American Spy: Lauren Wilkinson

Another debut novel.

There is a good book buried in here. Somewhere.

I couldn’t find it. However, you might.

I couldn’t get through and past the bizarre 1st person narrative voice, variously addressed to one of her twin sons — it’s not often clear which, and she repeatedly, confusingly, keeps referring to people through their relationship to her sons when we aren’t clear what those are — who aren’t even present for most of the novel.

The time jumps are confusing.

I guessed the plot just halfway through.

As I said, I couldn’t find enough good to outweigh all that.

You might.

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A Wanted Man: Lee Child

Short, declarative sentences. Sharp, snappy dialogue. A flexible moral compass. Just get the job done. It must be Jack Reacher. From the bestseller lists, a very “wanted man.”

One caveat: Child’s novels are all so very clearly delineated in terms of story arc, character and style that it wasn’t until Chapter Six that I wasn’t entirely sure I hadn’t read this one before.

Invasion of Privacy: Christopher Reich

meh

There is nothing egregiously “bad” about this book; it’s just that there’s nothing “good. Everything here is pedestrian, the author choosing the first readily available cultural and social tropes that come to mind.

If this were an audio book, it’d come with the blurb, “Now available in stereo(type).

So…meh…

Make Me: Lee Child

Child’s “Reacher” novels follow a very specific but successful and entertaining template. Occasionally, he does get some ‘facts’ very wrong, which makes you doubt the veracity of the truth given on other subjects you’re not aware of.

Then, there’s the “Chekhov’s Gun” unnecessary additions, which in this novel is Reacher’s concussion, which plays into both points one and two made here.

Still a good read.

The Expats: Chris Pavone

Mm, mm, good! A spy thriller in the best tradition of Le Carre and Steinhauer. The tension and plot is almost entirely psychological, with multiple layers of deceit and lying among the characters. There is very little violence and weapons appear only rarely, but the pace and tension crackles.