August 17, 2006
Paul Goldstein, Errors and Omissions
Posted by Gordon Smith

Nazis. McCarthyism. Hollywood. An alcoholic lawyer. A beautiful female academic. Murder. An international chase.

That's a lot of cliches for one novel, even when the author is someone as clever as Paul Goldstein, who notes on his website that this is the "first in a series of novels devoted to intellectual property themes." Michael Seeley, the alcoholic lawyer, specializes in intellectual property law, and that was the hook that caught me. Goldstein does a nice job turning an intellectual property issue into the focus of the plot, but Seeley, who will be appearing in those future novels, comes off flat. As do the other characters.

Spoiler alert!

This is not a flattering thing to say about a "thriller," but it's the truth: the story was dull. The characters talk a lot, but for the most part, they don't have interesting things to say. And the pacing was, until the last third of the book, plodding.

Finally, the conclusion was simply frustrating, though perhaps predictable. Seeley is portrayed throughout the novel as a man of many flaws, not least of which is self-absorption. It's all about Michael Seeley. So when he is presented with a difficult choice at the end of the book, all he can think about is how the choice affects him, even though he is the interested party least affected by the decision. Maybe with the passage of time, Michael Seeley will mature into a compelling and likeable character, but for now he is a selfish alcoholic with lots of issues.

If you would like to rate the book on the Conglomerate Bookshelf, go here.

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