The Wrong Man by Jason Dean
|The Wrong Man by Jason Dean|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: A thriller that's a bit formulaic, but still holds the interest right through to the end. As this is the first book in a series featuring James Bishop, the best may be yet to come, but come it will.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: May 2012|
Ex-marine James Bishop worked for an elite protection company. The idea behind his last mission was to protect multi-millionaire Randall Brennan and his daughter Natalie but, instead, he found himself framed for murder. Who? Why? These why may be questions that need answering but that's not going to happen whilst he's serving a life sentence. However, where Bishop is concerned, that's only a minor blip compared to the task ahead.
Jason Dean, an ex-graphic designer from London, decided he wanted to write the sort of American thrillers he enjoys reading. Well, why not? It's a plan that had worked well for Coventry lad Lee Child so perhaps the magic could happen for him too. The result of Dean's dream is this, The Wrong Man, the first in a planned James Bishop series.
To begin with the characters are all a bit 'central casting'. Bishop is a typical ex-marine: rough, tough and incredibly resourceful with a soft spot for the love interest. She's Jenna Falstaff; feisty, pretty and, conveniently, an IT expert well versed in martial arts. Her protective, burly, elder brother, Ali, is a forger. This therefore gives Jason Dean a tick against rule one of thriller writing: if your hero has friends, ensure they're useful.
The second rule is to ensure the 3 'A's are included: Action, Action and more Action. Another tick for Mr Dean. The reader hits the ground running, as the infamous bungled protection and double murder explodes around them. This bit is brutal and grisly but those of delicate dispositions needn't fear; most of the subsequent violence is of the bop, stab and bash variety.
On to rule 3: it's ok to have principals as formulaic as James, Jenna and Ali, along with a two-dimensional supporting cast (I'm afraid they are) as long as there's something to encourage the pages to turn, i.e. twist, twist and twist again. Once more there's no need to worry as there are plenty of twists, some less obvious than others, but most unpredictable enough to keep the excitement up to a galloping level with only one or two suspensions of disbelief. (I'm not going to moan about that – this is entertainment after all.) The book enthralled me enough to make putting it down difficult and any responses to anyone talking to me whilst reading it came out in teenagerly mono-syllables.
It may not be fair to compare Dean with Child, but the book blurb does it first so I don't feel guilty about it. Therefore, there is one thing that Jason misses that Lee has grasped: the importance of humour to push things along. In the same way that the fabled GSOH in a person can be highly attractive, an action novel with a twinkle can add another dimension. I'm not talking belly laugh, just the odd word, phrase or touch of irony. Jack has it, James has yet to learn but that doesn't mean that he won't.
All in all, The Wrong Man is a good start. It sets the scene for the future rather than setting it alight, but, as my mother used to say 'There's plenty of growing room.' Enough growing room, in fact, to produce an anticipatory frisson for what may lay ahead as Backtrack, James Bishop #2, follows in 2013.
I would like to thank the publisher for giving Bookbag a copy of this book for review.
If you've enjoyed this, why not try Even by Andrew Grant who just happens to be Lee Child's brother.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wrong Man by Jason Dean at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Wrong Man by Jason Dean at Amazon.com.
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