last saturday, i completed my neighborhood book club selection, Tell No One by Harlan Corben. as i mentioned before, the great thing about book clubs is that many times it will lead you to read books you would never have considered. this was certainly the case with Tell No One. it came in (via Barnes and Nobles mail) looking like the books one might buy at the local CVS. never thought of myself as a book snob but i guess i am. learn something new about yourself everyday. the novel is a thriller, mystery, suspense type, not my usual genre but i was pretty open-minded (you know, besides my snobbery).
anyway...overall, i enjoyed the story. it certainly had a compelling beginning. i was worried that i would have trouble getting into, or caring about the plot. i was wrong. never did I find myself skimming through the boring parts. the technology talk didn't go over my head at all. and although it wasn't the best quality of writing, if you kept an open mind, it wasn't mind numbing either. if the purpose of a story is to entertain, harlan corben achieved this goal.
of course, there were major problems (i know you knew it was coming...)
the narrator of the story (David, a doctor who works in an "urban" community helping the less fortunate) claims adamantly that he does not judge. however, he is one of the most judgemental and condescending characters i've come across in a while. what puzzles me? is it the nature of the character (David) or is it the author's actual point of view? i will try to give Mr. Coben the benefit of the doubt but i'm not convinced. (as jay-z said "i don't believe you, you need more people")
almost all of the characters in this novel are stereotypes:
-the asian killer, who appears to have no sympathy or feelings of any kind. preferred weapon of
choice: his bare hands.
-the black drugdealer/ thugs who have no concept of life besides their own "hood mentality." same goes for the hispanic characters.
-the love of David's life, Elizabeth, a white woman who is perfect in every way. she tries to help the downtrodden (aka thugs) even at the risk of her own life.
-the cops, who are of course stupid
-the lawyers, sleazy and money hungry
oddly enough, only the lesbians get a reasonably fair shake (i may be wrong, though).
so, there's that issue...
the other problem is that in order to keep the love of David's life pure and perfect, coben give some weird, afterthought ending to tie up the loose ends (poorly) in the last chapter. *Spoiler Alert* Elizabeth didn't shoot the deadbeat idiot ( no, she's too good for that), the 1st person narrator did. so why didn't he mention that important information in the first 368 pages??
the last complaint ( i promise) concerns the premise of the book (the motivation, if you will). all of the events that happened (mostly bad things) happened because of the death of a guy who sounds like a major a-hole whom we never meet or even hear that much about. some rich jerk's jerkier son was killed. so, for close to a decade, just about everyone who may or may not have had anything to do with it must pay with their lives??
i'm not buying that!
i will keep you updated on what the others thought of the book at my 1st book club meeting next week!