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3 out of 4 stars
Review by MarisaRose
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The author wonderfully sets the scene for the events of the story to unfold. The geographic descriptions provide clear images of life in Washington D.C.; likewise, the character descriptions of professionals working in the area seemed realistic. It is easy to believe that Sabyl is an elite business woman having dealings with the White House; the same goes for her ex-fiancé, Scott, a secret service agent. Furthermore, the secondary characters are given personality to help carry the story along.
Though the story’s premise and the basis for the characters appear exciting, the execution of the narrative was rather dull and anticlimactic. The plot lacked any real surprises and the outcomes were predictable and banal. Further, many of the characters have moderately developed personalities, but they fail to excite the reader because they are incredibly elementary; the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. The main “good guys” all lack any type of personal or ethical flaw; similarly, the bad guys are fundamentally bad and we are given no character insight to humanize them in anyway. The one dimensional bad guys weren’t as bothersome because they were terrorists and it is understandably hard to humanize a terrorist; but the lack of any imperfection in the protagonists only hindered the already unimaginative story.
The events in the novel suffered from many of the same setbacks found in the characterization. Although the circumstances surrounding the characters are frightening, nothing bad really happens. The best possible outcomes of all the terrible situations explored in the plot prevail. The happy endings made the book feel idealistic and impractical, especially given the focus on terrorism.
Tempe Brown showcases quality writing and an interesting premise in this novel. However, the one dimensional characters coupled with the predictable and easily managed events in this story are hugely disappointing; therefore, I rate The Payback Game: Sixteen Days of Terror 3 out of 4 stars. I would have considered giving this book a higher rating if the plot had not been so predictable. I recommend this book to those who enjoy light political thrillers and books with strong female leads.
The Payback Game
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kimmyschemy06 wrote:I'm not much into political thrillers but the premise of this book sounds very promising. Too bad, though, about the total execution especially the characterization. Great job on the review.
Thank you! Was hoping for a bit more with this one.
― Ernest Hemingway
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