Target by Simon Kernick
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
It is only a minor exaggeration to say that Simon Kernick’s “Target” is to an actual thriller like McDonald’s meal is to actual food. McDonald’s fare has calories and it fills the stomach, yet the stuff is devoid of taste and has little nutritional value. “Target” contains just the plot; there are no additional values. No portraits of characters, no psychological or sociological observations. Zero depth. And the plot is silly.
The plot begins with Rob Fallon, an aspiring true crime writer, witnessing kidnapping of the woman with whom he is about to go to bed. Then the implausibility fest begins. DS Tina Boyd takes Rob Fallon’s story about the kidnapping seriously despite all circumstances indicating otherwise. Then, she asks Rob to do surveillance work for her. Next, they actually begin working together, like a pair of private eyes. Fat chance! Plausibility of the story is on the level of middle-school students who try to imagine police work. The quality of writing matches the level of plausibility.
The plot culminates in a cinematic orgy of death and violence – how else? There are several “twists and turns” towards the very end. I do not want to spoil the ending for readers who might, for some strange reason, find this book interesting, so let me just say that one of them (the method of a bad guy’s escape) is perhaps the unlikeliest I have ever encountered. But the one that concerns one of the “good guys”, as much as I dislike “twists and turns”, is pretty much unexpected, and thus, it gives the novel a little bit of redeeming quality.
I am also disgusted to report that Mr. Kernick stays faithful to his signature writing cliché. All characters are able to summon the remainder of their energy to restore their full energy. I noticed it three times (pages 32, 122, and 323 of the hardcover edition). Where is the editor?
Mr. Kernick has fallen a long way from his splendid “The Business of Dying” to this piece of junk.
One star (courtesy of the one aspect of the ending).
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