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Becoming less realistic as the series progresses
on 13 March 2013
As with the first two titles in this series, this is a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute romp, set largely in post-war Glasgow.
However, when reading this one, you really need to suspend belief far more than with the first two, far-fetched as they both were in their own ways. Ferris is again keen to emphasise the time and place in his story - that is to a large extent the "hook" of his writing. In the main, he pitches it about right, with the exception of the dialogue, which is noticeably twenty-first century in nature.
Several aspects don't quite ring true. As a minor point, the idea that almost everyone is happy to call the main character to his face solely by his surname is curious and rather laboured, a romantic construct; in short, it simply would not have happened; many of the other characters, some of whom were quite close to him, would have used his Christian name, while most others would have called him "Mr Brodie".
More critically, despite the fact that "Brodie" was involved in "crime", his employers would certainly NOT have indulged him in the way they were portrayed, especially after what happened to their staff in the second book!
Even more ridiculously, "Brodie" appears to be totally above the law himself. This was a raging flaw in the first book, and returns with a vengeance here. There are a number of events described here which would have attracted rigorous investigation from the authorities, even in the 1940s, and Brodie would have found himself prosecuted and certainly jailed in respect of at least two of the pivotal events in this story.
The book also suffers from a very sudden and weak ending. Yes, you can surmise what would probably have happened, but, given the twists which occurred all through the narrative, it's a little unsatisfying to be required to assume that everything after the book's ending went as expected.
The abrupt ending was also a fault in the first book in this series. He avoided this pitfall in the second book by introducing a detailed reveal, courtesy of one of the "baddies", who neatly explained away all the loose ends, like a bad episode of the "Batman" TV series. It appears Ferris isn't too good at endings, and that is something he needs to address, as his stories are pretty good up to that point.
Overall, it's an entertaining read; it occupied me for about three hours on an otherwise boring afternoon. However, Ferris needs to write with a little more discipline, as there are too many unrealistic aspects creeping into his writing.