What I’ve Been Reading: Paydown – Nick Stephenson

Time is flying, right? My original plan had been to write a single “what I’ve been reading” post this time, and cover the whole month of September—which saw me get through three books in addition to my other stuff. Alas, time runs short, So this is going to be a quick update.

I’ll do the rest in single chunks over the next day or two.

First up was Nick Stephenson’s thriller Paydown. If you don’t want to pay $2.99 for it on Amazon, you can get it for free in return for signing up to his Reader List, which is the real reason I read it. To be honest, it wasn’t so much that I wanted the book, as I was curious to undergo his process. It was research, you see? I’m a writer. Stephenson appears quite successful. I recently sat through one of his videos just to get a sense of where his hype was focused. In other words, I wanted to see how he did what he was doing. So, yeah, sign me up coach. I’m ready to play.

Perhaps this is too much about my own mindset, but I read the book as much to see if it held up to the marketing spin as anything else. I’m happy to say that it does quite well, thank you very much. The novella is a prequel to his full series, which also makes sense as a free giveaway. I haven’t read the rest, yet, so I can only say that it seems to be a good introduction to the characters, which are interesting and well defined. Leopold Blake is an arresting lead, cut in the classic independent “Good Guy Willing To Cut A Few Corners” mold, and NYPD Detective Mary Jordan is a respectable counterweight as the partner who has to play by the rules. The plot moves along briskly, though it didn’t feel so much a thriller as it did a detective story. Fine line, I suppose, but for my read it fell closer to the one than the other. Feel free to disagree. In the end it doesn’t much matter now, does it?

Regardless, it was a good read overall, and as a middling-length novella it pays back for the short time it takes to get through. Great for a commute or a read poolside.

I should note that it’s been a couple weeks since I finished it, and that several details of the story itself—certain plot points — have faded a bit, but the characters are still pretty firmly planted in my mind.

Given all that, I’d certainly consider reading the next.

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