This is the third book in Griffin’s Presidential Agent series. A series which is fast becoming one of my top fiction reading experiences. I think the stuff is genius.
I really like the way Griffin humanizes his characters. He gives them quirks and cool traits that add to their personalities and add a lot to the story. But what sets him apart is the pure volume of characters in which he does this. I lose count of all of the antagonists, protagonists, and supporting characters for which Griffin opens this window into their psyche. He does it sometimes through his standard narration written in choppy, cryptic prose. His main tool, though, is to use the thoughts of the characters themselves, which he puts in italics. The thoughts read like a standard conversation at times, it’s just that it’s a conversation going on in the heads of the characters and not being verbalized. I don’t see this method used that often by any of my other favorite thriller writers, but Griffin employs it extensively.
I think he employs this method because it’s the only way he can throw first person style thoughtfulness into his narration. He can’t take the first person perspective throughout because these books are so big and Bournesque. If he took the main character’s perspective instead of that of a narrator, he would lose a lot because the main character can’t be all over the globe at the same time. But by going into first person mode every so often, you get great character insights. This way, the reader can get a little more emotionally involved and really refine who they like and dislike.
In the end, these books get me involved in the characters like Grafton and Hillerman do, but they capture some of that international intrigue and thrill left out of a crime novel. It’s a good mix.