Sunday, 9 October 2011

Library of the Dead

Author: Glenn Cooper
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Type: Paperback
Pages: 410
First published: 2009
First Line: "David Swisher spun the track ball of his BlackBerry until he found the e-mail from the CFO of one of his clients."

Synopsis: On the seventh day of the seventh month in the year 777, the seventh son of a seventh son is born on the Isle of Wight which puts in motion an age-old prophecy.

Centuries later, in 1940's England Winston Churchill calls in a favour to his American counterpart. He needs help dealing with a rare and potentially huge archaeological discovery which, if put in the wrong hands, could spell disaster.

In present day New York, Will Piper's career as a one of the FBI's top agents who investigate serial killers is on a downward spiral and he's only killing time before he can retire with his pension. Unexpectedly, his superiors assigned to the very high-profile Doomsday Murder case. With no clues to link the numerous victims except for a postcard that was delivered to each person stating the date of their death Will does not have much to go on. Suddenly Will gets an amazing lead ... only to be yanked off the case by his superiors. Will is determined to find the killer before he or she strikes again even if it means going against the FBI.

My Thoughts: I'm having a hard time rating this book. On the one hand it was an engaging read. While not quite as 'hard to put down' as I was hoping it was still interesting read and kept me intrigued. The author dealt with combining the back and forth between eras well and the pace was decent. The conspiracy was interesting but wasn't as shocking or had as many twists as I was hoping for.

All I can say is that this book was just lacking something and I can't quite put my finger on exactly what that was. It kind of had all the right things but it just didn't deliver it as well as I was hoping. When I first started reading this book it felt like what the literary love child of James Patterson (Alex Cross series) and Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code) would be like. It had the ancient conspiracy with the modern day mystery and a very interesting premise.

I think that there were just too many things that niggled and bothered me. Things that I found hard to believe and had a hard time forgetting so that I could enjoy the book. The first being that I couldn't imagine England, specifically the mighty Winston Churchill, giving the USA such a powerful tool. England was a power in its own right. Why did England feel they couldn't handle it and felt like they had to give this 'weapon' to the US?? It just made the Brits come off as wimpy and felt like the author was belittling England. That probably wasn't the author's intention but that's what it felt like to me.

The second was the 'romance' angle which I just didn't buy. First of all, I didn't find much about Will that was attractive so I had a hard time believing that a young FBI agent would find him attractive either. Will was portrayed as very negative with not many redeeming qualities and I'm not sure why. One would think that an author would want readers to root for the hero but Will did everything possible to be the cad, bad father, drunkard and all around misogynist. He only becomes interested in his young partner when she makes herself prettier and loses weight. Really? I'm supposed to root for this guy?? Overall the romance part of the storyline could have been deleted. It didn't add to the story and felt awkward.

I also want to warn readers that there is a very graphically violent scene involving a child that was really hard to stomach and shocked me. It felt gratuitously sadistic and put in for shock value alone.

Overall, it was a decent read. It was lacking some intensity and twists but was still intriguing enough for me to stick with it.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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