Tina's Reviews > The Killer Ascendant

The Killer Ascendant by Barry Eisler
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's review
Feb 19, 12

** spoiler alert ** Wicked adjectives, standard storyline, characters that didn't grow on me.

I probably had the wrong expectations, picking the book up to cure a bout of Tokyo-deprivation. A good review should never be about what's NOT in the story. This is a bad and unfair review. Stop reading now.

A for background research, B for descriptions of the exotic settings, though a little more ambiance and less names and places would be nice. More sounds and smells and details. I read thrillers like this one to get away.

I would have liked something along the lines of 'daytime Singapore is like walking through a steam sauna minus the steam'. Or facts like chili crab must be eaten before black pepper crab if your taste buds are to stand a chance to do their job while your face is on fire. All this preferably in one of the cheap seaside restaurants along the east coast when the supertanker ships are filing up southward, bow to stern, hiding the horizon as the pitch dark night falls and the hot humidity never relents.

Like I said in the beginning, a bad and unfair review.

D for the inexcusable: Validation sex in a thriller.

Like most women, I'd rather there be no sex than bad sex. Sex in a thriller must do one thing: thrill. Yes, Lee Child of the Reacher-series, I'm coming after you next.

The sex must be a crazy dangerous, a do or die deadly attraction between the wrong people at the wrong place and the wrong time. Good places for such bad things are crashing jumbo jets, on top of ticking bombs or runaway trains and in grenade showers. Thriller sex must be as inevitable as the bad guy going down and as exciting as his bloody guts finally feeding the sharks.

In real life validation sex has a purpose, in a thriller it does not. In this novel, the sex in question involves two people who both know each other and love each other and do the deed in the comfort of a 4 star hotel-room. Where's the drama or conflict or high flying tension in that? If they at least had come up with new kinky uses for the machines in the exercise room described earlier in the chapter. Or there had been a bunch of bad guys kicking the door in mid-coitus.

And here I go again, complaining over things NOT in the book.

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