Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review of The Equalizer

Book #44, The Equalizer, by Michael Sloan. Hardcover. 

The Equalizer is one of my all-time favorite television series, and my interest in it was rekindled by the news that Denzell Washington would be playing the lead character in a movie loosely based on the show. So when I saw this new novel, written by one of the show’s co-creators, I was intrigued.

The character described is the one portrayed by Edward Woodward in the show, but the man’s story is modernized. This book takes place in the current era, thirty years after the television show aired. This is the same era as the Denzell Washington movie, but they are different characters, in different situations. Similar (more about that shortly), but sifferent.

Most of the supporting cast from the television show is here, including Control, Mickey, Jimmy, and McCall’s son Scott. These characters generally behaved “in character,” and the New York setting was comfortably familiar. Not limited by a television budget, Sloan is able to take McCall to a range of exotic locations for various scenes.

Having read this and seen the movie, it is clear that they are related – similar crimes are investigated, women in similar situations are helped, and a few scenes were very similar. Not identical, just similar. And not on every major plot element, just many of them. My hypothesis is that Sloan wrote a treatment for the movie, that he then used as a basis for this novel. The treatment was then also used as a “jumping off point” by the scriptwriters for the movie. That would explain both the similarities and differences between these two “takes” on modernized versions of The Equalizer.

Sloan is a television writer, and this is his first novel. There are times when this shows, as he has little regard for consistent POV. Points of view are shifted regularly within a page, often within a paragraph, and at least once, within a sentence. But his lifelong training has not been as a novelist, so once I got used to this quirk, it became less distracting.

This is a long book, probably in the 160,000 word range. Another edit would have been helpful, and I can’t promise that it would appeal to people unfamiliar with the character, via either the TV show or film. But as a fan of the show, and the character, I found a lot to enjoy in this novel.

source: public library

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