rating: 4 of 5 stars
Right before I started this book (on audio) I read a less than stellar review from a newspaper critic. I'm a big fan of Coben and of Myron Bolitan (well, of Win mostly, but you know...) and I was sure that I would love the book regardless of whatever problems it might have. When I finished, though, I thought the critic had been a little bit harsh in her assessment.
First of all, I thought the story was good. The ending was a little bit creeptastic, but I'm sure that was entirely on purpose. If I had to criticize the plot at all, it would be that it is so easy to design a plot around muslim extremists now that it doesn't even register with me anymore. It's like making walls cream or eggshell in a room. You don't even notice them. There are just some things that don't leave an impression anymore because they are so overdone both in real life and in entertainment. You want to be impressive or memorable, make Danish extremists. Finnish extremists. Wow, that is something new. Buddist extremists and I may never forget it. Muslim extremists? I've seen that season of 24 at least 2 years in a row. The story was good, there was a twist that I'm still thinking about, but until that happened, it was mostly a forgettable plot line.
But the characters were spot on. Everyone you expect to see in a Bolitar novel was present and accounted for. The one thing about a longstanding series is that there are some things you see over and over again. Almost all the usual jokes were there (MB Sportsreps, etc.) And because they were almost all there, I could tell which one was missing (El-Al....like the airline.) I understand that not everyone has read all the books in the series (and why not?) and that you have make them accessible to newcomers to the series. I'm just saying, when you've read them all it can be a little.....repetitive.
But even after all of that, this book delivers everything I expected and even some creeptastic chills that I didn't expect. I could read about Win all day and this one will definitely get a re-read.
A word about the audio: Every character seemed to be right on the money except Esperanza. It just wasn't right. Everything else was perfect, and she wasn't there enough to put you off the audio if you are inclined in that direction. But, it did bother me enough that I had to mention it.
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