In the Acknowledgements at the beginning of this book, the author has written the following: "Writing is
a discipline, a time consuming business that has to be learned - beware the bookish critiquer who ignores a writer's
voice." Do I take that as a threat or a challenge, or do I ignore it? I will do my best to keep to the last of those options,
although the temptation to say something about the present author's need to learn more and exercise more discipline is certainly
This is a male adventure novel. Our hero realises, as more of his old comrades are killed, that his erstwhile
enemy, Ramon Ensenada, millionaire drug baron, wasn't actually killed in the helicopter crash and he must once more pursue
him. I will state here, immediately, that this form of book is not my natural choice of reading. I read Bond in my teenage,
but nothing similar since. However, I do watch action films on occasion and much of this can be found there. But enough of
me, let's deal with the book.
Jack Dyson is our hero. He is a sort of businessman, although we never really grasp what his business is
and it doesn't seem to need him about that much. His fiancée, later wife, Liz, works for one of the British intelligence forces,
which Jack has been involved in during the pursuit and seeming death of Ensenada. Helga is Ensenada's black goddess love;
Kate is Ensenada's hit-woman. There are various other characters, some of which survive and some of which die during the course
of Ensenada's revenge and Jack's pursuit.
Thompson never really seems to care that much for his characters. What he does to Liz, although providing
some fine motivation for Jack and leading to an almost tense situation with Kate, is pretty nasty. Also, the way he disposes
of Steff, completely off scene, is just throwaway and totally unnecessary.
The book is packed with plot and, on the whole, it works quite well. Mr Thompson has obviously worked hard
on this book; it is by no means just thrown together. He has done a lot of research and this shows. Unfortunately this is
a minus not a plus. We get explanations of money laundering that almost got me understanding it and there is one section on
electronic security and encryption systems that was extremely detailed. The problem is that it all sounded like it came out
of a textbook. To give him his due, Thompson tries to make this stuff accessible by, in the latter case, putting it in the
mouths of Jack and Liz while they are making breakfast. This is a good idea but it doesn't work; it still feels like we are
having a lesson.
Despite all the above, I did find "What Goes Around" an easy book to read, I fair ripped through it and obtained
quite a lot of entertainment, and education, doing it. I just felt that it could have been a lot better.
To return to those "Acknowledgements", Chris Thompson also says: "I hope you enjoy reading What
Goes Around as much as I did writing it." I am quite sure that I didn't, but there, I'm just a bookish critiquer
(interesting word), I'm sure Mr Thompson won't be worried by that. Neither should he. Keep writing, Mr Thompson, I feel reasonably
sure you've got a better book inside you.