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The Day After Tomorrow by Allan Folsom

Paul Osborn is damaged. When he was ten years old he saw his father murdered in front of his eyes. There were other witnesses back then but the killer had walked free. After all, who would have believed the eye-witness account of a ten year old boy? Now, thirty years and three divorces later, Osborn, a doctor, finds himself in Paris, incredibly in love with a woman who has a clandestine affair with the French Prime Minister and thus cannot commit to Osborn. There he finds himself face-to-face with his father’s killer from years ago; a face he can never forget and a person who doesn’t know him. Thoughts of revenge stemming from disappointment at the American judicial system lead Osborn to plan out the murder of his childhood nemesis. But even as Osborn prepares to take the leap that will forever change his life and finally give him the answer to his most haunting question (WHY was my father murdered?), things beyond his control are starting to take place and the cogs of a large, invisible machine have been set into motion.

Meanwhile, retired Detective William McVey is invited to Paris to investigate certain homicide cases where a victim’s head (without the body) and another one’s body (without the head) have been discovered, both removals having been performed with surgical precision. As McVey looks desperately outwards through the throngs of Paris’s anonymous, he finds himself confronting Paul Osborn- a Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon roaming in France for no visible reason. What is he up to, Mcvey asks himself and so becomes involved in something which is quite above his head.

And when Paul and MvCey cross paths, they find themselves entangled in a case of global proportions.

The good thing about The Day After Tomorrow is that it has likeable and believable protagonists. Both McVey and Osborn could be real people with real fears and real ghosts haunting them. In the beginning of the novel, I was immediately gripped by Paul’s compulsive need to find answers and plan a murder and then simultaneously by McVey’s jump to the conclusion that there is something fishy about Paul and the subsequent battle of wits that ensues between them But when the clouds clear and the smoke settles, the plot turns horizontal and there is very little left to look forward to.

Thrillers are usually meant to grip us and then keep us gripped until the last page but The Day After Tomorrow grips you and then midway, it simply lets you go. Osborn’s vendetta loses its passion because other characters and a branched out plotline take over the story.

Sure, we’re intrigued by the concept of a neo-Nasi organization involving all the top German businessmen, industrialists and celebrities who are on their way to uncovering something huge and calamatic. But it is as if Allan Folsom took one thing which was really pulling his readers forward and having withered it after the first hundred pages, say, picked up on a global scale without a smooth transition, without any great incentive for the reader to keep reading.

By the time you start to see the large picture of the story, you’re too far into the book. I enjoyed some of the revelations that come later on but what I had hoped for had been a revelation which would blow my mind. The climax of this book, in fact, was a study in Hollywood- something made good for the silver screen straightaway.

The last line of the last chapter of this book is the final offering which can easily haunt you long after you’re finished.

So if a thriller-that-slowly-turns-into-science-fiction appeals to you, this book will be easily enjoyable. Its a book you can bear to keep reading till the end, despite its short-comings. And the ending is the thing that keeps you going, though you might not know it if you pick up this book just randomly. So there you go, I’ve given you a reason to keep reading till the last page!


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