Hello my lovely nerds!
Today, I am reviewing a book about which I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I like the premise: you can do a lot with it, and I do think it has legs for a good series. On the other hand, the author (whose professional background I deeply respect) has taken an approach to writing more akin with either a lecture or a field report, which makes for weird reading.
The book I am talking about is Buried In Black, by J.T. Patten. It’s a book in the Task Force Orange series, and is essentially a spook-assassin thriller. Now, I am all about this kind of book because usually, it’s ‘fictional’ enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m completing a reading for work when I’m actually reading it.
This novel, however, despite the really cool premise, did feel like work. I think it really was more to do with the fact that the author, clearly well-steeped in intelligence and security terminology, was trying to educate the reader as he went along but didn’t quite manage to weave the teaching moments into the flow of the novel. Certain areas of the book felt like a reading I would do (or assign) on the basics of intelligence operations or special forces operations; other parts felt like what I imagine some field reports would look like. This really interrupted the flow of the story itself. There were also just some really, really odd choices in description; “eyebrow-hair bundles” made an appearance at one point and I just honestly didn’t know what to do with that, other than laugh disbelievingly.
However, as I said, I did enjoy the premise of the novel. There is a lot you could build on for further work and I do like the characters that were introduced, though again there were a few issues around how the introduction of new characters did tend to interrupt the flow of the story. The twist at the end was interesting, I’ll admit, and I did not see that happening at all, for which I have to credit Patten.
This is worth a read, I think, if only to lay the groundwork for his other books (which I haven’t read to, but may look at in future). Also for the “lecture” bits which are pretty good, actually, if you want a feel for that sort of thing.
Cheers to NetGalley for the read!
Image credits: from the author’s website
Disclaimer: this ebook was provided to me by in exchange for an honest review. As always, the provenance of a title has no effect whatsoever on my opinion of the content.