Arthur C. Clarke may have been the worst great writer I can think of (probably along with Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov).
Clarke’s prose is workmanlike at the best of times, his characters are emotional ciphers, his dialogue is seldom real, his plots are more like giant landscapes than any credible unfolding of events involving real people, and style-wise he happily breaks every rule of Good Writing.
Clarke doesn't care. And know what? Neither do I. Some of things Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein wrote are still among my favourite novels.
In genre fiction, if I pick up any modern novel, basically the villains are just cardboard characters that have to be locked up or arrested or shot by the good guys. Nowadays modern Crime Fiction is an entertainment genre and it’s huge business (in Britain around 30% of all the fiction published belongs to the Crime Fiction section). Crime Fiction is all about resolution, which you don’t get in real life. Although I have a bit of a reaction to this, it can be very good entertainment if it’s done properly.
Along with lots of other readers, I like the way I get sucked into Clarke’s bigger-than-space narratives. I get excited along with his cardboard but engaging characters in the vast spaces, unique vistas he shows us.
When I read Clarke, I know I’m reading a fellow geek, a non-artsy-fartsy guy, who was able to produce the wonderful trick of writing Fiction that resembled literary work. Nay, I must not think thus…. Something that is literary. Better than, in some cases.
This long preamble takes us to the novel at hand: “A Bullet for Carlos” by Giacomo Giammatteo. Was the constant POV shifting annoying sometimes? Absolutely. Does Giammatteo always move skillfully between the main character’s first-person account (Connie’s) and omniscient third-person narration? No, not by a long shot. Is it comparable with the best Crime Fiction out there today? Nope. Is it highfalutin literature? No. But it was all so damn fun.