Andy McDermott is easily one my favourite thriller writers. I finished reading his latest novel, The Sacred Temple, recently, and thought I’d share some of the lessons I learnt from reading McDermott’s books.
Globetrotting Characters: I love books with multiple locations across the world, and Andy doesn’t let me down. In The Sacred Vault, the characters jump locations frequently, from San Francisco and India, to Greenland and the Himalayas. It gives character interesting and unique obstacles to overcome. Speaking of unique…
Extraordinary Action Scenes: Andy McDermott does a great job at creating unique scenarios and action scenes, which is something I try to replicate in my own work. In The Sacred Vault, McDermott’s characters have survived a plane crash in Greenland, and fought mercenaries in a Himalayan temple using ancient war machines.
Dastardly Baddies Are Good: McDermott has created some really interesting bad guys. In The Sacred Vault, the antagonist is a wealthy Indian who uses a Google-like search engine to try to cause a war. Kinda like an evil Bill Gates. The minions are even worse. One sidekick used a fake glass eye to hide a garrotte (wire used in strangulation) which she used as a secret weapon. I liked the idea very much.
Twists Can Only be Used Once: One of McDermott’s key twists is to reveal that the antagonist is really the good guy, while the protagonist’s sidekick is really the bad guy. If you want to read the books, I won’t spoil it, but McDermott used this trick twice. Sorry, Andy, but it’s only cool once.
Plots Can Only be Used Once: Speaking of things only cool once, plots should be unique each time. I felt that during a few of his books, McDermott took out the outline for one of his previous books, and changed the names, location, and mythological item. Perhaps it can be hard sometimes, but writers really need to be able to create new plots each time.