▸ kurt austin

Read: Medusa

The nice thing about Cussler novels is that you get exactly what you paid for (The novels are pretty cheap). There are rarely (bad) surprises. And even though the characters from the NUMA series are generated from the same template as the characters from the older Pitt series I prefer the newer, slightly fresher ones.

The plot follows the usual archetype. Despite there being no surprises, or maybe because of it, the novels offers some good hours of quiet relaxation. No active thinking needed. The books has served its purpose.

Read: The Navigator

Good solid pulp fiction. Cussler and his co-author Kemprecos follow their standard recipe. So, no surprises. The novel is perfect for just winding down…

Read: Polar Shift

I hate it when some sloppy editing bereaves me of enjoying an otherwise good novel.

I do not think that Polar Shift would get the WAS seal of approval. While freak waves are a fact, inducing a polar shift by directing some electromagnetic fields to a “weak spot” on ocean is most certainly not. Yet, that is not what I meant with sloppy editing. It’s part of the story’s plot. A necessary device to allow the hero to not just save the damsel in distress but to save the whole world from Armageddon.

Sloppy editing manifests in repeating specific words or phrases several times, be at the “cantankerous” whatever or a description that is first used by the narrator and then by one of the novel’s characters just a few pages later. Sloppy editing is also transliterating an umlaut in one name so that Schröder becomes Schroeder, keeping the umlaut in one word, e.g. “Leigerkapitän” but not in all other words like names of places like Kitzbühel, Austria. Admittedly this is just some minor inconsistency and oversight. Still it tells a lot about how authors and editor cared.

Luckily everything else is ok. The standard stereotypes work just fine and the novel is well paced.

The Kurt Austin novels have always a “moral” or “good cause” as part of their background story. This time it is (the fight against) globalization and evil elites that concentrate power by controlling information flows. Not too original. Though it fits the “just fine” overall impression.

Read: White Death

A few years ago I read my first Cussler novel, the first instance of the NUMA files series, Serpent. I rather liked that one as far a I can remember. Yet, after the first few NUMA novels I switched to the Dirk Pitt adventures with the intention to read the Cussler novels in their chronological order. The Dirk Pitt novels really got me hooked. Now it was finally time for another NUMA files novel. Even though their are many parallels – the main characters are a two man hero team working for the same marine agency – this one feels definitely different.

The main characters are a parody of their own stereotypes. The dialogs are just a collection of more or less funny one-liners that may be great for an action movie but not necessarily for a book and I have the feeling that the facts are more bent than usual. Or, the authors (it’s co-authored with Paul Kemprecos) are just more sloppy because they themselves get bored with their same old routine as the novel follows their standard recipe. Apart from that the writing is, of course, as competent as always and when you set your standards a little lower – after all, Cussler is not really literature – you may actually enjoy this novel.