The people who give this book a low rating must have been expecting a legal thriller. At the very least, they don't seem able to handle realistic adulThe people who give this book a low rating must have been expecting a legal thriller. At the very least, they don't seem able to handle realistic adult drama. If you don't require murder and explosions in your reading material, you would be wise to ignore the naysayers. This is an absolutely perfect rendering of exactly what it aims to be: former high school football stars returning to a small town to pay respects to their feared and loved dying coach. Grisham writes the legal thrillers because they pay the bills. He writes books like this because he wants to....more
In two ways, this anthology is deserving of a five-star rating. The first is its uniqueness. The second is that it a convenient way for thriller fansIn two ways, this anthology is deserving of a five-star rating. The first is its uniqueness. The second is that it a convenient way for thriller fans to discover new authors to read -- and to avoid.
I hope it's not due to bias that my favorite stories in the anthology were those by my favorite authors. Lee Child's story, which he penned with Joseph Finder, was the best of the bunch. I also thought John Sandford's pairing with Jeffrey Deaver was very good -- although Deaver's practice of skipping key scenes as a means to generate thrills is beginning to wear on me. And I picked up some books by Michael Connelly recently as a result of reading the story he wrote with Dennis Lehane.
At the other end of the spectrum are authors I will now be making a point to avoid. It's not that I didn't like their stories. It's because I didn't like their writing. The story by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson and the story by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay feature simplistic, amateurish writing.
In the Graham-Wilson story, the authors didn't think it was enough to tell us that the story's heroes had duped the bad guy; they thought it was necessary to include this line of needless and awkward expository dialog: "Nice touch. I mean, firing your Glock into the floor after our fight. And reburying that bracelet so that Chastain could find it once we were out." We already knew the fight was fake, and we could surmise that the bracelet had been found where the bad guy expected to find it. Why lead readers by the hand like that?
The Khoury-Barclay story had its share of silly dialog, but it also needed a few more rounds of editing. Early on, one of the heroes is a restaurant when a woman flies through the door and announces that a man is on fire. The hero immediately thinks of the fire extinguisher that he keeps in his truck, but it then he takes the time to put his cup of coffee in a cup holder and roll down the truck's windows down so his daughter won't be uncomfortably warm for a few minutes. Later, in one paragraph we're told that the heroes are gaining on the bad guy, whose vehicle is doing almost eighty, and a few a paragraphs later we're told that the heroes' borrowed Chevy Vega is struggling to get above sixty. Huh?
FaceOff is a must-read for thriller fans. Just don't expect every story to be a gem....more
Here's a review of Go Set a Watchman that really is a review rather than an expression of eagerness for its publication. Given the glut of non-reviewHere's a review of Go Set a Watchman that really is a review rather than an expression of eagerness for its publication. Given the glut of non-review reviews, I wonder if anyone will see this.
Taken on its own merits, I could have given the book three or four stars. It started out as a four-star book, but the ideas expressed in the latter half of the book -- even those expressed by Jean Louise (aka Scout) -- are enough out of whack with modern sensibilities that it makes for a hard read.
But I give it one star because of its negative impact on the legacy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
I do not think Watchman should have been published. The attitudes of even its most progressive characters are offensive by today's standards, and it shatters the image of one of the most beloved characters in American literature.
If people were to approach the book with clinical curiosity, with the goal of learning about the evolution of an American classic, then perhaps the legacy of Mockingbird would be safe. But Watchman will be mistakenly seen as a modern-day sequel to Mockingbird rather than as a sixty-year-old first draft of Mockingbird.
So, if you have any fondness for Mockingbird, do yourself a favor and don't risk its place in your heart....more