Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WEB Griffin

W.E.B Griffin reminds me of Chipotle (the Burrito Restaraunt)--I like both, but neither has much effective variety. You can make lots of different combinations, but from a limited menu of options. I'm currently reading his "Presidential Agent" series, and there is a ton of re-used elements:

*Wealthy man is in the military or police even though he doesn't need the money. (Badge of Honor, The Corps, Brotherhood of War, Honor Bound)

*Wealthy Main-line Philadelphia (Badge of Honor, bits in other series)

*Long lost relatives in different countries are reunited, everyone is wealthy. (Honor Bound, Brotherhood of War)

*A successful (and usually wealthy) ladies man falls in love with an inappropriate woman. Turns out she's madly in love with him, but has been afraid to admit it. They allow the affair to continue, even though it jeopardizes a high-level mission if they are caught. (Badge of Honor, Brotherhood of War, partly in The Corps)

*Famous Grouse Scotch (The Corps, and I think others)

It is hard for me to separate the distraction of repeated bits from the story, but I don't think this is one of his best.


  1. Well .. it does allow him to crank the work out, which pays the bills.

    And at least he can write - you can sort of slip into a WEB Griffin novel without thinking a whole lot; sometimes when I read all I want to be entertained.

  2. If I didn't like him, I wouldn't have read so many of his books. I agree he can write, when I have the problem is when he doesn't bother.

  3. When Griffin's son started cowriting, the series went down the tubes. There isn't near enough detail, and the various top secret dispatches and other communications are down too much. I've been binge reading Griffin because there's so much I've forgotten over the years. I agree, having just finished The Corps, and before that Brotherhood of War and Men of Honor, that there are, when binge reading, plot devices that are used over and over, BUT here I am, 30+ years later, enjoying the original W.E.B. Griffin novels. This week, I'll start rereading the Badge of Honor series. I drink Famous Grouse, and it's not bad. I've been to Philadelphia and dined at the Old Original Bookbinder's restaurant. That is all.

    1. I think when I originally wrote this post I hadn't read many of the co-written books. The co-written ones seem even worse with the same plot device reuse, but less skill in the underlying story. In fact, I suspect that a few of the later books started out completely unrelated, then had names changed and Famous Grouse added to fit.