Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gideon's Corpse - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

   2012; 449 pages.  Book #2 (out of 4) of the Gideon Crew series.  New Authors? : No.  Genre : Action-Adventure; Thriller.  Overall Rating : 6*/10.

    Things couldn’t get any worse.  One of Gideon’s fellow nuclear scientists goes crazy, taking a family hostage in New York City, and Gideon, who’s in the city at the time, is asked to assist in the stand-off negotiations.

    Alas, the coworker is delusional, claiming that he’s been a test rat subjected to all sorts of radiation experiments, perpetrated by all sorts of evil people, and that Gideon is in cahoots with them.  There’s only one way this hostage situation can resolve itself.

    But the investigation in the aftermath reveals that radiation did indeed play a part in the ordeal.  A plume of it hovers above a nearby warehouse.  There’s evidence of a nuclear bomb having been made there, and apparently the hostage-taker actually suffered a massive exposure to the radiation during its construction.  Serves him right, since he just recently converted to Islam, and was undoubtedly a jihadist.

    Ah, but the bomb and the other baddies are gone, and it seems they are intent on detonating it 10 days from now, somewhere in the United States.

    Well, I guess things can get worse after all.

What’s To Like...
    The action starts immediately, and the thrills and spills run rampant throughout the final page.  The chapters are short, so there’s always a good point to stop.  The settings are comfortable, and, for me at least, familiar: New York City, New Mexico, and Washington DC.  Gideon’s somewhat reluctant partner, Special FBI Agent Stone Fordyce, is kinda kewl.

    If you liked the first book in this series (reviewed here), then you’ll be equally happy with Gideon’s Corpse.  Ditto if you’re a Dirk Pitt fan; I still get the impression that Preston and Child are trying to horn in on the Clive Cussler reading market with this series.  It should be noted that the book’s title has no relevance to the storyline that I could fathom.

    There’s lots of cussing in the book, and a couple of sex scenes.  Every woman that crosses Gideon’s path seems to eventually end up in the sack with him.  Fortunately, there’s only one female lead here, and her relationship with Gideon would be listed as “complicated” if she were on Facebook.

    Gideon’s Corpse is a fast, easy read.  Most of the characters are paper-thin, ideal for reading on an airplane or at the beach.  It has a standalone storyline, which I always like when reading a series.  Finally, I liked the crowd-control tactic on page 27, called “kettling”.  I first ran across this term just a few books ago.

Kewlest New Word ...
Raddled (adj.) : showing signs of age or fatigue.  (curiously, there’s no root verb “raddle” for this meaning; it only exists in the past tense as a modifier).
Others : Desuetude (n.); Dissembling (v.)

    “Didn’t it seem strange to you that he converted to Islam?”
    “Not at all.  When we were married, he used to drag me to the Zen center for meditations, to the pseudo-Indian Native American Church meetings, EST, Scientology, the Moonies – you name it, he tried it.”
    “So he was sort of a spiritual seeker.”
    “That’s a nice way of putting it.  He was a pain in the ass.”  (pg. 147)

    (H)e had to do something about the man downstairs.
    He watched the man for a while.  The man didn’t look sleepy, he wasn’t drinking, and – what unnerved Gideon most of all – he was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses.  This man was no dumb hick cowboy.  The outfit was all show.  This was a sophisticated and intelligent person who would not be easily fooled.  (pg. 290)

 “Oh *now* I get it. … Investigating with your glands, I see.”  (pg. 188)
    I’m a big fan of Preston & Child’s Agent Pendergast books, but I have to say that Gideon Crew is shallow and over-the-top compared to Aloysius.  He’s never wrong, has amazing talents (here, his previously unrevealed background in fencing comes in handy), and has a nerdy machismo that continues to make any and all females drool.

    But the main problem I have with the series are the WTF’s.

    Gideon just happens to be in New York City when a coworker from New Mexico goes postal just a short distance away.  What are the odds?  In one of the many chase scenes, a hand car in an abandoned mine just luckily has some blasting caps in it.  The baddies sabotage an small airplane that Fordyce and Gideon are flying in, both engines flame out, and yet both agents are able to walk away from the landing.  Curiously, they don't think to go back and find the saboteur, they just continue on their merry way.  When it's Gideon with a pistol shooting it out with a team of spec ops guys in a helicopter with fully automatic weapons, who do you think wins?  Yep, you guessed it.

    6 StarsGideon’s Corpse is a better read than Gideon’s Sword, but just barely.  If Gideon Crew ever teamed up with Dirk Pitt, they could probably exterminate all of the evil-doers in the world.

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