by Alexander Logan
I’m glad I read this book, with reservations though. In spite of the things that annoyed me, I found myself reading to the end to see how things panned out.
I was introduced to the underworld of arms dealings where the complexities of Islamic faith are used by fanatics or those just wanting to make a buck. Written from the perspective of Tom, an Australian surgeon and Kaye the journalist woman he loves, we are taken to Afghanistan then to Marseille through kidnapping and abduction.
There is everything here to make this a spine-chilling read. Yet it was written predominantly in the tell-not-show style of writing which fails to grab, and I remained constantly uninvolved due to this. Characters revealed their philosophical and/or religious beliefs page after page. Often these were apparently deeply-held and life-long, only to be acted against paragraphs later. I did learn about the confusing complexities of Islam versus Christianity, though I felt that Tom’s own religious feelings were crowbarred into his character to provide a juxtaposition when the author was confronting Islam and the West’s view and understanding of it.
I am not a fan of characters regularly giving each other their names in conversation. It grates and I found this happened a lot through this story, and enough of the dialogue seemed oddly unconnected to be frustrating.
The plot hinged on a number of coincidences while Bakir’s stroll through illegality felt unconvincing at times. There was never a point when his abduction of Tom – really the start of everything – was considered terrible. Even Tom himself never actually seemed to hold the man a grudge.
I do think the constant setting up of philosophy and religious arguments and the tendency for each character to involved self-examination detracted from the pace. This is where the show-not-tell style has the edge when drama and thrills are needed.
An interesting read in some aspects, just not a thrilling one.
Author: Alexander Logan
Publisher: Wild Side Publishing