck in one place like the king. I was waiting for him to have this light bulb moment and it just never happened. There is a certain amount of power that comes in not having to abide by the other clan’s boundaries and as far as the story has it established Joe is only one of two characters with that knowledge. I hope this is an element that gets used somehow in the final book and doesn’t hang as a loose end. One of the weaknesses of the series (and I may be proven wrong eventually) is that secondary characters get introduced then forgotten about.
Once Pitt is back on familiar territory the story really takes off and starts playing to some of Huston’s strengths, right now, as a writer; dialog that is sharper then anyone else’s and action scenes that give your fingers paper cuts from turning the pages too fast.
The bottom line is that Charlie Huston isn’t admiring pulp and reacting to it he just IS pulp.