Jacob Underwood is the perfect hit man. Cold detached, methodical, no emotion or feelings. He is given assignments and he completes them with obedientJacob Underwood is the perfect hit man. Cold detached, methodical, no emotion or feelings. He is given assignments and he completes them with obedient efficiency. But this assassin is different. Jacob was brain damaged in a motorcycle accident and suffers from Cotard's syndrome. He has no fear of death because he thinks he is already dead. The obedient Underwood is given the assignment of finding a bank employee who has disappeared with some important bank information. He is told to kill the employee. But for the first time, Jacob has other plans.
Told in first person and a detached and clinical style this book works on many levels in telling of a near future world where many jobs are replaced by robots designed to act like humans and a lead character who is human but acts like a robot. Thinking you are dead can have its advantages. Feeling no pain, no sorrow but no joy. Surveillance and tracking is the norm and no one can escape being found. You see the world through the eyes of a man who cannot read emotions of other humans. He hates to be touched and is mistaken for being autistic. He refers to his body as a shell but at times you see a spark of humanity in Jacob. A hint of life that awakens in him and you can only hope he can break out of the world of the dead and join humanity. ...more
The dead body of a woman is found in the city of Beszel and what seems to be a routine murder investigation for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme
The dead body of a woman is found in the city of Beszel and what seems to be a routine murder investigation for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad is anything but. In fact the murder becomes the least interesting thing about this book. Just the foundation to learn about the incredible abstract concept of two neighboring cities, that have some interesting border issues.
Beszel and Ul Qoma are two different and separate neighboring cities, presumably in Eastern Europe. But parts of both cities are "crosshatched" and in the "crosshatched" areas both cites are geographically existing in the same area. You are in Beszel and Ul Qoma but you are in your own city. A strange concept that gets even more strange. The down side to living in either of these cities is that when people from the opposing city are within visual range or physically near or next to each other, they cannot look at or listen to or acknowledge the existence of anyone from the other city. They have to "unsee" residents and buildings from the other city. How do they know who resides in their city and who is in the other city? The residents of Beszel and Ul Qoma dress and walk differently and they speak a different language and the architecture of both cities differ so this is how they know who to look at and who and what they have to unsee. This is something they are trained to do from childhood. Anyone who does not unsee or steps into the other neighboring city is in Breach and this is a crime worst than murder. And when you are in Breach a special force that resides in some nebulous area can and will come and quickly grab you and take you away to a mysterious area that no one sees and you are never seen again. People live in fear of Breach and respect it. All but the radical Unificationist who live in both cities. There is one building, the Copula, that exist in both cities and it is the only legal gateway to cross into the opposing city.
This is the backdrop for this murder mystery. During Borlu's investigation into this murder he is forced to go to Ul Qoma team up with a detective there to find out more about the murdered woman and who killed her. And Borlu is not happy about this.
There were parts of this novel I had to re-read just to get a handle on the concept of how things from both cities could physically go on in the same space. The unseeing reminded me of the dust bunnies under my bed. You know it is there but you just pretend it is not. Mieville gives examples of a building burning in one city just next door to the other city. You can smell the smoke but you can't see the fire of the house next door. Just pretend they are not there. And how ironic I finish this book on the day Scotland votes for independence. The writer's style is minimalist. You don't know much about how people dress or what most of the characters look like or why these cities exist like this. It is all told in first person by Borlu as he sees it happening. He stares out his apartment window in Beszel at a train from Ul Qoma passing. He stares a bit too long, knowing that Breach is watching everyone and everything they do. It almost has the feeling of East and West Germany before the unification but there is no wall separating the two cites. The concept is much more abstract than that. Breach you know nothing about except they protect the borders and you don't breach. A very original concept that mixes police procedural with fantasy. I also feel like the book is a metaphor for the living situation for many real countries. So close they can touch but so far away in politics and acknowledging the others existence. ...more
NASA astronaut Mark Watney is having the worst day of his entire life. Six days into his Mars mission a huge dust storm forces his entire crew of six
NASA astronaut Mark Watney is having the worst day of his entire life. Six days into his Mars mission a huge dust storm forces his entire crew of six members to abort the mission and hightail it back to the ship home. Everyone makes it to the ship but Watney. Watney is impaled by an antennae, separated from the rest of the crew and lost in the dust storm. With no vital signs from his space suit, he is left for dead. But he is not dead, just abandoned and alone and with no way of leaving Mars or communicating with anyone. He makes it back to the Hab, the living quarters for the crew on Mars but the next space mission to Mars won't be until four more years and he does not have enough food to last one year. But Mark is an engineer and botanist and he puts these skills to work along with two other skills that makes him the most endearing character, his great sense of humor and tenacity. Yes, he knows he is doomed but what if....
