Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Assassin by Stephen Coonts

When an international group of wealthy and powerful people with the president's ear decide to fund their own private army to wage war on terrorists under the direction of Admiral Jake Grafton, clandestine CIA operative, you can expect action, suspense, and thrills, right?

It was kind of dull.

I've read a lot of Coonts all the way back to Flight of the Intruder.  A lot of his air warfare stuff is pretty good.  Recently, due to the aging of Grafton, he's introduced a new CIA sleuth, Tommy Carmellini, a wise-cracking former thief.  Still sounds good, right?

And so hardly has this team come together and then - bang, bang, bang - they start getting wacked one by one.  Apparently there's a leak.  What to do, what to do.

I was disappointed in the lack of character development.  And the writing style featured awkward back and forth changes from third to first person (Carmellini) narration.  Given the gravitas with which the third person is written and Carmellini's sarcastic, irreverent first  person style, you'll have to be prepared for a bit of literary whiplash.

Vocal talent for this audio book was provided by Dennis Boutsikaris.  In the past I've noted that there are good actors and guys doing accents.  Boutsikaris was the latter in this production.  Plus there were a number of outright mistakes in the narration.  A Vietnamese character's last name, Nguyen, was pronounced "new-yen" instead of the correct "when."  A French character named Jean was referred to as "Jean" and "Gene" in the same paragraph. And then there's the mistake of referring to an Iranian as Arab instead of Persian.

Makes me wonder if I'd feel the same had I read the paper version.

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