Book Report: Floodgate by Alistair MacLean (1983)

This book is the third MacLean novel I’ve read this year (see also Caravan to Vaccares, Partisans); ergo, you can assume that I like the author. Enough to pick up his books at the local library for a quarter when the local library needs to cycle out extra books for more space for Internet connections. I shouldn’t complain, as I get something for my buck (cheap thrillers remembered from my youth) while the library gets something (room, pennies on the dollar for books) and other users get something (free Internet connections, although I’m not sure how many people in Casinoport and its satellite communities need free Internet connections).

But I digress. This novel, one of MacLean’s later works, suffers from the excessive dialogishness one could ascribe to many of his works. A Dutch policeman must work against a terrorist organization that will bomb The Netherlands’ dikes if its demands go unmet.

There you have it. The policeman must infiltrate the group, and that’s it. No real plot twists, and perhaps a gaffe that one cannot explain. MacLean might have been radio telephoning it in as he transplanted his tales to the modern (1980s) era, but they still read quick and linear, drawing one along to the inevitable conclusion–and a short conclusion at that. So if you’re looking for something similar to Clive Cussler, but clocking in at only 200 pages, I’d recommend any MacLean. But if you’ve a high school or small community library ca 1986 with numerous volumes of MacLean, perhaps you ought to start with Where Eagles Dare.

On further review of that last sentence, I realize this might be my first exposure to this particular novel (unlike the others I’ve read this year, which I reocgnized by their covers). In my youthful (1986-1990) reading of MacLean, I probably didn’t encounter this novel, as it was so new. Weird reflection upon my library, and my reading: my library and my collection really begins at about 1990, when I went to college. All the Agatha Christie novels I borrowed from my high school library and all of the sundry novels I tore through at the rate of 1 per day in high school. If they’re not on the shelves, I have no record of their reading; hence, I must read them again! For all intents and purposes, my literary life began but 16 years ago. I pity you, gentle reader, who suffers through these book reports and only but now know what you’re in for.