eBook Review Gal is excited to add another great book reviewer to our fabulous team! Neil McFarlane is a former EFL teacher who recently returned to college to gain an MA in English. He has written numerous articles primarily for EFL publications and has also worked as an assistant editor for a print publishing company. Books have been his life-long passion.
Below is Neil’s first review – The Demeter Code by Russell Brooks:
Written with an admirable attention to detail and obviously the result of much painstaking research, The Demeter Code will appeal to fans of such books/films as Mission Impossible, The Bourne Identity, James Bond and similar international spy thrillers. But be warned: the plot is complex and there are a host of characters to keep track of, which will make it a challenging book for some readers.
There is a lot to admire here. The plot has been carefully worked out and the characters interact well. The action is plentiful and the globetrotting story ranges between the US, Europe and Asia. The stakes are high, with an attack many times worse than 9/11 threatened against the US. There is one rather unpleasant scene where the main character displays an extreme misogynistic streak that left a sour taste in this reader’s mouth, but apart from that, the good guys (and gals) are good, and the bad guys are satisfyingly bad.
It’s a long novel – 423 pages – so you get a lot of bang for your buck, but my final feeling was that the author’s ambition got the better of him and the book ended up being a little overblown. For example, many times the author breaks off from the action to explain some detail of CIA procedure, and I felt such digressions interfered with the flow. If you happen to be fascinated by the inner workings of the CIA, you’re not going to mind, but I think this book would have benefited from an editor – or a better editor – with a big red pen to suggest cuts, especially towards the end.
I found the book a little difficult to get into, then with the middle section I was keen to read on to find out what happened next, and then towards the end, I found my attention wandering once more. Again, I think this was the result of the author wanting to do too much. There is a plot against the US; it’s foiled, and it probably would have been better to end the book there. But suddenly there’s another plot, and this whole last section felt a little over-egged.
Having said all that, the book is not far off from being a top-notch thriller and the writer should be proud of what he has achieved here. If he can reign in his ambition a little and achieve a greater balance between plot, characterization and emotionally engaging the reader, he will certainly be an author to watch in the future.
4 of 5 Stars, Review by Neil McFarlane