I'd lean higher, maybe--this was phenomenal. The novel zips; the prose is knotty, carefully-crafted, witty. E.g.,
describing a late-night excursion to a sandwich shop in Germany, an employee playing music from an old touch-wheel iPod: A staccato riff from the speakers, no midrange, bass qualities overmatched by the quantities of low end trying to pass through them, treble trying to carry all the information compressed into the MP3 file that emerges as music. Soundtrack in the modern age, tinny, slight, cranked-up, always referencing the past.
A gunman running, his cheek pressed to the stock of an assault rifle that seemed to protrude from his shoulder like an organic growth, a sensing organ that pulled him toward targets of opportunity
The novel's plot both re-energizes the tropes of espionage fiction and re-imagines core concerns for the 21st century. I thought
about the book while ripping through it. The corporatization of security, the rise of the Shock Doctrine, climate change, information overload, perverse inequalities of economic resources. And a central character defined by a central conceit--an agent who was raised in a Skinner box, conditioned and conditioning as deep resonant metaphors for social/global behavior. That rare bird: a thriller as exhilirating for its concepts as for its execution.
Just talked myself into five stars.
I read Huston's first couple of novels, and I liked 'em, but not enough to keep on top of his prolific output. Skinner
has me reconsidering--Huston is now an author I have