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Another fast paced, action adventure with Isaac Bell I really enjoy Isaac Bell, he is such a good character and I love reading about his cases I liked how this one was set around the new moving picture industry and how to make talking pictures. Good, but not as great as the other series by Clive Cussler. @Download º The Thief · On The Ocean Liner Mauretania, Two European Scientists With A Dramatic New Invention Are Barely Rescued From Abduction By The Van Dorn Detective Agency S Intrepid Chief Investigator, Isaac Bell Unfortunately, They Are Not So Lucky The Second Time The Thugs Attack Again And This Time One Of The Scientists Dies What Are They Holding That Is So Precious Only Something That Will Revolutionize Business And Popular Culture And Perhaps Something For War Clouds Are Looming, And A Ruthless Espionage Agent Has Spotted A Priceless Opportunity To Give The Germans An Edge It Is Up To Isaac Bell To Figure Out Who He Is, What He Is Up To, And Stop Him But He May Already Be Too Late And The Future Of The World May Just Hang In The Balance I really enjoyed the first three novels in the Isaac Bell series, especially The Wrecker, however, the last two have fallen somewhat short In this outing, Bell is on the trail of a German ex army officer nicknamed The Akrobat Bell first encounters him on board The Mauretania while returning from Europe The Akrobat is in the process of trying to kidnap two scientists and their new invention But what is the invention and why is it so important to the Germans This novel takes place sometime between 1910 and 1912 based on mentioning The Titanic which has not yet sailed The action moves from the ship at sea to Hollywood where it turns out the new invention is a machine to produce Talkie Pictures The Germans are interested in this for the propaganda purposes it could be used for in trying to get other countries on their side prior to WWI For me, this just wasn t a very good pretext for the plot of the story Although there was a lot of action, somehow, this one just didn t measure up to the earlier books in the series Hopefully, the next in the series will be better. I have enjoyed this series up until this title Unfortunately I felt this one was not up to scratch My biggest concern was the main plotline Without giving anything away, I didn t believe the stakes justified the ruthless bloodshed and international carnage for it s acquisition Similarly I am not sure Isaac Bell makes good husband material He certainly didn t spend any time with his new wife or behave any differently thereafter It was almost like the authors had forgotten about the marriage bit, as soon as the ceremony was over What wife Hopefully The Thief is just an aberration, as I just didn t buy into this one. This novel is co authored by a Cussler minion, Justin Scott, and there is a lot that is interesting and accurate about it It provides a window into the life of the well to do in the first decade of the 20th century Among the treats are a detailed description of a trans Atlantic steamship voyage ditto, a trans continental railroad journey and, some of the ins and outs of the movie business before talkies became the big thing Clive Cussler is known for getting these things right.The hero du jour, Isaac Bell, is a detective casually thrown on the trail of a plot to grab new technology for nefarious purposes The thief of the title is a German army officer carrying out the Donar Plan to smooth the path for future German conquest easier The tension in the story is whether he can be identified and stopped.A number of interesting characters are presented including Bell s new wife the technical genius who has solved the problem of coupling sound with motion pictures and, a young girl who becomes an apprentice in the detective agency s Berlin office Unfortunately, they are hardly than cardboard cutouts with no development over the over 400 pages Illustrations were provided by Berkley Books who hired someone who had not read the material Thus, they are often at variance with the text The epilogue does nothing to smooth out the many rough edges.A disappointment. The Thief , the fifth Isaac Bell book, but the fourth one I ve read, as I skipped The Spy I thought The Race , the fourth book, was my least favorite of the series, but that dubious honor now goes to The Thief All in all, I thought the book lacked suspense I see a lot of reviewers lauding the book for intense action , but I didn t see much of that at all The few fight scenes in the book were abrupt, and not suspenseful The main antagonist was far from being the ruthless killers of The Chase and The Wrecker , and what I liked about those books was the cat and mouse roles that Bell and the antagonists would play, outsmarting each other, out muscling each other, narrow escapes for each of them The characters, too, were one dimensional and weren t compelling, Bell included Several of the minor characters are so poorly involved in the story that I still have no clue who they were characters being named and I d be like who s that And I d finish the scene, and it wouldn t really matter who they were They were only there to carry out some minor plot device or another The character development is lacking, SPOILER WARNING even though Bell gets married at last, he seemingly leaves his wife as soon as the boat reaches the shore There are also a lot of swaths of the book where there s over description or scenes that do not add to the story, all in all, the story probably could ve been cut down by ten pages or so Oh, actually, there s a substantial section of the book where Bell is looking into a piano company I forget entirely how he got involved in looking them up, or what importance it was to the story I get that it was one of the Akrobat s front companies, but the book never showed what the company was a front FOR Opening a piano business as a front company, but never selling any actual pianos, is just telling the whole world that it s not a real company Imagine going into Best Buy and them saying oh, you re not allowed to buy anything here Wouldn t you be like ummm why I mean what would be the point in even OPERATING a front company like that So I thought that was a plot point that never got off the ground, and was only there just to give Bell a means for discovering the bad guy s identity That s why you don t open a piano business that doesn t actually sell pianos It s obvious to anyone that something underhanded is going on.So for storytelling, I d give it a 2 stars, for characterization, another 2 stars.As with The Race repeating words to death, like flying machines , this one mentions talking pictures till you wish you die, though not quite as badly as The Race Instead of repeatedly having characters talk about what talking pictures would be like, how about having action Increase the danger.Now, the worst offense of all In The Race , I noticed that Justin Scott I