The Chase by Clive Cussler
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
At times I wondered if The Chase were written for a child. Info dumps trash up dialogue so stilted it often felt like I was reading narrative. And oh my head, the unnecessary repetition..."I don't believe it," Bronson blurted in utter disbelief....Good lord almighty!
The real crime, however, is that it wasn't as exciting as I expected for all the praise Cussler has received. It's part mystery, suspense, thriller, action, romance, historical fiction and detective story - an overflowing melting pot of genres - and none of them struck much of a chord in me. I'm not saying I was bored out of my mind, I did manage to finish the book after all, but by the end I must say I felt let down.
Cussler does have his fans though, and if you like technology, you'll find he adds in plenty of unnecessary, early 20th century details about the very specific cars, trains, motorcycles, guns that he drops into his novel. Maybe it works better in some of the other series he's done. Here he also wedges in as much west coast, period-appropriate history as he can, some of which works and some of which does not:
- The San Francisco earthquake and resulting fire of 1906 = Sure.
- Actor John Barrymore pops up as a young thespian = Ok, but a bit forced.
- Jack London reports on the scene = Out of left field on the necessity scale.
- An explanation of the Donner Party = Inserted as smoothly as a rectal exam.
Cussler's characters are somewhat wooden, though not terrible. However, in his world, stalwart women do not cry, while stalwart men do not show their anger. There is no cross-breeding of emotion. His main character, a detective working for a Pinkerton-esque company, is a cocky rich guy. I don't mind cockiness, at least not as much as the rich part. I mean, the man can buy whatever he wants or needs, and that makes things pretty darn easy for him. And that just might be the main issue I had with The Chase...The thrill is gone.
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