Book Review – The Gangster


The Gangster by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott (Penguin) ISBN: 9781405923842

I have never been an avid reader of adventure novels, and after reading The Gangster, I am not a convert.

We follow Detective Isaac Bell in his pursuit of a criminal cartel run by a Boss, who plans to assassinate the president. Cussler may have the seed for a riveting novel, but fails to deliver. The dialogue is stilted and the characters have no complexity. They never seem to outgrow their function and the plot never surpasses its formula.

Despite this, I chose to read the book for what it offers as an adventure novel: speed and thrill. Still, it disappoints. The entire novel is fast-paced, yet without any hiatus to reflect or build urgency. It inadvertently becomes a tiresome read.

The female characters are, to me, the most exasperating. If the characters are mere functions, none are more so than the women. With phrases to describe them, such as ‘brunette beauty’ or ‘looker’, their purpose seems limited to their appearance. I had the uneasy sense that I had travelled back in time. The Gangster is certainly a man’s world, without ever being sufficiently self-aware or reflective.

I would have liked to rate this novel as a good holiday read, but, really, it would ruin my holiday.

Shirley Gevers
2/5