It’s the week of the midterms and no one wants to be bothered any more with thoughtful books, important ideas and solid, objective truths; so it’s time to take a break.
Jack Taft is a businessman of the everyday variety; the only thing that separates him from the rest of Wall Street is that he’s a meek, unnoticeable man with an IQ higher than the figures in their bank accounts. He’s got a good solid job, a girlfriend he loves and plans to marry right after he comes back from a business trip to Singapore, possibly the safest country on the planet. He arrives in his hotel room still suffering from jet lag.
Taft isn’t even in the country for three hours before everyone wants him dead. The local Mafia wants to kill him; a police officer with the nickname of “The High Sheriff of Hell” wants to “arrest” him (he’s seen far too many Dirty Harry movies and would actually like to kill him) and not even his own government wants to go near him with a 3,000 mile pole.
And possibly the worst part about it all: no one has told him why.
Welcome to the world of Joseph Garber’s In a Perfect State, a book that makes even the fastest movie thriller look like a disabled Buick. Ignoring that Garber has excellent and vivid portraits of Singapore life and society, architecture and culture, not to mention enough alligators, automatic weapons, rocket launchers and bullets to make a James Bond fanatic happy, he writes about the “slow” moments in such a way as to make them read as well as the “fast” moments (like being shot at).
In a Perfect State is the perfect amalgamation of political thriller, action thriller, mystery and character study as any outside of Vertical Run. On the one hand, there’s the slight problems involving the international law of an American in Singapore, not to mention the particularities of the local justice system (Remember way back when the American teenager was caned for graffiti?), but don’t worry, even such a boring topic as the law is written in such a way as to make it interesting and even thrilling (never thought you’d hear that about the law, did you?).
Ignoring the political/legal aspects, it has a well developed, character driven story. Taft is made as real as any character developed in “true” literature. Not only is it well written, it’s even relevant to the plot, especially since there’s only one thing standing between him and a six-foot hole with his name on it; he’s smarter than all of the people hunting him down.
In a Perfect State is a well written, quick and an easy read of a caliber on par with Thomas Harris, Jon Land or Jeffery Deaver. And, while I hate to use clich√©s, you may not be able to close the darned thing until you’re done with it.