Friday, September 24, 2010
Review of The Green Ripper by John D. Macdonald (Pan, 1980)
The Green Ripper is the 18th McGee novel in a series of twenty one. Macdonald writes elegantly in an easy and engaging style. His characterisation is excellent, and he has a keen eye for observing and commenting on different social phenomena. The first half of the story is well plotted and paced, unfolding in a way that draws the reader in. The second half though lacked any real credibility. Whilst how the religious cult operates and the motivations behind their actions seemed realistic, how they act with respect to McGee is a nonsense. The rule of the camp is to kill all interlopers. McGee is not only spared, he is invited into the group and becomes a confidant to all the other elite combat group members. Then when they discover the truth, he triumphs against odds of 11 to 1. All tense stuff, but it’s all but impossible for the reader to buy it. I was confident based on the first thirty pages or so that this was going to be a five stars book, but in the end it tailed off to be a slightly above average affair. There is more than enough here though to convince me to read more of his books.