The Way of the Word

25. July 2010

Review: Tod Goldberg – Burn Notice: The Giveaway

Filed under: books,review,TV — jensaltmann @ 14:58
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Originally published in 2010. Based on the TV show.

His name is Michael Westen. He used to be a spy. Until he got a Burn Notice on him and was out of the business. Now he lives in Miami and helps people out while he tries to figure out how to get back in.

In this adventure, Michael helps out his friend Barry the money launderer. Barry has a friend, Bruce, who is a thief. Bruce robbed the wrong people — the biker gang The Ghouls. Now there’s a price on Bruce’s head, and he needs Michael’s help to get out of this mess. Michael’s solution: fake Bruce’s death and incite a gang war between the Ghouls and their greatest rivals, so that they’re otherwise occupied. Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned…

The Giveaway is the third tie-in novel to the popular TV series. It is so far the best. Previously, Goldberg did a creditable job writing the main character, Michael Westen, it had just been that the voices for the supporting cast of Sam Axe and Fiona Glenanne felt a bit off. Practice clearly makes perfect, because this time Goldberg nails the voices of the entire cast. The result is a very fun pulpish adventure that is difficult to put down and really captures the feel and pacing of the TV show, up to and including the various character quirks of this admittedly very quirky cast of characters. The only problem is that the novel’s climax seems somewhat forced, as if Goldberg suddenly realized that he was running out of space and had to wrap things up right now.

The Giveaway would work very well as an episode of the TV show. That is both to the novel’s credit and detriment. Credit, because when I read a tie-in novel to a TV show, I actually want the source to be evoked. Detriment, because it doesn’t take the best advantage of the different medium to tell the kind of story that, even for simple budget reasons, the TV show couldn’t.

Verdict: recommended.

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