The Exile Hardcover – Aug 12 2004
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Folsom, the author of the thrilling Day after Tomorrow (1994), which has no connection to the recent movie, and the decidedly less thrilling Day of Confession (1998), returns mostly to form in this fast-paced, exciting adventure. John Barron, a young LAPD detective, assists in the capture of a vicious killer, who dies during surgery following a gunfight. But some of his fellow cops are also killed in the process, and Barron is forced to leave the department, and the country, to avoid retribution from his former colleagues and friends. He assumes a new identity, moves to Europe, meets a nice lady--and then is confronted with the terrifying prospect that the villain who supposedly died in L.A. is not dead after all and is moving forward with his original plan. Written in short chapters, with a sturdy hero and a despicably clever villain, the novel grabs readers from the opening scenes and rarely lets them loose. Although it seems as though the author has written the book with an eye toward a future movie adaptation--short chapters, plenty of physical action, a constant reminder of the date and time, some scenes even written from an audience's point of view ("The viewer realized that somewhere out there was Raymond")--it isn't an outline posing as a novel. Sure, it's slick and a bit superficial, but it does what it sets out to do: deliver breathless excitement. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
---Los Angeles Times Book Review on The Day AfterTomorrow
"Once you start The Exile, forget sleep. Its fierce, complex suspense is fast as a 9mm slug and tight as a hangman's noose."
"More twists and turns than a strand of DNA."---William Peter Blatty, bestselling author of The Exorcist, on The Exile
"Hold on tight---from the first scene Folsom spins a tale of page-turning suspense."
---W. E. B. Griffin on The Exile
"You only have to read the explosive opening to know you're in the hands of a natural storyteller."---Andrew Klavan on The Exile
"A chilling jigsaw puzzle . . . This thriller doesn't leap out of the starting gate---it's catapulted."---Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Day After Tomorrow
"Folsom is an enthusiastic storyteller with a talent for vivid characterization on a big canvas."
---Chicago Tribune on Day of Confession
"Once you start The Exile, forget sleep. Its fierce, complex suspense is fast as a 9mm slug and tight as a hangman's noose." (Stephen Coonts)
"Hold on tight---from the first scene Folsom spins a tale of page-turning suspense." (W.E.B. Griffin)
"More twists and turns than a strand of DNA." (William Peter Blatty Bestselling author of The Exorcist)
"You only have to read the explosive opening to know you're in the hands of a natural storyteller." (Andrew Klavan Two-time Edgar Award winning author of True Crime and Don't Say a Word) See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's not so much the fact that the only thing pacy is the rate at which the cliches fly at you. It's not even the ludicrous improbability of events--and yes, this is fiction, but some internal logic would be nice. And it isn't the lousy research either--if one uses Russian names one should at least familiarize oneself with the rules that govern the patronymic (ditto for the correct address of various types of British nobility); and no, 'Enkratzer' does not mean 'skyscraper' in Swiss German or any other known language.
It's the obvious indifference of both author and editor that makes this book so annoying. Hey, the reader's studpid; he/she/it won't notice. Well, most of them probably do.
The really sad thing is, if this were the manuscript of an aspiring author, the guy would be laughed at instead of published.
Save your money!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This novel, however, will unlikely have the success of The DaVinci Code. In some ways Mr. Folsom is a better writer. He certainly writes a better chase sequence--the opening 60 pages of this novel are as exciting as any I've read with an excellent red herring, slight-of-hand result. But successful novels like this are often helped by controversy and Mr. Folsom isn't likely to generate much here.
Though I find The Exile to be in many ways as controversial as The DaVinci Code, the choice of target makes all the difference. Mr. Brown has religion and the Catholic Church, whose adherents were quick to jump at the publication of the novel. It is the LAPD that receives the biggest slap from Mr. Folsom--incompetence and killing squads anyone?--but it is unlikely that anyone will feel it important to stand up for the police. In some ways, I think that's too bad; and telling about the state of the American psyche.
And, of course, there is the fact that Mr. Folsom's conspiracy centers around a surviving Romanov dynasty trying to come back to power in Russia. Something that's not like to generate that much interest to an American reader despite the fact that the Romanov's seem "hot" right now.
Still, all in all, The Exile is a good read. Mr. Folsom is an excellent writer who does generate a lot of excitement and a pair of excellent characters in John Barron & Raymond Thorne. Yes, the later parts of the book do get a bit predictable and he dips into the chase scene well a little too often and, in my opinion, he would have a better novel if he would have ended the novel halfway down page 701 instead of wrapping it up rather tritely. These are small complaints, however. Readers who enjoy thrillers will enjoy this one.
