One False Move

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One False Move

Last Free Dates: 23rd Sep 21 to 25th Sep 21
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...This is not grim, gritty, realism. This is fun, action, and escapism....

I will be honest, when I saw the list of descriptions of the lead character I wasn’t sure if this was meant to be a parody, particularly with ex-monk being among them. It isn’t, but it is an enjoyable short action story, and a decent intro to Mike Delany, author David Callinan’s ex-cop/monk/etc.

The presentation is generally good, and I picked this up because the cover caught my eye. The formatting in general is standard, although there are odd block characters showing up as black squares in some places in the front matter. This may be my ereader, so I won’t take points for it, and it doesn’t occur in the story. It is notable that the front matter and story text are in completely different fonts.

One False Move is written in third person, varying from close to omniscient and sometimes switching points of view between chapters, but it is easy to follow and I never got lost. There were a few phrases upfront that took me out of the story, like an early comment that it is ironic his codename is Monk when he’s a novice. Since he, or someone he knows, picked it that’s not irony. Wondering where a monk keeps his mobile that has him reaching up under the habit for it was another, and if someone’s skin is described as carved from limestone, I shall imagine them as zombie grey.

However the story finds its feet fast, with a kidnapping of two people Delaney knows, and from then on there are no spare words as it keeps a nice pace. It hits the beats in the first few pages – lead character, hook, bad guy, stakes – and proceeds very much through the numbers to the climax, but it does it well and I enjoyed the read.

Because the story is designed for people who don’t know the characters, most of their backgrounds are worked into the story. This is both good and bad – it means you don’t need to know any other books to enjoy it, but it also means the Delany spends a few pages remembering when he first met people which slows the story at a few points.

This is not grim, gritty, realism. This is fun, action, and escapism. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad, and how quickly it all works out is rather inevitable when you have competent heroes dealing with a monologuer. Hostages, death traps, time limits, it is all there and it is done well. The characters are cardboard, simply because there’s not really time to do more than sketch the lines within the word count, but that’s not fatal in this genre. On the counter side, it is a little too short and there’s a lack of polish, but it is a good introduction to the characters.

I had a good time with this book, an enjoyable read if nothing more. Fans of the realistic and gritty might give it a try, but for anyone looking for action adventure, or modern version of a Bond or pulp adventure, this is great.

Rating: 3
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sliara (22 July 2021)
Well, reading the first few lines from the book, it seems a little too hard to understand. It's written in a weird way, in my opinion.

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