Monday, May 06, 2024

25. Blue Moon by Walter Wager

I can't remember who recommended Walter Wager's books.  I noted that they had specifically recommended the books Viper Three and Sledgehammer.  This was the first I had found in years (at Moe's in Berkeley) so I grabbed it.  Unfortunately, it really wasn't good to the point that I think I will have to take his name off my list.  The issues I had with Blue Moon were deep enough that I do not have confidence that any of his other books would be to my liking.

Blue Moon was written in 1980 and the novel idea is that the protagonist is an ex-CIA turned head of a private security agency who is a badass (but super hot) woman.  The story here is that she is hired by a top-level background mafia don (he flies her via helicopter to his armed and secured outpost in the desert) to investigate a ransom extortion plot against several mafia-run hotels in Las Vegas.  Anonymous badguys are asking for 5 million or they will bomb several hotels.  Because the mafia doesn't want any of their background activities revealed to the feds, they hire Alison Gordon.

The fundamental problem with this book is apparent early on, excessive explaining.  I hoped this would only be in the beginning, but it is pervasive and exhausting.  This book could have been 2/3 possibly even half the length and a lot of more fun if somebody had gone through and cut out all the side references and diversions that I guess were supposed to be interesting but just seemed distracting.  The second major problem is that the plot and the characters are all over the place.  The actual stuff going on is not bad, but it is all revealed so awkwardly, with fake-out red herrings that are not satisfyingly resolved and a second conspiracy that is weaved in and out in a confusing fashion so that by the time the big climax is setting up, you kind of don't care any more.

There are also several annoying behaviours in the writing, that one could critique as not being PC but are also just stupid and tiresome.  He is just constantly going on and on about Gordon's beauty and in particular her breasts.  Pretty much every female character has her breasts discussed and breasts are constantly mentioned even when there aren't specific characters.  Hey, I love breasts and am quite happy to read about them, but this felt like it was edited by a 13 year old boy who wanted more boobies.  Likewise, I know this was the end of the 70s and the early 80s, a very awkward period for us Yakubians culture-wise, but again it's just the constant mentioning of the race of a character (of which to be fair there was quite a diverse group amongst the good guys) and then some cliche or (even cleverer) a surprising anti-cliche!  Oh look it's the black driver who also has a Ph.D!

This was really a slog.  The actual story could have been a lot of fun, with a combo of ex-military bank robbers and a Carlos-type (literally named Carlos) radical left terrorist plotting a bomb attack using RC airplanes.  Unfortunately, the layers of badness eliminated pretty much any of the fun. 

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