Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré (♦♦♦)

  “Perry finally lifted his head.
   ‘How what?’
   'Save England how? From what? All right, from itself. What bit of itself?’
    Now it was Hector’s turn to reflect. ‘You’ll just have to take our word for it.’
   ‘Your Service’s word?’
   ‘For the time being, yes.’
   ‘On the strength of what? Aren’t you supposed to be the gentlemen who lie for the good of their country?’
   ‘That’s diplomats. We’re not gentlemen.’
   ‘So you lie to save your hides.’
   ‘That’s politicians. Different game entirely.’”

               Excerpt from Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré, Page 120

In the Caribbean island of Antigua, Perry and Gail, two British lovers on vacation, are approached by a flamboyant Russian named Dima, self-proclaimed “number one world’s money launderer”. As Perry and Gail get entangled with Dima and his entourage, Perry feels himself sympathizing with Dima to the point of agreeing to act as a middleman between him and England’s intelligence services to negotiate the Russian and his extended family’s defection to England in exchange for valuable information concerning a criminal brotherhood with international reach of which Dima is the number one financial man.

I’ve been meaning to read anything by John Le Carré ever since I saw the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which is based in one of his novels. Quite by chance I found this book and I bought it. I was reading a less interesting book which I left aside to start this one…Such was my anticipation! When I finished Our Kind of Traitor I felt nothing; perhaps I was waiting for the kind of thrill ride that comes with Daniel Silva’s books, reason why I’ve become a fan of the espionage genre. However, John Le Carré is not Daniel Silva, there are no globetrotting adventures, no seasoned assassins with almost supernatural skills, no learning on the side…

Our Kind of Traitor is interesting, though not exciting, yet it’s an easy, compulsive read. The advantage of Le Carré over Silva is his actual field experience; he is a former spy; thus, his novels may be closer to the kind of work a spy carries out. Another thing I didn’t like in this book, which I fear is part of Le Carré’s writing style is that he starts the story already during an interrogation instead of providing a setting for the story to develop. I hope Our Kind of Traitor is not one of Le Carré’s best novels because I want to give another one a try to see if I like it.

Overall, Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carré is well developed but lacks thrill factor.