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Ian Jolly (London)

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Last Man Standing
Last Man Standing
by David Baldacci
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed But Interesting, 8 July 2002
This review is from: Last Man Standing (Paperback)
There were things I really didn't like about this book, but all credit to Baldacci - he kept me turning the pages. It was a preposterous plot, but well structured for all that. I agree with another reviewer that calling the hero Web London almost made me put the book back on the shelf. But the action kept coming and it did give an insight into how the FBI and its hostage rescue teams work.
The story is convoluted to say the least, and although you can see it's heading to an unlikely ending, you still want to get there. But Baldacci does have a habit of getting his characters to recap the plot in ludicrous conversations. And no matters how he tries to explain it, some of the people and the twists are plain unbelievable. It might not persuade me to read another of his books, but despite myself, I enjoyed this one.

Who's Who in Hell
Who's Who in Hell
by Robert Chalmers
Edition: Paperback

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deadbeat in dead end., 8 July 2002
This review is from: Who's Who in Hell (Paperback)
The art of writing newspaper obituaries combines rigour, subtlety and colour. A hint or a euphemism can say much about a deceased subject. But at least obituaries have some sort of plot, unlike this book. It follows a bit of a loser called Daniel who drifts into the world of obituary writing and conceives a book of notorious people - alive and dead - who might end up in Hell. Actually this part of the novel takes up a relatively small part and is suddenly dropped almost as soon as it appears. What the book is really about is Daniel's relationship with the irritating Laura, an American with problems at home and a bar job that enables her to get taxis everywhere. That's all you need to know really. The novel meanders on without really making any meaningful pit stops along the way. It's not badly written but all rather pointless. And unlike a good obituary, it's full of mistakes. The bar in which Daniel and Laura met mysteriously changes from the Cafe Leon to the Northumberland Arms. His boss mentions a three-year-old conversation as if it had been discussed yesterday. Apart from a slight insight into obituary desks, you don't feel you've gained much from this book.
And even the title is not original. There's already a book called Who's Who in Hell, a philosophical tome listing worthies who have negative views on a Supreme Being. Might prove a better read....

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