The Unknown Terrorist
Yes folks, it's book review time.....
This is one of those books that in some ways, and I'm sad to say this, was somewhat of a dissapointment. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, if you enjoy a good ripping yarn and aren't too fussed about the need for a happy ending then do give it a crack, because I thought it was a great read. The trouble is that it promised so much more that it never quite delivered.
The story is a modern reworking of The Lost Honour of Katharine Blaum and centers on Gina Davies, (AKA The Doll or The Black Widow or Krystal), a Lap Dancer in Sydney who has a one night stand with a man who later turns out to be a suspected terrorist. Over the next few days her life is ripped apart and distorted by a hysterical media that just wants a good story leading to a climax in which she confronts the main journalist repsonsible (I wont ruin the ending for you).
Regular readers will know about my contempt for much of the media and indeed my astonishment at the hysteria there is over "the war on terror" so maybe it is for this reason, ie my passion about these subjects, that I found this book to not quite hit the mark. The drug smuggling sub plot veired it too close to a thriller and the crudely dealt with side issue of the adequacy of love with it's unecessary prologues and epilogues was, to be blunt, just self indulgent. In addition the hail storm in the build up to the climax was cliched beyond belief.
What it is missing is the cold and clinical breakdown of Davies life by the media that featured in the original. She goes too quickly from dismissing it all to running in fear of her life, it's all too rushed. And given the complexity of the character this is something that there was so much scope for.
I wouldn't want you to think that I hated this book, because I didn't. Flannagan is clearly an angry man and I share his anger. The scene in which Wilder (Davies best friend) describes to Davies how she has been interrogated by the police is truly chilling and a brilliant peice of writing. I just feel that this novel had the potential for so so much more.