Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book Review: Pushing Brilliance by Tim Tigner

Bigger than Life Hero in Nonstop Action Thriller

Simply put, if you are a fan of bigger-than-life action/thriller heroes, Pushing Brilliance is for you.  The book introduces Kyle Achilles, who unlike his namesake, appears to have no heel.  Working with the beautiful, Russian mathematician Katya Kozara, they fight assassins out to kill them for reasons they can’t begin to guess.

Action is clearly the strong suit of this book.  It starts early and seldom slackens.  And each time you believe Tigner is about to wrap up this tale, our protagonists meet another challenge.  Relaxation only comes when you finish reading.  One doesn’t necessarily expect a great deal of character development in a thriller, and this book fits that mold.  We get a glimpse of Achilles and Katya, but nothing in depth.  Both are stereotypes, although Katya seems well beyond the norm on nerdiness.  Do mathematicians really run their lives by calculating probabilities?  Additionally, thrillers often struggle with the romantic connection between the leads – usually they just jump into bed.  Tigner, in my opinion, handles this aspect of the story better than most. 

While I like the bigger-than-life heroes on occasion, they can get old.  There are just so many Olympic bronze medalists, turned CIA operative, turned competitive rock climber, turned invincible hero I can take (yes, that’s Achilles’ resume).  Additionally, there was too much dialog on tactics and strategy with Achilles being the teacher and Katya playing the role of the ready-to-risk-her-life student.  And some of the tactical insights seemed little more than common sense, although Katya was still in awe.  Finally, there was a question if the target of this crime (I’ll leave that vague to avoid a spoiler) would really be as gullible as they are portrayed.  Human nature became a bit warped in places.

But overall, for an action-packed ride filled with gun battles, plotting and counter-plotting, and a bit of technology and romance, Pushing Brilliance is tough to beat.

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