Reading Dates: 26 February – 2 April 2018
Implausible, drawn out and un-engaging. In an airport security queue, someone picks up the wrong laptop, belonging to a US senator and containing top secret information.The senator’s chief of staff and the NSA are after the guy. Written like this, it does not seem too bad but, boy, there is nothing interesting about the plot driving or the writing. I realise that, in crime fiction, character is 75%. If this is coherent, if this follows through, then the novel will do its job. The guy who picks up the laptop, a coffee roaster called Michael Tanner, could have been that. Instead, only his surface is touched on. Is he a social justice warrior? Why does he make the decisions we read about (for example, do business when he is about to be killed)? There is something interesting in following the pursued and not the pursuer (see the Ripley novels) but The Switch completely misses this opportunity. Tanner is in limbo land as to his place in the book and so the novel is left without an anchor.