Welcome to Murder by the Book's blog about what we've read recently. You can find our website at www.mbtb.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Darkness Under Heaven, by F. J. Chase ($7.99)

This is a movie in book form. That is to say, there is no actual movie, but the book is eighty percent dialogue and twenty percent short, declarative sentences with not much style, and it begs to be turned into an action movie.

Too much dialogue. Too much clever bantering between the male and female main characters. No style. Kill or be killed philosophy. All signs that usually point to my slamming the book shut as soon as possible. So why did I read every page?

Imagine a Bruce Willis action character who looks like Telly Savalas. Imagine an Angelina Jolie action character who looks like Christine Lahti (at least that’s how I picture her). Imagine China at war with Taiwan. Imagine our main characters are trapped in China. Imagine neither one can speak Chinese. If you can imagine this, you have the basic elements of the book and they may or may not appeal to you, but the interest for me, and why I am favorably reviewing this book, is in the details.

F. J. Chase is a pseudonym of “a former military officer and national security commentator.” (Endearingly, he dedicates his book to his mother.) I found his depiction of Chinese military and political propriety fascinating and his insight into the Chinese mind authentic, if not flattering. Chase instructs the reader on how to make bombs, camouflage, and break-in tools, and how to survive in catastrophic circumstances -- even those of your own making. Not that I know how to do any of the above, but Chase writes with authority and I have no reason to doubt that his do-it-yourself scenarios are possible.

That’s it in a nutshell. Caucasian man and woman try to escape an Asian country at war using their wits.

Got an airplane you need to ride for a long time? Take this book. If it puts you to sleep, hey, what’s wrong with that? If it keeps your heart pumping, that’s good, too!

1 comment:

  1. I loved the book and I'm not into war book. Can't wait to see what is on the horizon.