In trying to tag this book, I finally hit on its primary problem. Mystery? No. Noir? Nope. Hardboiled? I'll answer that when I stop laughing. It's rea...moreIn trying to tag this book, I finally hit on its primary problem. Mystery? No. Noir? Nope. Hardboiled? I'll answer that when I stop laughing. It's really about, nothing. It starts out with promise. It's the day of Bond's 45th Birthday, 1969 and he's having recurring dreams about WWII. Specifically when he was a 19 year-old Lieutenant on the day after the D-Day landings, in the farms surrounding Normandy. It's the day he first faces death. Even though, since the war, he's lived a life where he's faced death many, many more times, it's that first time that still haunts him. And then the rest of the book happens. He's sent to a small African nation to stop a revolution, so there's cold war imperialism, poverty, racism and misogyny. You know, Bond stuff. But even that, which either sounds offensive as hell or a laundry-list of Bond tropes, is boring. Stuff happens. He sort of falls in love or something(?). Seriously, I don't know. Then he's shot, goes back to the UK to recover and then ... GOES SOLO! Because REVENGE. (or something, again--no clue). In this book it means nothing special. Just Bond traveling to England, Africa and Washington, DC buying stuff. Eating stuff. Running into Felix's nephew. More stuff, more food, more buying stuff and then shooting folks. And then, thankfully it ends. It ends well. With a very cinematic and very Bond novels flourish. I've JUST finished this and if you held a walther ppk to my head, I couldn't tell you what it was about. Seriously, no clue. Good start, good finish and ... stuff in-between. I want my couple of hours back, or better yet, I'll just go watch From Russia With Love.
Addendum: I don't give one star ratings lightly. I very rarely do it. I try very hard to find something positive and redeeming in a book and push it up a star. The word-salad I had to wade through and the racism were deal-breakers. Sure, it's of the period, but it was awkwardly shoe-horned in as if to say: "Hey, I know this book is set in 1969 and I totally haven't described anything of the late 60s for about 50 pages now, so here's some ugly casual mid-20th century colonial racism. Okay?" No. Just. No. (less)
Not as good as the first book, but fun. What is the series? Think HART TO HART meets LEVERAGE meets Stephanie Pl...moreI would probably give this 3.5 stars.
Not as good as the first book, but fun. What is the series? Think HART TO HART meets LEVERAGE meets Stephanie Plum meets REMINGTON STEELE meets TO CATCH A THIEF meets CASTLE and you pretty much have the basic tone and feel of the series.
I think it would make an excellent USA TV series. (less)
I've never read anything from Ms. Evanovich, I only picked this up because of her co-author, Lee Goldberg.
This reminds me of a novelization of a TV se...moreI've never read anything from Ms. Evanovich, I only picked this up because of her co-author, Lee Goldberg.
This reminds me of a novelization of a TV series. Or a series pilot in book form. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Using that analogy: The Heist is, White Collar meets Leverage meets Moonlighting meets Remington Steele. I can easily see an O'Hare and Fox series as a Summer series on USA, and I'd watch it. It was a fun read, and as USA's current motto goes: "Characters Welcome". Three and a half stars, but it kept me entertained and made me smile, so I'll round up to four.(less)
In Discount Armageddon (Three and a half stars rounded to four), the first book in the InCryptid series, the best of Seanan McGuire's talents are on d...moreIn Discount Armageddon (Three and a half stars rounded to four), the first book in the InCryptid series, the best of Seanan McGuire's talents are on display -- Great world-building, smart empowered female protagonist written with a witty and engaging voice touched by snark. In the second book, it's some of the worst bits of her talents on display -- Disorganized plot, monotone writing, ad nauseam repetition of jokes and background details, indulgent dialogue and way too much internal monologuing.
I really enjoy this series. It's a breath of fresh air from her others. Verity Price is not a broken toy. She's bright, happy, mostly well adjusted and comes from a large extended family who give her unconditional love and support. There are also the Aeslin mice, who alone are worth the price of admission. I LOVE those little guys.
