I am not a fan of these type of gung-ho books.
You know the sort, where there is a tall, dark, not quite handsome, but definitely rugged hero. He invariably has piercing blue or green eyes. When he is not shooting the shit out of the baddies, he is totally irresistible to any woman within at least a 20 mile radius. He has a dry, slightly sarcastic sense of humour. He is of course mentally intelligent and physically superfit. He is moral (ish) but not to the extent that it stops him killing the baddies.
He also performs the impossible, managing to get out of the most unbelievable predicaments.
But while this sort of tale may not be my book of choice for a Sunday’s (or any other day’s) read, I don’t turn my nose up at free books.
Our neighbour is in some informal book exchange circuit and readily passes them onto us. Saves leaving them on a bench outside, especially when it might rain.
So it was from him that we finally encountered Clive Cussler and the redoubtable Dirk Pitt (six foot something, opaline green eyes, etc etc etc).
The plots follow the same formula, ie there is always lost treasure to start off the novel and in the opening chapter(s), we hear about how it gets lost. Then, we come right back to the present day and our American clean cut super-hero appears, to sort out the baddies, romance (aka shag) at least one woman, and natch, find the treasure from hundreds or thousands of years ago.
At 600 pages or so per novel, they at least entertain me for a couple of days, or more when I have distractions from reading.
Treasure was the first one we read, and it was a good yarn. Sahara was another good one.
Next we got a copy of Chris Ryan’s The Increment.
Like Cussler, Ryan is ex-services. However Cussler is ex American Air Force, and Ryan is ex SAS. And there is a world of difference in their novels.
Like a lot of British authors, Ryan seems to imbue a sense of bleakness and harsh realism into his tales. However fantastic (or not, I have no idea) his stories may be, there is no happily ever after. Yes, the hero comes through in the end, but there is always a price to be paid by someone, and not just the baddies. And any humour in his novels is invariably black.
The Increment is a good action-packed tale. Ex-SAS man has his arm twisted to do one last undercover mission etc etc. It was good enough for me to raid the library for more novels but sadly they don’t seem to have as many Ryans as they do Cusslers. I did get my hands on The Watchman which is a tale of MI5 plans to infiltrate the IRA. Excellent read.
Co-incidentally I noticed a book crossing stall in The Piazza on Saturday, and there are now four local places to leave and collect books. The only one I can remember on the list however, is Sacarello’s in Irish Town. So if you don’t exchange books informally with friends and work colleagues, there are now places to book cross here in Gib.
Of course you could always join the library, based in John Mack Hall in Main Street.