Reading Grisham at this stage of his writing career is like going home to visit relatives at Thanksgiving for roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and roast potato dinner. You’ve sat down to eat it for the past 25 years just because that’s what everyone does, no matter if you even like or enjoy it.
This isn’t even really a novel; as Grisham himself states, it’s just a half-remembered, rumoured anecdote from the limited time he spent in public service. The entire middle section is entirely superfluous and we care nothing for the characters in a story that has no rising action, tension or climax.
It’s not a novel. It’s not even decently prepared roast beef.
Furst provides us a grim reminder of how even the commonest of people’s lives were upturned and capsized by the base, selfish actions of European despots as the events leading to WWII unfolded around their legs.
It should give us pause to remember how much of the world’s populace still lives such capricious lives today, and a stark reminder of how fragile the system put in place in the post-war West, one that provided peace and prosperity for close to 100 years, could just as quickly unravel, as today’s modern leaders once again put their personal selfish needs above the world’s.
I’ve decided to go back and re-read the initial offering in some of my favourite mystery/thrillers to see if what attracted me still does.
There is no denying the skill, but I’m currently in the mood for Downing and Furst’s “little man” style.
This one has the scaffolding of the long-running series, but is a bit off-footed in tone and writing, leaving huge holes in Intelligence operational details and the forward-story of the books to come.
What struck me most — negatively; it is jarringly disturbing — is how often cavalierly Silva puts his female characters into situations where they spit out, used and often killed simply to gain inches or points in “the game.” Worse, how willingly they are complicit in the abuse.
I can see how this would happen occasionally in real life, but it seems it is one of the most common, enduring scenarios in the entire series.