Any golden dreams about Classic Hollywood I have are gone. Not that that I had many, but the ones that were there have floated away, evanescent as airAny golden dreams about Classic Hollywood I have are gone. Not that that I had many, but the ones that were there have floated away, evanescent as air. This series is well-written and beautifully illustrated, but it's dark and cynical and sad. Charlie is a hero who is deeply flawed, and he is fighting a losing battle against the corruption that has consumed the lives of those around him, and is slowly rotting him inside. With his PTSD, he's already got a lot of baggage. More information is revealed about his troubled relationship with his writing partner, Gil, and that whole situation is so messed up right there. But that's not the most messed up thing about this story, by far.
Another cliffhanger ending that leaves me wondering where this story will go next....more
This was a very interesting idea. A retired black ops assassin falls in love with a young ballerina and considers settling down with her. But that's wThis was a very interesting idea. A retired black ops assassin falls in love with a young ballerina and considers settling down with her. But that's when another younger assassin comes after him and his lover. But here's the catch: the assassin on his tail is a clone of him.
Straight up spy suspense with a sci-fi twist. The game of cat and mouse is very tense. Because the character is running from a younger, more ruthless, and more sociopathic version of himself. I felt like I didn't really get to know the dancer. She seems to react to the situation more than to have an ongoing story arc/inner life. The story is more centered on the lead character and his entanglements with the other assassin.
I gave this 3.5 stars because of the fact that I was missing more of a viewpoint from the girlfriend. The artwork was good and the storytelling was suspenseful. This would be an interesting ongoing series....more
Alpha is a tense, suspense-filled story. Admittedly, I was bit thrown by the present tense format. I'm not a huge fan of that. I prefer past tense narAlpha is a tense, suspense-filled story. Admittedly, I was bit thrown by the present tense format. I'm not a huge fan of that. I prefer past tense narrative. Otherwise, I have to say that Rucka has another success on his hands. I've been reading almost every graphic novel by his I can get my hands on, because he knows what he's doing. This is my first official prose book by him. He can write just as good without illustrations to tell the story.
I found myself feeling very sympathetic towards the sleeper agent. While he's not by any stretch a good man, I think that in another life, he could have been a better man. It's very hard to write a villain that is sympathetic, but Rucka did it well in this case. I really wish things had ended much differently for him, although he did make his choices (admittedly from a deck short of cards) in the end.
The idea of an action story set at an amusement park was well done. I have always had a distrust of, shall we say, people wearing character suits (something a bit disturbing about it, especially if they are animal characters), and now I won't look at them the same way again. I like how Rucka emphasized the frozen smiling face of the terrorists in their character suit. It's a metaphor for how a bland face can hide evil and latent menace, especially when one cannot see the eyes (the windows to the soul). The amusement park is almost a bit of a stand-in for Disneyland, but with its own mythology that plays out in a way that's decidedly creepy considering that the park is harboring blood-thirsty terrorists.
"Alpha" is more of a suspense book but it has plenty of action. I felt my stomach tense up in knots as the story progresses at a fast pace towards its climax. Jad is a likable protagonist despite having some flaws. I appreciate that while he's a skilled special forces operator who has earned his formidable reputation, he's not bulletproof or invulnerable.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a tightly written, well-plotted novel that straddles the fence between suspense and action. I'll definitely keep reading this series....more
I think that suspense fans will enjoy this book. The killer is truly frightening and heinously awful, and this book will keep readers on the edge of tI think that suspense fans will enjoy this book. The killer is truly frightening and heinously awful, and this book will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Kendra is a great heroine. I love her extreme eye for details.
This second volume steps up the intensity by a big leap. Velvet is back in the game, and she has her former employees on her tail, not to mention theThis second volume steps up the intensity by a big leap. Velvet is back in the game, and she has her former employees on her tail, not to mention the traitor who is trying to frame her. "The Secret Lives of Dead Men" delves deeper in Velvet Templeton's past, and her secret hurts. The reader learns that she has more than one reason to take her betrayal personal, and also we see how she embarks on the life of a spy at a young age. While Velvet can hold her own, the reader sees that she has vulnerabilities just like any other human being, despite her formidable skills.
