Top critical review
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This is ok, but not great.
on 23 March 2007
I felt reading this that I could see the joins in the plot - rather like a Dan Brown novel - you can see the thought process governing the book's structure, and that for me was a let down.
The lead character is great, though. A slimy, smarmy photographer - with, of course, a bad boy's charm - plying his trade in London Town.
The main problem with the book is that it doesn't seem to know what it is exactly. Is it a Horror novel? A thriller? Or maybe even a Comedy? All the elements are there for it to have been anyone of those.
For example: The lead character's son gets kidnapped, then the kid's mother comes to pick him up, so his dad - Joe Creed, the novel's main man - has to come up with an excuse for the kid not being there, right? So he tells his estranged wife that their son has joined the scouts and gone off to camp - this he has to make up on the spot, and gets into a flap when the ex-wife says she'll go and pick him up. This whole scene seems to have been added purely for laughs, but it hardly seemed appropriate under the circumstances, and therefore seemed forced and contrived.
Creed - the character - is well written, and we know just exactly what he's like, but in my little opinion, Herbert makes a huge mistake. Creed is a smoker, and Herbert decides that he will smoke Roll-ups, using Brown licorice fag papers. Sorry - NO WAY! I thought that was wrong from the first time we see Creed doing it, and couldn't work out what was going on. Joe Creed should be smoking Marlboros, and sparking them up with a tatty Zippo - no question.
I think it's a testament to how convincing the character is that this minor detail bothered me so much.
All in all, the book's okay, not my favourite Herbert novel, but the first I have bothered to review.
I think Haunted is the best of his that I've read, by the way.