Saturday, February 16, 2013


I brought a literary novel on my last trip. I didn’t touch it.

Instead, I picked up a thriller at the airport, One Shot by Lee Child. There wasn’t much to choose from and I had seen this one being talked about online because it had just been made into a Tom Cruise movie.

I tore through this book … then several others like it. I read Restless by William Boyd (pretty good) and Ghost Writer by Robert Harris (OK).

Perhaps most interesting was Dead Zero by Stephen Hunter, given to my husband by someone who apparently is super far right politically.

I can’t say I recommend it. Some of my reasons might seem political. But really, could you make a more one-dimensional villain than an El Qaeda member who isn’t just a terrorist but also likes little boys and wears silk underwear? Oh, and he’s mean to his employees. And the true villain, I kid you not, turns out to be a liberal American college professor who is a secret convert to radical Islam and a terrorist sympathizer. (Oops, should I have said “spoiler alert?”)

But it was more than that. This book was just BAD. One example, of many: suddenly, with no warning or foreshadowing, one character realizes another character is his long-lost son.

But, God help me, I continued reading.

Because thrillers have something that will keep you reading: suspense. No matter how stupid the plot, I will keep turning the pages until the end. In fact, I read faster and faster, not stopping for anything. Don’t quite remember who a character is? A detail doesn't seem right? Doesn’t matter. I just need to see how it ALL TURNS OUT.

Weird and embarrassing, but there it is.

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