One of the cops on the train is John Barron, newest member of the elite 5-2 Squad, which he will soon find out is actually an execution squad, bypassing the judicial system to execute the worst criminals. Barron is not pleased to find out that this is the squad's purpose, but he is locked in, dealing with the moral dilemmas even as he helps pursue Thorne.
The first part of The Exile is almost nonstop action. Things don't start to slow down until the middle third of the book, at which time we start learning about Thorne's agenda. He is no ordinary psychopath, but is acting on a plan that could lead him to a position of real power. For Barron, he is nothing less than an obsession, and there will come a point where he is willing to endanger himself, his family and his friends to stop Thorne.
With plenty of action and suspense, The Exile makes a fast-paced and entertaining read, but it also has enough clear weaknesses to rate more than a high three-stars. In particular, the plot is far too contrived and driven by too many coincidences. The motivations of the main characters are also questionable: it's hard to tell what makes Barron so perilously obsessed with Thorne. For Thorne's part, it seems implausible that - given his critical role in making the conspiracy succeed - that he would be allowed to be so "hands-on." It's like allowing a boxer to engage in a few street fights right before he has a championship bout, unnecessarily risking the big payout.
I suppose in the post-Ludlum era, we need another writer to provide grand novels of international intrigue, chock full of conspiracy and action. Folsom fills the niche satisfactorily, with many of the same pluses and minuses that Ludlum offered. Of course, he's not prolific enough to really please fans of the genre (only three books in over a decade, around five years between books), but Folsom delivers adequately, if not superbly.
John Barron, the main character is a police officer with an elite branch of the LAPD called the '5-2'. Once a member, a member for life or more appropriately, till death do us part. The 5-2 is a vigilante unit and John Barron isn't quite the vigilante type.
Enter Raymond Thorpe who kills all across the country and then ends up on a train and in LA. He is captured, then escapes, kills a bunch of people and all the while, the wonder is "who is Raymond Thorpe and what does he want". The 5-2 squad finally captures Thorpe and Barron helps him escape his ultimate "capture" by the 5-2. Unfortunately, Thorpe is captured again and is ultimately killed..or was he.
Barron must leave the country, obtain a new identity (enter John Barron aka Nicholas Marten) and start anew in Europe. After all, the LAPD doesn't forgive and sure isn't about to forget. Life in Europe progresses nicely for a moment but John just can't let go of the Raymond thing. Murders start to happen in Europe which are eeirly familiar. John's best friend is murdered and John begins to think.."is Raymond really dead?"
The balance of the story involves politics, a constitutional monarchy, a madman with a royal bloodline, a scorned woman seeking revenge and the future of a country.
This is truly a gripping, page turning, incredibly well written novel which WILL NOT disappoint.
While not quite as good his his first scorching read (The Day After Tomorrow, still one of my favorites) I would place it way AHEAD of his 2nd novel (Day of Confession). Even though this book is quite different from the other novels, it DOES share one major theme: Conspiracy...and plenty of it. This time the conspiracy comes at the expense of the Los Angeles Police Department. Is there a secret band of Officers who quietly kill perps instead of arresting them? Do they painstakingly arrange for all the deaths to look justifiable under the circumstances? Before he even realizes what has happened, young LAPD Detective John Barron finds himself waist-deep into the Brotherhood. A conspiracy that he realizes there is NO escape from. The ONLY way out of the Brotherhood is through Death. Everyone involved, including some of his early career heroes, firmly believes in what they are doing. Saving the system millions by eliminating violent scum before some attempt to bankrupt the California Justice System or through some lucky twist of fate, get off scott-free due to some crazy fluke or technicality. On the surface, John can see the logic behind it all, but it doesn't take long before he realizes how being involved violates all he holds sacred.
Before long John himself is fleeing from the same men he used to look up to and moves to Europe only to find himself knee-deep into another facet of the same conspiracy which forced him out originally. How is it all tied together? Good question, but I won't spoil it (as some others find it fun to do) by revealing too much. Just suffice it to say that whether or not you believe some of the reviews written here, the best measure of any novel is to read it for yourself. I personally found the story, although complicated and almost to the point of being convoluted, all made sense and was well worth the journey for me. Great storytelling by someone who you can tell took a LONG time piecing together this novel to make it as fun and all-out entertaining as possible. I would recommend it whole-heartedly.