Monday, 21 January 2013

Writer’s Note 2: Thrilled by David Baldacci’s The Forgotten

The Forgotten [Book]
Recovering from a virus after Christmas I had to resort to my audiobook file for restful reading. By accident I lighted on The Forgotten by David Baldacci. It had been a book chosen at random on a one line description.

To remind you. What follows is a highly personal excercise. It is not a review; it is my note  on elements that impress me as a writer and ways in which I - as a writer - can learn something  from this book. 

 I am ambivalent about  thrillers and sometimes think they are better on the silver screen than the pristine page. But this novel made me think again. I enjoyed it.

Writer’s Notes

-Pacy writing. Crisp, effective prose. Every word a bullet. Very precise energy and balance of often short sentences. Careful and unfussy choice of words.
- Very tight plotting. Two main points of view. One dominant. Well woven together.
- Surprisingly excellent sense of place: The Emerald. Coast of Florida. The ocean. The power of a storm, The heat. The place called Paradise.
- Occasional change of pace to establish place with lyrical evocation, intense description. - Good use of senses.
- Characters are very clear to the eye and the ear.
- Recogniseable army disciplined hero.
-Feisty female one star general as collaborating heroine,
- Predictable villains with some good surprises.
- Very tight description ensures we know their body shape and style. We hear individual tones, dialects and accents They are clearly defined for us so we follow them through the twists and turns of the carefully woven plot.
- Several well staged shootouts at the end climax were more filmic but still well written, They do, after all go with this genre,
- Baldacci tackles various powerful  themes of modern life which emerge in the narrative  quite seamlessly,
  • The lucrative modern Slavery trade People as commodities (the slimy villain calles the people he traffics product
  • Identity.Army., Family, identity. Loyalty.
  •  Courage and Survival.
  • Physical strength.
  • Gender.politics.

What have I learned  from David  Baldacci

- It is possible to write well and to tackle major themes within the thriller or any other genre
- The need to evoke a great sense of place to allow the reader to suspend her disbelief and stay with an occasionally fantastic narrative.
 - Tight, occasionally staccato prose enhances pace in a narrative.

Next: Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel


  1. Fantastic write-up and also right to the point.
    I am not sure if this describes in truth where must although don't you many people have virtually any what it really where we can get quite a few freelance writers? Thanks in advance.
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  2. Not quite sure what you are saying here but thank you very much for your response.

  3. Am reading Howard Jacobson's Zoo Time - what a great recommendation. Love the beginning and the writer's trial by book, or should I say 'berk' or 'bok,' group.

    A x



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