Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Best Kept Secret - Jeffrey Archer

It is a well kept secret till the end. This book follows a couple of books in this series called the Clifton Chronicles which made it difficult for me to figure out why certain events were being discussed as if the others had already seen the movie. But it did not matter because the book never rose above the kind of a bar that I would normally reserve for Mr. Archer. It looked like bored writing. A job had to be done and was done. Ho hum. Same here.

For one, the characters were all flat for me speaking like two dimensional caricatures. Maybe the boy Sebastian comes alive a bit and certainly Virginia showed promise but the rest are all super flat. The complex relationships shared by Emma and her brother Giles Barrington, and Harry Clifton, are too complex and best left not understood. They are brothers, half-brothers, half-sisters and so on and so forth. The old lady and her will, the son Sebastian and his aunt Jessica,  their birth and their relationships are all even more complex to be interesting. Come Virginia into Giles life and she adds some drama but Archer gets rid of his best villain rather early. She had promise. Alex Fisher is a hopeless loser and everyone knows he is going to lose. I knew at least. And then the ease with which these people win everything is just too boring. Mr. Martinez appears like a Bollywood villain and had "villain" written all over him. He comes up with the most harebrained schemes to get his money into England. How the seemingly smart Sebastian shows a propensity to get into all sorts of trouble for no reason and shows serious error in judging people like Martinez is rather bizarre. But he is the son of Harry Clifton who dresses like a pilot and goes across the globe to meet his son but does not tell him a word of the danger he is in, so that sort of fits in too. Generally it appears that there is little thinking going on all over. Even the end is too Bollywoody and badly thought of - why such a hammy end Mr. Martinez when you know that many possibilities exist? But obviously someone who devises that kind of a scheme can only think of this kind of a method to kill someone. A first time killer would have thought of a better idea surely. In the end, I figured someone dies - who? Its a well kept secret and I don't intend to find out. It does not matter really.

A couple of days went into reading this book and I consider it not well utilised. The most interesting part was that we get to know the mechanics of publishing and the royalty that Clifton gets. And the American book tour and its mechanics as opposed to the British book tour. There's some research that comes in about Hitler and stuff for some reason but why? Save that publishing bit, it seemed to me bored writing as I said and was not worth the time. I will now return to 'Kane and Abel' to get over this. I suppose every writer gets one like this once in a while. Let's hope the next one gets better. 

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