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I read a thriller – it was generically awful

August 22, 2012

SO here’s the thing – a wise cracking, charismatic Los Angeles PI, with a sharp line in annoyingly self-serving dialogue accepts a job finding a missing girl who has found herself abducted by Mexican bandits. We all know one of those guys, who do that sort of thing. They are ALL OVER the news media.

Luckily, the PI is US special forces trained and this back story explains his ability to be a cut-throat Jim Rockford, with a better house.

Luckier still, his partner is a brooding mercenary with a special forces background, massive muscles, tattoos, shades and a fine line in saying nothing much, in a low voice. And, he is honourable and devoted. And a killing machine, with experience working as a military contractor in war zones – which is handy. He also has lots of military hardware not available to the public, you know GPS trackers and the like. And he owns a gun store. We also all know one of those.

Even luckier still, they know a hugely annoying, massively multi-lingual, surfer dude military contractor with a great teeth and a better house near Sunset Boulevard and Korean underworld links whose specialism is undercover intelligence gathering. Jaysus lads, sure, we all know one of those, too. So far, so narratively utterly implausible.

So, they all set out to find this missing American Mexican girl who has gone missing with her seemingly deadbeat boyfriend. But it’s not so simple.

She is a highly decorated student with designs on being a journalist and her story-getting cunning, forged while working on a university newspaper (no, really, a university newspaper) allowed her to infiltrate a people trafficking operation. A people trafficking operation the US government had failed to get information on.

Also, her mum is an illegal Mexican ‘wet back’ whose status has driven this journalistic crusade, which functions as little more than a superficial narrative device.

Also, the deadbeat but heroic boyfriend has an aunt in a high-up position in the US ATF – of course he has. But, in reality, she could be cut from the book all together because she is also a superficial narrative device. Unless of course there has been, or will be, a stand alone featuring her.

The baddies are a mixture of ruthless Korean mafia, Middle Eastern and Mexican psychopaths who bury bodies willy nilly in the deserts outside Los Angeles, but who can be reached by old fashioned shoe-leather detective work. Why didn’t the US government think about that?

But, they aren’t going to be a match for wisecracking PI, his brooding partner or their hateful polymath killing machine surfer twat mate. Oh no. No siree, Bob.

Also, don’t mind that there is no rationale for the hugely co-incidental nature of why the crusading young journalist knows how the people trafficking operation is going to be where it is when she is snatched with seemingly deadbeat, but ultimately heroic guy. That’s not important, because this is told in cut-up, non linear style, because it is, like, you know, sophisticated. Like CSI or most modern primetime American TV cop drama, when they go post modern.

Despite nice descriptions of the multi-ethnic make-up of southern California and the difficulties faced by modern immigrants, a deeper examination is abandoned for an entirely predictable, conventional shoot-em-up you could guess at from page one.

This book will sell hundreds of thousands. I am a divvy for giving this review 30 minutes of my time.

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