“Voroshenin’s guards will doubtless search me, Nicholai thought, before allowing me into the box next to their master, so I can have no kind of weapon on me. That’s not particularly a problem, he told himself; in fact, it’s the precise reason you were selected for this assignment and are now jogging through the brisk Beijing air instead of rotting in your Sugamo prison cell.”
There’s no real reason to have high expectations of Satori — at best, this thing was going to be a lark, with Don Winslow, who’s very good at suspense and action (The Power of the Dog, Savages) prequelling Trevanian’s very very seventies Shibumi. Trevanian was never a very good writer, and Winslow is, but Winslow seems to have taken on all the bad habits he possibly could, and a bunch of them are on display here, from the stylistic (the weird shift in person, from first to second, as the hero evaluates his situation, and the need to mark the interior monologue twice); the tendency to restate things we already know (everything about the situation); and the weird ahistoricism (Nicholai goes out jogging, in China, in 1952, and thinks of it as ‘jogging’). That all makes this a pretty standard pastiche of Trevanian, but not much of a Don Winslow book.