The Righteous Men Paperback – 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first part of this book plays out as a straightforward kidnapping story. Will Monroe is a reporter for the NEW YORK TIMES, and his wife has been abducted for reasons that are unknown to him. Since the kidnappers warn Monroe not to contact the cops, he investigates the kidnapping himself. His investigation leads him to a Hasidic Jewish community in Crown Heights, New York. This, in turn, leads him to discover a highly improbable conspiracy plot rooted in Jewish mysticism.
This book has a potentially interesting story, but it's severely handicapped by pedestrian writing and cardboard characters. The lead character, Will Monroe, is a clueless bore, and is downright unlikable when he makes a sloppy pass at his ex-girlfriend when his wife is still missing. Monroe hates himself for doing this -- so why should the reader feel differently?
Also, this plot is highly based on a series of highly unlikely coincidences. For example, what are the odds that Monroe's ex-girlfriend would happen to be an expert on the religious community that kidnapped his wife? Or that his best friend happens to be a brilliant computer expert who can track down the source of certain e-mail messages that Monroe receives? None of this is remotely believable. Even worse, it's not entertaining.
There are puzzles in this book, just like the Da Vinci code, but most of them are boring and have little relevance to the plot. Plainly, they were just thrown in this novel to capitalize on THE DA VINCI CODE and its success.
It's slapdash books like this that remind me how well constructed THE DA VINCI CODE really was. Avoid this one. There are much better thrillers out there that deserve your money.
Bottom line, Bourne insults both Jews and Christians equally, and he seems to know little about Hasidic culture or the Kabala that couldn't be learned in a fifteen minute Google search. The book's worst failing, I guess, is that there isn't one moment when this story is believable. Save your money . . . this one's not worth it.