The Lions of Lucerne (Scot Harvath #1) by Brad Thor

The two stars I am giving this book is for a plot that moves along and is interesting enough to keep you reading. It is a typical airport thriller and is adequate in that sense.

What I disliked about this story was the main character and the dialogue. I can’t stand Scot Harvath. He is a poorly written, poorly constructed stereotype. It is like the author watched a really good James Bond movie and then tried to apply those characteristics to his main character and failed abysmally. Harvath is a Secret Service agent who in the first chapter of the book allows almost 30 agents under his supervision to be massacred and the President of the United States to be kidnapped.

After saving the President’s daughter by being the only Secret Service agent to survive an avalanche, he bucks every order given by his superiors and heads out on a mission to recover the POTUS. In so doing, he is able to foil every attempt at assassination that comes his way while also outrunning the FBI, CIA and Secret Service who also want to reel him back in and hold him accountable.

I knew the story had jumped the rails early when Harvath, a Navy Seal who also happened to be a former Olympic skier, was caught in an avalanche without a recovery beacon. There is no way that a Secret Service agent would allow a president and his family to ski a black diamond run known as “The Death Chute” without having rescue beacons on everyone.

As a Navy Seal and member of the Secret Service, he would have had a very real sense of discipline and grasp on chain of command. Even James Bond was written with that aspect in his personality. Though Harvath is a quintessentially American cowboy, he lacks any sense of discipline and therefore any sense of realism. He spent the entire book going off half cocked and telling everyone off.

To that end, the author attempted to have Harvath begin or end battle scenes, fight scenes or kills with a quip. Again, that may work in a James Bond movie but read Fleming – Bond isn’t written that way and it works even less for this character. I have to admit, by the end of the book I was actually rooting for the assassins to take this ass out!

He also made a mockery of the Swiss agent that ended up helping Harvath. Aside from concentrating on her “beauty”, she kept getting into situations where Harvath would inevitably save her. Please. If she was a trained agent, she would be much better than the way she was written and would surely know what the six o’clock position is when working with a partner.

I don’t know if the author has a deal with business but the number of times labels and brand names were dropped into the story was excessive. In addition, there were plenty of loose ends and gaps in the story that made me wonder why they were introduced at all.

Of course the end result is that it is all wrapped up in a nice bow with Harvath getting a promotion and the stage being set for more ridiculous stories to be presumably bought by Tom Cruise to star in at a later date as agent Scot Harvath.

I’m always looking for a storyteller with great action and a gripping story. I think I’m going to keep looking. This just didn’t hit the mark for me

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