Robert K. Tanenbaum Message Board
Sherry posts on 12/13/2006 12:12:29 AM
I have read and enjoyed all of "Tanenbaum's" Karp novels, even Hoax and Fury, but upon finishing Counterplay I said something that I've never said before, in all the years I've been reading. That was the worst book I've ever read! It was a juvenile rehash, a hackneyed version of the characters I've known and loved, and the ending seemed to be the "author's" joke on the reader. If whoever is writing these now can't do any better than this, it's time to truly bury the characters.
Phil posts on 11/24/2006 7:29:10 PM
Anyone have this list, or where I can find it? Or... know what book it was in? Except for a few (pink floyd missing)I want to download to my new ipod.
Helen posts on 11/6/2006 12:52:02 PM
Just finshed his latest novel. It was excellent. Please don't tell me that Butch doesn't survive.
auntie posts on 10/19/2006 9:22:46 PM
I re-read all the old books, and then gave "Hoax" and "Fury" a second chance recently. Sadly, I have to say they are as bad as I thought - stinkers, in fact. They are so bad they're funny. The plot of "Hoax" makes no sense whatsoever. We're supposed to believe that the bad guys have been willingly sending documentation of their crimes to the DA for decades on the assumption that no one ever reads it? And only NOW it becomes an issue?
One of the funny things about these books is that villians evil acts are so out of proportion with their objectives. The stakes are so low in comparison to the outrageousness of their crimes. In "Hoax" the bad guy controls a nationwide empire that includes record companies, the Mafia, the cops, the church, an obscure sheriff in New Mexico, all the black pastors, labor unions, Hollywood producers, artists and anyone you can think of, and enables murderous serial killers - to what end? To become mayor of New York? Puh-leeze! Isn't that an awful lot of work for something he'd be able to accomplish just by running an effective campaign? In "Fury" the evil young villainess is willing to perjure herself and subourne perjury, have sexual battery committed upon her person, and endure a jury trial all for the purpose of....wait for it....becoming an English professor someday? Wouldn't it be easier for her to just write her thesis?
Plot developments make no sense. An assasination attempt on Karp takes place as he visits a nightclub --- but why did he go there? Marlene meets a character in Grand Central Station - what for? Lucy leaves her home, takes the subway to Central Park, and, after a dramatic fight coming from a misunderstanding, goes back home again. Why did she go there in this first place? No clue. The bad guys target Marlene in New Mexico, but how did they even know who she was -- there's no explanation that the bad guys have ever seen or encountered her or knew she was around.
The writing is dreadful; in serious need of an editor. Oddly, the most thrilling and immediate episodes of the plot are drained of their vigor because the author chooses to tell them in flashback rather than show them happening. Flashbacks and flash-forwards are so disorienting a reader has no idea what the timeframe of the book is.
Characters we've grown to know behave like completely different people. The teetotaler Karp goes out to bars to drink; he actually leaves his ten-year old children home alone while he goes drinking. Marlene - that skilled security vigilante - allows herself to be kidnapped without even putting up a fight.
There are scenes that reveal a bizarre hostility to women. There' an extremely ugly vignette of a Kane donor. Most of the minor characters have incredibly misogynist reveries about their wives or mistresses. The Stupenagel scenes are cartoonishly salacious and grotesque. It was appalling to read Karp and Fulton joshing speculatively about Fulton's wife being naked and sex-crazed enough to have a liaison with a pizza delivery boy. Are we to believe these two men would speak that way about a woman they respect and love?
Some scenes are laughable. Paramedics nonchalantly tell law-enforcement officials that they'll relay the results of an autopsy to them. A state trooper allows a driver he's stopped for speeding to burst out of the driver's seat striking him with the car door - and doesn't react. The lasso-ing of Lucy is right out of a silent movie. Not to mention the Mole People.
Dreadful stuff. I knew it the first time and I can confirm it now.
posts on 10/7/2006 8:57:26 AM
Six weeks ago I discovered book 13 and then ordered books 1 thru 12, then finding a used book 17 I then ordered books 14 thru 16. Now I am out of Tanenbaum books to read, couldn't someone tell Tanenbaum to write as faster as I can't read slower. Robert Marleen is the perfect Yin for Butch's Yan.
posts on 9/23/2006 3:36:30 PM
I just finished Counterplay. I do not know if there were any songs, books, or deeds attributed to the wrong person. I do know that it contained a lot of what I look for in a book. It was entertaining with a lot of action. There was suspense which is good in a mystery. There are very few books where the good guy does not win in the end. The suspense is in how it happens and every once in a while you get something unexpected. The plot might be considered a bit complex and convoluted at times, but I enjoyed it.
posts on 9/19/2006 2:46:30 PM
I don't know who edited the Justice Denied book, or whether Gruber or Tanenbaum actually wrote the passage on page 98, but anyone who was alive in the 1950s knows that it was Jerry Lee Lewis who sang "Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On", NOT Chuck Berry. This reference was likely thrown in gratuitouly to support a joke about a family name - Ashakian.
Even if an author is going to make a joke, they should get it correct -- and it shouldn't have gotten past the editor.
posts on 9/16/2006 4:27:28 AM
It is rare to find an author today who actually believes that there exists such a thing as evil. Without such a recognition, books fall short of reality and seem to have come from an alien species. The alien species attempts to mimic the range of human emotion and falls short because they do not fully understand the notion of emotion, morality, values, and humanity.
I also appreciate that the books are not packed with political propaganda; there was a period when I read only non-fiction during the Clinton years because no book seemed to escape an editor without acquiring some totally silly political preaching in the process. For example, everyone from Anne Rule (who should know better) through Steven King was somehow working the virtues of civilian disarmament, AKA "gun control" into their novels, no matter how unrelated to the plot. Since one can easily find didactic political preaching in leaflets and websites - for free - it seemed silly to pay for the privilege of being preached at.
As for the matter of aliens - I can remember the first time I picked up an Anne Perry book and thought to myself that the author of this book is not human; I could not finish the book. I cannot say I was in the least surprised when I found out some years later that she and a friend committed a horrible murder when they were teenagers.
posts on 9/3/2006 1:17:05 PM
Hello people, this is FICTION! We're supposed to read it and enjoy it as such. Did you ever hear of poetic license? My gosh, some people are so nit-picky. How can you ever enjoy what you,re reading if you're too busy looking for mistakes. If you all can get past all this nonsense, take the time and read His new book "Counterplay". It's thorough, suspensful,complex and has a few good twists. I'm already anticipating his next bestseller.(and Mr. Tanenbaum, if you perchance read these, this was your best one yet but please don't do it.)
posts on 6/22/2006 2:09:42 PM
I read Gruber's second novel recently. I am lukewarm about him, particularly about his plots, which I find hard to follow and a little overly sensational, but the one thing I do like about him is his ability to create wonderful characters who are unique individuals that seem to breathe and live and feel on the page. This is the same thing he brought to Tanenbaum's novels, which is sorely lacking in the books without him.
The Tanenbaum plots have always been a little far-fetched and unlikely. It was the characters that brought something special to them. The characters is Hoax and Fury are simply not the people Gruber drew so wonderfully in the other novels.
Gruber is also able to create a character with an economy of words, revealing a detail here or there in the action or the conversation that illuminates the character. Whoever is writing the new books has to resort to these lengthy, hackneyed "trip down memory lane" interludes every time a character is introduced - it's so tedious.
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