This book is about XOs, “extraordinaries.” Too bad the book isn’t. The authors’ own superpower is to takea cliched, tire-worn mediocre novel, chop it up, stick it in a blender, and then dump it on the pages.
It is almost like s/he storyboarded the book like a movie, putting each scene on mah jongg tiles, putting it in a felt bag, shaking it up, then dumping it on a table so that the scenes are all jumbled and confusing. It really made no sense to me until near the end.
When you’ve been as prolific and acclaimed as Silva has been, it’s almost inevitable that sooner or later you’ll start to get sloppy, to slip. As Yeats said, “Things falls apart, the centre cannot hold.”
For me, it shows in the absence of tightness in the writing. The middle of the book is still highly crafted, but the beginning and end sees dense block of exposition, meaning too much telling, not enough showing, as I believe judicious dialogue provides.
Worse, it is too similar in plot to Silva’s previous offerings. Change a few names and details and you’d be hard-pressed to differentiate it from several of his most recent novels.
Not Silva’s best, but still very good. Your mileage may vary.
I ended up reading this one when I was looking for the Joe Pike series on my e-reader and wound up with Joe Pickett instead. Some thoughts:
— it’s quicker to read than a Wyoming spring snowstorm
— it has more loose ends than a well-used, hand-made, Elk Hair Caddis trout fly made by an eleven-year-old boy with ADD
— there are so many plot holes that you’d be hard pressed to use it to net a twelve-inch Cut Throat trout without it falling through
— I’d suggest waiting for the movie, but I suspect this one would go straight to audio (not even HBO).
I should have been patient and found the Joe Pike.