I speed read. I learned in the first book to skip the chapter headers. I'm sure others do as well. Suddenly, at about the third quarter mark, for four chapters, the narrative voice switches from Verity to that of her adoptive cuckoo cousin, Sarah. I didn't even notice the switch in "voices" until I read Verity being discussed in the third person! Sarah's voice remained static and sounded identical to Verity. At a moment when most books should be building up the action to its conclusion, those four chapters froze me. They didn't do or mean anything. They even lead to the most annoying bit of hand waving I've ever done with a McGuire/Grant book. Really, "Uncle" Mike the professional cryptozoologist with 20+ years of experience doesn't understand how telepathy works? Really!?
This feels like a placeholder book. A seventh or eighth book in a series, not the second. Nothing really happens. The big bads are talked up quite a bit but they never live up to it. There is a consequence for a secondary character, but apparently not to Verity or anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but it just isn't what I expect from her books -- especially not from the nearly note perfect first book. That said -- A bad McGuire/Grant book is still better than 90% of the stuff being churned out. ALL HAIL THE AUTHOR WHO VERY RARELY DISAPPOINTS! (less)
This was, I believe, Mr. Talty's first published work of fiction. Talty’s South Buffalo is insular, paranoid, parochial, dying and dangerous. I grew u...moreThis was, I believe, Mr. Talty's first published work of fiction. Talty’s South Buffalo is insular, paranoid, parochial, dying and dangerous. I grew up in a tiny, insular, paranoid, parochial (though not dangerous) farm community -- I can relate.
I really came to like the Harvard educated Buffalo police detective, Absalom “Abbie” Kearney. I'd read another of her adventures, if Mr. Talty feels he has one in him.
Ratings: Again... *sigh* I'm vexed by the lack of half stars. If I could, I'd give it 3 and a half. Generally, if I really enjoyed an aspect of the book, I'll just grade up. In this case, I won't. As it is, as much as I enjoyed the character and his world building -- this needed to go through one more edit and revision. Just to shine it up, fix some sentence structure issues, tense changes and at least one glaring continuity error. I'm not nit-picking; it's a good first work of fiction, but at times it was a bit too uneven and "cinematic". I have no doubt that he'll grow as a fiction/thriller writer and I, for one, will gladly go along for the ride.(less)
This is the first book in a series that features a Police Detective named William Murdoch, who uses radical techniques such as science, forensics and...moreThis is the first book in a series that features a Police Detective named William Murdoch, who uses radical techniques such as science, forensics and psychological profiling to solve crimes in late 1890s Toronto. The books were first adapted into a series of television movies that starred Peter Outerbridge (ReGensis) and Colm Meaney (ST: DS9). Later it was developed into a highly successful and entertaining Canadian TV series, now in its sixth season on the CBC. I'm under no illusion that it'll be anything like the series; I'm just interested to see where it all began.(less)
(slightly spoilerish review) This was not as good as Blood Oath but it was still a fun and quick read. I think it would have been better if Farnsworth...more(slightly spoilerish review) This was not as good as Blood Oath but it was still a fun and quick read. I think it would have been better if Farnsworth had delved more into the Cthulhu mythos. Probably my biggest problem with it was that it was a bit... scatter-shot. It was just all over the place: from shadow agencies, lizard men, genetic warfare, child soldiers, wraiths, to a Dick Cheney analog as the (sort of) villain and his secret army (Think Blackwater funded by Halliburton). I read it and I'm still not sure how it all fit together. Oh well.(less)
If I could, I'd give Mr. Larsson's Millennium Trilogy 4.5 stars. The last book was weaker than the others. The court room scenes didn't have the drama...moreIf I could, I'd give Mr. Larsson's Millennium Trilogy 4.5 stars. The last book was weaker than the others. The court room scenes didn't have the drama or urgency they should have (perhaps that could be chalked up to it being a translation, they might be quite different in the original Swedish) and it left several loose ends that, tragically, will never be fixed or answered. Since the other two books are so wonderful, I have no problem rounding up and giving the series a rare 5 stars. Larsson did a lot in his career as a journalist. Like his Mikael Blomkvist, he was a bleeding-heart, moralizing, pompous crusader who went after and exposed international sex trade, arms trade and African child soldiers. He did much good in the world before he left it. One of the greatest gifts he left was Lisbeth Salander. What an amazing force of nature she is. What an amazing character she is.(less)