Monday, March 3, 2014

The Day Of The DeadThe Day Of The Dead by John Creed
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

John Creed's "The Day of the Dead" provides a good illustration of the Shooting Asymmetry Syndrome. Twenty bad guys continue shooting at the good guy for ten minutes, expending tens of thousands of bullets. The good guy has just one ammunition clip, and manages to repel the attack and kill quite a few baddies.

Jack Valentine, an ex-spook, is asked by his old friend to help get the friend's daughter away from a powerful Mexican gangster. Jack enlists some mates of his to assist him in completing the task, but they have serious problems with enemies of their own. Now, Jack and his friends have to fight against more than one army. The "hard-boiled" action contains an unusually long passage of virtually non-stop shooting in some underground tunnel in New York. Next, we move to Mexico City, and then to Oaxaca. Large numbers of people keep dying after being shot, maimed, and tortured, yet Jack, constantly on the brink of death, manages to keep fighting and killing the bad guys despite being heavily wounded several times.

The description of the Day-of-the-Dead celebrations in Patzcuaro is relatively interesting but the blurb on the cover praising the "tremendously well-written prose" of this thriller is a gross exaggeration. The level of implausibility is astounding. Truly astronomical. My guess is that even readers who are into thrillers that feature protracted hardboiled gunfight action, may be inclined to laugh at some fragments of the plot.

Other than the Mexican locales and a nicely quiet ending (alas, with an obligatory 'twist') the novel has one redeeming quality - it is wonderfully short, at 246 paperback pages.

One and a half stars.

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