Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Book Review: The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan

The Istanbul Puzzle by Laurence O’Bryan   
The Istanbul Puzzle, the New Da Vinci Code.  Not quite, not nearly quite that good I am afraid.

Don’t get me wrong it was a good book but it was not the absolute page turner that Dan Brown's novel was. 

Sean Ryan’s friend and co worker is on assignment in Istanbul when he is captured by persons unknown and beheaded.  Sean travels to Istanbul to get some answers and is embroiled in a huge world wide conspiracy that is going to culminate in a plague being released in London, and we go through the whole book with him not having a clue what is going on and yet he is the 'hero'.  Well I suspect he did know what was going on but the book just did not make it very clear at any time.

There was a fair number of inconsistencies in the book that were fairly irritating by the end:

The Turkish Police Inspector who intercepted Sean as he lands at the airport and took him to the morgue seemed to be going to play a central roll in that part of the book, as sSean looked into his friends death, disappeared without trace...

Chapter 38 Sean and Isabel, a British consulate employee are chased and manage to avoid capture by escaping into a tunnel underneath  Hagia Eirene church  in Istanbul.  While down there they hear part of a snatched conversation and agree that the voice belongs to Peter, another British consulate employee which suggests that he's working with the killers of Alek......   Then in chapter 48 they are in a meeting in the Commons telling a govt minister that Peter is working with terrorists to attack the UK.  Now we know from the segues to Sgt Mowlan, a Met Police officer, who is monitoring events in London and the continent and in particular meetings with Arap Anach, the main villain of the piece,  and Lord Bidenor that there is indeed an attack underway but at no point up to chapter 48 is there anything to suggest that Sean or Isabel were aware of any of this.... 

Sean's flat in London being broken into, why it made absolutely no contribution to the story....  Who broke into it, was it the Security services or the baddies, no one knows and it served no purpose.... 

Then there is the manuscript found, by Sean and Isabel while trapped in the tunnel in Istanbul and that had been buried and lost for centuries, suddenly becomes central to the plot and we are asked to believe  that the Turkish government who have just been handed this important find casually hand it over to the Brits for authentication!

The Segue to Iraq to meet a mad Greek orthodox Priest who was an expert in mosaics, who was then blown up in his vehicle as they left a dig, messy....  not the blown up bit, that clearly left a mess, but it just seemed like the introduction of a character that didn't do anything for the story...

Other little things let the author down, like getting of the tube at Temple station and walking along Fleet street, nowhere near each other.  Someone said to me recently, that when writing a contemporary novel that you have to make sure that when you are describing some place in detail, that you need to ensure that the details are correct, as people will notice, well that was one of those details!

Lord Bidenor, appeared to be a central character, but disappeared from the storyline like a ghost.... 

This is Laurence O'Bryans first novel and a new story is planned again with Sean and Isabel as the lead characters.

The premise of the story was good, but I really didn't find it as much of a page turner as billed.  A page turner for me is a book where I am really torn between putting it down and getting on with my day to day life with mundane things like work, and shopping and eating and TV, and sleeping, The Istanbul Puzzle did not draw me away from any of those things, but it had the potential to.

I hope that Laurence settles in to his writing and doesn't write himself into blind alleys as he has done with this one and if he manages to put a better structure together in his next book, we will all be the better for him joining the ranks of great story telling 

Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 2 out of 5 
Plot: 2 out of 5
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5

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