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Body of Lies: A Novel Hardcover – April 17, 2007
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“FitzSimmons has come up with a doozy of a sociopath.” —The Washington Post Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
The author is horrible on the "love story" components - it ranges from plodding to painful. Yet the love story is such a large portion of the book that it squeezes out the spy story.
And the spy story seems to be warped to favor visuals and dialog over thinking.
The author does not live up to his reputation as a writer of spy stories (from recommendations - this is the first of his books I read). The implausibilities and nonsense are glaring and far too numerous. The love story destroys the pacing of the spy story. The ending is badly forced (both in pacing and content) - it feels like the author was approaching a deadline and decided he had to wrap it up very quickly.
And especially annoying, the author cheats. When you tell a story from the perspective of one of the characters, you can't suddenly start excluding the reader from that character's conversations as a (lazy) way to create suspense. You can't have characters who are experts at keeping secrets (1) randomly reveal that they have a secret and then (2) reveal it to the main character just because he essentially pleads "Aw come on, tell me" a couple of times. This is a lazy - if not contemptuous (of the reader) - way to reveal information, although the demands of a screenplay may dictate such shortcuts. And you can't have a CIA case officer who is repeatedly incurious about significant events.Read more ›
Ignatius' book is neither a total failure nor a total success. His strong suit is plotting and holding together a complex and multi-layered concoction of head games, played out by masters to whom the pawns are readily sacrificed, and dismissed. He is weakest in the love angle, where he becomes trite and predictable, getting precariously near to "sudsy" when the love interest of Alice Melville becomes a major focal point.
Against a mounting background of suicide bombing incidents in Europe, Roger Farris, former journalist and present CIA agent devises a plan to plant a suitable corpse, christened Harry Meeker, where Al Qaeda agents will be sure to find it. Harry is decked out with suitable pocket detritus; and he is properly cuffed to a dossier intended to convince higher ups in the terror pecking order that they have been compromised in the worst possible way. The major target is the elusive Suleiman the Magnificent, a less than humble operating ID for Al Qaeda's principal bombing strategist.
There are plot distractions that demand a fair bit of suspension of disbelief, as when Farris' boss, Hoffman, yanks him back to D.C. from his Jordanian posting, a bit more than seems plausible. This observation particularly applies once the reader has met, and begun to appreciate, the brilliance and guile of Hani Salaam, chief of Jordanian intelligence.Read more ›
Issue 1: The love story, as it was, was so hackneyed. I counted two dates before he was deeply in love? Also, how many times did he blurt "I love you" apropos of nothing in their conversations? Six? I get that this is supposed to motivate his actions or drive this resolution, but Mr. Igatius' strong suit is not romatic dialogue. The wistful remembrances, the happy family denoument, blech.
Issue 2: The CIA is rendered as more of a real place than usual in this genre UNTIL Hoffman gives us a tour of his secret lair. Populated with your standard set of 'crackerjack braniac outsiders' who have a sparkling rapport and super-computers that hold all the secrets. The multi-millionaire ex-hedge-fund guru who now works in the super-black ops? I expected them to introduce Schwartzenegger and Tom Arnold it was so cartoonish.
Issue 3: [Spoiler here] Up until 20 pages left in the book, our 'hero' doesn't have the foggiest what is going on. Everyone likes a twist, but this one fairly clearly demonstrates that our boy is a complete idiot. The Jordanian intelligence guy is able to completely manipulate EVERYTHING and the fact that the CIA seized on the SAME GUY he was already running sure helped. How does the secret-lair team know all and then totally miss this connection? Further, how does the SLT follow through on the operation and then totally miss the Jordan guy tracking the whole thing around. So the point of this book is that the Jordanian intelligence service is dominating and the CIA ultimately has no idea what is going on at any point? Fine, that.
Issue 4: How many references to the poison dental bridge? A dozen? Over and over he writes about this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another great novel from David Ignatiius. It's hard to put this book down.Published 3 months ago by jognart
As usual Mr Ignatius written another novel which keeps the reader riveted till endPublished 4 months ago by dilip m purohit
This was an amazing suspenseful spy thriller taking place in the Middle East. The storyline was a complex plot within a plot leading you to not know who was actually pulling the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mark P
Absolutely awesome book, even better than the movie. A definite must read, as are some of the other texts mentioned in the reading.Published 5 months ago by C. Day
This was the first book I read by this author. The plot was complex. I loved the main characters. One female character I wished he had developed more fully. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
An older Ignatius novel, but one of his best. Forget about the movie, which is still very good, and engross yourself in the book. Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. Murray
I could NEVER identify with the main character or any character within the book. It was sooooo one dimensional. Not a good read at all. Very slow.Published 11 months ago by Karol Love
I loved the movie adaptation, but the book was even better. Ignatius is a little dry as a writer but good spy novels usually are. Read morePublished 14 months ago by matt g
I first met this author's work through his editorial writings for the Washington Post. Like a lot of Americans I am driven by a deep need to better understand the complicated... Read morePublished 15 months ago by TooDog