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Book Review: The Third Attempt
After the third attempt at finding something
about the author Nathan Mills, I gave up. This recently published novel The
Third Attempt (ISBN 974-92669-8-6, PMN Marketing Chiang Mai) remains very coy
about revealing anything about the writer, other than the fact he has a list
of people he thanked, including his wife, so he must be a considerate sort of
chap. Since the book was published in Chiang Mai, perhaps the Writer’s Club
up there knows a little more?
However, back to the book, and by page 11 you have witnessed a botched
assassination, or abduction, resulting in all but two of the attackers being
killed. By chapter six the daughter of an American diplomat is raped by the
son of a Sultan, but the response of the father to the rape I found rather
unbelievable. Unless, of course, this was an opportunity to show me the true
nature of the man.
Later in the unfolding story of hired killers, one such person takes his
payout in a cheque, another item that left me a little incredulous. Always
follow the money trail is the adage, and a cheque just doesn’t make any
sense in the real world, pointing anyone straight to the person behind the
killing. The money man.
The book plot follows a well trodden path with the main character (the
American diplomat Bill Carmichael) showing all the qualities that would make
you despise him plus a certain lack of perception, whilst the assassin (the
anti-hero “Zone”) possesses all the noble features you would not expect,
as well as being very smart and intuitive. As a person to have dinner with,
“Zone” would be much more interesting than Billy boy. Very much more
Unfortunately, the book reads like the script for a B grade action movie. In a
cinematic plot as it unfurls, there is not enough time for the audience to
critically examine the realities or likelihood or even probabilities of action
and reaction, let alone logical processes, but in a book, the reader has the
time to be more perspicacious and quite frankly, this book has several holes
making for a large credibility gap. For example, senior American diplomats
would not be allowed to waltz off for jaunts to meet Malaysian Sultans on
their own, American CIA personnel do not just blithely accept verbal
agreements to hand over international hit-men, and the sphere of influence of
the sons of Sultans does not extend to the top men in the WTO. Some of the
escapes by “Zone” from the clutches of other evil doers are also such that
they defy belief, and his ability to photograph a vagrant, print his
photograph and insert it into a passport and stick it in the man’s pocket,
and give him an assault rifle to hold, all in a crowded auditorium is again
The book has an RRP of B. 350, so it is not an expensive read, so for
something to read on an otherwise boring plane trip, it may be quite suitable.
It is fast paced, never letting up all the way through. Up to you!
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