Despite being a book I wanted to enjoy, A Bridge to Treachery: From Extortion to Terror proved to be a somewhat uneven read. What could have been a strong thriller, a nostalgic throwback to the pulp action thrillers of the 80s, suffers from a lack of world-building to anchor it in the historical and political landscape. Without those details to anchor events, we're left to read it as a contemporary thriller, which creates some issues with the basic premise. Where the concept of coordinated terrorist attacks across the USA would have been mind-blowing in the 80s, the targets seem rather petty and small in a post-9/11 reality.
That core issue aside, this is a rather enjoyable story, and one that builds upon its characters as well as its storyline. At first, I wasn't sure what kind of story Larry Crane was trying to tell, and found myself wondering where all this talk of investment brokering and auction hunting was headed. Somewhere along the line it all clicked, however, and I found myself invested in the lives of Lou and Meg. As such, by the time Lou receives the mysterious invite to his boss' office, soon finding himself the beneficiary of riches he didn't really earn, I felt the sense of dread that I'm sure the author intended.
While the whole terrorist operation fell a bit flat for me, as I mentioned above, the conspiracy behind it is quite entertaining. I think the story could have benefited from some transparency on the narrator's part, allowing to reader to understand more of the 'who' and the 'why' behind everything, but that's a personal preference. While I feel it would have lent more credence (or, perhaps, significance) to Lou's plight, it would admittedly have taken away from the central mystery of who to trust . . . and how far.
The actions scenes were very well done, carefully choreographed, but never weighted down with the the kind of gritty technical detail that so often turns similar thrillers into glorified gun-porn. I felt myself being carried along by the action, never quite sure from where the next blow would come, and honestly fearing for the safety of those involved. There were a few twists, especially later on, that I saw coming, but that didn't detract from the impact.
The ending itself seemed a bit forced, with Meg playing a far bigger role than I felt we'd been set up to expect, but I liked that she got to be more than just the once-jilted, twice-suspicious wife. Similarly, things seemed to work out a bit too easily for Lou, but that's the case with any action-hero. There were definitely some lingering questions for me regarding the overall conspiracy, but sometimes it's best to leave the reader guessing, rather than tying up every loose thread.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins