Junk Reading Genre Crit

I’ll get the names and authors later. Yeah, I’ve already forgotten the author’s names (LATER: I checked – authors are Harlan Coben and John Sandford, respectively), if I can be said to have ever remembered them in the first instance. The novels’ titles I recall: Dealbreaker, and The Hanged Man’s Song. Real meaningful fare, but I had a slow week at the office and needed to read something after having misplaced a months old issue of Modern Reformation, and a March issue of World Magazine. Those are both semi-Christian magazines, MR – unfortunate or comedically predestined initials 😉 – striving to be big “C,” and WM trying hard to be relevant, balanced, and current. Neither are devotionally sappy, although they both wax a little fruity on occasion.

But the point of this post is not to critically dissect avowedly “C”hristian periodicals. Instead I want to go on about the the crime, suspense, action, thriller subgenre of the fat published-straight-to-paperback protagonistically driven series genre. (LATER: I checked, the sub-genres for DB and THMS are, respectively, mystery suspense, and techno-thriller. Ooooh.)

Using the two listed above as my primary sources, I make the following observations. Apparently makes no difference whether the story is told first or third person. Each protagonist, hero, must have more than one interesting gimmick.

For instance the guy in Dealbreaker is a sports agent who’d been a college basketball star, but was horribly injured in some big trophy game, had a long recovery, no hope of pro sports career. He and his super-wealthy vigilante side-kick are Tai Kwon Do dojo-buddies, and are in near perfect fighting and physical condition. But, the goofily named protag, Myron Bolitar (clearly intended to sound like Simon Bolivar), lives at home with his parents in a basement apartment. He hates his name, and blames his parents. He drives a Ford Taurus. Blah, blah, blah. For all that, the book’s author is capable writing occasionally well and seems to have an amusing mind.

The guy in The Hanged Man’s Song has even more gimmicky quirks. He’s a celebrated professional painter, but he’s secretly an elite hacker capable of changing identities, manufacturing lines of electronic credit, and reading files in FBI computers more or less at will. He sometimes kills people, but has qualms about it. He travels with a beautiful, sexy vixen of a professional thief, also an elite hacker as well as his sometimes (but not sometimey) lover. If all that wasn’t enough, he reads Tarot cards, not because he believes they supernaturally predict anything, but because he thinks they provide a boolean logic alternative perspective to whatever conundrum defies clever solution. Blah, blah, blah.

I ate about 30 stale, generic reduced-fat “Wheat Crackers” while writing all that, supra. About the food-value equivalent of reading the two books ‘cited.’ I had the Weight Watchers points for the crackers, but I feel pretty guilty about applying my mind to the reading of junk-lit. Pretty easy to purge or work off the one, but what about the other?

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