Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trader of Secrets

Trader of Secrets: A Paul Madriani Novel
by Steve Martini, William Morrow, May 2011

...little or no character development, an implausible plot (asteroid hurling!) and insipid prose

I now officially feel about Steve Martini books the same way I feel about Circus Peanuts (orange colored marshmallow candy) – I have trouble passing them up but really don’t enjoy them much when I am done and all in all sorry I indulged.

Martini has moved from legal procedural crime novels to international thrillers and it hasn’t been a successful transition at least in my opinion. In his earlier novels the settings were primarily in California and the characters and plots had some depth to them. In Trader of Secrets the three main characters – Paul Mandriani, his law partner Harry Hinds and his girl friend Jocelyn rocket around the world (DC to Bangkok to Paris to Mexico) chasing Liquida the villain who has stalked the Mandrianis’ for at least the last two novels. Mixed in with the chase is a story about two NASA scientists who have sold a secret weapons system to the Iranians. The weapons system maneuvers asteroids so they can be sent hurling into specific locations like say Phoenix or Israel. The good guys chase Liquida and the other bad guys to a remote location in the Mexican jungles where aided by a full contingent of Israeli Defense Forces a 40 page battle ensues.

So in summary, little or no character development, an implausible plot (asteroid hurling!) and insipid prose. I really wonder if this book was ghost written as it is so off the mark from Martini’s earlier courtroom dramas.

I read a copy of this book borrowed from The Free Library of Philadelphia


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Zibilee said...

It's hard when a favorite author loses steam or goes in a direction that does not serve to highlight their talents, so I can understand your disappointment with these books. Hopefully you will soon come across another series to indulge with! Thanks for the very honest and forthright review, Kathy!

Kathy said...

@Ged - thanks for the comment

@Ziblee - as always I appreciate your comments on my reviews!