Wow, FRiction FRiday is here again? How did I get stuck with all of these tire stoppers anyway? Yeah, I know I got a break with Jack Higgins 18th Sean Dillon novel, The Judas Gate … always a quick but fun read … but before that, Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants was almost 1,000 pages … and now Dead or Alive is 850pp? How can I finish one of these every week, I mean, I’ve got to work for living … don’t I? Yes, Lary, you do!
I’m glad you’re here, though … and don’t worry if it seems like you landed on the wrong planet. Sword Tips is still about Building a Business and improving your leadership performance, productivity and success … but we also take a little time every FRiction FRiday to have a little fun and settle in for the weekend by uncovering a few more of our favorite Mystery-Thriller-Suspense novels.
[All names in Bold Italic … BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE … except URL references in RED.]
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Dead or Alive? Usually, pretty dead!
I’m almost halfway through Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive, his first novel in 10 years. It brings back Jack Ryan, now a retired U.S. President along with various members of Rainbow 6, the efficient but deadly special ops team formed many books ago. Dingo and Chavez and their brethren are in the same Sean Dillon strain of “take no prisoners”.
Once again, it’s refreshing to see how quickly conflicts get resolved without psychobabble and political mumbo-jumbo. Get er’ done and move on. We don’t get to do too much of that in real life, do we? … but it’s a delicious delicacy, isn’t it, to see how much gets done when you follow the straightest line between two points without fanfare, distraction or PC worship.
The “4 Corners of the Globe” Plotline
Speaking of the “shortest distance between two points”, Clancy is one of those writers … along with Ludlum and others always writing in the third person … that follows what I call the “4 Corners of the Globe” plotline. They’re often more suspenseful and are the template of choice for most thriller writers.
You know what I mean … each of the first 3-4 chapters starts out in a different corner of the globe with a totally different cast … someone dies in Algiers, a bank is robbed in Geneva, a woman is kidnapped in Jamaica ….Each of these vignettes is interesting by itself, but you’re immediately on the lookout for the connectivity among these disparate events.
Of course, the best authors drop a few red herrings … and white elephants lumber through the trees … as you’re stretching to see how the stories relate. Usually good stuff … but, you have to pay close attention.
You better pay close attention
Maybe I’ve become a lazy reader, since it’s pretty easy in this fiction genre to race breathlessly through one novel after the other. But, so many thrillers today deal with the Middle East that the Arabic and Pashtun names just don’t “stick” the same as English names. When you’re scattered around the 4 Corners of the Globe, it ain’t easy to keep track of the characters, certainly in Clancy’s Dead or Alive.
It’s a fun read, a lot of interesting plotlines and menacing folks about … but slow down for this one or you’ll be stuck somewhere in the badlands of Afghanistan where all the rocks look the same … and you without a compass or a map.
More next week …. but tell me now. Do you like these kind of novels or do you prefer First Person where you’re always in the head of the protagonist?
New Amazon Widget
Just so you know, I’m trying out an Amazon widget … and maybe some others down the road … to see how it works. I’ve updated it this week to include Ken Follett’s novels along with The Judas Gate and Dead or Alive mentioned above, and a few of the recent favorites that I’ve mentioned on FRiction FRiday. I’ll keep experimenting with it for awhile. If you scroll down to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar, you’ll see it. If you buy a book from that carousel, I’ll get credit for it. Maybe it will help me buy the next book to tell you about?
Let me know what you think. Do you care? Does it bug you? Is it helpful at all?
Just arrived …. and arriving on the bookshelf
- Dead Zero, the 17th book in the Bob Lee Swagger series from Stephen Hunter.
- Brad Meltzer, The Inner Circle, is finally here.
- Three Stations with Arkady Renko, the Moscow detective from Martin Cruz Smith.
So much more to say … so little time …. What are you reading? Who do you like?
See ya next week!