Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Crux

Crux by Richard Aellen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As the other reviewers have noted, the plot is the plot of [b:The Count of Monte Cristo|7126|The Count of Monte Cristo|Alexandre Dumas||391568] but in modern America instead of old France.

So many SPOILERS to follow

After reading, I am still not sure if Aellen was honoring Monte Cristo with this novel, a kind of a nudge & wink remake or if Aellen was simply lifting the plot whole sale.
Nothing I have read on the blurb, on the cover, on the EXTREMELY limited info I could find on Aellen himself, gave me any clue.

My initial reaction was that he whole sale stole the idea. But then, who would be so brazen, so stupid as to do that? I mean, any critic, and any quarter-way intelligent reader, is going to realize from the VERY BEGINNING that this is Monte Cristo re-badged.

Now you might be wondering why I care whether it is a steal or a nod of honor. It is because I LOVE the original Count of Monte Cristo, even though I had a tough time loving the un-abridged version.

There are many small differences.

The biggest difference for me, besides the fact that Crux takes place in the 60's and 80's, is the fact that Keith Johnson is no suave, sophisticate like the Count. Keith goes into his dungeon a young man and comes out essentially the same person, simply richer. None of the teaching he supposedly received from his prison mentor seemed to rubbed off. Where Edmond was a completely different person as the Count, so much so that we aren't completely sure Dantes IS the Count.
Keith goes by Kris John, that is it. There is no transformation.

Crux is a thriller through and through. It is fast paced, action oriented and jumps from one scene to the next with nary a break in the action. For what it is, it is a great read.

But if it is a nod to Monte Cristo, then it is a dismal failure. It would be like comparing Rambo to a Grand Master of a Martial Art. Both could kill you in the blink of an eye. Both can accomplish the same thing. But only one has style, grace and panache.

Edmond Dantes spent years after his escape becoming the Count. His revenge was psychological, physical and mental. Every step, every nook, every secret, was ferreted out and used. His plans were long range, multi-purpose and had redundancy upon redundancy built in.

Keith Johnson escapes and his revenge is done within 3 months. While he tries to use psychological elements against his enemies, his attempts are ham handed and heavy. He does not research his enemies well enough, something that comes back to bite him. He is personally involved to the point where he ends up destroying those he is trying to help.


So, I enjoyed this, but it is just a McDonald's hamburger to the Sirloin steak of [b:The Count of Monte Cristo|7126|The Count of Monte Cristo|Alexandre Dumas||391568].

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment