Morte Point

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Member Reviews

I requested this book, thinking it was Robert B. Parker, so glad I made that mistake.  If you like Jack Reacher (who I love) you'll like Ben Bracken and Robert Parker's books.
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2nd book in the Ben Bracken series finds our hero on another wild chase for the good guys.  Or are they the bad guys?  In Ben's world, the line between good and bad is very fine.  Sent on a mission to recover goods from an airplane crash, Ben barely escapes with his life and the goods.  Now comes the fun part.  A thriller that will take you out of your living room and into Ben's race to save the day.
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The action leaps off the page
Morte Pointe is a book that has a vibrant visual quality. You can imagine yourself in all the locations, from the cliffs near Woolacombe to the watery depths. Ben is a strong, though slightly flawed hero. You find yourself drawn to him and his problems. His sense of ethics is unconventional, but as he struggles through corruption and danger, you’re with him every step of the way. A real page turner. I can hardly wait until it’s made into a film.
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Apart from the unlikely meeting with a microbiologist whilst running across North Devon, this book has plenty of action to enjoy. The hero Ben Bracken takes us on some excellently described chase scenes, and we end up with a thriller that could be in the 'James Bond' mode, and ripe for film. However, there are so many far fetched scenarios that made me skim to the end of the book. Enjoyable at times.
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This was a relatively short novel that was easy to read. However, Robert Parker is no Lee Child and the ant-hero, Ben Bracken, is no Jack Reacher. The various situations Ben finds himself in tend to be implausible as is his methods for escape. The cover-up of the airplane crash at Morte Point is very far fetched. Had a large number of passengers been really killed the media would have been all over it trying to interview the deceased families. Didn't happen. Still, a lot of action with some likely and unlikely turns of events. Who can Ben trust?
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First off, be aware that the author is not Robert B. Parker, "the dean of American crime fiction," nor Robert M. Parker, the eminent wine critic, but a lesser-known British thriller author.

Although the publisher compares the hero Ben Bracken to [[ASIN:B000OZ0NXA Jack Reacher)]] and [[ASIN:B00H3EY1EW Nick Stone]], he actually harkens back to an older and cruder prototype: Mack Bolan (a.k.a. [[ASIN:B00OYMPCYO The Executioner]]). Reacher and Stone are high IQ ex-military killers, who are comfortable in their skins. Their stories are authentic due to painstaking research (Lee Child for Reacher) or actual experience (Andy McNab for Stone). 

Bolan and Bracken are not very cerebral, they rely on excellent tactical imagination, training, nerve, fortitude and reflexes. Neither has discernible interests other than dishing out retribution to bad guys--although Bolan at least has some fleeting sex romps in between mayhem rounds--and both have strong doses of self-hatred. Their stories give the impression the author is describing movies he saw rather than events he has witnessed or researched.

Bracken has the edge over Bolan in variety, his fight scenes are interspersed with clever evasion and investigation. On the down side, he talks to himself way too much. His one chance at a love scene sets off a risible four page point-counterpoint that makes the dithering innocent convent girl in a bodice ripper seem like determined seductress. More dialog with more characters, showing the reader who Bracken is rather than letting Bracken tell the reader directly at tedious length, would suit the story better.

Thriller plots are seldom actually credible, but this one makes so little sense and with so many loose ends, it should have served for a comic, James Bond-type, novel. It certainly could use some of the humor and understatement of Reacher and Stone. Instead the more absurd the actions and coincidences, the more overwrought and pompous the prose. Nevertheless, for all the flaws, it delivers a taut story with steadily building suspense and a satisfying climax.

One interesting twist that separates Bracken from nearly all other thriller action heroes is that he is motivated by disgust rather than righteousness, rage or personal honor. It's not just government corruption and supervillains that raise his hackles, he doesn't like ordinary corruption or criminals, nor recreational drug use, nor prostitution. For a guy who smashes so many bones and torches so many buildings belonging to others, he seems awfully preachy about a little nonviolent fun. Disgust permeates the story in other ways, the author never misses an opportunity to point out a bad smell or other nauseating detail.

Bracken's uncritical nostalgia for simple England will have the reader humming [[ASIN:B01MU858Q5 Village Green Preservation Society]]. He has a slightly perverted preference for felling villains with their own medicine, like gluing a rubber clown mask on a bank robber or his spectacularly irresponsible plan for the main villains.

The original eccentricities do sort of gel into a character the reader can understand and be interested in, except that we see him too little in contexts that allow much self-expression. We wouldn't even know what he looks like except from police descriptions, and have no clue about his voice, mannerisms, accent or demeanor. Instead, too much of the book is taken up describing the previous book in the series.

One final complaint is the reader never feels the many hardships. We are told a lot about how cold a night is going to be and how dangerous that is to both health and morale--and all the precautions Bracken takes to mitigate it--but then no mention again of cold. He frequently feels searing pain, which is then described dispassionately until it goes away.

Overall, this is a competent thriller with an interesting hero, but a lot of flaws as well.
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Going to the beach, then here is your book.  Pure enjoyment, adrenaline filled story of Ben Bracken, an airplane crash and a cover up.  I didn't read the first one in the series but I may go back and find.  Great fun here.
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Morte Point by Robert Parker is an old fashioned chase brought up to date.

The story is told from our hero's point of view as he retrieves a valuable item from a plane which has crashed into the sea.

There then follows an attempt to get away from foe or foes unknown who are chasing him. There are many twists and turns as the pace us maintained and the pages turned.

The story is told in the first person which wasn't an issue once I had got used to it.

The only downside I had was with the ending which, to me, didn't feel right, however, that aside, I would recommend this book
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