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Literary Glance: Backlash by Brad Thor

July 10, 2019

Backlash by Brad Thor! How can it NOT be an instant bestseller?

Brad Thor is probably the best name ever for a male military thriller author.  Brad… Thor… Two first names, both one syllable, and a last name that’s the same as the Norse god of thunder.  If I could exchange names with anybody, I’d take Brad Thor’s name.

With a name like Brad Thor, you can write whatever you want, as long it’s filled with masculinity.  And Brad Thor usually delivers what his name suggests.  When you read a Brad Thor novel, you know what you’re going to get: lots of action, bad dialogue, and the occasional awkwardly worded sentence.

Backlash by Brad Thoris pitched as the 19th book in the Scot Harvath series.  19th book?  No character deserves 19 books, especially a guy named Scot Harvath.  I mean, it has to be tough to come up with a fictional name cooler than Brad Thor.  I think it’s an author’s responsibility to come up with a name cooler than his/her own, and Scot Harvath doesn’t cut it for an author named Brad Thor.

I know it’s tough to come up with a name cooler than Brad Thor, but Clive Cussler created Dirk Pitt, so it’s possible.  The name Scot Harvath sounds like Brad Thor just gave up.  If Scot Harvath were the author, I might buy 19 books with a character named Brad Thor, but not the other way around.

The quality of a Brad Thor book is important to a few people, I guess, and Backlash is okay so far. The writing is fast-paced with an awkward sentence popping up occasionally.  Here’s a typical example of Thor’s writing from Backlash.

Chapter 2

Police Chief Tom Tullis had seen plenty of dead bodies over his career.

But this was a record for him at a single crime scene.

During the height of the summer, the popular resort town of Gilford could swell to as many as twenty thousand inhabitants.  Off-season, like now, the number of full-time residents was only seventy-three hundred.  Either way, four corpses were four too many.

Pulling out his cell phone, the tall, crew-cut-sporting cop texted his wife.  They were supposed to meet for lunch.  That was impossible now.  He told her not to expect him for dinner either.  It was going to be a late night.

This is what you get in Backlash.  A bunch of simple sentences that could have been combined in more creative ways.  A few awkward phrases that could have rewritten or deleted, and I have a few questions..

If Tom Tullis was police chief of a resort town, why has he seen so many dead bodies?

Do readers need to know Tom Tullis was “crew-cut-sporting cop”?  Texting the wife that he’ll miss lunch and dinner seems calm for a resort town cop.  Maybe I’m wrong, but a resort town cop might not be so casual about his text.

A more believable reaction would be something like this: “Holy crap!  We have four dead bodies in my resort town!  I moved here to get away from that crap! What the hell is going on?”

The rest of the chapter is just as matter-of-fact.  Tullis handles this quadruple murder very methodically, even though it’s unheard of in his resort town.  Maybe this Tom Tullis is a super cop, and I just haven’t read enough of the Scot Harvath books.  There are 19 of them after all.

And why am I using numerals for 19 but Brad Thor spells out seventy-three hundred?  It’s okay to write 7300.  I’d rather read 7300 than seventy-three hundred.

I mean, I’d rather see the numeral 7300 than the words seventy-three hundred.  I don’t want to read seventy-three hundred of anything, not even seventy-three hundred Brad Thor books.

Brad Thor is still a really cool name though.

  1. I still cannot hear Brad Thor’s name without hearing Phil Hartman going, “I’m actor Troy McClure!” I mean, “I’m author Brad Thor!”

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