Monday, November 15, 2010
Book Review: The Matarese Countdown
Novel: The Matarese Countdown
Author: Robert Ludlum
"THE VERBOSE COUNTDOWN"
I want to like Ludlum's works. I really wish to be knocked to hell and back through his global crises writings. After all, I have watched Jason Bourne movies only a few dozen times (starring the brilliant Matt Damon in the title role). Yet this novel was disappointing.
It starts off well enough, with the prologue and initial chapters creating intrigue. Then on the "drama" takes over the "suspense thriller". There are some wonderful chapters or rather the majority paragraphs in them. Yet one cannot stop thinking that there is too much written with too little being said. The verbosity is visible and causes sadness. The 566 page novel, in my mind, should have been complete in 350 pages at the max.
The plot is almost good. It is/ was timely. It is true enough that nations, groups, conglomerates and other vested interest individuals try to manipulate the economy.
The plot is what kept me interested to see the reading till the end.
Europe does have big money, especially the novel's "Amsterdam". The Netherlands is indeed a rich nation with small populace controlling a lot. Add to that the organizations such as G8, G6, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc and the commonly seen manic ups and downs in industries/ sectors of the economy - it makes for a great plot in "The Matarese Countdown".
I am being generous here saying I liked the novel but with an eye of an editor could note some poor writing, often childish or unfitting in a bestseller. Example: The words of pilot Luther at times silly (chapter 35). Then description of banker Wahlburg too racist and stereotypical (chapter 31). The banter between Pryce, Scofield, Shields and Waters at many moments too childish to be believable in a novel about international espionage, in a fight against something as mighty as "The Matarese".
I haven't read the other Matarese novel - "The Matarese Circle" as yet but intend to some time soon. If it precedes this novel, then doesn't matter, "The Matarese Countdown" was complete by itself and not requiring the input of the other novel.
Readable. Not necessarily though.