Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less

Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less: Jeffrey Archer, August 20—28, 2016

My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊

NotAPennyMoreNotAPennyLessNot a penny more. Not a penny less. Just and no more, certainly nothing extra. That sums up the content of this book so well, you can practically hear Ronseal filing a trademark suit.

Four men are conned out of a combined $1 million and resolve to regain exactly that amount of money, in a 1970s version of Hustle. Each of them must come up with a plan, resulting in four discrete ‘stings’.

It’s a bit of an awkward, clunky set up. Having never met before, the characters are assembled and discuss plans and dossiers. To avoid being repetitive, Archer glosses over the substance of the plans. It’s strange, having written in an omniscient style until this point, to suddenly and blatantly withhold salient information that the lead characters are all aware of. There isn’t really a way round it, to be fair, but it’s still odd. You get the feeling you’re being played.

The other problem is Henry Metcalfe himself. As a villain, he just doesn’t hold up. There’s no menace about him. You don’t feel anything. He elicits no response at all. Moreover, he isn’t particularly clever or cunning or in any way difficult to swindle. He’s loaded, and while he’s ruthless in gaining his cash, he’s happy to part with it freely to get what he wants. Easy come, easy go. There is very little resistance, and it does nothing for the plot.

In the end, we have four men talking about plans we don’t get to hear and in the absence of any major stumbling blocks, provide very little in the way of tension or excitement. It’s an easy enough read and you can amble along quite nicely, but far from introducing Archer as the “master storyteller” the dust jacket claims, it’s actually a bit, to be blunt, dull.


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This entry was posted on September 3, 2016 by in 3 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