Friday, March 21, 2014

Boom boom pow! Gone, James Patterson

Gone (Michael Bennett, #6)Gone by James Patterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gone is not a novel, it is a hollywood potboiler on paper. If cathartic violence were a genre, this piece would occupy the top shelf. About 400-500 people die in the story, however there are only 3-4 death "scenes". When Perrine or his sidekicks kill, the author devotes entire chapters to emphasize their cold blooded ruthlessness. We are given a snapshot of the victim's family - a close up of soon to be orphaned children and about to be widowed wives. On the other hand the good guys' victims die en masse by either getting vaporized in explosions or by getting cut down in a hail of bullets. I mean, come on, even henchmen are missed by their families. Anti-immigration, and conservative to its core, this novel goes to great lengths to emphasize the villain's sophisticated, markedly European un-Americanness as the source of his evil and the hero's and his family's faithfulness to Irish American values as the reason they triumph. All white characters are good - even the drug peddler, who tries to sell some to children, is revealed to be a harmless quirky fellow with a heart of gold. Ditto for the bumbling cop who at first tries to get in the hero's way. A moment that jarringly stands out is when Perrine is revealed to be a casual bisexual. I mean come on, was that even necessary? As if not sleeping straight is a symptom of villainy or vice versa. The final nail is when the author uses a "24" like scenario - a ticking bomb situation - to justify police brutality. The author quips "sometimes the solution to a situation comes at the business end of a billy club."

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