Excellent book that had me mesmerized in all the technical details and cheering and screaming in frustration at successes and failures. And what I really loved is that it is fiction that is not so far out there so if you are not a hard core sci-fi fan you can still love this book. Loved it, highly recommended. Loved his diary narratives, so honest and earthy. Fun, tense, suspenseful read. ...more
Nate Tucker is a thirty something LA based office temp. He hates his boring low paying cubicle drone job and his life is going nowhere but he needs aNate Tucker is a thirty something LA based office temp. He hates his boring low paying cubicle drone job and his life is going nowhere but he needs a cheap place to live. Someone he meets at a party tells him of an apartment that is too affordable to believe. He is happy with the apartment except for the problem with parking. At least that is the first problem. Later come the green cockroaches with seven legs, writing in blood on the walls only seen with his kitchen UV light. Then things get really strange as he compares notes with other tenants, which leads to them as a group investigating the mysteries of the building, on the down low. Nobody wants to be evicted from the only place they can afford. But eviction becomes the least of their problems once they get starting looking behind doors and walls.
What starts out to be a horror novel becomes much more. Good characters. Complex well writing story. Exciting despite a few plot flaws. ...more
Once again, Jonathan Maberry delivers a great adventure with Joe Leger and Echo Team. His ability to describe an action sequence puts you right in theOnce again, Jonathan Maberry delivers a great adventure with Joe Leger and Echo Team. His ability to describe an action sequence puts you right in the middle of a fight ducking the punches. And along with the physical pain of battling with enemies, you feel the psychological pain of these characters. This is never brushed over and even the DMS psychiatrist has a difficult job trying help the team cope with loss and give them confidence to battle the evil forces that Team Echo may be no match for. And Maberry adds just enough science to make his supernatural enemies plausible as well as plenty of history to explain how they evolved.
This time Joe and Echo Team are in Iran chasing down multiple groups of terrorist with nuclear devices. How many nukes and where are they? It is difficult to say. As Mr. Church, Baltimore head of the DMS and his team work to decode ancient text. But the tension never lets up in this superbly written and complexly plotted book.
There is even a bit of humor with mistaken identity as Leger makes his way to a "safe house" in Tehran. "Do I look like a vampire?" an irritated Joe Leger ask. But things quickly turn serious and a few old enemies emerge as well as new ones. And Joe teams up with a beautiful and unbelievably fast and agile assassin, code named, Violin, who more than once "saves his bacon" And a set up for a sequel I can't wait to read as a bit of evil slips through the cracks. ...more
The citizens of Wayward Pines have been prisoners in an idyllic mountain valley town. No crime, no taxes. No worries but no privacy. Everyone is underThe citizens of Wayward Pines have been prisoners in an idyllic mountain valley town. No crime, no taxes. No worries but no privacy. Everyone is under surveillance so be careful of what you say or do. Everyone is pleasant, smiley faces and yet cracking under the strain of the lie and inability of being able to be themselves. Fall in line and everything is fine. Step out of the lie and you could die. But no one can leave this town surrounded by a high electrified fence. And no one knows why. What lies beyond the town is not questioned but always in the back of the residents mind. To try to explore could mean death by the hands of the towns own people. This town is a kind of Eden and Mr. Pilchard, their leader and town creator is God. At least he thinks he is God but Ethan Burke, the town sheriff, knows better and Burke knows the truth about the town and what exist outside the town. When Ethan gathers all the people and tells them the truth in the last book, well all hell breaks loose. The suspense never lets up in this one and plenty of nail biting moments and surprises. Loved this series. Very well written, following the lives of several different characters or groups of characters in their quest for survival after knowing the truth. The only bit I could have done without is the contrived romances between several main characters and then the former husband or lover that they thought was dead, comes back into the story in the middle of people fighting for survival. Then they have to grapple with who they will hang with. Not something you want to think about while fighting for your life but still not enough to mar a great series.
Highly recommended. Love the way the writer describes death and carnage in a sort of detached matter of fact way and yet he keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what will come next. Never a dull moment in this one yet, it slows down enough to develop characters and show some back story so you know why they behave the way they do and how they all ended up in this strange place....more
Ethan Burke is now sheriff to the idyllic mountain town of Wayward Pines. The town that no one can lExcellent follow-up to the previous novel, Pines.
