on 7 December 2010
First off, to any potential readers, you quite simply must read the first three Javier Falcon novels before reading this. The first three are "stand-alone-ish" and can be read on their own, however this one not only picks up immediately after book three but also refers heavily to books one and two.
This is Wilson's Falcon finale. This was always planned to be the final book in the quartet and this book was intended to be THE big book that ended the entire saga. Sadly, for me anyway, it fails to complete the saga adequately.
The first three books, in my opinion, are astonishing. "Blind Man"; "Silent & Damned"; "Hidden Assasins" not only introduce but establish Javier Falcon, and characters such as Alicia Aguado, Esteban Calderon, Consuelo Jiminez, Jose Luis Ramirez, Comisario Lobo, as well as Perez, Ines, Yacoub, Jorge, Ferrera and a whole lot more. There are a lot of characters.
Over the course of the first three books we've had murder, domestic violence, "high society", Paedophiles, Russian Mafia, Islamic Fundamentalism and international terrorism. This book is intended to be the incredible climax to this deep, involving opus.
Simply: Wilson attempts too much and allows the story to become too big for him. What started off in "Blind Man" as a serial killer evolves in to secret services, spies, double-agents, plot-twists, court appearances, Catholic Fanaticism, Islamic Fundamentalism, domestic violence, Russian Mafia wars, bombings, high end business deals, corrupt politicians, paedophiles... ayayay! It all spirals away from Wilson and, sadly, in the end I think he gives up on a lot of the loose ends, desperate to bring the saga to an end as quickly as possible.
What started out as a captivating sprawl through "The Falcon Diaries" in book one; to a savagely sinister uncovering of a paedophile ring in book two; to stopping an ingenious plot to bomb London in book three - and managing to keep these entwined somehow - book four deteriorates into..? Into? Into!? Well, what IS this book about in the end?
Towards the end of the book (and I won't give away any spoilers) there is a bit where Falcon and his unit go undercover in a hotel, disguised as staff, to catch the bad guys. This is it: this is heads of state, major business players, mafia, secret agents... the lot. This is the climatic showdown. This is how the book ends. This is how the SAGA ends. This is going to be incredible reading, like the previous three books.
Honestly, Wilson rushes it, he fails to elaborate where it's needed, he just - I don't know - it just seems that at this point he realises the story's got away from him, become too big for him, and just ties up the loose ends and goes for a corny ending. A proper corny ending, too. Shame.
I really mean this when I say that Javier Falcon could possibly have gone down as one of the most important and endearing detectives in the "noughties"; up there with Michael Linqvist and Robert Langdon. The first three books, in my opinion anyway, were THAT GOOD. The finale is a total letdown, and that's sad. Really sad.