BOOK: Whiteout by Ken Follett (2007)

I’ve been having a really hard time reading books lately (and an even harder time getting reviews of the ones I have read written, as you’ve probably noticed). I just can’t seem to concentrate on anything I pick up. Possibly because everything I keep picking up keeps on being crappy or unsatisfying. Kinda like this one.

At the very least, I thought this novel would be a pretty safe bet when it came to being entertaining. After all, the description on the back mentioned a variety of subjects I typically am all over: killer viruses, biological terrorism, blizzards that trap people in big spooky houses, devious research facility shenanigans, prodigal sons with chips on their shoulders. . .

Unfortunately, this book ended up being all-too predictable, which in and of itself is not necessarily an unforgivable failing, at least for me. But it was made all the worse here by being badly edited as well. Follett has a terrible habit of putting in tons and tons of stuff that just doesn’t need to BE there. There were entire chapters in this novel that served no real purpose. They felt like filler intended to make the book look more impressively dense, and meanwhile, it becomes harder and harder to engage with either the characters or the situations they’re being thrust into.

The story does finally pick up towards the end, when the blizzard hits, trapping a band of desperate thieves inside the very house they intended to rob, face-to-face not only with the scientists who developed the killer virus they were trying to steal, but with that very virus itself. But man, the entire middle hundred or so pages were a real slog.

This novel isn’t terrible, especially if you give yourself permission to skim through the sloggy parts. But my advice is that you only pick this one up if you are absolutely desperate for anything — ANYTHING! — to read. Otherwise, I think it’s safe to move along.


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