Saturday, August 25, 2007

Silence -- Thomas Perry

Thomas Perry's publisher has made him the anti-Robert B. Parker. Silence is 439 pages long, whereas Spare Change is 291 pages. I suspect that Silence has about three times the wordage of Parker's book. But it's only about 2/3 as thick. The pages are quite thin, and while the book is hefty, it doesn't take up nearly the room of Spare Change. Don't ask me why I'm mentioning this. I don't really know.

I've liked all the books I've read by Perry, but this one bothered me in a lot of ways. It's not that it's too long, though I thought it was. It's that there's so much backstory that I got tired of wading through it. Everybody has a backstory. Usually a long one. I didn't think all that was necessary, but then I'm a cretin.

Also, the book uses a variation of what Roger Ebert calls "the idiot plot," the one in which if only one person would tell the truth about things, the story would be over. Even aside from that, the plot's pretty far-fetched. Jack Till, a p.i., helped a woman disappear six years ago. Now a man's accused of her murder, so Jack's going to find her and save the guy. Someone doesn't want her saved; he wants her dead, and his lawyer hires a husband-and-wife hit-team to do the job. They're interesting, but not nearly as interesting as Perry seems to find them. At least not to me. They're quite professional, but every time they're about ready to make the hit, some little glitch stops them. Once or twice, maybe I'd be okay. But it seems to happen again and again and again.

There are some twists here and there, but when all was revealed, I wasn't thrilled. Maybe I should just shut up and re-read Metzger's Dog.

Update: Perry has good taste in reading. Click here.


Anonymous said...

Ebert actually picked up the term "idiot plot" from the usages by Damon Knight and James Blish, in the critical writings that Ebert as a fanzine-reading fanboy certainly came across...but, happily, even when Gene Siskel fulsomely congratulated him during one of the PBS SNEAK PREVIEWS episodes for coming up the concept all on his lonesome, Ebert didn't seem to feel the need to give credit where it was due. An ethical failing to go along with his considerable lapses of insight and taste. (Who's a cranky middle-aged man? Been this way for years.)

Unknown said...

It probably slipped his mind.

Anonymous said...

Over the course of years? He's never bothered to do so in his books afaik, either.

Hey, did I tell you about that second law of thermodynamics I came up with the other day?