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Friday, January 19, 2007

**** The Tin Man by Dale Brown. Thriller.

Finally! My last book of 2006. My reading has definitely been outpacing my reviewing. Since it's been nearly 3 weeks since I read this, I wandered over to Amazon to check out the reviews and refresh my memory. I should have just stuck to reading the back of the book. There are dozens of reviews, mostly bad, and mostly complaining that The Tin Man isn't identical to all of Dale Brown's other books. Argh. Apparently the phenomenon isn't confined to romance authors. The ones who weren't complaining about that were complaining that it wasn't some other kind of book. They illustrate quite nicely a point recently made on Teach Me Tonight in which Sarah talks about reviewing romance novels AS romance novels and romantic comedy movies AS romantic comedy movies.

Maybe I enjoyed The Tin Man because I had no idea what to expect. Someone had recommended Dale Brown to me years ago, and I'd picked this one up at the flea market for a few cents.

It's about a former/occasional secret agent who works for a high-tech company. When his brother, a rookie cop, is injured, our hero becomes The Tin Man--wearing a suit made of the company's new bulletproof material and enhanced with some other high-tech gadgets, he's a cross between a vigilante and a superhero.

It's not all whiz-bang high tech action--there's a human side, particularly with the brother's serious injuries. And using the suit isn't without consequences--there's physical pain, and increasing urges toward violence. An alert reader could draw parallels with the effects of vigilantism in general--but this really isn't a book you read to contemplate the human condition.

Mostly, it's a rollercoaster thrill ride, a James-Bond-ish page-turner, an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. The Tin Man didn't turn me into a Dale Brown fan, but I won't avoid his books, either.


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