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Sirk TV Book Review: THE MOROCCAN GIRL [St. Martin’s Press]

The essence of the spy thriller again reflects in its intrigue but as with another book read directly after it (Flamingo Lane), the author (retaining and remarking on their own fictional life) seems to want to put him or herself (depending on the scenario) in the middle of the action. While this makes sense as it allows them (in a certain way) to see through the character’s eyes, it nonetheless can be a grinder. The aspect of being identifiable also leads the idea to being over dramatic (or melodramatic if you like) and self-serving. While this has a larger canvas than the previous book, the idea in “The Moroccan Girl” [Charles Cumming/St. Martin’s Press/368pgs] is no less contrived at certain points right down to the jilted lover or interest from before who has angles of gaining revenge of the woman that had wronged them. The difference that fuels this story is how paranoid (and at times whiny) the writer Carradine is in the story. If the key with many new novels is to create a character that you can run with (like Faye in “Flamingo Lane”), Lara Bartok is an even more interesting structure much like a female James Bond but with defection issues. The run/chase/relay she and Carradine do around Morocco has its moments but ultimately they survive because most of the other spy operatives are fairly inept which wouldn’t necessary be the case in a real life situatiob. The recruitment aspect of Carradine is the most relatable aspect outside of the character Bartok. And while trust is an important theme of the story, ultimately its drive is propelled by all the lies that are told. The resolution for all the bombast that leads up to the finale is fairly predicable in its eventual reveal although the author does motivate the latter half of the book with quite a few doublebacks. Bartok, as a fact of reference, reminds one of what Marion Ravenwood would have been without the impact of Indiana Jones in her life: a woman who takes no prisoners…a franchise in and of herself. The book had definite potential but takes on the wrong origin story and wrong character lead focus per se.

C

By Tim Wassberg

IR Interview: Jocko Willink & Leif Babin For “The Dichotomy Of Leadership” [St. Martin’s Press]

Sirk TV Book Review: BABY TEETH [St. Martin’s Press]

The underlying tenements of child psychology but also the structure of what parenting should be or consist of in a large sense is an interesting basis for an almost psychological horror story in “Baby Teeth” [Zoje Stage/St. Martin’s Press/320pgs]. The permeation of a mother’s relationship to her child and the logic within the child’s mind has been fodder for horror films but the relevance in the building of a sociopath is very interesting. Whether or not this is the construct of the author’s mind in some details is up for debate but it inherently shows the essence of logic versus emotion. Suzette is the mother and because of inherent medical problems which undoubtedly caused her husband to dote on her, when the arrival of her daughter comes into the world, that inherent social structure where Mommy is more important may have led to a deep seated rage and even animosity for her mother and maybe an over-arching competition for Daddy’s attention. The novel has an underlying essence of Sweden which might have to do with the author’s background. Within the essence of a character like Lisbeth Salenger in the “Dragon Tattoo” novels, this could almost serve as a childhood origin story in a twisted way. Hanna is the precocious little girl but the book takes her point of view in a balanced amount of chapters to Suzette. Her logic but also intelligence is formidable but still within the problem solving structures of a child with the exception of a proponent to violence. Her strategy and even creation of a second identity to psychologically mess with her mother is chilling. Add to that structure being able to appear the perfect daughter to her father until it cannot be hidden anymore. This is where her logic fails her. Add to this fact that Hanna is a mute for her own reasons makes for an unnerving but psychologically fascinating novel.

B

By Tim Wassberg

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