Reviewed by Ian Lipke
Having read the glowing tributes on the dust cover and found the hyperbole on the Macmillan website, I could not withhold my excitement as I contemplated the precious jewels awaiting me when I open Jeffrey Archer’s Hidden in Plain Sight.
I wondered if I’d missed something somewhere, something hidden in plain sight perhaps. There were no precious jewels, no inspired writing, just the dregs of what once was a fine writing career.
This book is intended for pre-pubescent children surely. The tone is all wrong for adults. As I made my way through the flat, uninteresting prose, the image of a Boys Own Annual kept entering my head. The telling is juvenile as is the subject matter. Some of the latter just beggars belief. In all seriousness, we witness the regular meetings of senior police – police promoted to Command level at Scotland Yard (superintendent – chief inspector rank and above) together with a newly promoted sergeant regularly planning operations, and drumming on the table when a member reports success however minor it might be. We witness those same senior police eating a cake that is evidence in a future proceeding.
Reeling from that nonsense, we find that characters are either villains or good guys with no attempt at shading one into the other. Then a basic practice in crime writing is broken. Archer misleads his readership when he introduces a major character in the first few pages as a leader against crime. He shows that he is really a criminal as the book closes. Nowhere is any activity of a criminal nature linked to him.
Finally, arbitrary closing of the book simply because the book is part of a series leaves whatever readership the author has left thoroughly dissatisfied.
The book is so bad that it is unreviewable, and to price it at $39.99 renders this reviewer contemplative.
By Jeffrey Archer
$39.99; 300 pp