Monday, September 15, 2008

2 for the bins

Read a couple really sub-par novels that made me think of M. Blowhard's quarterly lamenting refrain of the state of the publishing biz. I kept thinking, if THIS can get published, then either things are much better or much worse than I thought. Can't decide which.

First was The Reapers by John Connolly, where the heroes are a gay couple who happen to be hit men. But they're nice hit men, who let the lady who lived in their building before they took it over with monies they'd made from various crimes still live there because she's a good watchdog; and they kept a mechanic's garage open after the guy's wife divorced him and made it impossible for him to continue unless helped by their dirty money. And so on. The theme of this novel is all the various configurations of male pair bonding, some of them gay, some of not but still falling cleanly in the "that's so gay" category (meaning not really gay, but not too far of a stretch from it). I'm not sure what the author was going for with that particular bent. Maybe he's dropping a huge hint to a buddy of his. Who knows?

The plot was merely an assassin that the two gay assassins knew from way back comes back to kill them because they tried to kill him once.

I have no idea why I bothered to finish this one.

The other was The Last Patriot by Brad Thor, which tries to pull a Da Vinci Code where a final revelation of Mohammad was removed from the Koran because it said, in essence, "let's just be nice to everyone for a change," which conflicts with sura #9, which says kill the infidel and redeem their corpses for cash prizes and virgins. Thomas Jefferson (yes, that TJ) discovered the contents of this lost sura through a code hidden in the first edition of Cervantes's Don Quixote, and so whips up an early enigma machine to encode directions to a little mechanical doll that has the lost sura hidden inside it that he then hid in the fireplace of one of his estates in hopes of whipping it out one day and forcing Islam to become a peaceful religion like it claims to be.

I didn't bother reading this one all the way through and began skimming for just the Da Vinci Code plot. The other 69% of the book is "action sequences." so it was a quick skim.

The author has an amusing style tic in that he describes the exact high of every character when we first encounter them, ala "Buck Nichols was 6 foot 2 inches with sandy hair and was thought to ruggedly handsome by most females." You'd think his editor would've sent back a note to effect of "enough with height thing already."

If anything, these books kinda prove that Dan Brown deserves a lot more credit from the critics than he got. Only the public gave him love by dumping zillions into his bank account. I recall having a grand time when reading The Da Vinci Code. I did not have a grand time with either of the above. Consider yourself warned.

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