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12 January 2013

Brad Thor: Black List

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The book description says that this is "An intense, page-turning novel that is action-packed and frighteningly real". I wonder if I read the same book which was a slow-moving, ponderous, boring tale about an unbelievable conspiracy. I enjoyed previous books by this author but with this one he really seems to have gone off the boil in an attempt to write something different.

I am not a conspiracy theorist and in this world of fast social interaction it is difficult to envisage mega computer-driven conspiracies that can take over control of government and the people.

Scott Harvarth is still the focal action hero but he is not the hero I remember. There is one part of the book where Thor takes about 2 pages to reflect on Scott's revulsion for using a knife instead of a gun.

Thor revisits Nicholas, a dwarf, guarded by 2 giant Caucasian Ovcharka dogs. Nicholas (nicknamed The Troll) was a baddie who traded information to the highest bidder, including notorious international criminals. This time Nicholas has mellowed to become a trusted friend helping to unravel the computer driven conspiracy.

Sometimes I thought that I was reading a different book to the one praised by so many reviewers. But as the book dragged on (it should have been half the length) and the conspiracy became more nonsensical, and the action so slow I had to drive myself to finish the book. The flying finale in the epilogue was almost the last straw.

I have discovered a number of excellent independent authors who can deliver intelligent,  fast-paced page-turning thrillers that match and eclipse many of the best-selling published authors, especially those whose work seems to be running out of steam.

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