My first Belinda Bauer and probably my last.
Gimmick: Crime-fighting sleuth (Patrick Fort) with Asperger’s syndrome.
The gimmick and some inconsistencies - eg, the inability of almost every other character, other than Patrick Fort, to understand how to cope with his behaviour, called for Suspension of Disbelief, which ruined it for me.
it was also painful to read how even his professors had not been briefed on Patrick’s inability to use sarcasm or humour; even after some months after they’d first meet him, they were still assuming that he was being sarcastic rather than honest.
On top of that, the secondary thread between Tracy and Mr. Deal seemed unnecessary. It was as if the story had started as a short-lengthened one and then some Publishing House saw the possibility to earn more money by turning it into a novel. These two characters had no real texture: they just seem made out of cardboard and were just there to fill the necessary word count quota of a novel.
These bothersome “particularities” (they were always there in the back of my mind) spoiled my enjoyment of the novel. Almost everything felt gimmicky.
NB: I’ve got nothing against the use of gimmicks in literature, cinema, theatre, etc. Just to give an obvious example of a good gimmick, see how Shakespeare had the ghost of Hamlet's murdered father appear to reveal his killer or how Kafka starts a story with a character named Gregor waking up to discover he's changed into a giant bug.
Gimmicks, per si, are not bad. When done in a literary fashion, ie, without calling for suspension of disbelief for example, gimmicks are one of the highest pay-offs in a Story.