The October List

October 23, 2013 Book Reviews 0 ★★★

The October List three-stars
on 09/24/2013
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover

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How did it come to this?

Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the "October List" within 30 hours, or she'll never see her child again.

A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, THE OCTOBER LIST is Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best

Review by Reynold Starnes

The October List is the newest thriller from Jeffrey Deaver.  It is a ‘stand-alone’ story.  While I enjoy Deaver’s series, some of his best work has been stand-alone.  The October List is a good effort, but it is not his best.

Deaver clearly worked hard on this novel; the structure is very clever.  It moves backwards in time.  Chronologically, the ending scene is at the beginning of the book.  Each subsequent scene is some, varying, time earlier.  The reader learns progressively more the farther back in time he goes over a three day weekend.  Deaver is very skilled and thoughtful; and this almost works.

Gabriella McKenzie is the protagonist of the story.  We learn in the first scene her young daughter has been kidnapped, and the truly sinister kidnapper has demanded a $500,000 ransom and the mysterious October List, which was in the possession of her missing employer, Charles Prescott, who the authorities are seeking.  Gabriella has acquired a handsome ally, Daniel Reardon, who helps her try to deal with the kidnapper, the police, and others who are apparently chasing the List.  The story moves briskly, with thriller-appropriate action and suspense.

As the plot moves backwards, we see Deaver’s artistry with plot development.  This has always been his strength, as well as his excellent pacing.  His works almost always have twists, and twists upon those twists; The October List is no exception.  This is where I believe he runs into problems in this novel.  To make the twists work in a backwards novel, some of the exposition at the end seems, to me, to be a little weak.  This is an enjoyable read, but at the end I felt slightly let down since the device Deaver used to explain some actions appears contrived.

three-stars
Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.3

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