false impression

by Jeffrey Archer | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0330418823 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 4/17/2014
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Thursday, April 17, 2014
No idea where I got this book. (For some reason, I was sure I had picked it up at a BC meeting or something.) I guess I bought it at one of my local thrift stores a few years ago.

I finally read it last week after a looong hiatus of not reading any books I didn't already know (because of work, taking up piano playing and discovering watching DVDs as a new hobby). What got me back into reading was this video of a guy explaining why he's going to read all the Discworld books in chronological order. In particular, he was raving about "Truckers", which really made me want to read the book. Since I didn't have it at home (I've bought it since), I settled for any other book in English, which turned out to be this one.

From the blurb:
An old lady is brutally murdered the night before 9/11

A New York banker receives a woman's left ear in the morning post

A top-notch lawyer works for only one client ... but never charges a fee

A professional young woman steals a Van Gogh ... but she isn't a thief

An Olympic gymnast is paid a million dollars ... but has no bank account

An honours graduate inherits a fortune ... but works as a temp

A Japanese steel magnate gives $50 million to a woman he's only met once

... and a senior FBI agent is trying to work out the connection between these seven apparently innocent individuals.


Intriguing? Yeah, though they stretch the story quite a bit. With some of these, the connection is obvious or at least clear in context, while others play no role in the agent's investigation. The one that still puzzles me is the third one (about the lawyer). A few lawyers got mentioned but I can't remember any of them specifically not being paid...

For a thriller (IMHO it's not a mystery if you know the culprit) the story goes pretty smoothly. It was exciting enough for me to stay up until 2 am when I had to get up early the next day, but I was never really worried about the main characters. Partly that's because, even when sharing their thoughts, I never got to know them on a level that might have made them feel real. Anna is a likeable enough character but her motivations barely dive below the surface and her background only goes skin-deep. With Jack, it's even worse.

Moreover, I feel Archer did himself a humungous disservice by setting the novel at the same time of 9/11. While this enables him to start the book out with a bang, it's a borrowed kind of tension that hardly plays any role in the actual plot. Spoiler, make visible by highlighting: The attack gives Anna the opportunity of hiding from her would-be pursuers by pretending to be dead and ensures the destruction of some documents about the transaction dealing with the van Gogh, both of which could a) have been achieved some other way, and b) are not all that central to the plot.

Not being American and not knowing anyone who was (even indirectly) affected by the terrorist attack, I nonetheless feel that using 9/11 as a cheap plot element is, at best, tactless. It probably was an important marketing point of the book, too!

I'm not actually upset about this (though I consider it a dubious decision), but - to return to my original point - knowing that real people died and suffered in the all too real attack makes anything these fictional characters experience, down to being stalked and murdered, seem downright petty. Any other setting would have been less distracting.

Still, following Krantz on the prowl was exciting and I loved the suspense of the showdown. Also, I enjoyed trying to guess (more spoilers) the location of the real painting at any given time. Turns out I was wrong at least half of the time.

And I only now realize that the cover shows a detail of the painting in the centre of the novel, van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.

Journal Entry 2 by erinacea at Schöneberg, Berlin Germany on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (12/10/2015 UTC) at Schöneberg, Berlin Germany

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Taken along to today's meet-up at Restaurant Marcello, where apparently someone picked it up.

Journal Entry 3 by wingny-nolwing at Schöneberg, Berlin Germany on Saturday, December 12, 2015
Caught the book at the December 2015 Meetup Berlin. - 23.04.2016: I lived reading this book, full of suspense and twists, which left me always guessing who was when and where in the possession of the picture. Although it soon became clear who the good guys and and the bad guys were, Jeffrey Archer always had new surprises and dramatic turns ready.
This book was unputdownable for me and I was really fortunate reading it beeing on holidays.

Journal Entry 4 by wingny-nolwing at Brauhaus in Spandau, Berlin Germany on Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Released 4 yrs ago (6/6/2016 UTC) at Brauhaus in Spandau, Berlin Germany

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Hope you found it. Enjoy your reading. A journal entry would be nice und please release the book again after reading.

Viel Spass beim Lesen. Über eine Journaleintrag würde ich mich freuen. Bitte das Buch nach dem Lesen wieder freilassen.

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