Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Bootlegger by Clive Cussler & Justin Scott (Isaac Bell, #7)

Sea adventures leave a trail of history behind. It's always been a mystifying and exciting exercise and in old times it was a richer bounty than any other thing in the world. Author Clive Cussler in his latest Isaac Bell series book "The Bootlegger" takes it forward and turns back time for the readers to relish. So is it really going to ring any alarm bells? Let's find out. 

Joseph Van Dorn is hot on the trail of a rum-running vessel when he is shot and nearly killed. His lifelong friend Isaac Bell swears that he will bring the bootleggers to justice in his place. However the only witness to the shooting is brutally murdered and Bell begins to understand that this is no mere anti-Prohibition agenda. It reaches into the heart of the Bolsheviks themselves and involves some of their greatest assassins and hit men in a grand scheme to topple the US government.

First look at the title and the cover and it truly amazes as if a tragic piece of art. The title is notorious and the sounds of it rings alarms in the mind. The blurb talks about the return of Isaac Bell at helm and a new adversary on the other side. It's a short and a sweet blurb giving out no information and keeping readers engaged. 

The story is of 1920's when prohibition and bootlegging is at large. Amidst the chaos Van Dorn is shot in a furious gun battle in the sea and it's up to Isaac Bell now to get hold of the entire situation. So how will he go around this one or will he find it tough to crack? Will he be able to catch the men who shot Van Dorn? Will he be able to put a lid on bootlegging or will he get booted out in the process? That's what the entire story is about. 

It's a classic setup and a classical style of action. The dialogue delivery too is old style and inspired from the ruffians and sea mafia of early 1900's. The story has some punch in it with the kind of chord it tries to touch and has a newer prospect to it. There is horde of action and drama and it's an all out war which manages to turn heads. The chaos is chaotic and makes things unpleasant but for the readers it's cherry on the top. There is a strong showdown and it all happens in a bold and daring manner in the story. 

The story lacks the initial slow start and happens to jump on things bit too soon. Also it manages to leave out the clear purpose and revolves around side tracks which causes it to stumble a lot many times. The character list is quite large and becomes unmanageable and you cannot keep track of it after a point of time. A little modern touch to the entire story could have worked wonders but that's where it keeps getting dragged and boring and eventually fizzles out. 

All in all the book tries to lend a hand to the adventure with great care. It has few elements which an adventure demands but the clarity has been forgotten in the entire book. The book revolves in circles and springs up few surprises but then it washes away like a harangued soul. It's old and classical but there is nothing fresh to keep it alive and kicking till the end. A story with a lot of potential but not getting justified in the end. 


2 OUT OF 5

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