Welcome to the book blog of writer and creative writing tutor, Diane Paul.

Thanks to the publishers and kind PR people who send me books and releases about their clients' books for review. Press releases and review copies of fiction and non-fiction are always welcome. (No sci-fi, fantasy or erotica please.)

Due to the barrage of requests from self-published authors for reviews, I'm unable to deal with them all, although I'm sometimes drawn to non-fiction for the subject matter. And because I love print books, the smell, the touch of the paper and the sight of the words, I don't have an electronic reader or review e-books.

E-mail to: bookblogforbookworms@keywordeditorial.com for the postal address.

My writing website: http://www.keywordeditorial.com/

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Messenger by Daniel Silva

Published by Penguin Books (2006), if you're a follower of Silva's books, this is one of the Gabriel Allon Thriller series. It was lent by a friend, so it's not my usual cup of tea. Allon is an art restorer and secret Israeli spy, who blows his cover in this book. He's delegated to keep an eye on American art expert and beauty (of course), Sarah Bancroft, recruited by Israeli Intelligence to infiltrate an evil cell of Al-Qaeda terrorists, whose financial backing comes from the Saudis (infiltrators of everything). The terrorists attack the Vatican at the start and finish with the between story dedicated to Messenger Sarah's jet-setting life with the wealthy Zizi, ace villain. It's pacey, slick and action-packed. It's also well-researched on both sides' surveillance systems but tough on the poor Messenger who gets slapped around so much and whose personal relationship with Allon never materialises; the woman who does captivate the professional killer remains a shadowy figure in the background and was set up to be there for him when he emerged. I didn't really care about the gun types used but doubtless some readers would relish such attention to detail and it did feel like chunks of two separate stories in a circular structure. Most shocking was the publisher's sloppiness in the amount of literals in the text, something that would never have passed muster in Allen Lane's day. Silva, who lives in Washington DC has written 13 books, 10 in the Allon Series. The Washingtonian compares him to Greene and LeCarre. What do you think?

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