This is fine storytelling with excellent art. I think this would be an awesome movie or limited tv series. Velvet is an excellent role for an older (fortyish actress), and she'd not only get to show some real dramatic acting, but also plenty of buttkicking.
This book has a heck of a cliffhanger that has me waiting with baited breath for the next installment.
I'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think thatI'd have to say this isn't my typical type of book, so I'm glad it was selected for Action group's read this month. I found it enjoyable. I think that if this was a movie, it would be a Steven Soderburg movie for sure. I could see his touch all over the movie adaptation.
What I liked:
*I liked the wry and subtle humor. You have to be paying attention to see it, and it's highly ironical. The CIA's big thinkers believe their culprit is anything from the Russians to a huge terrorist cell, but it's not anything of the sort. Their antics to resolve the situation only seem to make things worst. I felt kind of bad rooting for Chinese and his gang, but they were seeming more and more like the good guys in that situation anyway. This book doesn't give a person the best view of the CIA, that's for sure. *I liked Doctor Henry Metzger and his dog. I wish they were in the book more. Considering that the book is named after them, I expected more of an appearance. But when they are there, they steal the scenes. I think Perry is an animal person. He seems to understand their psychology and how they seem to run the households in which they live and often leave their persons baffled. *The descriptions were very well rendered. I used all my senses as I read this book. The narrative is never wordy, which would have lent this book to boredom, considering that some much of the narrative hinges on theoretical sociological research. *This whole book is deftly plotted. I think it could have easily fallen apart, considering the subject matter. But it doesn't. *I think Margaret is one of the strongest characters. Surprisingly Chinese Gordon takes a back seat to her. She is really the brains of the operation.
I wasn't at all sure what I'd get when I started this book. It's kind of like when you go to a restaurant and let your companion pick something off the menu, and you decide you like it. It's a win on both sides....more
Pretty good, and a quick read. The villain made me murderous, and the hero is a bit generic, although I liked him. I read this for review, but I wentPretty good, and a quick read. The villain made me murderous, and the hero is a bit generic, although I liked him. I read this for review, but I went ahead and got the first book on my Kindle to read.
Runner was raved about by one of my Goodreads friends, so I picked it up from the library. This story is about a man who happens to be in the best plaRunner was raved about by one of my Goodreads friends, so I picked it up from the library. This story is about a man who happens to be in the best place at the right time, and makes the decision to help a girl that changes his whole life.
Sam Dryden has this irresistible compulsion to go running at night, in a certain area. He's been drifting after his personal loss, and believes this is due to his restlessness, and perhaps an existential crisis. He meets a girl who begs him to save her life from her pursuers and makes a split decision to do exactly that. It's fortunate that he's not just a typical guy. He's highly trained in black ops work, and equipped with all the assets needed to keep Rachel alive. It gets more interesting from there. Because Rachel isn't your typical twelve-year-old. Not by a long stretch.
This novel has some really cool ideas. It's like the X-Files episode of Pusher with some heavy duty action thrown in. Rachel's psychic abilities are seriously scary! Sam is a bad*ss. Great combination. It reminded me favorably of one of my favorites series, The GhostWalkers (minus the romance and with a few different aspects).
The things I loved about this book was the bond between Rachel and Sam. Sam assumes a fatherly role, with a little bit of friend thrown in. Rachel definitely needs a parental figure who is honorable and willing to make enormous sacrifices for her, considering her past. One might at first take it for granted that Sam would go so far to defend a young girl. The reveal could have compromised my perception of Sam as a really good guy who acts as Good Samaritan. I thought at first it would, but in the end, I was okay with it. I definitely believe that things happen in our lives for specific reasons, and they were meant to come together, no matter how it happened.
