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An Unusual Style, Well Executed,
This review is from: Plugged (Hardcover)
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Many people know Eoin Colfer for his childrens books, including the great Artemis Fowl series. I read a number of his books whilst gorwing up, and always enjoyed the quirky, surrealist nature of his plots. In moving to the adult realm, none of this witty, quirky style is lost. The text is dotted with witty one liners and a great internal monologue written throughout the book as a great back and forth. However, Colfer does seem to struggle slightly in the move to the adult market, where the plot has to hold up to more scrutiny.
Plugged tells of an ex-soldier from Ireland, Daniel McEvoy, now a bouncer in a seedy nightclub in New Jersey. McEvoy is a wisecracking, fiery character with a well fleshed out backstory and is a thoroughly entertaining narrator to the story. McEvoy is a character that really allows Colfer's wit to flourish and delight the reader, there are few characters I'd rather follow through a tale than him. However, in one respect Colfer's lack of experience in the adult sector does rear its head - he is scared to allow his lead character to kill anyone. This is understandable when writing for teenagers, but in an adult novel this leads to scenarios which push suspension of disbelief too far. For instance, our hero is surrounded with incapacitated enemies, clearly intent on killing him; McEvoy walks into a building where he will clearly be cornered, and yet leaves all of his enemies alive. For an ex-soldier, this is frankly unreaslistic and really sullied the excitement of the ensuing scene as it just felt crowbarred in.
Other characters are also well fleshed out, if erring on the side of stereotype. The vile boss, his kiss-ass second in command, the dodgy doctor, small-time gangster aspiring to bigger things, Dan's ex army friends. Even characters that only appear for a few paragraphs seem to have been well-thought out and their actions are believable. For the most part. Aside from the aformentioned reluctance for his hero to kill anyone, there is also a character integral to a major plot forming twist towards the beginning of the book that could have done with a buit more justifying. This is only a minor niggle though, and it is clear that Colfer's true skill lies in developing characters.
That's not to say that the plot is especially lacking. Injected with the trademark zaniness of his other works, giving just the right amount of character to the piece without shattering realism, Colfer has succeeded in crafting a great yarn. Upon first considering this book, I did have concerns that this wouldn't translate - an adult author can get away with far fewer loose ends and needs a tighter plot and more fleshed out characters. These worries were not borne out, however, and Colfer truly has sculpted a great work that I would recommend to anyone looking for something different to the normal crime fiction fare.