consider co authored books to chiefly be the work of the lesser known author, so I view this as a Justin Scott novel than a Clive Cussler novel, because I imagine Cussler did little actual work on this book other than putting his name on the cover In The Race , I noticed that Scott ROUTINELY says Isaac Bell in the narration instead of just Bell There s only one Bell, so you don t need to keep saying ISAAC BELL all the time We KNOW who Bell is When an author does that, I get the impression that they re in love with their character and their character s name than I am It s not just Bell It s Isaaaaac Bell I can t really explain why it irritates me so much beyond that, it just does It s one of the things I notice I believe you should only say your character s full name, really, when you first introduce them, when they introduce themselves to others, and that s about it In dialogue, people will refer to them by their first name, if they re friends, or formally, as Mr Bell., if they re mere acquaintances So there SHOULD be about ten uses of Isaac Bell in the whole book And so you know what I did I COUNTED every single time Scott says Isaac Bell in the story.The final tally 250, exactly, and that s if I didn t miss any.250 times Isaac Bell appears in the book That is bad writing and even worse editing There are several other characters in the book who are referred to, as well, almost inevitably by first and last name As I said, it first makes me think the author is in love with their character than I am, because their fawning over their full name, but also, in a way, it makes me feel like I am less in connection with the character To me, when the author says the character s full name, they re telling me I assume you forget who BELL is, so it s ISAAC BELL And then I m supposed to go OH yeah ISAAC Bell I remember now You JUST need to say Bell I know I m beating this issue to death, but it seriously aggravates me Aggravates me enough that I marked down every single time Scott says Bell s first and last name It s amateurish So rating, I was going to give it three stars, but since the story was slow and pretty boring, had several sections that should ve been cut, had unresolved plot points, had an unimpressive antagonist, had an unimpressive protagonist did you know his name is ISAAC Bell , had a throw away love interest who didn t serve much purpose in the book even though it deals with motion pictures which are her thing someone else also pointed out in the review that every illustration and the cover in the book is wrong for what s actually described as happening in the book I can only conclude that it s my least favorite book in the series I already have the next book in the series and will move onto it soon, but if I don t like it much, I might possibly only look for books that fans of the Isaac Bell series cite as their favorites Because aren t there like 15 of them I don t really want to keep reading the series if Scott doesn t get his act together and up his game Usually I d think it might take an author to get a sense of his characters and stuff, but I come away from this book thinking that the first two books in the series were the best, and it s going downhill, fast And unless it turns around, I m not going to stay in this mine cart that s plunging down a cave I m jumping the hell OUT of it.And did you know his name is ISAAC Bell I almost forgot Dull, totally unbelievable, one of the only books I ve not finished Book 5 in the Isaac Bell series, this time Isaac is sworn to protect an inventor and his machine which may change motion pictures forever, in the process, Isaac investigates a movie studio which may not be all it appears to be.My only criticism of this Bell adventure is that the epilogue felt tacked on and completely unnecessary Also The Thief is not really an appropriate title, there are others that would have fit the book better. I always have a prejudicial concern when I find a book credited to two authors, one of whom is very well known and the other is to me, at least completely unknown Despite that, I was happy to find a new book by Clive Cussler on the library s new book shelf, because Clive Cussler is always good for a rollicking story In this case, however, that concern was completely justified I finished reading it for the simple reason that I have a compulsive to see how a story turns out In this case, I had an added reason, inasmuch as the story included a very interesting minor character a German teenager who wanted to become a detective , and I wanted to see what happened to her I found the end result of her development as disappointing as the rest of the book.This book is the fifth in a series about Isaac Bell, a Van Dorn detective in the first decade of the past century, and the writing apparently is trying to capture what the author s believe to be the idiom of that time I feel that they completely missed I cannot believe that people talked so foolishly only a hundred years ago, and the result is a story with stilted caricatures that are plain silly, as is the content of most of the things they say.Just to add to the misery, one of my particular peeves with respect to pocket books is that the publisher often has the cover illustration drawn by an artist who clearly did not read the book That is multiplied many times in this book, which is a hardcover the cover illustration is wrong, as is every one of several black white sketches inside The most egregious of these is a drawing of the German teenager, showing her walking on a railroad track, hatless with long hair and one leg it is hard to see how a one legged person walks on a bumpy railroad track bed , with a full skirt hanging just below her knees In the story, when the train comes, she is wearing boy s clothes as a disguise, with her hair hidden under a cap The next sketch shows Isaac reaching to catch his wife, who is falling from a burning building, with the picture clearly showing that she must have come from at least the fourth story if not higher, because the windows on the second and third floors ware bursting with flame In the story they came down a fire truck s ladder from the marquee in front of the building The next sketch shows Isaac fighting in the stokehold of a ship, except that the person he is fighting with has an immaculate white shirt on but is supposed to be one of the grime and coal covered stokers, Isaac is holding the stoking iron that someone attacked him with in the text, and the depicted opponent is using a coal scoop shovel but clearly is not the long armed opponent Isaac has been pursuing through the book Two other sketches are so nondescript that the artist might as well not have bothered Finally, the cover shows the ocean liner, with four different fiery explosions going on all over the ship, whereas the story describes a fire in the baggage room, which exhausts through a 40 foot smokestack.I will not be bothering to look for any other books in the Isaac Bell series.