Friday, October 2, 2009
The Spire by Richard North Patterson
Richard North Patterson excells at writing thrillers. However, he stinks at writing romance. The suspense portions of this book were great, if occasionally long-winded, but the relationship between Mark and Taylor just never gelled. This was supposed to be a relationship that progressed from a young girl's infatuation to a mature couple sharing comfort after loss with possibilities of long term love. However, Patterson spent so much time explaining to me why this relationship existed and why I should care that, in the end, I didn't. While the romance angle could have added more depth to the story, their relationship as it is added nothing except convenient access to information/locations to help solve the crime. They could have remained platonic and accomplished the same thing without near the frustration level for the reader who likes a well-written romance. So let's focus on the mystery/suspense portions of the story. The first word that comes to mind is "original". I've read lots of thrillers and the plot lines tend to be a variation on a theme, but Patterson introduced some new ideas. The racial issues were dealt with in a sensitive and realistic manner. Acknowledging that they still exist and giving a true picture of small town divisions and prejudices. One of my greatest objections to many thriller/suspense books is the level of totally unnecessary, graphic depictions of violance and/or perversion. This story could easily have gone way over that line. Kudos to Patterson for keeping the scenes scaled back and allowing me to use my imagination to go as far (or not) down that path as I chose. My final criticism would be that the plot may have been a little predictable - we solved a large part of it early on. However, it still made for a good story and satisfying read. Can you ask for more?