The Secret Weapon
A thriller in the Alexander King series, Bradley Wright’s The Secret Weapon is an example of how tough it is at the margins. My history with the author is a little strange. I’d read some of his books in the past, where they faded from memory as bland and mediocre. Then I saw this book, felt it was bland and mediocre-and then realized I’d read the same author before.
Anyway, the book isn’t really the worst ever. On-paper, it does what a cheap thriller is supposed to do, and only feels like its slightly below average in every category that matters-the action is slightly less exciting, the pacing slightly less efficient, and so on. Yet it’s that little bit that makes the difference.
Because the “action hero” genre is so big, has so many choices, and is reliant on execution rather than concept, for something to fall behind somewhat means there’s a lot out there that’s better. This isn’t like the much tinier “big war thriller” genre where a flawed entry like Chieftains or Arc Light can still be conceptually interesting enough to recommend. Instead, its flaws means it sadly misses the cut.