I’ve recently finished reading ‘The Double Tap’ by Stephen Leather, an author I had never heard of before but thought the blurb on the back of the book sounded promising. And, well, it’s one of those blurbs that doesn’t give an accurate indication of the story or, rather, concentrates on something very minor that doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall story.
The main character is dying of cancer which is revealed very early in the book, so it’s not quite a spoiler. He is ex SAS [like that hasn't been done before..] and plans to go out with a bang by going after some IRA fanatics that wronged him knowing full well they’ll kill him. Cue some last minute rescue by one of his previous superiors and the offer to have one last mission [again, that's never been done before..] impersonating an arms dealer who has a contract on his life in order for the FBI/SAS to catch him.
Either way, just like Andy McNab’s books dealing with the SAS a vast majority of the book deals with boring mission preparations and Mike Cramer’s pain of the cancer and of course his stubbornness refusing to take medication to dull the pain, all of which is incredibly tedious. Oh and he’s got nothing to loose which is mentioned over and over and over again..
The obligatory ‘twist’ is hardly groundbreaking and anyone who has ever read a book before should have seen it coming. The supporting characters, such as Su-ming, the Asian secretary of the arms dealer, aren’t fleshed out enough and described either stereotypically or patronisingly or both. Adding to that some unnecessary sideplot involving some revenge plot by a rogue IRA guy and characters that are introduced just to be dropped for no explanation doesn’t make the book any better.
I kept hoping for it to get better, but it seems that the only really witty or worthwhile part of the book I’ll be remembering about the book is a dialogue between the protagonist Mike Cramer and Allen, one of the SAS guys on the mission with him..
Allan looked at his Russian wristwatch. “Thirty minutes.”
“Where did you get the watch from?”
Cramer asked. “Off a dead Cuban in Angola.”
Allan replied. “Come on, if he was dead, how did you know he was a Cuban?”
Allan grinned and mimed shooting a gun with his right hand. He blew away imaginary smoke, knocked on the door to the study and opened it. [Page 331]
Also book related, I now have a librarything account to which I only plan on adding new books I’m reading and not the entire backcatalogue of books I’ve ever read seeing that that number is probably close to 10000 books!
Feel free to add me: carocat on librarything.