Sunday, January 19, 2014

On The October List by Jeffery Deaver - REVIEW

Synopsis (per Goodreads):
Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter.  
At last, the door opens.
But it's not the negotiators.  It's not the FBI.
It's the kidnapper.
And he has a gun.

How did it come to this?

Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal.  Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken.  She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the "October List" within 30 hours, or she'll never see her child again.  

A mind-bending novel with twists and turns that unfold from its dramatic climax back to its surprising beginning, The October List is Jeffery Deaver at his masterful, inventive best.  

Normally I would omit the part of the synopsis that is self-congratulatory and gives no actual "synopsis" of the novel.  However, I wanted to ensure here that I left in the point that this is a book that starts from the end and, chapter by chapter, works its way back to the beginning.  If you were the Merovingian, you must take a piss because you had too much wine.  It's effect and cause.  It's the picture of the Merovingian, and then the explanation of why there's a picture of the Merovingian (how many times can Szever type "Merovingian" in one paragraph?).  (4). 

So, the question on everyone's mind is - does it work?  It certainly takes some getting use to.  Everything we read and watch is typically follows that "cause and effect" mentality.  There are snakes on the plane, ergo we get tired of these mother$*($&@ snakes on the mother*$&#(##0 plane.  So, in a sense (while reading this novel) you come to expect what the next chapter will be.  Something bad happens, and then we get the explanation of why or how the bad thing happened.  You read along and think, "there's really no reason for this to be backwards."  It would still be a good story had it been going the "right" way.

Then you hit the last 5 or so chapters and you're Charlie Brown.  You have the kick lined up, you think you know what's going to happen, and that (*#$&R pulls the ball away.  The rather straightforward story you just read completely changes, maybe three times, in very quick succession (hopefully that's not too spoiler-y.  I mean, you had to know there would be a twist if you're reading a book that goes backwards in time).

In the "foreword" section (which is the last thing you read...  backwards and all), Deaver explains he was inspired by some of the great films where chronology is toyed with - Pulp Fiction, Memento, Back to the Future...  He wondered if it was possible for a thriller writer to pull off a backwards story.  And to that I say, you have succeeded, Mr. Deaver.  Mind is sufficiently blown.  


  1. I was browsing your older posts and came across this one. I loved this book!!! It is one of my top three favorites. I agree that it takes some getting used to when you start but this was amazing. Seems like you enjoyed it and that is all you can really ask for in a book.

    1. Appreciate the reading of my older posts. I know I haven't posted in the last 3 months for... reasons. If anything, I'll do a year-end post soon. Thanks for reading!