Sunday, January 06, 2008

renowned blogger electric halibut staggered grimly through his latest post

On the day his farm was attacked with overwhelming force, Jack West Jr had slept in till 7:00 am.
Normally he got up around six to see the dawn, but life was good these days. His world had been at peace for almost eighteen months, so he decided to skip the damn dawn and get an extra hour's sleep.
These are the first words of Australian thriller writer Matthew Reilly's new novel The Six Sacred Stones, as printed in a little 20-page promotional extract that fell out of a magazine I bought today (either Q or Empire, it must have been). The Amazon blurb describes it thus: "The Six Sacred Stones will take you on a non-stop rollercoaster ride through ancient history, modern military hardware, and some of the fastest and most mind-blowing action you will ever read." Amusingly, Wikipedia alleges that his first novel was rejected by every publisher it was sent to on the grounds that it was "unoriginal and full of clichés and tired synonyms". You can say that again. If I didn't know better I'd have said it was a parody of the genre, with obligatory square-jawed rugged-yet-sensitive protagonist and quasi-mystical quest-based bollocks à la Da Vinci Code (which is itself amusingly deconstructed on Language Log here and here, among other places) thrown in.

I don't read a lot of what you might call "straight" thrillers these days, but if you want a recommendation of one that delivers constant thrills but doesn't require a lobotomy, then I have one for you: try Green River Rising by Tim Willocks.

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