Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
I kind of want to just get to the review and put me out of my misery but every article is potentially someone’s first, so I should mention that thus far I have not enjoyed this book. When the focus is on the bombing investigation and the extremest group trying to go to war with each other it’s rather interesting. When it shifts to the title location only two characters are worth watching. The remainders are a bunch of jerks I can’t bring myself to root for beyond not wanting to see a second Korean War. That is not the story I want to read. So this week we have three chapters because the other problem with this book is the weird way it approaches chapters with their insistence on time stamps. Maybe it’s a Tom Clancy staple or something but I don’t care for it.
- Chapter 47: Tuesday, 10:05 AM, Op-Center: four pages
- Chapter 48: Wednesday, 1:10 AM, The Diamond Mountains, North Korea: two pages
- Chapter 49: Wednesday, 1:15 AM, The DMZ: eight pages if you count half a page
Well, let’s get this over with.
The first chapter in tonight’s trilogy is mostly Paul working on damage control since the President is about to do something stupid. Between his son apparently getting better and the news that Matt found a starting point to the solution things are looking up. Paul’s also smart enough to take the frame-up angle Gregory and Hwan are working on. This would be just a bunch of fluff distracting from the interesting part, but not that bad except we get a reminder that Paul’s press secretary wants to hook up with her married boss and is so disappointed that even Paul notices. Hello, buzzkill. I didn’t forget the US scenes are bad but thanks for ruining what little good this one had. Except for Paul Hood and Matt Stoll I really don’t like these characters. Fun fact: they actually reference the death and return of Superman, which some of you readers may know the novelization by Roger Stern was our last Chapter By Chapter book. That’s a neat coincidence.
Meanwhile, the conspirators are headed to a missile station in the Diamond Mountains, and maybe I’m not reading this right but do these guys work for the North or the South? Unless he means the South spies who aren’t part of the conspiracy might try to kill him. “He” is the leader of this group, given phony papers and uniforms by their North allies as they all try to start the next Korean war. He hopes the US will join in and they will utterly destroy the North. I’m guessing he’s going to fire the missiles at the South to further blame the North for attacking. What I wonder is why they’re using this tactic and not doing something on the South side to make it look like payback for the bombing? All the blame is being put on the North and it’s going to look suspicious to somebody. If both sides get blamed then both sides will be more likely to ignore logic and get into a war, or so I would think. Meanwhile, why would the North Korean conspirators be happy with their country getting the blame for everything, thus harming things potentially with their own allies like China? China won’t be able to defend them and while I’m sure that’s great for the South conspirators I don’t think the North conspirators would like that. Granted I could also be overextending my limited knowledge of the region. There’s a reason I’m not President, and we’re all better off that way.
Finally we have Gregory Donald going to the DMZ and meeting his old friend General M.J. Schneider. Schneider is Bob Herbert but unintentionally funny. He’s the kind of old warhorse that acts tough but isn’t afraid to cry or allow others to cry over a lost loved one. Schneider had lost his daughter in a skiing accident and ended up back in Korea. He was in both the Korean and Vietnam wars and he is really ticked about one of his recon people being shot down and isn’t afraid to tell the Chairman of the Congressional Armed Services Committee what he thinks of him over the phone. He’d probably do it to his face if he could. Meanwhile, Gregory contacts the general of the North side to arrange a meeting, hoping to stop the conspirators before things escalate. Will he respond? Will we find out next time?
So once again the interesting characters and situations are happening over in Korea and has nothing to do with the title location or its staff. I almost think they should have dropped Op-Center entirely and focused on the Asian events. Not only would that make for a better read and hopefully not require these silly timestamps, thus allowing for better chapter maintenance but it would cut this book in half. Ending this book sooner would make me happy but if I can get through Seduction Of The Innocent for Chapter By Chapter, and I did, I think I can handle this.