Thursday, August 17, 2006

Book Review - Vertical Run

Vertical Run
Joseph R. Garber
302 pages
Bantam, 1995

Welcome to the second of two book reviews in a series. I like to think of these book reviews as the, “Yes I am finally returning your books, Scott,” series, the first of which you can read here.

The book opens with a two page idyll which ends on a somewhat down note as David Elliot is headed to serve in Vietnam. Then we plunge into the meat of David Elliot’s tale. David Elliot is a successful businessman living the perfect New York life during the midst of the dot-com boom. He is married, although there is a certain feeling of resignation in his marriage, with a son who is away at college. He wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn most days to jog to the office where he is a vice president of a successful company. He arrives at the office and takes his morning shower and enjoys his coffee for a few moments before he is interrupted by his boss; who is holding a gun. Thus five pages into the first chapter David Elliot’s world has come crashing down around his ears and he must rely on training from thirty some odd years in the past to survive.

Everything about this novel was enjoyable except the penultimate event which puts David Elliot’s life in danger. In order to keep from spoiling the eventual reveal I will have to speak in generalities here, however it strikes me that Garber’s reason for putting his protagonist in danger is very topical to the zeitgeist of the 1990s. In addition to this I have a problem when the action of the book/movie/whatever is driven by complete idiocy. Rather than approach David Elliot and deal with him as an intelligent person the “villains” just attack him. This is as irritating as the superheroes must fight before they can team up to fight the villains device so often used in comics. If David Elliot is an intelligent man then the author needs to treat him as one.

Having said all that it was an enjoyable read. Technically Garber turned in a superior effort however because of the problems I had with the set dressing for the novel I am not sure how well I can recommend this one.

Tags: Books, Reviews

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