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Book Review

Book Review: The Third Attempt

by Lang Reid

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 interesting.
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 not believable.
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!