Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Catching up on crime: ODDS ON by Michael Crichton and DJIBOUTI by Elmore Leonard

Here are a couple of recent reads from my tbr. I've been on a bit of a modern masters crime kick as of late having already read some Ed McBain. It's great to be able to delve into these books but authors who know how to write a damn good yarn.

ODDS ON by Michael Crichton

ODDS ON is a fast moving heist novel centered around 3 guys looking for a large score at a luxury resort. Elements of Michael Crichton’s tech-fi are glimpsed here with the heist planned using a computer to determine the probability for success measured against a number of variables. The human factor not withstanding (unknown elements that can’t be factored into the equation), the stakes looked low to garner a high payoff. What ensues is a fun and colorful pulp mixing a free spirited resort mentality, freewheeling men and women, and a plan cooked to perfection.

DJIBOUTI by Elmore Leonard

For the first half of the book, Djibouti felt disjointed; meandering through the mundane in a mix mash of present and past tense that did little but confuse. I got the feeling Elmore Leonard felt the same - to an extent. Enter James Russell, the character that set the book on a path to redemption; a linear plot ensued with Russell at the core along with a terror plot to blow the world into submission. 

Dara, a documentary film maker and her cameraman Xavier are trademark characters; full of life, distinction, and color - they jump off the page and immediately bond the with reader. Much the same goes for the wealthy Billy and his model girlfriend-of-the-moment Helene. Elmore Leonard has always written characters and conversations well - in Djibouti it's no different. 

Unfortunately it's the early plotting that smeared what would have otherwise been a very good book. The documentary film angle in search of modern day pirates was a interesting concept which lacked a bit of polish in the execution. It was that very concept, however, that linked Russell to Dara and the others, for which I'm glad. 

Djibouti is a miss then a hit. 

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