I like fishing holes. I like holes-in-one. I like holes in doughnuts.
I do not like holes in novels.
Although it's only May, this year I've already read two books that had gaping, unforgivable holes in their plots. Both would be apparent to anyone who reads even an occasional Agatha Christie mystery or watches the slightest amount of CSI. Both certainly should have been apparent to editors.
The holes left me with a sour taste for otherwise enjoyable books: Beyond Suspicion by Tanguy Viel and City of Thieves by David Benioff.
Viel's book attracted me because I'm a hopeless Francophile and its jacket blurbs promised a tale worthy of Chandler, Hitchcock or de Palma. With the bar set that high, I probably should have walked away immediately. Instead, I dove into a story about a French couple who are down on their luck and aiming for a once-in-a-lifetime score.
Spoiler alert - key plot elements coming your way.
When their extortion plan turns unexpectedly into murder, what does the now-shaken couple do? They head for the bar closest to the crime scene and have a beer. Together. In broad daylight.
Think any self-respecting flic might canvass area bars once the crime is discovered? And find out that the couple, who have been posing as brother and sister, are actually lovers? And send them off to prison?
Benioff's book also has been highly praised in reviews. It's about two Russians who are arrested in Leningrad during the Nazi siege, and sent behind enemy lines on an improbable, comic mission. There's a lot to like here, including Benioff's ability to depict the Russians' odd mixture of nationalistic pride and cynicism.
Spoiler alert No. 2:
The Nazis capture both men, and one of them hides a knife in his boot. When it is used to kill a fellow Russian who is a collaborator, what does the Nazi guard who discovers the body do? Nothing. No search of the prisoners, no retribution for the killing. So the knife stays with the prisoner and ...
Even I wouldn't spoil that.