Zero Day (John Puller, #1)

It's not often I'm compelled to drop a book out of sheer despair, but this is one of them. Well, not literally, since it was in audio format on my phone, and dropping it would have had serious consequences. But at the 54 minute mark of the 57 minute second cd, enough was enough. At a crime scene, Baldacci's shameless clone of Jack Reacher, here called Puller, started explaining in relentless, unpitying and irrelevant detail how to take a flash photograph. This took several chapters, or seemed th It's not often I'm compelled to drop a book out of sheer despair, but this is one of them. Well, not literally, since it was in audio format on my phone, and dropping it would have had serious consequences. But at the 54 minute mark of the 57 minute second cd, enough was enough. At a crime scene, Baldacci's shameless clone of Jack Reacher, here called Puller, started explaining in relentless, unpitying and irrelevant detail how to take a flash photograph. This took several chapters, or seemed that way, and as far as I can guess--since I don't intend to read on--served no point whatever. (More stalwart readers can tell me if I'm wrong.) This passage came not long after Puller abstractedly mused--as the local sheriff leveled a gun at him--that she had adopted the classic shooters stance pioneered by...who was it...Sgt So and So... in the 1950's...characterized by the legs this way...and the arms that way... and hands...one way or the other...and much more fascinating detail for ten or twenty pages. Since this was a completely gratuitous scene--not to mention that the sheriff was only about three feet away at the time,and unlikely

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to miss--this passage also seemed a trifle superfluous. And let's not even get started on the shotgun pellets.The whole book--sorry, the whole twenty percent I could bare--is like that. Relentless, senseless re-iteration of pointless trivia about anything and everything--for the sake of showing off, like a kid in school jamming as much cribbed information into his report as he can. Like Reacher's impressive physique and stone cold manner, Baldacci seems to have adopted his encyclopedic array of trivia as well for his own hero. But when Reacher riffs on a subject, it means something. With Baldacci's Puller, it's filler. The other fine reviewers here have remarked with great detail and wit on the uncomfortable similarity of Puller to Reacher. For this reason alone the book has to be tossed into the 'what was he thinking!' pile. Surely Baldacci was not intending to write a 400 page tribute? Or parody?Most books I read come to me in audio, and how the narrators interpret the characters do shape my impressions. Unfortunately Hachette audio chose to bring in a second reader to voice the female dialogue. Why some audiobook producers do that is a mystery. If it were a radio play, that would be one thing, but in the context of an audiobook the random intrusion of a completely different voice, obviously not recorded at the same time or place, is jarring and breaks up the flow, and here makes a bad situation worse.

It's very rare when I have to toss a book aside. I can get through the most amazing, convoluted, impossible-beyond-belief nonsense just to see how things turn out. But there's good nonsense, and bad. This, I'm afraid, is one of those.

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Category: Review

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