Saturday, September 10, 2011

Black Ops by W.E.B Griffin

Talk, talk, talk.

That's all that happens in W.E.B. Griffin's Black Ops - people talking about what they did, what they're doing, and what they will do.  This book doesn't even have the faint after-scent of action.

Should I be surprised?  I read one of Griffin's books years ago and don't recall the experience fondly.  It wasn't as bad as Clive Cussler's Hardy Boys versions of thriller novels but still not great.

But honestly, I figured a book titled Black Ops authored by a former military man would be a nice bit of escapist fiction.

But instead all I got was characters talking about stuff.  Talking about what they did (escape from Europe with Russian defectors), what they're doing (trying to prevent a terrorist incident), and what they'll do (blow something up).  But the main characters are always sitting around a dinner table, sitting in an airplane, sitting in an office and talking, talking, talking.

The cast of characters is huge, so huge that I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. This was complicated by the fact that several characters had two or even three names - really.  Plus it was clear that the characters had adventures in previous stories that impacted the current tale and these references, while not overt "buy the previous book" pleas of Cussler, were distracting.  And the characters had a cliquey feel, not in the sense of a group of people you're compelled to join but as though you're the odd man out at a cocktail party. 

There's a romantic subplot that goes something like this.  She was gorgeous.  He loved her.  They had sex.  The entire subplot was so thinly structured that I found it unbelievable and figured that she was gonna double cross him any second.

Even Dick Hill, one of my favorite voice actors, couldn't save this dull, lifeless book.

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