Mystery Thriller

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Read: The Tenth Chamber

Cooper’s The Tenth Chamber is mixture of historical and crime fiction, its three timelines are set some 30000 year ago, during the medieval ages, and in our current time. The quite compelling story joins a longevity theme with some conspiracy theory.

All in all, the elements of the story are not overly original. There are monks, an old encrypted text, life-span enhancing organic potions with an unavoidable side effect, and a government cover-up. Indeed, I had a feeling of deja-vu when I read the novel. Yet, Cooper’s style is enjoyably suspenseful. There is no padding. The length and the pace of the story are just about right. In short a rather good book, not exceptional but not bad either.

Read: The wheel of darkness

I did not like the plot of Wheel of Darkness. Too much mysticism, too much religion. Everything hinges on one meta-physical entity that is not explained by scientific principles at all. A feature that, otherwise, I did like about the other earlier Preston/child novels. Sure, it was often quite a stretch, here they do not even try. The story’s resolution remains completely in the realm of mysticism.

As usual for the author duo Preston and Child this novel is well written, well paced, and unfortunately full of hypocritical moral.

Read: The Lost Throne

Reading Kuzneski’s novels in close temporal sequence definitely helps. The characters seem more better developed and more diverse than they actually are. Otherwise all the heroes seem to be modeled after the same stereotype. They may differ in skin or hair color but that’s it. Another weak spot of the Lost Throne is the lack of a reasonable motivation for the protagonists’ actions and the plethora of coincidences that link individual scenes and subplots.

On the upside, Kuzneski finally got almost rid if his nasty habit of hinting at things to come. It’s still there, he uses this ‘technique’ considerably less often, though. If it were not for the rescue mission subplot this would be Kuzneski’s best novel so far. The Interpol’s guy subplot was rather interesting and could be easily expanded to a good novel of its own. In sum, a mixed experience.

Read: Sword of God

Kuzneski has certainly found his personal recipe for a well selling novel. A set of international locations – with background information soundly researched –, a certain level of violence and gore, (too) detailed insights into the protagonists thoughts, a stable set of repeating characters, and one cliche and semi-witty one-liner after another.

It’s good for some relaxed entertainment, at about the same level as Cussler. Though there are still some annoying writing quirks. The narrator is sometimes ahead of the story and hints at things to come, surprises that lurk in the next chapter and therefore spoils exactly these twists and turns.

Read: The Ice Limit

Ice Limit is one of the few non-Pendergast novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They seem to have specialized in mystery novel that allude often to the supernatural. Ice Limit is, however, more closely linked to science fiction. First, its all about a meteorite; more specifically a possibly interstellar meteorite. Something that is extremely unlikely. In the end, the object of interest is even considered a proof of Panspermia, establishing a strong link to science fiction. Also the feats of ingenious engineering, a lot of the story is about moving an extremely heavy object (the meteorite), is more typical of a science fiction novel than a thriller.

Nevertheless, there is murder, mayhem, corruption, secrecy, a kind of villain – though he is actually an honest citizen with a lot of conviction and loyalty to his country and family – and a kind of good guy. The novel breaks with some stereotypes rendering it slightly more interesting.

On the other hand, the novel does not really deliver what is advertised on its back. The mysterious meteorite is much less mysterious. The flawless expedition is far from flawless. And the frightening truth is not about the meteorite, as implicated, but about human tragedy. Yet, thanks to the well honed skills of Preston & Child the novel is still entertaining; good material for the nightstand.

Read: The Lost Labyrinth

Here is one that is not part of a series. Not given how the book ends. Wrong.

As a rule I collect some information about the author before I buy a book. Usually to make sure that I buy and read the first book of a series first – if the book I want to to read happens to belong to a series. OK, this time I obviously did not do my homework. Will Adams’ The Lost Labyrinth is the third and most recent novel in a series of three books that share the same protagonist. I have to admit I did not notice nor did I suspect that The Lost Labyrinth is part of a series. This speaks in favor of the book and Adams.

The Lost Labyrinth is one of those – here nice and well written – mystery thrillers where the protagonists belong to a certain academic circle; here it is archaeologists. The story is embedded in some well known historical myths and facts. Adams may be a little too ambitious in trying to link several historical myths and facts at the same time: Atlantis, the Golden Fleece, and Minos’ Labyrinth. On the upside, realism in fictional works like this one is often sacrificed in order to increase the suspense and make the protagonist more hero-like, not here. All the fights and villainous acts feel rather real and befitting.

Even though I rather enjoyed the book I am not quite sure yet whether I will read the first two installments of Adams’ heroic archaeologist…

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