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 fourth book in the Covert One Series created by Robert Ludlum. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite novel within the series so far, and it’s solidified my faith in Gayle Lynds as a good thriller novelist. Set largely in China, this novel came alive in it’s accurate portrayal of both that country and the shaky alliance that his been formed between America and the East in recent years. A recurring theme in Ludlum novels is the potential evils of unchecked capitalism and the military industrial complex when they become too tightly interwoven into the fabric of Washington’s politics. Suffice it to say that The Altman Code seems to comment upon both the Bush administration and Dick Cheney as the story of greed and warmongering progresses.
Fun to Read.
4 of 5 cups of black coffee.