Intricate, smart plotting. Excellent ending.
This is a classic - a great experience. I’m frequently smiling at the smart and unexpected actions. Leading the investigation is homicide detective Lebel. He is short, rumpled, quiet, unassuming, and blinks a lot when criticized. There are no scenes with his wife, but we hear that he is henpecked. Don’t expect a charismatic hero. This is a humble man doing smart things in a methodical manner. I loved the nuanced characters. I was sympathetic to some of the bad guys and disliked some of the good guys. Jackal is a bad guy but he does not humiliate or do despicable things to people. He just kills anyone who threatens him. I admired his intelligence and competence. The OAS guys are bad guys, but they have idealistic motives, even though warped. They’re not out to kill masses of people. They just want to kill one guy.
Government officials learn that the OAS hired a foreigner to assassinate the French president. The killer’s code name is Jackal. They cannot talk to the OAS because they are hiding in another country. Lebel is brought in to lead the search to find the Jackal. I’m shaking my head thinking where does he start? What can he do? And then I am so impressed with the method of investigating and uncovering clues. On the other side, I was impressed and intrigued with many smart things the Jackal did.
CLASSIC WRITING STYLE:
I love this method of writing - classic. There is no jumping around in time. Things are told in a logical and linear method. In many cases when a new character is introduced, a short background is given showing his motivations, and then the current day story continues. This works well. And all scenes have natural endings. The author doesn’t stop a scene in the middle of a sentence. (Stephen King are you listening?)
I am frequently annoyed with other authors who leave scenes before a natural end and jump to another character, place, or time. For example, Mary walks into a room, hears a noise, and is hit. The next sentence is about another character in another place. This is not story suspense. It’s manipulation to create artificial suspense. I am angry at the author. My anger takes me out of the story. Forsyth does suspense perfectly in this book. For example, Lebel gets a clue about the Jackal. I feel hopeful. POV switches to Jackal who is doing things according to plan. He hears that Lebel learned something, so Jackal changes his plan and does something different. I’m impressed. POV then switches to Lebel’s guys who arrive at Jackal’s location but don’t find him because Jackal left an hour earlier. I’m thinking oh no what will they do next? Even though the POV is switching, the actions flow in a logical time line. The result is a chess game - watching each player respond and make his next move. This was a perfect way to maintain suspense throughout the book.
CAUTION MINOR SPOILER:
I had only one complaint. I wanted to see revenge and consequences for Jacqueline and the man she seduced. It probably happened but I didn’t get to see it.
Genre: suspense thriller.
Ending: Excellent and feel good.
I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s a long book. I had a hard time putting it down. Lots of suspense. Many times I was saying come on, come on - eager to find out what was going to happen next. John Corey is a smartalecky, arrogant cop working for the FBI. He has many entertaining one-liners and jokes. I liked his humor, but humor is subjective and some readers may not like it. There were a few surprises along the way. Some parts were a little slow, but the last half was the best. The ending was good and complete enough for me, although the killer Asad was still alive and un-caught. The story continues in the sequel “The Lion.”
Asad was a well done bad guy. He’s a stealthy smart killing machine. I consider “The Day of the Jackal” by Forsyth as great. Lion’s Game reminded me of Jackal, but LG was missing the following. I wanted to see how Asad got his information, how his sources got information, and how Asad and those sources communicated.
Asad interacted with many people. It was hard to believe they did not recognize him. Asad’s picture was all over the TV and newspapers.
One negative - a stupid event: Two guys know Asad is in the area with a sniper rifle. So why are they walking outside alone with no bullet proof vests or other protection?
Scott Brick did an excellent job as John Corey because Scott does cocky arrogance well. John Corey’s arrogance was written in an entertaining way so it worked. But I’ve given Scott Brick 1 and 2 stars for his narration of other books where he was too arrogant, and it detracted from the book. Scott narrated females nicely here.
Genre: suspense thriller
Dexter is a psycopath. He likes to kill people and feels no guilt. His sister is a cop. Dexter is a great help to cops investigating killers, because Dexter thinks like them. One fun scene was Dexter saying the killer likes a cold room (pause) and narrow. His sister asks “why narrow?” Dexter doesn’t know but it just feels right. Then he says narrow like a refrigerator truck. And that’s their first clue. In another scene Dexter is thinking about the killer taunting Dexter saying do you want to play? Normal people would run. Dexter eagerly smiles and thinks “Yes I do.”
Dexter’s foster father imprinted upon him a golden rule - never kill the good guys, only bad guys. So in that way Dexter is one of the good guys. (But he does kill and mutilate people in this story.) This is the first book in the series. It’s a crime mystery with some suspense. There’s a happy ending for the good guys. I liked it.
I did not like the major crisis at the end because I didn’t know what happened. I had to guess. There were no details about how someone died, how someone was wounded, and how someone got away. I almost gave this 3 stars because of that.
I have not seen the TV series.
Sadly I did not like the author narrating this. He was ok as Dexter, but he was annoying when he did two females, the sister and the lead detective. He used a weird, nasal, unpleasant voice for women.
Genre: crime mystery suspense
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
On March 18, 1990, two thieves broke into the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and stole thirteen work of art, including five works by Edgar Degas - four drawings and a painting. This book imagines the trajectory of the painting, described as one in Degas' Bathers series. [The painting taken from the Gardner was not in the Bathers series.]
Claire Roth is a professional art forger, and works for the fictional reproductions. Her specialty is Degas, although she can copy other masters and genres. Claire is an artist in her own right, but she has been a pariah in the art community for three years. The reason she has been cast out is a key part of the story.
Claire is aproached by art gallery owner Adrien Markel to make a reproduction of the stolen Degas painting, and Markel promises her a one woman show in exchange.
Edward Degas, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Gardner's great grand niece are key players.
I would listen to the narrator of this book, X.E. Sands, read a grocery list. She is just that good, and she was an ideal choice to narrate this book.
I found that the plot, although definitely a tangled web, was predictable in the last third or so. I would have liked to have known more about Gardner herself, and I hope B.A. Shapiro writes more about her, either fiction or non-fiction.
This is B.A. Shapiro's first novel. It's made several best seller lists, and is an Indie Book Dealer Best of 2012. I learned more about oil painting than I ever expected to know - or even thought I'd be interested in. The book isn't teachy, but I learned a lot.
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