I loved the action elements. I also liked that the story is far from predictable. You don't always know right away who exactly is the big bad. There are a few characters who are doing some nasty things, so it's a coin flip at some points. The story flips things around. All you know is that Sam is a good guy and the right guy to be the bodyguard to Rachel. Things get twisty in that we're dealing with people who can literally get anyone to do whatever they want. You wonder at what point are the characters doing something of their free will. I have some huge issues with control, and that's a very scary thought that someone could control me and make me do something I would never do otherwise. I think Lee understands how truly frightening that is.
Runner is probably equally suspense and action, with some paranormal/science fiction thrown in. It's a really cool premise. It looks like this will be a series, so I wonder what will happen in the next book. I do want to read more of this series and see where the author goes next with the characters he created in this book....more
Another really good book in this series. I always get sucked into these books, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of Sister AnAnother really good book in this series. I always get sucked into these books, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I am a huge fan of Sister Anselm. She's a whippersnapper! This story got my ire going for sure.
This was a little 'blah' for me. But I think I don't care for monster stories. I don't like twiddling my fingers and waiting for characters to be pickThis was a little 'blah' for me. But I think I don't care for monster stories. I don't like twiddling my fingers and waiting for characters to be picked off by the monster. I also didn't like how predictable it was for who would die. It was like Child was mainly killing off the jerky characters. While I am not saying that I want to see likable characters killed off, it seems too calculated to establish a character as a putz and then kill them off. It was a bit sadistic of the author, quite frankly. Also, there were characters I didn't know if they made it at the end of the book. Honestly though, I wasn't too sad about one of the characters who got eaten. That's terrible of me, I realize it.
I did like the descriptions of the frozen North a lot, but that's because I love cold weather and winter settings. I live in Texas, so I don't get nearly enough 'winter.' When I feel hot and I really miss winter, I even day dream about there being a good two feet of snow on the ground and playing in the snow. That crunching sound it makes when it's a newly fallen powder. Yup, that's how much I love winter and snow.
Probably my favorite part of this book was the look at winter as a brutal adversary in itself. Now that I could get behind. My favorite part was when the refugees from Camp Fear had to drive across two ice lakes. That was fascinating and it was probably the most exciting moments of the story.
I didn't quite like the concept of the predator itself. It never came together as concretely as it should have. Also, some characters who had promise were underutilized. Logan promised to be an intriguing character, but he was barely in the book. Also, Marshall didn't have much charisma as a lead. Considering his tragic past, I think he didn't have his fears challenged enough in the long run. Usuguk felt a bit one-dimensional to me. The native shaman who provides spiritual/cultural background for the story.
I think this book is a low three stars for me. I rarely give under 3 stars, so getting a three isn't a compliment per se. It's more like saying it's a blah book that didn't offend me enough or I didn't dislike enough to rate lower. It wasn't a bad book, by any means. Just mediocre.
I am thankful for the suggestion to read this for our Action/Adventure Aficionados group read. It was pretty listenable as an audiobook. I am grateful that I found it at my library in audiobook, but I don't think I could have committed to finishing this in print. It just didn't get me excited enough....more
This is actually kind of gruesome, the nature of the crimes, and the mind of the killer takes the reader to a disturbing place. I love Kendra's enhancThis is actually kind of gruesome, the nature of the crimes, and the mind of the killer takes the reader to a disturbing place. I love Kendra's enhanced senses. It makes her a great detective. I think I would have rated it higher, except the cat and mouse game got wearing after a while.
This is a thriller that took me into the twisted heart of darkness. Just when it felt like I was starting to get things figured out, more questions arThis is a thriller that took me into the twisted heart of darkness. Just when it felt like I was starting to get things figured out, more questions arose. I liked it, and it was a fast-paced read, even though it was a bit disturbing at times. I will be tracking down the first two books in the series.
