Book Review: The Fifth Profession by David Morrell

The Fifth ProfessionThe Fifth Profession by David Morrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How do you tell if a book has samurai in it? Don’t worry, they’ll put a katana on the cover. A book about ninjas is a little harder, since they are invisible to anyone that hasn’t just been killed by a ninja. How do you tell if a book is a thriller? Don’t worry, they’ll put a gun on the cover.

Professional protectors – the fifth profession…. get it! – Savage and Akira are teamed up to protect a travelling businessman. Things go horribly wrong and Savage is beaten to a pulp after seeing the businessman and Akira killed. Akira is also beaten to a pulp and sees the businessman and Savage killed. And so begins the twist in this David Morrell thriller.

A lot of thrillers take you from point A to point B very efficiently to the point of cliche. Some authors even churn out the same book dozens of times in this manner. The thing that keeps you coming back is the the taut writing, thrills and cool escapism. The strength of The Fifth Profession is that it starts with the standard thriller plot setup and then eschews that for a different plot entirely. It makes the entire story novel. See what I did there?

There are some annoying aspects to Morrell’s novel. David has a habit of hammering certain points and descriptions at the reader, to the point I started assuming everyone had “karate” calloused hands. To some people this could be annoying and enough to throw the book against a wall – which I wouldn’t be doing this since I read this on my iPad. To others the plotting and pacing will keep you entertained, as it did with me.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

Rules of thriller writing

archer-gun

1) If in doubt kill a character.

2) Plot holes can be filled with dead bodies.

3) Nothing screams thriller more than characters screaming for their lives.

4) Car chases and shootouts are mandatory.

5) The hero can’t die, unless you really, really want them to.

6) The bad-guy must die horribly, unless you want them for the sequel. Even then, the sequel could be a zombie thriller.

7) Beloved minor characters must die the most gruesome and pointless of deaths.

8) Minor bad-guys must follow the inverse ninja law.

9) The only reason a gun should ever run out of bullets is if it puts the hero in even more danger.

10) The rules of physics and biology do not apply to the hero, unless it puts them in even more danger.

11) Deus ex machina can only be used once in the story, so use it wisely.

12) If your story hasn’t given your readers a heart attack, rewrite it so that it does.

See also:
http://davidmorrell.net/on-writing/writing-advice/
http://www.creative-writing-now.com/how-to-write-a-thriller.html
http://www.writerscentre.com.au/sydney/thrillerwriting.htm

Book Review: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1)The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tried to like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, tried but couldn’t help but feel the story was being dragged out far too much. This series, by Brent Weeks, had called to me from the bookstore shelves. Every other book in the fantasy section had all black and red covers, usually with a dragon or girl, or girl riding a dragon. This promised what I had looked for in The Wheel of Time series.

So did it deliver? No. It gave me something else completely, which I enjoyed more.

With a fantasy I was expecting elves: nope. From the cover art I was expecting ninjas: not really. From the blurb I was expecting a Karate Kid story line: thankfully not.

This was a very enjoyable, whilst dark, fantasy novel that had me hooked from about page 10. Normally my reaction to finishing a book is to think about how much I liked or disliked it. In rare instances I immediately jump online and order more books by the author (Lee Child, Matt Hilton, Robert Crais, Matthew Reilly: noticing a pattern there?). The only question now is, do I read the rest of the series right now, or space it out between a few other novels?

Expect reviews of the rest of the series soon…

View all my reviews