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White Sister (2006)

White Sister (2006)

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3.78 of 5 Votes: 4
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0312347316 (ISBN13: 9780312347314)
st. martin's press

About book White Sister (2006)

WHITE SISTER by Stephen J. Cannell…..Cannell doesn’t write literary fiction. But then again, neither do I. What he does, and does best, is produce pure Hollywood pulp. WHITE SISTER was copyrighted in 2006 with a contemporary setting. But it could just as easily been a hardboiled story from the 1930s. Simply change the rap industry for period music and he’d be in business. Why any of his Shane Scully mysteries have not become TV movies or mini-series is a difficult concept for me to accept. These were written for adaptation for the screen and this is the kind of stuff the paying public wants. It’s what Cannell knows how to do and he does it well. This convoluted plot depicting perhaps the most complex homicide investigation I’ve ever seen took us from Scully’s police officer wife being the prime suspect in the murder of an undercover police officer, to the victim of an attempted murder, to a tension-filled place that can’t be described for fear of spoiling the story for someone who reads this review. Alexa Scully’s allies in LAPD headquarters almost jump out 6th floor windows to avoid getting caught up in backing her when she needed support most. From experience, I can say this is pleasantly real when it comes to PD management. But Shane bucks the system to investigate the mess and clear his wife. He flaunts any and all directives coming from management, Internal Affairs, and even the District Attorney. Cannell portrays the hip-hop / rap industry as infested with thugs and killers. The titled character, Stacy Maluga a/k/a White Sister, is perhaps the worst of the lot. However, I would have liked to see more of her in real time. We hear about her, she’s spoken of in the periphery, and we get a few words from her, but for a character big enough to warrant a title, I think she should have gotten much more ink. In this story, nothing is what (or who) it seems. Characters that look like the death penalty would be too good for them, end up with entirely different personalities. The urgency of this story begins after the first chapter and doesn’t stop until the very end. Scully is in a race against time to clear the case, save lives, and make his previously tightly wrapped world livable again. Homeless street person, Jonathan Beaudine a/k/a Samik Mampuna, Crown Prince of Bassaland, is a great character with lots of importance beyond his outward appearance. Anyone who has ever met someone like him will see just how real this guy is. I must say that a few things were a bit transparent and that led to a little predictability. But in my opinion, that’s not such a bad thing. WHITE SISTER was thoroughly enjoyable, and if you consider that Hollywood keeps renewing things like Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. There’s no reason that this or another one of Cannell’s books shouldn’t be on TV. 3.75 starts.

This book was a lot of fun to read. Right off the bat, it's full of suspense, as Shane's wife, Alexa, goes missing. Scully has to try to find her while trying to solve a homicide, juggling a homeless guy he ran over and trying to keep from getting arrested himself. The way Cannell wrote these books would make it easy to believe he used to be a cop himself. His research was always so professional and complete. He covers everything very well.This was my favorite of the Scully series (so far). I think there are five or six left. And they may get better, as they have up to now. He delves into the crime-riddled underworld of gangsta rap as Scully takes on some of the biggest names in the industry, trying to defend his wife's honor. And the entire 340 pages was full of good old-fashioned suspense. Well done, Mr. Cannell.I'm torn between wanting to jump into the next installment of the Scully series, but at the same time wanting to put it off. I don't want to finish the series, knowing there won't be any more written. This one was especially poignant, as it was the first book I had signed by Mr. Cannell. (See my photos.)

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Shane gets a call to report to a homicide scene. Upon his arrival, he finds a dead undercover cop in Alexa's car, handcuffed with her cuffs. Her gun, the murder weapon, is found nearby. Alexa is nowhere to be found. Shane is frantic and starts looking for her, against orders from his boss. His investigation leads him into the hip-hop world of ganstas. A few days later, Shane has a message on his machine from Alexa, admitting to killing the UC cop, then he hears a gunshot. Alexa is found almost dead with a gunshot wound to the head. In a coma and dying, Shane and Cooch are beside themselves. Cooch stand vigilance at the hospital and Shane attempts to connect these hip-hop gangstas to the death of the UC and the shooting of Alexa, clearing her name.
—Ed Schmidt

Mr. Cannell was a creative and imaginative person. He successfully reinvented himself several times as he evolved in his remarkable career, including in his transformation to become a writer of novels. Most of which I have greatly enjoyed. His passing at a relatively young but Social Security eligible age nonetheless was a shame and a loss.Having expressed my admiration for his work (including all the way back to his TV days), my relative dislike of this book can be better understood. Whether he was rushed to complete it, or found himself having difficulty filling in an outline he originally liked, or developed a dislike for it midway or whatever, this book is simply not an example of his best writing. Too many scenes and story parts are very implausible, very much unlike Cannell's other Scully stories.

This was our first novel by Cannell, a long-time TV series creator and screen-writer (“Rockford Files” and many many others). “Sister” is the sixth (of eleven total) Shane Scully books, which represent about half of the author’s booklist. We might better have read the series in order, but happened upon this one and gave it a go. What awaited was a complex murder mystery set mostly in the “gangsta” rap scene of LA. Things heat up quickly when Shane, an LAPD Homicide Detective, and wife Alexa, an LAPD Lieutenant three levels of management above her husband, split up on their way home from a training, and she never shows up. That night, her car is discovered, with a dead undercover cop inside – all signs pointing to Alexa as the perp. Shane them embarks on his own search for his wife and the killers, much of his efforts totally against the law and against orders of his bosses to get out and stay out of the case (NOT!).Along the way, Shane accidentally hits a homeless man with his car, which added some humor to the story, as this crazy guy appears in odd moments throughout the story. Meanwhile, rappers and other industry moguls spin an engrossing tale of danger, and before its over, more killings occur as the suspense builds.We found Cannell’s writing skills to be fine; his moderately short chapters (about five pages or so) stirred a lot of action, and various elements of the story were quite entertaining. However, the gangster scene was very confusing, as was the rap culture/ghetto-speak, exacerbated by a lot of characters not easy to keep straight. Much of the story was totally implausible, and the Hollywood ending was more theatrical than likely – indeed, much of the book read like a screenplay. That said, we’re probably interested enough to read a couple more of the first entries in the set and see if this is an author we wish to devour, or merely adopt from time to time as a diversion.

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