Ethan Burke is now sheriff to the idyllic mountain town of Wayward Pines. The town that no one can leave and few know what lies outside its electrified fence. Many inhabitants secretly want to leave. But careful of what you wish for because if the Stepford life is not for you, the world outside presents a hell that is even far worst.
Blake Crouch does an excellent job of conveying the frustration Ethan and his wife have in communicating to each other when they know they and all the people of this town are under constant surveillance and the wrong thing said or done could mean a death sentence. No matter how horrible their day is they always see each other at dinner and force a smile and say their day was good and life is good but underneath is the seething discomfort at not being able to tell the truth to each other. Ethan is frustrated that he has to lie to new arrivals about life in Wayward Pines. He sees the confusion that he confronted on his arrival in their faces and is bursting to tell them the truth but he cannot. There is also a murder mystery that Burke has to solve at the core of this story which reveals the true nature of a key character.
I did not think that the writer could pull off a sequel after the big reveal in the first book but he did and I think this book, although not as mysterious as the first was as good if not better than the first book. And the ending is a great cliffhanger. ...more
I seem to be attracted to books with characters living on the edge. Characters with no money, no home, no job, and no future. Characters who make oneI seem to be attracted to books with characters living on the edge. Characters with no money, no home, no job, and no future. Characters who make one bad decision after another. And yet they somehow miraculously survive to the next day and then the next with no plans beyond their next meal.
Exhibit A, Bad Marie. Marie had just been released from a six year stint in prison. With no job and no where to go, a childhood friend Ellen gives her a job as nanny to her 2 and a half year old daughter Caitlin. Ellen is busy lawyer whose mother employed Marie's mother as a maid when they were children. Well before you know it, Marie is caught drunk and asleep in the bathtub with her charge. Ellen fires Marie but gives her a week so she can find another nanny. Marie leaves her nanny job but with Caitlin and Ellen's husband and a few items of clothing belonging to Ellen. The trio fly to Paris where things go from bad to worst. One thing Marie does realize is the only person she really loves is Caitlin. Her relationships with men always end badly but Caitlin does love her too. And their relationship is the only redeeming quality Marie has. Marie is someone you want to scold, strangle and yet you kind of feel sorry for her at the same time. ...more
Ethan Burke wakes up on the side of a river, dazed, confused and injured. He can't remember anything about how he got there or where he is. He has noEthan Burke wakes up on the side of a river, dazed, confused and injured. He can't remember anything about how he got there or where he is. He has no wallet, ID or phone. He drifts around the bucolic town of Wayward Pines trying to remember why he is there and what happened to him. He has a terrible headache and is nearly crippled by the pain. Then part of his memory comes back and he remembers he is a Secret Service agent who came to town to find two missing federal agents who came to Wayward Pines but were never heard from again. Burke remembers he was in an accident. He collapses and ends up in a hospital. The nurse tells him he escaped during treatment. Desperate for answers, he rips out his IV and leaves the hospital again in search of the truth. He can't call home or get a response from the Secret Service when he calls them. So he tries to leave this town and that is when things go really badly.
Blake Crouch keeps the suspense going in this well crafted novel. I had no idea what was going on in this town and why they keep people from leaving. It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone and I could see this novel as a made for TV series but once you find out what is going on I am not sure how the author can keep the suspense going for a trilogy of books. Still, at least this first book is well worth the read....more
A London hospital is bombed and thousands of people are killed, incinerated without a chance of escaping. Joe Ledger barely healed from his last missiA London hospital is bombed and thousands of people are killed, incinerated without a chance of escaping. Joe Ledger barely healed from his last mission in "The Dragon Factory", decides to come back and work for the DMS. (Was there any surprise in this?) Joe is back with all his anger intact and exacerbated by the tragic ending of the last book. And he is out for blood ready to kill the parties responsible for this heinous act of violence.
An international group of terrorist hunters gather to try to figure out who is responsible for the hospital bombing and why but for now no one has a clue. Meanwhile more and different types of attacks are planned as innocent people working in labs with deadly pathogens are forced to help anonymous terrorist in releasing deadly viruses that will spread and kill millions. The only clues Joe Leger and the DMS have to go on are The Seven Kings logo left after the bombing and anonymous phone calls from an insider. And then the DMS is warned that The Seven Kings have people everywhere even in the DMS and trust no one.
