Copyright: 2000 Robert Crais
Blurb: Extract: “John Michael Fowles has a natural talent: he understands explosives. He has a feel for them. It is a talent which he fully expects will take him onto the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Along the way he will match himself against the best – the FBI’s elite team of bomb technicians and one person in particular – Carol Starkey, Detective in the LAPD Criminal Conspiracy Section. She is a woman who died for two minutes and forty seconds after being blown up by one of his bombs, and Fowles dearly wants her dead again…”
Plot: I find the blurb tells us more and more about the plot. As the title suggests explosives are a key part to this story, the second half of the blurb gives you the main outline. “As the FBI attempt to find the link behind a series of bomb explosions that have been designed to kill their technicians, Special Agent Ben Williams stumbles on the bomber’s secret: his desire to kill Starkey. If Williams can keep this from Starkey he can set a trap and catch the bomber. A trap that uses Carol Starkey as bait”
I forgave the US grammar and the aforementioned overuse of reference to brands and settled in quickly to a story that gripped, had some unpredictable twists (which nowadays is rare) and kept me wanting more. I’m pleased to say this one restored my faith in why Mr Crais can is indeed write a bestseller.
Characters: First of all, I’ll thank Robert for creating a female lead, who isn’t a blonde busty woman on the look out for love. He has created a flawed and to be honest not that likeable lead. Hurrah! She’s smelly, lacks empathy, she’s selfish and driven and I found my self rooting for her from the outset.
“Starkey inhaled half an inch of cigarette, then flicked ash on the floor, not bothering with the ashtray. She did that every time she was annoyed with being here, which was always”
“Starkey woke the next morning on the couch, her body clenched into a fist. Her neck was stiff, and her mouth tasted as if it were lined with sheep’s wool seat covers. It was four-twenty in the morning. She had gotten two hours’ sleep”
Admittedly I probably wouldn’t like the woman much if I met her.
Conclusion: One thing the author got wrong was a need to constantly refer to brand names for things like ant-acid tablets or breath mints. They don’t always translate, so every time she popped a pill, I was reminded this was a novel presumably aimed at the US market. Note to self when writing I’ll use a generic term so as not to annoy my reader. Anyway, is this one of my best books this year, maybe not quite however you know one of those books you constantly want to read ‘just one more chapter’ before you go to sleep, well here is one of those fiction books.
Recommended: It had technical detail that seemed well researched and accurate and both characters and plot that worked well and had me convinced.
So Robert, I liked the reference to other characters from your other work, it involves the reader. I’ll even forgive you the love interest, you did it well and it didn’t dominate a great plot. Well done, great read. Highly recommended book!
Have you read any other books by Robert Crais, if so, did you enjoy them? Please feedback to me in the comments or via Twitter or Facebook how you got on.
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