shana naomi's Reviews > The Day of the Jackal

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
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Feb 05, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: spies
Read from February 19 to 24, 2011

one of the best suspense books i've ever read - can't believe it took me this long. it's not a quick read, but that didn't stop me from trying to make it one - i read for hours and hours on end, heart ACTUALLY pounding, waiting to find out what comes next.

and the brilliance of it is that you know the ending, or part of it. (historical spoiler alert: DeGaulle doesn't die.) and yet the planning of the assassination, and the investigation to uncover and stop it, and even the day of the attempt are so full of tension that what the "end" is still remains in question throughout. WHY doesn't DeGaulle die? who among all these professional criminals and cops will get a lucky break or make a stupid blunder or simply rely on meticulous planning and hard work.

this is as much a detective novel as a spy thriller, and reads very cinematically. i don't mean in the sense that it's underwritten, might as well be a script. but every scene and moment is SO visual, and the pacing is so strong, that i nearly expected to hear that little "24" sound effect every time we changed scenes.

i like this especially because it sets a standard of competence, but yet exposes all the human weaknesses of relying on individuals or groups. (it's interesting to think how an updated version of this would play out - basically it becomes "24," i guess. towards the end the reliance on speed of human intel becomes more obvious and more of a weakness for the characters - but an evenly distributed one among the criminals and cops. no one has cell phones - everyone has to risk much more to get information they need and wait longer for the results.)

bonus points for a sort of obvious yet still surprising ending.
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