08 November 2007

Book Banter -- The Mark

Title: The Mark
Author: Jason Pinter
Length: 367 pages
Genre: mystery/thriller
Plot Basics: Henry Parker only wants one thing in life – to be a respected journalist in New York City. When he lands a job shortly out of college at the New York Gazette, he thinks he’s got it made… until his editor keeps him writing obituaries and fluffy features stories. He finally gets a chance to help veteran reporter Jack O’Donnell on a big story, interviewing a former convict. But after the interview, something doesn’t sit right with Parker about what he heard. He goes back to the con’s apartment and end up running from the NYPD and running for his life.
Banter Points: Pretty good chase novel, with Parker constantly working to stay one step ahead of the cops. Likely since Pinter himself is in his late 20s, Parker’s voice as a mid-20-something rang true.
Bummer Points: A couple of these, unfortunately. First, it’s a pet peeve for Word Nerd – she really doesn’t like switches in POV in the story. The subplot about the hitman was OK, but in her view, the subplot with the policemen didn’t add anything. There would have been other ways around that at the end when the reader needed to know some things about them. Second, Parker sounds like a 24-year-old, but not a reporter. Word Nerd has unbelievably high standards for how reporters should act in a novel (since she was one for a while.) Parker and his newsroom fail on most accounts there. If Parker was such a promising reporter, he wouldn’t have been stuck writing nothing but obits. When Word Nerd was an intern at a major daily, she covered everything from features to international news and wrote no obits. Third, this is the first book in a series. One of Pinters 2007 Killer Year colleagues, Marcus Sakey, said something at an appearance that some characters go through too much hell for there to be a sequel. Word Nerd would put Henry Parker in that category.
Word Nerd recommendation: It’s a good page-turner, airplane book. If you like thrillers, it’s worth the read, but if this genre isn’t your thing, this isn’t a good book to try to break in with.

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