This thriller is much more than that. Generally, thrillers are notorious for their concentration on story at the expense of character. In An American Cage, however, Galdi has broken that mould. He’s devised a tale that threads character throughout the story without adversely affecting pace and engagement.
Written in present tense, and from an omniscient viewpoint, the novel explores the motivations of the various characters as their actions bring them into contact and involve them in the fast-paced chase.
The escape from the prison is handled well, though I felt I could have done without one or two of the details given. That’s a very personal view and not an important point.
A problem I often encounter with American books is multiple references to American culture, which I understand only vaguely. In this novel that was only very occasionally an issue, and certainly failed to interrupt my immersion in the story.
The characters are revealed in stages, both via their actions and through detailed backstories and descriptions of their motivations. The book plays well with the theme of truth, revealing factual information as the tale unfolds.
As a thriller, it also does something unusual in its dissection of religious faith, science, and some politics. The underlying racist thread comes over without authorial comment and makes the case both subtly and conclusively.
One of the many aspects I both enjoyed and admired was the clever way the author allowed his characters to drive the story: everything happened because the players acted in character and made the choices readers would expect, until the denouement revealed how events can change a character and either reinforce current traits for those without the ability to learn, or undo past damage for those with the capacity to discover the hidden depths within their personality.
A very satisfying read, and one that provided tension and excitement along with great character study. Thoroughly enjoyed.
[A review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the views of everyone. The best we can provide is an honest reaction to any given book.]