Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book Review: The Counterfeit

Last week, I took a huge risk. I did something that could have blown up in my face and marked me with permanent scars in the blogosphere.

(Deep breath...) I put The Counterfeit by Robison Wells on my Just Plain Good list--when I still had fifty pages left to read!

I know, right?

I gambled on the ending being as strong as the rest of the book. Can you imagine what would have happened if I was wrong? Chaos, madness, the fabric of the blogosphere ripping. I would have had to take it off my LIST!

I'm sure Robison Wells (who I'm equally sure does not frequent pink blogs) will be relieved to know that the list stands and will be updated only with additions and not deletions. Because The Counterfeit is a fun read. I realize this book isn't exactly a new release, but it's new to me so....it's my party and I'll blog what I want to! :)

I didn't read the first book in this series, and although I kind of wish I had gotten to that one first, this still stands alone. The story starts with a bang (well, a stabbing) when Eric is attacked by a knife-wielding assassin on the way to his girlfriend Rebekah's performance. The FBI immediately whisks them away to a safehouse in the Witness Protection Program assuming that the assailant was hired by Felix, a criminal mastermind whose empire their upcoming trial testimony threatens to unravel.

But it turns out, it's not really the FBI. Rebekah's father, who may or may not be a terrorist, engineered the whole extraction believing he could better protect his daughter from his arch nemesis, Felix. Unfortunately, under her father's "protection", Eric and Rebekah uncover a devastating plot to unleash a nuclear holocaust for a combination of sick ideology and profit. Their efforts to stop it send them into the bizarre subculture of the Parisian catacombs and a remarkably dangerous island in the Puget Sound.

This book has some silly moments and one liners and I mean that in the best possible way. Wells writes clever dialogue and maintains an entertaining pace without exhausting the reader. Although the humor is one of my favorite things about this book, I also appreciate the Rebekah character because I hate weak WIMPs (women in mortal peril: future blog post coming). Although she is indeed in mortal peril and has to depend heavily on Eric due to a critical injury, she still comes off strong and actually sets their course several times through the story, which I think is great.

Wells laces clues together effectively to create a believable and entertaining narrative. Rebekah's injuries add a sense of urgency and unease that heighten the suspense. And although the exact nature of the bad guy's connection to a super secret organization (his place in the hierarchy and how he became involved, the exact nature of their expectations, etc.) is somewhat vague, the plot holds together well.

This isn't deep literature, but it's a darn good time. Grade: B+


Kimberly said...

I read a post of his at Six LDS Writers and a Frog recently and am determined to get my hands on one of his books at some point.

Nothing like an informative review that also makes the reader giggle - well done!

Annette Lyon said...

Great review--I agree 100%. Rob Wells is a great writer. I like all his books, but The Counterfeit is my favorite.

RobisonWells said...

On the contrary, I read pink blogs almost exclusively!

Thanks for the great review. My high school GPA was a B+ average, so I'm pleased to see that I'm consistent. And I'll take a darn good time over deep literature any day.


charrette said...

I can't even tell you how many times I take the 50-page gamble like that...Glad you were safe!

Karlene said...

I liked this one better than the one before it. But you have to read the first one for this one to make sense. And it's not like I hated the first one; it was fine. But this one was better. Thanks for the review.