Nathan's Reviews > The Defector

The Defector by Daniel Silva
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's review
Nov 16, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: thriller
Read in November, 2011

Isn't it astonishing how you don't know variation in a genre is possible until you discover that variation? For example, until I read this book I hadn't ever considered the possibility of writing a thriller with an infallible hero. And lo, here Silva has done it. Well, well, well.

Do you know why I hadn't ever considered a perfect hero? Because it makes for a CRAP story. This novel is about 30% awed praise for the almighty and magnificent Israeli special agents and their special agency and the unique tenacity of character that Israel embodies, 30% reverential description of the buff and rebellious hero's incredible perfection of character and action, and 40% gunfire. It is, quite simply, tedious shit because there is no tension.

How can there be tension when the hero is perfect, the hero's employer is on the side of right? Even when the hero is, so very very briefly, in danger near the end of the book, you KNOW there's no way this is going to end with the hero's body found in a shallow grave. Other thriller writers make us feel tension by having the hero misread a situation, misjudge a character, make the wrong decision, get menaced, be forced to go against his friends or employer, or otherwise make it hard for him You never get the sense that Silva's protagonist is breaking a sweat.

I took a chance on this one, and lost. I won't be reading more by this author.
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Hans Rather than trying to thrill you, rather than building suspense; Silva prefers to give you an almost factual account of how the Israelis (with the help of the British an Americans) won against a Russian gangster and the corrupt Russian president. I agree with you.

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