You know those moments where you see the description of a book and despite not knowing anything about the author you want to jump in and read the book immediately? That is what happened to me when I read the description for The Chimera Sanction. Kudos to whatever marketing genius wrote this synopsis because it makes the book sound amazing. Unfortunately, reading the book is anything but amazing. In fact, it’s more like a slow death…a terrible slow death. Luckily for me, it’s over. I won’t get the time back I spent reading this book, but I am content, for now, knowing that I will never have to open it ever again.
The Chimera Sanction really does contain everything that is necessary in an exciting mystery/thriller. The Pope is kidnapped. An Interpol agent serves as the protagonist, fighting the Italian police, the Vatican Cardinals, and a host of others to find out who has the Pope, and get him back alive. The search for the Pope and the guy that kidnaps him involves a trip around the world to locations both domestic and exotic. Sounds good, right? Well, it should. In the end, it’s not the story that has the problems, it’s the writing.
The protagonist, Thierry Dulac, is an inspector with Interpol. He is called to handle the kidnapping of the Pope. After 224 pages I can tell you that Dulac has a sexually based relationship with a woman that serves merely as a plot device, (who is there to dine with him, sleep with him, and tell him to get his shit together), he drinks too much (especially when things don’t go his way), and he is good enough at his job to come up with hunches that no one else believes are true until they are proven. Unless we use the idea that he is a semi-drunk as a personality trait, he doesn’t really have a personality.
This is followed up by a host of Cardinals that you wouldn’t be able to distinguish without their names attached, a personality free Pope, and a host of criminals led by a Mastermind that are all bland, faceless, expressionless characters. There is no one to root for and no one to relate to because none of them have real personalities. There is no strong sense of progression as a result. The book takes you around the world, but the lack of authentic description makes each place feel like the last.
In the beginning, I was hoping that the Pope would just be murdered, so that the book could end, but I knew that would be too easy. I figured out the plot, easily, before Dulac figured it out, but the twist is what made me want to throw the book out the window. I don’t know that you can call it a twist, but the compromise made by Interpol to close the case is one of the biggest cop outs in literature. It is not only that it is not realistic, but the choices made by the author are just plain odd. Of all the things for the criminal to claim, he picks the one we would least expect, because it is one of the dumbest.
If the end of the book wasn’t bad enough, there is an epilogue that just goes to show why 90% of epilogues are not only pointless, but further ruin the point of the book they have put on the shelves. This epilogue adds nothing at all to the value of the book. In fact, it makes it worse.
I rarely pan a book in this fashion, and I do believe that The Chimera Sanction has a good plot idea, in theory, but I do not believe that Baby has the skills to write the book that he set out to write. There were far too many basic errors and the dialogue was just atrocious. I kept looking for something authentic that I could grasp on to and never found anything. I highly recommend skipping this in favor of something better.