Friday 18 June 2010

Book Review: Glenn Cooper – The Library of the Dead

Every now and again I am partial to an un-taxing thriller. Throw in the promise of some twists, and plenty of conspiracy theories and I am game.

Often these are not particularly well-written or original (Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code springs to mind), but occasionally the writing is sharp and the plot tight enough to keep you gripped. I wouldn’t say that this book falls into either of the above categories but it was engaging enough to keep me reading to the end.

The novel follows disgraced, alcoholic FBI agent (roll of eyes), Will Piper as he is pulled out of his quiet pre-retirement countdown to hunt down a serial killer in New York who seems to have no discernible pattern. He is paired with a feisty, young partner (roll of eyes again) as they race to catch the killer before he strikes again.

At the same time, one of Pipers old university room-mates, Mark, is involved in something top secret in the infamous Area 51 and you soon realise it is not anything to do with aliens but something perhaps even stranger. But where is the link with the seemingly random murders at the other end of the country?

The book jumps back and forward between modern day America, and the early twentieth century and the dark ages in Britain. I have come across the format before and it can be very annoying and somewhat confusing, but when used well it can really crank up the tension and make the unfolding of the plot absolutely gripping.

In the case of this book it, again it was neither. In places the flashbacks were fascinating and had me hooked, particular the back story from the middle-ages, in places it felt slightly odd and perhaps unnecessary, as with the scenes from post-War Britain.

The plot twist itself was a good one, although I had worked it out long before the ending. In all nothing new or amazing, but perfectly readable nonetheless.

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