CC's Reviews > The Silver Bear

The Silver Bear by Derek Haas
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's review
Sep 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

A super taut thriller by writer Derek Haas about a professional assassin named Columbus. When Columbus gets his packet of information on his latest hit, he discovers it is his own father, whom he never knew, politician Abe Mann. Much like Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Columbus has no attachments and works violently and with no remorse -- unlike Lee Child's Jack Reacher, this book was interesting.

The book flips back and forth from the present-day mission of killing his father to his past of how he became an assassin. Aside from the first twenty pages or so which had a shocking amount of "telling" and no "showing," the scenes are all tight and gripping and tense. I loved all the scenes with Jake, loved her from the get-go, Pooley too.

My issues -- yes, I've got some -- the book gave me whiplash as it juxtaposed these two plots (present and past). You settle into one and boom, you're jerked right back out into the other. Likewise, the transitions were too brief -- and the settings as well. Without a firm sense of place -- Boston in the winter, and then suddenly Italy in the spring -- you're at a loss, trying to keep up. In addition, the book is just too damn short for this much to be packed in. At 215 pages another 200 pages could've been added, easily, and it would've made for a better read. You get a five page spread on a super important chatacter and then he's dead -- in the present. Then alive again, in the past.

On a side note, Haas is gifted in the naming department -- Pooley, Vespucci, Abe Mann. Memorable and able to be discerned easily from one another without sounding cliche, a plus for a book with so many characters to keep track of.

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