Saturday, June 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Tim Tigner 2 Pack' by Tim Tigner

Tim Tigner comes to his role as a novelist specializing in political intrigue with a rich background. His academic preparation is a combination of mathematics and philosophy, but after academia his instinct for investigation and thrill seeking led him to serve in the Green Berets, specializing in Russian and Soviet counterintelligence. When Perestroika/Glasnost ‘opened’ Russia (or at least by their definition made it more transparent) led to the fall of the Berlin wall, Tigner’s direction shifted from espionage to arbitrage and he moved form Russia to Brussels where he witnessed the formation of the European Union: his change in focus shifted back to the US and further degrees in business and International Studies and settled in the Silicon Valley as a corporate type in the medical device industry. And as if that background weren’t sufficient he continued his travels around the world expending energy as mountain climber, a hand glider, a parachuter, and in every sense of the word an adventurer. Now he follows his obsession with reading thrillers by writing them.

Two of Tim’s novels are now available together. He has the ability to concoct some outrageous situations: in FLASH he deals with the shared trunk of a car by two disparate seemingly non-united (except by the question of how the man and the woman ended up soaked in blood in a car whose only other companion is a murdered policeman) people who work their way back from amnesia into reality, discover the background of each other and figuring out how to avoid taking the blame of a rather ludicrous crime. But Tigner takes this impossible situation and makes it not only plausible but harrowingly terrifying – and a few other sidebars that keep the reader physically attached to this book until the final page. In BETRAYAL (written in 2004-2005, shortly before a terrorist incident in the UK led to the banning of liquids on airplanes) the story moves from Iran to the US. The characters are sharply painted and his choice to make the main characters of the story twins – Odysseus and Cassandra Carr (yes, the names are well chosen) – both involved with the FBI though on different pathways. The espionage of uncovering the headquarters of the Al-Qaeda and the narrow escape sets the pace but even though the story is beautifully crafted, the principal horror we encounter is the act of betrayal that has climbed all the way to the top of the government. Tigner understands exactly how to shape this journey so that the impact hits the reader solidly and lethally before there is the necessary resolution at book’s end.

Some critics are drawing comparisons with the well-known writers of espionage and thrillers, and while that is meant as a compliment to Tim Tigner at this stage in his career, for this reader Tigner is a much more humanistically oriented writer in the manner in which he always allows the reader to stay in touch with the core of the honest characters instead of creating more James Bonds. He, simply, is a very fine writer. Grady Harp, May 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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