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Visibility by Boris Starling


by Boris Starling

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  1. 00
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (foolplustime)
    foolplustime: It has the same careful plotting and atmosphere, but has tension, and stakes.

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I am a big fan of Boris Starling's Messiah so, although I wasn't particularly struck by the blurb of this book, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Either fortunately or unfortunately, my copy contained a hugely misleading blurb which spoke excitedly of a rising body count (there isn't), and the tagline "Now you see it, now you're dead" (you aren't).

This is a very claustrophobic novel and it does a decent job of evoking the thick London fog the characters move through as they go about their investigations. However, there's little feeling of threat. There's a secret the MC, Herbert Smith, is trying to find out but - and particularly because this is set in the 50s - it's not exciting enough. At the grand reveal I was waiting for a second denouement, or some tension, or anything at all to get me past the mild disappointment (particularly as if I had a better memory for names I would have had an idea where this was going within the first third).

This book reminds me very much of Robert Harris' Fatherland - it has the same cold atmosphere and gradual pacing, but where that had an emotional impact (by pulling a neat little trick with what we, the modern reader knows, vs what the MC in that knows), here Starling's neat plotting is slightly too dull. The pieces are there and they all line up well enough, but ... I could easily have given up on this one. ( )
  foolplustime | Aug 14, 2013 |
A very good book combining espionage and murder set in post-war London during the great smog of 1952. A good attempt to portray life in post-war London, and particularly the smogs. In his Afterword the author refers to the last London smog of 1962 - I can still remember that one. ( )
  johnthefireman | Oct 2, 2007 |
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The fog was coming, without and within.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451412508, Mass Market Paperback)

The New York Times bestselling author of Vodka and Messiah

London, 1952. Only hours before he is murdered, a prominent biochemist claims to know something that could change the world. Tracing the victim's final footsteps is ex-spy-turned-Scotland Yard detective Herbert Smith. It leads straight to a secret that is coveted by both the CIA and the KGB, and threatened by the last vestige of the Third Reich. REIVEW: "a smart bracing look at the legacy of Nazi scientific dreams."
-Seattle Times

"This is how thrillers should be done."
-Baltimore Sun

"Topnotch espionage."
-Library Journal

"Wonderfully unpredictable twists."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Having traded MI5 for New Scotland Yard, Detective Inspector Herbert Smith thinks he's left the murky world of espionage behind him - until he begins retracing the final footsteps of Max Stensness. Suddenly he's being tailed, thinly veiled threats are issued, danger lurks at every turn in the investigation.… (more)

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