It is hard to really categorize this story: partially a military thriller, partially a psychological thriller, and partially a love story.
Photographer...moreIt is hard to really categorize this story: partially a military thriller, partially a psychological thriller, and partially a love story.
Photographer Mitch Coltrane, the protagonist, comes back from the Bosnian war determined to change the types of things he photographs and focus on beauty and hope rather than violence. In the process he meets one of his heroes, a dying art photographer.
While dealing with a terrorist from his Bosnian experience, he also discovers a number of photos of a very beautiful woman in a secret room of the art photographer's house, which he has purchased.
Coltrane must deal with the present, someone trying to kill him and the past in the person of the daughter of the woman who looks very much like her mother and with whom he becomes infatuated.
The book could have been tightened up considerably and in some ways is really two novelettes rather than a single novel. This book does not quite measure up to other Morrel offerings, I've read.(less)
I really like the Reacher stories and this is one of the best. Some might describe Child's books as guilty pleasures and they are certainly full of vi...moreI really like the Reacher stories and this is one of the best. Some might describe Child's books as guilty pleasures and they are certainly full of violence and suspense but they also contain snippets of Reacher's philosophy which he has arrived at after realizing his chosen field as an Army Investigator was supporting a corrupt system.
Reacher realizes that a woman sitting across from him in a NY subway car is a suicide bomber. When he tries to dissuade her she pulls a gun and shoots herself. The next 400 or so pages are full of Reacher-like action and suspense. Everyone except Reacher is lying and true to his nature, Reacher cannot drop his involvement and leave town but must see things through to the end. The action is unremitting, the characterizations are adequate, and the plotting is excellent. The only missing piece is the original woman's motivation for her actions.
I highly recommend this book. If you are truly interested in pursuing the entire series, I suggest you start with #1, "Killing Floor" and go from there. If not that, read "The Enemy" which explains why he lives the way he lives.(less)
I questioned why I finished this book and came up with two reasons. One, I have a compulsion to do so. Two, I wanted to see if Brown could work out an...moreI questioned why I finished this book and came up with two reasons. One, I have a compulsion to do so. Two, I wanted to see if Brown could work out an ending that didn't strain all credulity.
Although, this book pretends to be military fiction, it is actually science fiction. The weapons which are described in excruciating detail are often a figment of someone's imagination. The scenarios are always set in some indeterminate near-future.
The plotting is spotty. At one point the story line skipped two or three events that we were supposed to figure out led to the event we were reading about. Characterizations are cardboard-like. The bad guys are unremittingly bad and the good guys are perfect. The piece de resistance was the introduction of a nine year old girl-genius with an MIT PhD, who could design weapons that experienced engineers could not even imagine. Talk about Childhood's End.
There was a time in the distant past when I liked Dale Brown's output. Those times are gone. Like Tom Clancy, he has gone as far with this genre as he can go. The ending of the story, here, was beyond belief. Even the practice of allowing weird things to intercede in a science fiction novel were of no use.
I doubt if I will read any more of his books.(less)
There were times this story was very exciting and moved quickly and other times it was slow and boring. I almost gave this book away because I was so...moreThere were times this story was very exciting and moved quickly and other times it was slow and boring. I almost gave this book away because I was so disappointed in Excavation. Fortunately, someone on Goodreads suggested I read it. I'm glad I did.
The action scenes, as unbelievable as they may seem, and the characterizations are the strongest parts of the story. Even the military types, who often get stereotyped in stories like this, are fully drawn here.
The weakest elements involve the number of close calls that almost every major character survives, as minor characters are killed, and the number of fortunate coincidences. People just happen to be in the right place at the right time. While a certain amount of this kind of artifice is needed to keep the plot moving, I think Rollins overdoes it in this novel.
The plot is complicated and there are many twists as well as a number of surprises as the story unfolds. The ending is perhaps a little too neat and the epilogue a little too saccharine but, maybe, that's what the majority of thriller readers want. I prefer a little more realism like Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child provide in the Pendergast series.
Overall, though, I liked the book and will most likely try another Rollins effort.(less)
I have a hard time abandoning books before I finish them. In this case I was able to abandon "Diamondhead" after only a short time.
In the first 50 pag...moreI have a hard time abandoning books before I finish them. In this case I was able to abandon "Diamondhead" after only a short time.
In the first 50 pages the author manages to trash everyone except the Navy SEALS and their counterparts, the Army Special Forces. He is particularly hard on the U.S. press and could be a stand-in for Ann Coulter if need be. He goes after the French, Al Jazeera, the Iraqi's, all U.S. politicians including the President. He sets up a hard to believe fictional situation and then uses it to undertake, the aforementioned trashing.
I didn't need to finish the book, just read the dust cover summary and about 20 pages of the book itself to know how it would turn out. The hero will prevail and be vindicated, his dying son will be miraculously saved, the evil money grubbing Frenchman will get his just desserts, the Newspapers will roll over and get behind our hero, the President will turn out to be not such a bad guy after all but all liberals in and out of Congress will refuse to be reformed and America's wonderful attempt to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle east will be justified.
There you have it. I can't call what I've written a spoiler because I only read the first 50 pages or so. Be interesting to find out if I was right or wrong but I'd have to read the book to do that, a task I have no intention of undertaking. (less)