I just finished reading a big political/espionage thriller by a bestselling writer. This author isn’t in the absolute top tier as far as sales go, but he’s still ’way up there. And I hope this doesn’t sound like sour grapes, but I didn’t think the book was very good at all.
The plot – a simple revenge yarn – was okay, although a little predictable. And there were a few nicely done action scenes. For the most part the style was strictly functional but effective.
The problem was that at nearly 700 pages the blasted thing was about three times longer than it needed to be. Scene after scene accomplished nothing, not adding to the plot, the characterization, or even the atmosphere. You’d get a long paragraph explaining what the hero was thinking, followed by another long paragraph restating what the hero was thinking, followed by yet another long paragraph summing up what the hero was thinking. The same thing was true of the assorted villains. Page after page was like that. I’ve heard readers of the Shadow pulp novels by Walter B. Gibson complain about the padding in them, as Gibson tried to stretch the word count, and I can see that at times in the Shadow novels. But I’ve never encountered anything in them as blatantly superfluous as I did in this novel.
And yet not only was the book highly successful, so were all the earlier ones by this author. I don’t get it. What’s there that I’m missing? There must be something.
Food For Thought
2 hours ago