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by Jeff Abbott
Onyx, November 2003
416 pages
ISBN: 0451411145

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Oh, darn. Another thriller from a writer whose work, up to now, I've really liked. I don't really like thrillers. This one is pretty good, and my problems with it didn't start until I was more than half-way through. They were some of the same problems I have with all thrillers. But it was written by Jeff Abbott after all, and I'd liked the previous books in the Mosley series (as well as the Jordy Poteet books Abbott wrote).

Whit Mosley's a sort of not-very-ambitious guy who ended up with a job that gave him ambition. In the first two books of this series, readers saw the man grow up and become a real honest-to-gosh adult. He can handle a lot more than he used to, but I admit to dismay that his story took the turn it did in Cut and Run.

Whit's father is dying and his son has decided to try and track down the mother who left thirty years ago, to find out why and to make her look her husband and sons in the eye and explain. You learn very early what happened to his mother, how she took off and with whom and why. It's not a nice story; she is not a good person and Whit's reappearance in her life comes at a very lousy time.

I came to realize, in writing this review, that one feature of many thrillers is that the bad guys are pure evil. They are unremittingly bad, mean and wrong; they take what they want, don't care about anything, use people, abuse people, are violent and amoral. In more "straight" mystery, there is certainly a villain, but there are often murkier reasons, some hidden something. Perhaps I prefer a little ambiguity.

At page 225 I started getting restless. At page 275, I started thinking the book was too long. It's the story of organized crime, guys who skim, steal and launder money, guys who kill people who stand In their way. The number of people who betray each other, who form new alliances and then lie to each other in this book just got to me after a while. Someone has stolen 5 million dollars; you 're not quite sure who has it, Whit's mother in right in the middle, and every few pages, someone says "I don't have it, he has it" when, of course, no one can be trusted. 

These people are violent, ugly, mean and vicious and the number of twists and turns, car chases and shootings just wasn't for me after the first several. But note, it didn't bother me for the first half of the book, right? As I said before, this is Jeff Abbott, and the story he lays out on several levels is pretty fascinating, but in the long run (it's a long book, over 400 pages) it wore on me. There was too much ugliness, too much violence, and I got lost by the end.

Reviewed by Andi Shechter, September 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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