America's answer to Bridget Jones flops spectacularly, in a book that is an embarrassment to read for any fans of the Chick lit genre or Helen Fielding.
The criteria for an Airport novel is simple. They must be fast paced, easy to read, relatively engaging, and not involve too much complex thought.
Why do I do it to myself? No, really, why? The only saving grace is that it was over in a couple of hours... oh yes, and I get a kick out of reviewing trash every now and again.
A Time To Kill is the first novel of John Grisham, written in 1989. And it’s not half bad, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Perhaps having read Patriot Games recently has given me a certain intestinal fortitude/high tolerance for pulp. Whatever the case, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t hate The Firm anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Not that I’m advocating the reading of John Grisham as such, but it really wasn’t as bad as all that.
Meet Camilla MacPhee, crotchety, cat-hating, legal representative for victims, who winds up representing a murder defendant. It wasn’t a bad yarn, but I only read it a week or so ago and I’ve already forgotten the particulars. It passed the time, but it has a general sense of ho-hum about it. What I do remember was that the story didn’t take itself too seriously, which is a good quality.
Originally published in 1941, N Or M? by Agatha Christie plunges the reader into the world of middle aged irregulars, boarding houses, knitting, and the worst kind of Nazis... English ones.
Firstly, I’ll qualify this review with a confession that I didn’t quite go into this reading experience feeling impartial. I have read a couple of Jodi Picoult’s other novels (she’s a prolific best seller with millions drooling over her writing capability; she’s pretty difficult to avoid) and I didn’t think they were that great. So I wasn’t overly open minded about this latest reading experience, and she certainly didn’t manage to change my mind with Perfect Match. Although, to be fair, apparently lots of people hated this one, even her fans. So what chance did I have?
Eureka: where the California dream turns to deadly nightmare...
Pah-leeze. Who’s he trying to kid? More like Eureka: dull, plodding, took too long to get into the plot and when it did it was a bit of a let down... And the early 1900’s both-world-wars ambience didn’t really do much to improve matters in this trite and utterly standard saga replete with the wild west, whorehouses, and whodunit shoot’em mystery. I realise the man is famed for Primal Fear, but I think that is more famous thanks to Edward Norton than William Diehl’s writing skill, and Eureka didn’t even have the obligatory gore to keep the reader mildly interested.
You’ll all be pleased to hear that Tami Hoag’s Dust To Dust is slightly less irritating than the only marginally irritating A Thin Dark Line, which is quite a positive step. Once again, a by-the-book thriller type with all the prerequisites, and I’ll tell you now unequivocally I prefer Tami Hoag to James Patterson. By a long shot. She just puts in more effort, and she isn’t pretending to be anything other than an author of pulp thrillers, so she gets points for both of those things. Oh, and while her books are light and easy to read and finish, they do have a little substance to them.
Yes, it was 413 pages long, but don't let that fool you - I finished this piece of fluff in less than a day and still managed to get everything else that I cram into a day done - including watching several hours of tv, going to two doctors appointments, and a myriad of other things. So it wasn't exactly heavy going. Furthermore, while it wasn't so awful I wanted to put it down (which is how I felt about the last James Patterson I read, 4th of July), I only read it yesterday and I've already forgotten it. So "memorable" isn't going down as one the Mary Mary's finer qualities. Aside from that, the whole experience was relatively inoffensive, not overly time consuming and contained moments where I almost found it interesting. However, I just can't wrap my head around how this guy is such a consummate best seller. I'd probably have so much more time for him if he was just some second rate, independently published thriller author who was to be found solely in dingy little bookstores - it might actually force him to put some effort in.
A Thin Dark Line is the quintessential textbook thriller. It had all the correct elements in all the correct places, and while it wasn’t a dazzling literary work, it kept me relatively interested and it wasn’t an effort to finish the thing in two days, which in my opinion is as a thriller should be. It was light, fluffy, and only slightly annoying, and it had a relatively unexpected twist and completely predictable sex scenes. All in all, an excellent example of an airport novel.
A New York night.
A beautiful woman.
Hmmm. I realise that is a fairly insipid way to begin a book review, but to be honest the book didn’t really inspire me to rave about it. In the beginning, it was barely keeping me turning the pages, and that ain’t no great shakes for a thriller! But it did pick up and become mildly interesting for a moment or two. In a sort of limp, half hearted way. And the writing was slightly above par. In fact, I think that’s why I feel so lack-luster about the whole experience... because Jesse Kellerman appears to be a cut above when it comes to making okay bits of prosy-sounding metaphor, so it just seems wasted that this was what came out. That said, for a while during the reading process, I was vaguely interested, and, in the end, I only felt the need to abandon it for mindless televisual entertainment once or twice.
This book rated number one on the 2006 Angus and Robinson Top 100 book recommendations... so I’ll clearly state that either: Angus and Robinson have been sorely misled, or the Australian reading public have a lot to answer for. While Dan Brown-bashing is a popular pastime amongst those sneeringly referred to as the “literary elitist snobs”, I’m totally not afraid to side myself whole-heartedly with the snobs. And it’s not that I’m a resentful wanna-be unpublished author, or a jealous contemporary, or that I was someone who had a go before ACTUALLY reading the thing. I just really didn’t like it. The Da Vinci Code was spewed by Dan Brown and then published by Transworld Publishing. It took the world by storm and everybody loved it but me and some other people.
Poor James Rollins. He wanted to be the next Dan Brown with this little historico-conspiracy-theory set in the Vatican and a host of other exotic locations, impossibly laden with handsome brave protagonists. And so many plot twists your head will spin—while the rest of your mind thinks “how do they DO it in just four days?”. I’ve never read Mr Rollins before... he was the least offensive selection in the book exchange at the hostel I was staying in at the time, and while he didn’t inspire feelings of nausea in me the way James Patterson does, I still don’t think I’d leap at the chance to purchase any of his previous six novels for more than a dollar.