Third Degree (Greg Iles)

Third Degreee is a novel by Greg Iles.
Finished on: 11.2.2017

Laurel used to have an affair with Danny, who is also married, but they couldn’t keep it up any longer and ended things recently – only for Laurel to discover that she’s pregnant. And has a migraine coming. But that is the least of her problems when she gets home and finds her husband Warren in a deadly, cold rage. For some reason, he took apart the living room and has discovered that Laurel had an affair and he desperately needs to find out who with. Their talk quickly dissolves into a hostage situation and Laurel’s only chance is the secret cell phone with which she can contact Danny. 

Third Degree is a decent thriller. It’s not the best thing ever, but it draws you in and keeps you turning those pages. I enjoyed reading it.

Third Degree is really USAmerican in many ways. First and foremost, the way spiral out of control is very Hollywood indeed – I’m almost surprised that Third Degree wasn’t made into a movie, it would lend itself so very well to it. The only thing that saves it from being actually written like a script in prose is that there is a whole lot of background information given on the characters that you’d have a hard time fitting into one film.

Then there is Danny, who is the all-American perfect boy: a veteran, a loving father of a disabled son, brave, selfless, willing to lay down his life for the woman he loves. A hero in short. Laurel, fortunately, isn’t quite the all-classic damsel-in-distress counterpart. She does get more agency than that and doesn’t just wait for Danny to save things, though she’s busy with a lot of that, too.

Iles takes care to make sure that our empathy is with Danny and Laurel despite their cheating, but Warren isn’t all bad, either. At least he is afforded a bit of understandable motivation, even if the development of everything is over the top, as suits the genre.

The book is decently written (only the text speak Laurel and Danny use is hilarious in its abbreviations. But that’s probably due to the age of the novel: it was written in a time, after all, where texts were more limited in their characters and more expensive) and especially the pacing is spot-on, so you’re practically through the book before you realize.

Still, the book doesn’t really excel and hit any particular high notes, but neither does it hit any particular lows. It’s a solid thriller and if that’s your sort of thing, you could do much worse than reading it.

Summarizing: Good.

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