Book Review: The Kobalt Dossier
Eric Van Lustbader was one of the first authors that I became seriously enthused with, and my enjoyment of his stories was a high point through most of my formative years, all the way back to the 1980's when the librarian would make sure you were above a certain age before you got allowed to take one of those books out. I haven't read much of the recent things, the Bourne novels didn't really have my interest, so I was interested to take a closer look into the new Evan Ryder novel.
The writing style has changed from his earlier novels, less visceral by an order of magnitude, the explicit descriptions of violence and gore aren't there any more, and it changes the feel of the book in a number of ways. The world building and research is still first class, and if there's one thing we've always been able to count on, it's that the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed, even to the point of acknowledging that there's been a liberty taken on one of the characters names in the afterword.
The story is in the steady hands of a master, there's a good degree of twisting and turning, the true power behind the throne is not revealed until the end, or so we think, and there's no degree of script immunity for most of the characters, which is precisely what a real thriller should be.
This story isn't one of the brutal thrillers I read when I was young, it's not so obvious, the black and white has been replaced with shades of grey (Just not fifty of them), and the nuance is impossible to ignore. Some part of me still misses those five page fight scenes that I used to read, but the ability to string a narrative along without giving everything away is not to be underestimated.