enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Kirk Tuck, The Lisbon Portfolio

I read this book about 22-May-2017. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 2014. This note was last modified Monday, 29-May-2017 16:42:21 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


Espionage novel about a photographer who gets drawn into spy work (twice), by an actual photographer.

Fun. So far as I know it's an first effort at fiction, which means he's still needing practice at some things, but also (commonly) that this is the story that drove him hard enough to complete a novel.

A novel by a photographer with a protagonist who is a photographer always raises the question "is it a self-insert?" I dunno (I barely know the author and only online), but it doesn't read like one, it's not self-congratulatory enough for example. He does manage to one-up the CIA a few times, but they're being stupid, and he admits he's just applying things he read in spy novels. Also the character is absurdly caffeine-dependent while the author says on Amazon that he's given it up to be able to hand-hold at slower shutter speeds.

The bad guys have been remarkably dumb in a lot of ways, but I kind of like that. It's not that they have left a hole to be discovered at the last minute, it's more like they've plotted a course from the beginning that will get them in way over their heads. That's nice, it's better than bad guys always being super-competent and yet having to lose anyway.

There were a number of nicely-drawn supporting characters, which is always a good thing.

This did have the usual level of gun screw-ups. For some reason, people who write espionage novels seem to average pretty ignorant about guns. (Austin doesn't count as part of Texas, in terms of gun knowledge.) Everybody I know who carries keeps a round in the chamber. Most carry guns, and specific models mentioned, don't have a manual safety (and a darned good thing). Guns that don't knock the shooter over don't knock the target over (Newton's third law). Ball ammo, ammo with penetrator cores, and depleted uranium ammo (!) transfer less energy to a body they go through than conventional self-defense ammo. Since it's sort-of a techno-thriller, perhaps some of the guns were intended as future tech.


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David Dyer-Bennet