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Literary Glance: Foreign Agent by Brad Thor

June 8, 2017

Brad Thor? That can’t be his real name!

For a long time, I was pretty sure that Brad Thor wasn’t Brad Thor’s real name.  Brad Thor had to have given himself that name, I thought.  Nobody is lucky enough to have a name as cool as Brad Thor.  I got stuck with Jimmy and a boring last name.  A guy named Brad Thor has it made.

Brad Thor was smart enough to start writing military thrillers.  If your last name is Thor, you should write war books (or meteorology manuals, but there’s probably not as much money in that).  25 years ago, Tom Clancy owned the military thriller genre.  But then his novels started getting too long, and military readers clamored for shorter thrillers.  Clancy started co-writing shorter novels, and authors like Vince Flynn and Brad Thor helped fill the need with novels of their own.

Vince Flynn was a good, tough name for a military thriller guy.  Maybe not as tough as Brad Thor, but pretty good.

To be honest, I’m not interested in military thrillers anymore.  With the ways that technology and current events (public affairs) change, most novels in that genre feel outdated within a few years.  But out of curiosity, I picked up Foreign Agent by Brad Thor just to see what a Brad Thor novel was like.

Because this novel gets into issues like terrorism and U.S. foreign policy, your political beliefs will probably affect your opinion of this book, and I’m not that kind of blogger, so I’m not writing about that aspect of the book.  Instead, I’m interested in the quality of writing, and you get everything you need to know about the novel Foreign Agent from the following sentence in Chapter 4.

Her tight dress clung to her stunning body as a faint breeze moved her long, brown hair.

Like I said, that pretty much tells you what you need to know about this book.  Some authors might describe what the dress looked like (other than tight).  Some authors might describe what her body looked like (other than stunning).  As far as hair goes, the description “long , brown” is probably enough.  The world doesn’t need more descriptions of hair.

I don’t believe in judging a book by one sentence, so here are a couple others.

WARNING!! This sentence from Chapter 3 is kind of violent.

Even though the Beretta was suppressed, the shot was still audible, and the man’s brains splattered across the café window were extremely visible.

The brains weren’t just “visible” or “noticeable”; they were “extremely visible”.

I know I miss the obvious a lot (like when my wife changes her hair style), but it’s tough to miss splattered brains on a café window.  Even if you don’t know what it is, it’s still visible.

Here’s another sentence from Chapter 3:

It was dark.

I like this sentence because if it’s dark, then you can’t really see anything anyways, and it’s pointless to write more.  Sometimes authors will spend hundreds of words describing how dark it is when all they have to say is that it’s dark.  Everybody understands what dark means.

Even though I’m not jealous of his writing style, I’m jealous of Brad Thor because of his name.  Brad Thor.  I’ve never been jealous of a name before.  I don’t even want to write military thrillers, but I’m still jealous of Brad Thor.

  1. I’m sure Brad Thor has other things going for him besides the clearly awesome name, like having written a few best-sellers.

  2. Guess he’s never heard the axiom, “describe it to your readers, don’t tell them what to think about it”.

  3. After those two sentences, I already closed the book. How did you read the whole book?

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