Outsourced by Dave Zeltserman
|Outsourced by Dave Zeltserman|
|Reviewer: Iain Wear|
|Summary: A change of style for Zeltserman, away from the first person to the third person. It's still a very good read, but feels less effective than his earlier novels.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: August 2010|
|Publisher: Serpent's Tail|
I loved Dave Zeltserman's man out of jail series, with both Pariah and Killer being among the best crime thrillers I've read in a long time. All good things must come to an end, however, and with Outsourced he has branched out slightly.
What do you do when you're an unemployed software engineer who has tried pretty much everything to find work and been rejected at every turn? When you're Dan Wilson, you set about exploiting the inherent weaknesses in the bank security system you've written the software for and get some friends to help you rob the place. When you're Dan Wilson, you find a way of setting up a Mafia gangster to take the fall and rob the Russian Mafia. When you're Dan Wilson, you ask your friends to help you and lie to your wife and kids about it.
Unfortunately, when you're Dan Wilson, your friends can't be trusted. One of them can't control himself during the robbery and a murder results. Another uses this as an excuse to double cross the others and take all of the proceeds for himself. The attempted framing of the Mafia boss also had a few minor details that weren't quite right, which causes a police detective to doubt who was really behind the robbery.
Outsourced is a major change of direction for Zeltserman's writing, with the third person narrative providing an entirely new perspective from the first person narrative of his earlier novels. Admittedly, the detail in the plot meant that the story had to be told the way it is, but in doing so the story loses something of what made Zeltserman's earlier novels so good. It feels more polished, which isn't a bad thing, but part of the beauty of Zeltserman's writing is its rough edges. In making things technically better here, the whole experience feels slightly less effective.
The story itself isn't a bad one, although it does contain many of the elements you would expect to see in a story like this. The double cross and the way things keep going wrong for Dan Wilson are all nothing particularly new. There is a romantic sub-plot and a bit of back story for some of the characters to explain their motivations. None of this is particularly bad, but apart from the methods used to rob the bank, none of it is especially original, either. Zeltserman's earlier novels were unique in their approach and this just feels a little like a thriller by numbers.
Another let down for me was some of the descriptive work in the novel. Previously, Zeltserman has used the first person narrative as a tool to paint in broad brush strokes. Here, he has to lay things out a little more convincingly. Whilst certain scenes suggest he does have an eye for description he hasn't shown in his earlier works, it did seem to spoil the flow of the story a little. One scene in a bar was a great piece of descriptive writing in terms of the characters appearance and feelings, but the scene itself didn't seem to do much to advance the plot and this happens a couple of times throughout the novel in a way that Zeltserman's writing has previously avoided.
Outsourced is a very decent read, with a different perspective on the bank robbery. It may be that if I wasn't already a huge fan of Zeltserman's work, I would have enjoyed it more. The change of style works for this novel, but puts Zeltserman into a huge bracket with many other crime thriller writers, whereas before he stood separate and high above virtually all of them. I enjoyed the read, but unlike Zeltserman's earlier work, I can't see it being a novel I'll read over and over again.
I would like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Outsourced by Dave Zeltserman at Amazon.co.uk
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