Top critical review
on 13 August 2012
I picked up this book for free on Kindle and wish that I hadn't. I've read 1/3 of it and do not intend to read any more.
Firstly, the plot of this novel appears to be just a string of standard cop-thriller cliches strung together. The main character, in particular, is a very one-dimensional person who has absolutely no distinctive attributes. He is cultured (reads James Joyce and listens to Bach), rugged (enjoys surfing), noble (takes a bullet for a child), attractive (his girlfriend has, and I quote "perfect breasts". What a lucky guy) and is bestowed with that old cop-thriller staple - a wife who divorced him because she couldn't handle the perennial fear that he'd be killed on the job. In short, he's the default go-to novelist's cop archetype, with no customisations. The rest of the characters, too, fall into very neat little compartments, being introduced with some event or action that leaves no ambiguity about whether you are meeting A GOOD GUY or A BAD GUY.
Having established this precedent, the writer's style keeps things on track. Bland, devoid of character or wit, a vocabulary so narrow that a cat could slink its way in and get stuck. Sometimes an author will write with short consecutive sentences that begin with the same word, to achieve a machine-gun effect. There was an explosion. There was another explosion. There was a third explosion. Victor Methos does it repeatedly, not for the effect, but apparently through laziness. Most sentences start with "it", "he", "she", "the", "there", "they". This does not lead to the kind of elegant, fluid reading experience that a professional novelist should aspire to.
He's also got a really annoying habit, which I think was brought to a perverted artform by Stieg Larsson, of peppering the text with tiny irrelevant technical details that are clearly intended to demonstrate dedicated research, when in fact they just provide a little mental speed bump. Stieg Larsson delighted in telling us exactly how much RAM was in Lisbeth's MacBook, and Victor Methos wants you to know what song is on the radio.
By the time I gave up on this book, I had also noticed three conspicuous errors of a grammatical/typographical nature (not including intentional errors as part of dialogue to convey the speaker's accent or dialect). These are minor errors in themselves, but suggest that the author and publisher place little value in the novel, and this suggestion has an infectious effect.