Monday, June 13, 2011

A hankering for action

I've missed my public library. For some time, I've neglected it, too caught up with university hours to visit and ponder and pore (paw?) over their books. My local council has three or four libraries and some have late hours and weekend hours but I've neglected them all, just the same. Instead, I've been rereading my comfort books, flipping through baby manuals and ordering the latest in the many series I'm reading from Book Depository (oh, free postage/shipping, how you tempt me so). But last week I had a hankering, struck by it on the campus commute, so I detoured.

Most of what I want to read wasn't available but I did manage to pick up James Phelan's Red Ice, the latest in his Lachlan Fox action/journalism series. I'm a sucker for an action book, particularly by an Australian whose managed to translate from student academic/journo to full time fiction writer. I first came across Phelan when Literati popped up at a perfect time during my PhD. When Fox Hunt came out, I was curious, then hooked and plowed through Patriot Act, Blood Oil and Liquid Gold. Fox and Gammaldi worked, the action was over the top but oddly plausible (as all action should be) and it didn't have the irritating manic-edge that Matthew Reilly's books had to them.

But this last book, it just hasn't clicked. The elements seem to be there (sweet-arse car chases in Paris and the French countryside) but some part of that doesn't seem to be working. Perhaps it's the Kate thing, although I've never had an issue with her character before. It just seems awkward and distracting here. Perhaps it's the lack of journalism, which I dig anyway but seemed to be a useful grounding device for Fox. Perhaps it's the sequel thing, which sometimes works in action and sometimes doesn't (aka the film Quantum of Solace - that never should have been a sequel!). Perhaps it's the tall building in China thing without actually having any other action in China, which reminded me an awful lot of Entrapment (wrong country, I know - same, same but different).

Whatever it was, it didn't quite satisfy the hankering for action but won't stop me from searching out Phelan's new post-apocalyptic (young adult?) series.

Photo source: Red Ice cover

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