Review: Whiskey And Roses

Whiskey and Roses

In my last review of one of Bradley Wright’s Alexander King novels, I mentioned that the ones I’d previously read were so middling and forgettable that I’d actually forgotten about them. And the first one of those books was Whiskey and Roses. How is it?

Well, I’ll put it this way. This could very well replace Marine Force One for “most absolutely, utterly, middling thriller novel there is”. There is one pseudo-advantage and that’s that the title is a little less bland. Yes, it’s so “middle of the pack” that I need to talk about the title to find something distinct. However, there’s also one disadvantage and that’s that the proofreading and prose is sloppier than Marine Force One’s.

This is, to be fair, the first book in a series and Wright’s writing has improved since it. But this is still thriller fiction at its most middling and mediocre.

Review: The Secret Weapon

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.