Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate: Andrew Neiderman, March 29—April 4, 2012

My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊

It must first be stated that The Devil’s Advocate, while the inspiration for the eponymous Hollywood movie, is markedly different from its better known cinematic counterpart.

The protagonist – Kevin Taylor, not Lomax – is a far more likeable lead character. Or, since this isn’t a comparison of the book and movie, a likeable character. He appears genuinely talented and, when given the opportunity, attempts to better his lot for the benefit of himself and his wife. This leads him to John Milton Associates.

Although I normally aim to keep my reviews spoiler-free, not discussing the ending to The Devil’s Advocate is like missing out the iceberg in a review of Titanic. Even without the infamous film, the book’s title and blurb make it abundantly clear that Taylor is in fact working for Satan, hence his unblemished record.

Neiderman weaves in subtle ironies before the reveal that are marginally witty, but the wait for the punchline is a long one. Because it’s an anticipated ‘twist’, the reader really is just waiting for Taylor to twig. The company is so amazing, everyone is so happy, their lives are such luxury, Neiderman spoon feeds the not-so-subtle hints with a shovel ten times the size of the reader’s mouth. This continues for the bulk of the novel to the point you’re so bloody bored of waiting for the ‘reveal’ that you essentially want to boot Taylor and co into hell yourself and be done with it.

Along the way, there is a case which Taylor takes on while working for the firm (not surprisingly). If it’s an afterthought in my review, that’s because it’s an afterthought in the book. Neiderman doesn’t spend any amount of time on it so really, nobody cares.

Although the Milton-is-Satan ‘twist’ plays out per the movie (or, actually, in the movie per the book), the remainder of the endings are radically different in every way. Neiderman, once he finally gets round to it, comes into his own in the dénouement and leads the reader by the nose through a series of quite unexpected twists to a very surprising – yet very fitting – ending.

Despite the strength of the ending, the whole novel is very much geared towards that final act and as such it becomes one of those disappointing stories that’s all about the destination and not at all about the ride. It’s not enjoyable journeying with the character to the end, it’s a slog of perseverance to get there. The writing is weak and horrendously, toe-curlingly, butt-clenchingly repetitive. In all, it’s a great concept executed poorly. You could say the outside appearance of the idea is better than the content inside. You could say vanity is Neiderman’s favourite sin.


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This entry was posted on April 4, 2012 by in 2 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare