White Sleeper is a quick read at 260 pages. There is a story here – and, if you have a copy of the book and an afternoon at the beach and want something fast to read, this may be the book. Personally, I found it to be a bit like a beverage you might have drunk for the buzz in high school; it had an alcoholic content but was not really a good drink.
The book’s premise is timely; bio terrorism in the US.
The characters involved a brilliant and alcoholic doctor with the CDC (one author is a practicing ophthalmologist so the medical detail rings true), an FBI agent burdened by her Middle Eastern heritage, and then a slew of minimally drawn stereotypes. These included an oft-let down estranged wife, a lame CDC bureaucrat, and a good and teddy-bear-like friend trying to keep the doctor sober. And, of course, the terrorists.
What are the odds that a white supremacist would arrive in New York City from Idaho and move into an apartment building housing a sleeper cell of terrorists? Furthermore, what are the odds that they would join forces? Fiction is supposed to engage the reader in suspending their disbelief. The suspension of my disbelief was severely taxed!
As I read, I was repeatedly surprised by the unlikely coincidences that shaped the story and influenced the characters. White Sleeper has been described as fast-paced. I felt instead that the events and actions occurred at an unlikely pace, not supported by the reader’s knowledge of the characters and situation.
As I read, I found myself making up stories about the two authors – that this is their first book. That writing for a novel is different than writing television (Langford has a TV background.) That maybe they listed the various components and characters of a thriller on a white board and then crossed them off as they included them in the book.
I am guessing that Fett and Langford have the creativity, interest, and breadth of experience to write a fine thriller – next time. If you need a quick-read buzz, this book will be fine. If you are looking for something a bit more satisfying, I suggest you keep looking.
Joanne is an organization development and human resources professional with a business background living in Ohio. She has lived in Europe, Africa (including her Peace Corps service in South Africa), and arround the United States. She loves to plays volleyball, read, write, and has a cat named Ender.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.