How long is too long? 480 Pages. That’s how long.

This book is an entertainment. It’s the kind of book I used to buy in the airport bookshop, something that I could read before the plane landed in New York and leave in the seat pocket afterwards.

It really shouldn’t be judged by the standards used for other types of books. It is entertaining? Does it provide the promised thrills.

Yes. For about 300 pages.

But that leaves the reader with 180 pages still to go. By the time I got to the end, I didn’t really care much anymore. Things basically ended the way I expected, with two small twists. The good ended happily; the bad ended unhappily as much as could be expected. This is a story of international crime/terrorism after all.

But why so long?

This could have been a very tight 200 or even 300 pages. That was enough for Eric Ambler, enough for John le Carre. Ed McBain kept things to 250 pages.

The longer a thriller is harder it is to suspend disbelief. Sooner or later, something happens, and you react with “Oh, come on.”

That’s what happened to me with episode six of The Old Man, Jeff Bridges spy thriller currently running on FX. I still strongly recommend the show and I will watch it through to the end, but come on, Dude. The show would have made a fantastic two-hour movie, even a four-episode mini-series. At this point, it’s stretching credibility like Silly Putty.

Which is basically what Victim 2117 did.