The Moscow Vector by Patrick Larkin is book number six in the Covert One Series originally created by Robert Ludlum. I found this Larkin novel quite a bit more enjoyable than his previous effort, The Lazarus Vendetta. Larkin maintains his edgier style, but presents a more believable and well-honed story. The Lazarus Vendetta read more like a espionage thriller and less like a science fiction work, which I for one, found to be an improvement. Now on to book number seven, which was written by James Cobb, whom I know nothing about, but whom hopefully is up to the task!
3 out of 5 cups of black coffee.
The Lazarus Vendetta is the fifth book in The Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum and written in conjunction with other authors. This is the first of the stories written by Patrick Larkin, and the results while acceptable, are not overtly impressive. My main complaint is that the story itself is too far-fetched and unbelievable. As a result, the reader remains an observer of the action rather than a participant in the action. Good stories, I would argue, so envelope the reader that she no longer feels as if she is reading at all. Obviously, believability in every detail is not the essential element to make a story work, but it is fairly important in the thriller/spy genre, especially if said story is set in modern times. Despite how well the other elements of the story may be developed, ultimately the book falls flat if the reader can’t imagine the events actually happening in real life. And The Lazarus Vendetta is just a bit too far gone to be fully enjoyed. Longtime readers of The Covert One series will also note that Larkin’s style is a bit different than other authors. Most notably he’s more graphic (gory), and some of the traits of main characters are portrayed differently. For instance, Fred Klein was addicted to his pipe in the last novel, but his obsession is hardly mentioned at all in this story. In one scene, Jon Smith suddenly develops a conscious towards a would-be attacker and nearly dies as a result. I don’t dislike the book, but it falls a bit short when compared to the stories Gayle Lynds has written in the series. As it goes, Gayle Lynds is the best author in the Covert One Series so far, with Patrick Larkin and Phillip Shelby a distant second and third.
2 of 5 cups of black coffee.
This is the second book in the Covert-One Series by Robert Ludlum and is relatively brief in comparison to most of Ludlum’s other work. The Cassandra Compact finds protagonist John Smith chasing down a sample of smallpox stolen from a Russian Lab that threatens wreak devastation upon the world. This is a fairly typical novel within the thriller / covert-military genre, but honestly less believable than other Ludlum tales. Wheres a book like The Hades Factor made the reader take seriously the extent to which capitalistic greed threatens all of us, I doubt that Cassandra convinces anyone. Still enjoyable, but a little below par.
2 out of 5 cups of black coffee
After finishing Robert Ludlum’s The Paris Option a few weeks ago, I realized it was actually part of a series of novels known as the Covert-One Novels. So, I went back and downloaded The Hades Factor, the first in the series. It’s pretty standard Ludlum: Fun to read (especially as an audiobook), enjoyable characters (only somewhat believable), and hard to put down. Since I have a audible.com account, and multiple credits saved up, I’ve now moved onto the next Covert-One Novel: The Cassandra Compact. Should I read more really good fiction? – Yeah; Do I still enjoy reading these novels? – Yeah.
3.5 out of 5 cups of black coffee.