Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No Blood, No Guts, No Problem

Sometimes Thriller Guy puts down one of the books he's reviewing and has to go take a shower to get the blood and brain matter off his splattered person. Not that he's complaining, bloody violence is pretty much a given when it comes to thrillers. But recently TG read an excellent book, indeed a thriller, where only a few deaths occurred and those were off the page.

Before I tell you about the book, let me repeat my standard assertion about my recommendations. First of all, they aren't recommendations, I'm just here to tell you what I thought was good or bad. Repeat: what I thought was good or bad. Me. I. Thriller Guy. Your milage may certainly vary. So don't write me and tell me I'm a dumbass because I recommended a certain book, you went out and bought it, read it and thought that it sucked. Please. Thanks.

Trigger Point, by Matthew Glass. Glass writes what I can only classify as economic/environmental/political thrillers. Ultimatum (2009) is about environmental disaster with China as the enemy, in End Game (2011) the US and China face off in a naval battle off the Horn of Africa.

In Trigger Point, the Republican President of the US decides that a recent atrocity against American citizens in Uganda cannot go unpunished. Not only is taking action the morally correct thing to do, doing so will go a long way to burnish the president's image and give a boost to his approval ratings. Meanwhile, over on Wall Street, a hedge fund manager, Ed Grey, gets a tiny piece of insider information from a guy who works for him. Ed thinks they could use the info and earn some quick cash by shorting a bank. The bank, Fidelian, is actually in financial difficulties and the shorting causes even more difficulties. At the same time, the Chinese government is pissed at the US because they have interests not only in Uganda but in the Fidelian bank. Pretty quickly the dominoes start to fall, and it becomes more and more clear that when the last one goes over, the world will be facing a nuclear war.

That description doesn't do justice to this exciting, intelligent book. It's sort of like a cross between Seven Days in May and Dr. Strangelove. You see the action unfolding from all the separate points of view, which allows you, the reader, to understand how each point of view can be based on a complete error but how those closely involved can't see where the mistakes are because they lack certain information, because of cultural differences, or because there are differing goals at stake. It shows how Wall Street guys and politicians can be the bad guys and, at the same time, be the good guys.

It's fascinating to watch Glass take the emerging pieces of a very complex puzzle and fit them together to create a chilling picture of a coming disaster. It's a real nail-biter.

TG has to wonder if people in power -- in this case in the world's capitals and economic power centers -- ever read thrillers. They could learn a lot from not only this book, but lots of others that TG reads as well. The point is, Trigger Point is a fascinating read. It will scare the bejeezus out of you and the only blood involved is that which is hemorrhaging out of the stock market.

So if anyone out there knows the president or leader of some other country, tell them they should add perusing The Thriller Guy to their regular pile of required reading. Who knows, doing so just might save the world.


  1. "Who knows, doing so just might save the world." Oh man, TG, if it were only that simple. Sigh.....

  2. I remember reading about Mickey Spillane laughing all the way to the bank that his most successful Hammer novels were those written after he had softened the level of violence in the stories.

    I bet Allan could write a heck of a good 'prequel' book or two set during WWII with Mike Hammer as the protagonist. Your WWII scenes with the Balfour character were outstanding.

  3. oops. left out a part:

    The only thing we learn about Hammer's past is that he fought "in the muck and the slime of the jungle, there in the stink that hung over the beaches rising from the bodies of the dead, there in the half-light of too many dusks and dawns laced together with the criss-crossed patterns of bullets," and it has so traumatised him that "I had gotten a taste of death and found it palatable to the extent that I could never again eat the fruits of normal civilization."