Reading Guide for The Analyst

1. What is your view of Russell Conrad? What skills does Conrad use to help him succeed during this adventure?
2. Most of the action in The Analyst takes place during a 24-hour period. How does this narrative structure heighten the suspense in the story? Did you anticipate any of the events in the story?
3. Why would the President of the United States travel to the Middle East for a peace conference?
4. Is this gulf between American and Israeli interests accurately portrayed in the book?
5. Why would Israel execute a first strike against Iran nuclear missiles?
6. For the person who chose this book: What made you want to read it? What made you suggest it to the group for discussion? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not? Are you sorry/glad that you suggested it to the group (ask again after the discussion)?
7. Did you think the characters and their problems/decisions/relationships were believable or realistic? Did Allen Mesch draw realistic male and female characters? Which character could you relate to best and why? Did any of the secondary characters stand out for you?
8. Talk about the author’s use of language/writing style. Have each member read their favorite couple of passages out loud. (You might want to warn them ahead of time that they’ll be doing this so they’ll be prepared.) Was the language appropriate to the story? Was it more poetic or vernacular? Did it stand in the way of your appreciation of the story, or enhance your enjoyment of the book? If poetic, did the characters speak in vernacular language, or in the poetic language of the author? Was the dialogue realistic sounding? Was there a rhythm to the authors style, or anything else that might be considered unique about it?
9. Was Allen Mesch better at describing the concrete or the abstract? Was he clear about what he was trying to say, or were you confused by some of what you read? How did this affect your reading of the book?
10. What was more important, the characters or the plot? Was the plot moved forward by decisions of the characters, or were the characters at the mercy of the plot? Was the action believable? What events in the story stand out for you as memorable? Was the story chronological? Was there foreshadowing and suspense or did the Mr. Mesch give things away at the beginning of the book? Was this effective? How did it affect your enjoyment of the book?
11. Which of these fictional characters is Russell Conrad more similar to Jason Bourne (Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Supremacy, Robert Langdon (Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code), or Jack Bauer (television’s 24)?
12. What were some of the major themes of the book? Are they relevant in your life? Did the author effectively develop these themes? If so, how? If not, why not? Was there redemption in the book? For any of the characters? Is this important to you when reading a book? Did you think the story was funny, sad, touching, disturbing, moving? Why or why not?
13. How does this book compare to others your group has read. Is it similar to any of them? Did you like it more or less than other books you’ve read? What do you think will be your lasting impression of the book? What will be your most vivid memories of it a year from now? Or will it just leave a vague impression, and what will that be? Or will you not think of it at all in a year’s time?
14. What else struck you about the book as good or bad? What did you like or dislike about it that hasn’t been already discussed? Were you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend? Did this book make you want to read more work by this author?

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