Pretty good story, although not as intricately plotted as the two previous novels in this series. The story however is painfully bogged down with seemingly endless round table discussions on the DMS side centering on who could have done this and why, followed by conference table discussions by the Seven Kings using biblical references and philosophy of long dead historical leaders to justifying what they are doing and each King offering a different and deadly terrorist act. The Seven Kings is a vast network of people all over the world. So big that the members don't all know each other. They use window dressing to make themselves mysterious. They follow a "Goddess". Long and complicated rants of why terrorize the world when the reason becomes so very simple. The discussions are needed to a point but they go on for about half the book and I wondered when the story would focus and move forward. It was like listening to "Meet the Press" for 8hrs. But luckily, the book does finally focus down to a few bad guys and Joe and his team. The other problem I had with the book is that with all the terror events that were happening globally, why would you go forward with a big celebrity filled charity event on a cruise ship? Why have such an obvious target for terrorist be carried out? OK yes there are more that a few celebrities on this ship we could all do without no one sane would want to be bait themselves on this ship.
There are some great new characters mainly Joe's new partner a military trained and multi-talented German Shepard Ghost. Not a dog you pat on the head if you need your fingers for typing. The other great new character is wonderfully creepy Nicodemus who is the all knowing, and the only somewhat "supernatural" element to the book. He is so damn creepy he even has Rudy scared. And Rudy if you say "Dios Mios" again I will scream. The good news is that some old familiar bad guys from a previous book we thought were dead make a come back although a bit crispy around the edges. But they are welcomed as they make worthy adversaries for Leger and when they get to work and start plotting evil, fighting Joe and fighting each other the book finds its stride and becomes truly enjoyable.
There are lots of unresolved storylines so I can't wait to read the next installment. ...more
Joe Leger, Department of Military Science team leader, is up against multiple enemies in this tense and well plotted action, sci-fi thriller. One is CJoe Leger, Department of Military Science team leader, is up against multiple enemies in this tense and well plotted action, sci-fi thriller. One is Cyrus Jacoby, who with his high tech labs, has found a way to turn deadly genetic diseases into communicable diseases specific to a race of people. Jacoby's goal is to eradicate the "mud people" or what he feels are the inferior races. His children, the sexual deviant albino twins are busy with their own labs creating hybrid mythological animals some of which don't quite work out, but there is a market for the exotic creatures and they are delighted and proud of their creations. In the background are plots to destroy the DMS, the only agency equip to take down Cyrus and his twisted dream. Joe's Echo Team is down to two members Top and Bunny, both hulks who can more than manage under fire.
The plot is complex but easy to follow. The writing of action sequences and character development are excellent which is rare in action genre. Tinged with Leger's trademark sarcasm and humor. Makes me crave for more. ...more
Sergeant Karrin Murphy of the Chicago P.D. Special Investigation unit brings Harry in to view a suicide that does not look quiet right. Sure enough, HSergeant Karrin Murphy of the Chicago P.D. Special Investigation unit brings Harry in to view a suicide that does not look quiet right. Sure enough, Harry Dresden determines that there is some evil force behind this death and another murder staged to look like a suicide. Serial killer targeting female practitioners of magic. Harry later finds that his wayward vampire brother, Thomas is somehow involved with the women who have been killed. Not good but he knows that Thomas did not kill these women. Meanwhile, Molly Carpenter, Dresden's apprentice is learning how to help in small roles in the background and Mouse, we fine out again what we already suspected, is more than just a dog.
Harrowing battle with wizards, ghouls, vamps and humans. Loved it. ...more
Monsters residing in the deep underground tunnels of NYC are killing Manhattanites. Initially they are munching on the homeless but when they kill theMonsters residing in the deep underground tunnels of NYC are killing Manhattanites. Initially they are munching on the homeless but when they kill the daughter of a rich socialite, well the hideous creatures have to go.
Superficially entertaining but no depth to the characters, like many sequels just chocked full of leftovers from the original book but lacking the charm and tightness and tension. ...more
Hitchhiking is so dangerous. You never know who is going to pick you up. Reacher is just trying to get to Virginia. After a long wait, two men and a wHitchhiking is so dangerous. You never know who is going to pick you up. Reacher is just trying to get to Virginia. After a long wait, two men and a woman pick him up. They say they are colleagues on a business trip but right away Reacher knows they are lying. And soon Reacher wishes he had not accepted this ride.
Full of twist and turns in the plot but in the end the final story is a bit weak. ...more