Thursday, September 16, 2004

La Donna Mobile

Just as Verdi's women are free to change their minds, so too with book reviewers.

When a discussion of Greg Rucka's new thriller A Gentleman’s Game came up recently on Lee Child's message board, I wrote the book off, expressing my disappointment in it. I thought it was dull and uneventful; another stinker from the formerly reliable writer.

After a friend (publicity maven-extraordinaire Maggie Griffin) prevailed upon me, however, extolling the book's virtues, I picked it up to give it another try.

To my surprise -- and pleasure! -- I'm enjoying the book much more the second time around, finding it to be generally well written and interesting.

I still have some definite quibbles with it...Rucka has a tendency to overwrite, giving more details that are necessary, which tends to slow the story's pace down. The book is also a little low on action for a thriller (at the halfway point not much has happened).

The plot, though, is nicely done, filled with a great deal of information about Islam and the Middle East, and a lot of nice touches. (Rucka obviously did his homework before writing this.)

The characters could have been a little juicier -- perhaps that's the point he's making, à la Le Carré -- but they're interesting enough to keep me interested.

This is a very difficult type of book to write well. Most of those who try, fail. Rucka, though, has done a good job and deserves credit.

(Look for my complete review after I finish it.)