No Time To Lose
By Matt Baak
Bank robbers have stolen far more from a high secure vault than what expected to find. In addition to hundreds of millions in movie companies’ bearer bonds, they looted a national treasure given to the United States by Japan, and plans for a new submarine. Enter Kip Keplar, FBI consultant, who takes on the case.
It starts as a pretty good who- and how-dunnit. However, with ‘no time to lose’ there seems to be an awful lot of time that goes by with nothing happening. The mystery and the investigation get shoved onto a back burner amidst all of the extra stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with the main story. Plus, the plot gets more un-believable as it goes along.
Kip Keplar: 36, athletic, long flaxen blond hair, cobalt blue eyes, married with three children, operates a charity, drives a black A8 Audi, inherited wealth, former FBI and CIA agent, has a brother
Cam Walker: 44, senior VP of American Trust Bank, black curly hair, black eyes, 5’10”, on his second marriage, drives a silver Mercedes SL550 Roadster
Enrique ‘Ricky’ Alvaro: ex Marine
Mogul: smokes, criminal, missing the both small toes, average features
Reginald G. Parrington: bank president, nervous personality, short black hair, wears glasses
John Brozski: L.A. FBI Branch Assistant Director, 6’2”, athletic, steel gray balding hair,
Jessica Eggins: 45, small stature, works for the Smithsonian Institute, 5′ dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin
Sam ‘Little Sammy’ Cirrelli: father, brother and son dead, 5’9”, dark hair, mobster
One problem I had with Kip is I didn’t know what his job was until I was farther into the book. FBI employee or consultant or John’s friend? He ran a charity but there was no solid connection to the FBI until a much later explanation. (See continuity problem below.)
There’s a scene where an FBI agent makes a joke to a man who’s wife in the hospital? No!
A lot of secondary or minor characters with way too much background info.
I couldn’t sense any voices. Some characters spoke very formally, others tried to sound like a baddie. Conversations tended to be short or very long explanations.
Some chapters are headed by date, time, and location. Short and long chapters.
A few misspelled words.
There is a lot of ‘telling’ by the narrator especially in the action scenes. Just once did I get anywhere close to a character in scene. By staying at a distance, there are POV shifts within paragraphs and I lost the sense of tension. The narrator sometimes went farther out to make a general statement about matters, then back in toward the action. By doing this, the feel for the moment is lost, there is no emotion/feeling shown.
Some paragraphs have several sentences in a row that begin with the same word. One I saw had every sentence begin with ‘He’. Another word was ‘it’.
One strange thing I didn’t understand: Kip is desperately needed at the FBI office to discuss the case but when he arrives, he waits a long time before seeing anyone, and then is rushed again, but in the next scene he’s waiting around to hear a lengthy story.
Continuity problem (sort of): In a flashback several chapters in, it is told that Kip was a new FBI agent when he met his future wife. Then just paragraphs later, he decides to quit the CIA. This problem was solved a few chapters later with an explanation but it made for confusion before. The reader needs to know who and what Kip is before a third of the book is gone.
A lot of the writing, especially from the narrator, could have been tighter. (Example: With Kip by her side and Mette, as they could best determine, being within an acceptable state of stable health and of sound mind, they were sat down and told, that for her, the birth of a child was no longer possible.) This is a convoluted sentence that could have been written in a clearer manner. As best who could determine? ‘That for her’ – well, who else would we be speaking about? Certainly not Kip. (Example: “I’ve made arrangements with the hospital to see her early tomorrow morning to see if we can learn anything from her directly.”) ‘Directly’ is not needed. It’s understood the patient is the person to whom the agent will be speaking. (Example: One chapter starts with a discussion of a town and Cam’s inability to have a house across a state border. Then the scene switches to a hospital room. What was the point of the opening paragraph?
Not believable: The Navy keeping plans for a secret submarine in a bank vault. Navy personnel discussing the details of the secret submarine to FBI agents and consultants.
A lot of material in many scenes are extraneous and too long.
This is a lot of scattered stuff with a hint of cohesion. I had thought for awhile I’d give this a rank of yellow, but the more I read, the more matters stop being believable.