I have a dilemma with this novel. The writing is excellent and the story engaging. Zimmerman brings this period to vivid life, from the man-tainted waI have a dilemma with this novel. The writing is excellent and the story engaging. Zimmerman brings this period to vivid life, from the man-tainted wastelands of Virginia City, Nevada to the false glitter of Gilded Age New York City. The characters aren't very sympathetic, honestly, and the longer the story went on, the more I disliked them. However, Zimmerman kept me guessing until the end.
I can see how this book might appeal to some readers, but it didn't really work for me. It took a while for me to get into the story (granted, I wasn'I can see how this book might appeal to some readers, but it didn't really work for me. It took a while for me to get into the story (granted, I wasn't able to read the first two books). The storyline was too gritty, and the main leads were downright unpalatable more times than not. Also, the plotting wasn't as tight as this concept needed. I admit the ending had some good suspense.
Moving Target was a very engrossing book that lives up to the momentum implied in its title. This is my second read by JA Jance and in this Ali ReynolMoving Target was a very engrossing book that lives up to the momentum implied in its title. This is my second read by JA Jance and in this Ali Reynolds series, and I am hooked. I'll be looking for more by this author in my library audiobook section. I think this author will make for good listening material.
Samantha Morgan is excited that she will soon pick up her newborn baby, being carried by a surrogate in India, using her deceased husband's spSynopsis
Samantha Morgan is excited that she will soon pick up her newborn baby, being carried by a surrogate in India, using her deceased husband's sperm and her egg. The day of her baby shower at work, a strange woman approaches her and warns her about the man who seduced her as a fifteen-year-old. This man is now the Republican front-runner in the current Presidential Election. Shortly thereafter, women who also had youthful encounters with this man are dying under mysterious circumstances. Samantha and her friend Lisa, also a conquest of this man, go to India to pick up Samantha's baby, where they encounter Matthew Carlisle. Matthew Carlisle and his friend Lenny have also traveled to India to pick up his baby, which was conceived because of his ex-wife's desire for a child, although she left him and now he's responsible for the child. Samantha and Matthew take a dislike to each other when their personalities clash.
But Samantha and Matthew have to work together to rescue their pregnant surrogates when forces behind the Democratic incumbent plot to use Samantha's pregnant surrogate/unborn child to strongarm her into coming forward about her past with the Republican presidential candidate. Danger tracks them closely in this trek to take their new babies home, as the strangeness and beauty of India soaks into their psyches, and old emotional wounds start to heal.
The Baby Game is an interesting thriller novel that centers on the "what ifs" of a presidential election and what the candidates will do to win at any cost. The idea that this candidate was a seducer of young girls is quite disturbing, but completely plausible. It was hair-raising that people might engineer the murder of women just because they were victims of this man as young girls, and might endanger his chances of winning the election by coming forward. It was a novel approach to use the idea of two different people both engaging surrogates in a foreign country. I appreciated the view of India and the cultures exhibited in Samantha and Matthew's travels. There were plenty of humorous moments, which I enjoyed.
While I appreciated the storyline and plot, I had trouble grasping the overall tone of the novel. Initially, the story is very dark, but becomes almost slapstick towards its climax. I think that the combination of humor and wacky moments should have been more consistently distributed in the novel, instead of mostly towards the end, especially with the initial mayhem of these poor women being murdered and the idea that political parties would be willing to murder people like that.
Samantha and Matthew could have used more depth. I felt like I knew Samantha a little better, but ultimately she didn't come to life for me. She seemed to react to circumstances, but I didn't feel connected to her thought life. Moreso for Matthew. I could see that his divorce hit him hard, and had made him cynical, but I wanted to see how his experiences in India, with Samantha and his baby change him from the inside out. I just saw the end results.
Overall, The Baby Game was an entertaining read. The storyline was very interesting and unique. However, I do feel that the tone shift was confusing, and I wanted more exploration of the emotional aspects of Samantha and Matthew's experiences in India. Reader who enjoy suspense novels with a good dose of humor might enjoy this book. It's worthwhile reading just for the descriptions of India and its people.