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on July 15, 2014
It has always puzzled me how an author can write one excellent book only to have another of their books be a complete bomb. This has happened often in my reading lately and has happened with the two books I've just read of Gregg Hurwitz. His YOU'RE NEXT was a wonderful read and THEY'RE WATCHING, which I'm reviewing here, was "OMG, when will it ever end?!" OR, how the first half of the book can be readable/somewhat interesting and the second half reads like the instructions for a root canal.
The biggest flaw throughout the book was its TOTAL unbelievability. The first half = a struggling novelist/screenwriter Patrick Davis whose book is in movie production has a physical altercation with the lead actor, causing Patrick to be fired from the set w/ a lawsuit pending. Thereafter, and things not going well between him and his wife, he starts receiving electronic secret messages that ORDER him to do certain preposterous things for which he feels a sense of responsibility but that make NO sense other than he will do their bidding. (One example: he is ordered to pick-up a duffel bag containing $27,000+ and take it to this house (fake), to this woman (fake/actor), for her to use for her sick granddaughter's (there is none) operation; w/out this money, she will die.) "They" have completely rigged his home with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and have tracking devices in his shoes and on his car so that they know his every move = all designed to control and keep him on edge and in-line but.... WHY would he ever play their game in the first place ? They obviously aren't going to harm him because IF they wanted him dead, he would be by now, so doing all these strange things he feels he must do stretches one's credulity, big-time. Then the actor is found dead, beaten to death by Patrick's golf club, so now he's wanted for murder, and so that he continues to follow orders, they show him a picture of his wife who looks very dead.... he sees but has no proof of a dead body, just a photo, yet Patrick continues to believe in this far-fetched mission, while I'm shaking my head in disbelief.
The second half of the book is the root canal part: it seems that the lead actor was making a documentary about the harmful effects of high sonar decibels on whales and a Senate vote to stop this is imminent. Two huge corporations involved in sonar research, development, marketing want the documentary stopped and decide that only by killing the actor would movie production shut down. All well and good? NOT !! Perhaps billion dollar corporations would/could just contract to have someone killed and have the mess covered up OR put money into lobbyists' hands or Senators' election funds. EVERYTHING that they did, day after day after day, to pin the wrap on Patrick was just ludicrous; I can't believe that they would go to those extremes.
At first, all the hoops they put Patrick through aroused my curiosity, but it just went on and on, becoming more bizarre. Everything hinged on damaging information contained on this one disc that had been hidden in a FedEx package, which was miraculously found, Patrick was free, reunited w/ his wife, and at the end we find him working in a nice teaching position, happily ever after, with the mess over and done with. Egads! I couldn't delete from my Kindle fast enough!