Shadowboxing is like a Russian doll, where each layer is even more annoying than the last. But we’ll get to that metaphor later.
Sure it has an interesting enough premise – a German scientist working on a super-secret weapon for the Nazis discovers that the Nazis are actually really bad guys. (SSurprise!) He decides that he should tell his immediate superior of his sudden change of heart, because that’s always a good idea in an authoritarian dictatorship. What could possibly go wrong?
And that’s when things get weird…
There a group of resistance fighters… I guess… and allied personnel who are there to rescue him… or just get themselves into a whole shitpot of trouble… it’s really really unclear. Dr Lehrer wants to defect with the super secret plans to the super secret macguffin before he is captured and killed by the super nasty Nazis.
There is a lot going on in this book. There are a lot of random characters who keep getting introduced seemingly at random, and I neither have the time, or the inclination to give a f**k about any of them. There were guys getting tortured, guys getting killed, guys getting guys… it’s like this book is actually more about romance than an actual spy novel.
I really hate books which lie to me. I don’t read romance novels, they really aren’t my thing. I like books about war and shit. So don’t try to sell me a romance book dressed up as a wartime thriller. It might seem as though there is going to be some action and violence break out at any moment, but the more you unpack this mess, it just reveals more of the same, until you’re left with a bunch of half plots and ideas.
I stopped caring about any of the bullshit excuse for a plot which was rambling on towards a pitiful excuse for an ending once I realised there was no actual meat and potatoes to this nonsense. I had no idea where any of it was taking place, where any of the character vignettes were in relation to any of the others.
The title of this book is rather apt – it might look like a real sport, but at the end of the day it’s just one guy (in this case the author) tossing about, and pulling their punches. Just a ridiculous pile of nonsensical rubbish.