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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

The year is 1944, and Gabi is a Swiss pastor's daughter working for the new American intelligence agency, which was the forerunner of the CIA. She is courier to a Swiss scientist and takes his secret documents to safety before the Gestapo can get their hands on what he has to offer to the world. She does not even know this man, and all she can think about is the man she truly loves, but even he is hiding something from her. The times are rough and relationships are fragile. Who can Gabi trust to keep the secrets safe?

One would be hard-pressed to find a more straightforward, average, and typical book like The Swiss Courier. Lacking good characters, good dialogue, an original setting, or an original end, this book was a struggle for me to finish. This book is steeped in worn out fiction elements such as typical villains, romantic subplots, and "suspenseful" situations that the heroes always wriggle out of. The entire book made me want to gag when I realized there were still authors who actually wrote nonsense like this. I thought we had abandoned any World War II plots long ago.

Historical plots are still suffering for good characters. The characters are all cut out of a mold. None of them seem realistic to me at all. The characters are also all predictable. They do everything the reader expects them to do. The heroes make no mistakes; the villains do. There is no realistic median between heroes and villains. Characters need to be more ambiguous and not so clear cut and straightforward. Authors need to surprise us by making the characters do something unexpected, that still fits with the personality they should have.

When will authors cease using the same suspense plot over and over again? The heroes are introduced, the the villains are introduced, a conflict arises in the heroes' lives, a potential romantic subplot is introduced, the heroes begin their mission, mysterious characters are introduced, love is found between the male and female lead with some sort of love scene, more conflict arises, mysterious characters are unveiled, lovers are separated, one of the leads is captured and held hostage, false death(s) occur, a showdown between the hero(es) and villain(s) transpires, the good guys win and are rescued, the lovers reunite and are engaged or married, other incidentals are fixed in an epilogue, end of story. I'm sick of it. This is not the way fiction is to be. Authors need to branch out and use their creativity to endless horizons of plots. But that could be the problem.

Probably the best thing about this book is the research behind it. At least the authors made this much of an effort. But otherwise, there is nothing good about it.

1 star

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