19 May 2014

Justice, helped along by humans

Books | John McLaren | Running Rings

One of the things I like about John McLaren books is the 'poetic' or ironic justice that always gets the villains by the end. The good guys may do stupid things along the way (and usually do), but they remain essentially just. They have their foibles and weaknesses, and the villains have things going their way much of the time, but in the end, justice prevails, helped along by the good humans.

This is roughly what the story is about: 
It's not a spoiler, because I've lifted it off the back cover. Thing is, it's not fully accurate. Primrose is not the one who works with Rupert on the crime side. It's her dad who does.

Primrose starts off as a doormattish woman, whom Rupert winds around his little finger. Later on, she does show signs of fury and spine, more like a hotshot lawyer should be. Her brother Lee is a thug of the first order. Her brother Dan spends most of the time off-stage. Ronnie, her dad, is a likeable character all around. Kudos to McLaren for this, since most drug-lord characters in thrillers rarely engage the readers' sympathies. 

This despite the fact that McLaren has a very spare writing style, almost like Icelandic sagas, in which you get to know a lot about the facts, the things that happened, and little about the inner workings of the characters unless they mention something in dialogue. Well done, McLaren, and I will continue reading your books!

You should, too. These books written around the turn of the century have references to cutting edge technology, and cutting commentary on the style of management consultants and VCs. I found those sections hilarious, knowing quite a bit about how companies really do work with management consultants. Totally spot on, and why not? The author used to be a venture capitalist and director of two investment banks, where he must have closely worked with all kinds of people in that realm, the good, bad and ugly.

Yes, there is humour, all integral to the plot, which chugs along at decent clip. You find you warm up to the 'right' characters, which is a tribute to the author's skill (okay, I'll stop belabouring this point). There are also a lot of surprises along the way.

There is a happy ending, which is de rigeur for me to really like a book (necessary but not sufficient condition), and I really liked this one. Some day I'll get along to reviewing Press Send, which I read before this one, and which made me pick out John McLaren books when I can get them. But take it from me, that one was good, too.

Hmm, for those who need more help in making up their minds, I should give you an 'if you like x, you may like these'. So, similar stories but a more famous writer would be Sidney Sheldon. Plus of course if you made good in the dotcom era, or even if you were close to it, you can relate to fellow geeks in the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment