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If this was bacon it would be streaky...
on 16 February 2011
Streaky bacon is the best way to describe this book, because it's got so much fat in it and not much in the way of quality meat. Forgive the bad analogy, but this really is how it feels. Firstly, the tagline of "Kellerman is a master of menace" is wholly misleading in the context of The Executor. There's very little menace here, and it turns out to be a run of the mill thriller with little in the way of "thriller".
The biggest problem is the author's excessive and somewhat indulgent ponderings. As others have said, there's far too much philosophy here which does little to move the story along. After the first 50 pages I was ready to throw in the towel because the meanderings become quickly tiresome, and at worst patronising.
However, it does pick up and I actually found the story to be vaguely intriguing. The intrigue didn't hold up though, as my expectations of dark secrets around Alma's history proved unfounded, and highlights a real missed opportunity. As things unravel (literally) I found it quite enjoyable in a "how is he going to get out of this?" way, but sadly just as the narrative gains momentum and the world starts crashing down, there's a huge jump in the timeline which left me feeling more than a little cheated, and smacks of laziness and the author rushing to get it finished.
One of the other big problems (aside from yawn inducing philosophical interludes which sound like the author regurgitating his own dissertation) is that the main character isn't likeable. I felt little empathy with him, and as the story progressed I came to dislike him. Of course, not all central characters are there to be liked, but we have to feel something for them. And this is perhaps Kellerman's biggest mistake.
If my review sounds scathing, then why the 3 stars? Because despite the issues, I actually somewhat enjoyed the book. I rattled through it in a couple of days and it served as a diversion between some of the epic series I'm currently wading through. Would I read another Kellerman book? Maybe, but I'll be checking out some reviews first...