This is the second in the Kenzie / Gennaro series that I've read. I enjoyed the other one ('Moonlight Mile', I think it was) more. The writing style iThis is the second in the Kenzie / Gennaro series that I've read. I enjoyed the other one ('Moonlight Mile', I think it was) more. The writing style is of a similar quality. Decent, but not great. Lehane's prose is pretty straight forward and that's fine for crime books. The plot in this one involves a series of gruesome murders that end up having a close and direct connection to Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. The plot is rather Thomas Harris but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
For me, I think the main difference between this book and the previous K/G book is that this one just wasn't very funny. I recall chuckling on about every other page reading Patrick's wisecracks. This book either didn't have as many lines or they just weren't as funny....more
Quick (>2 hrs) read. Based on a true story, it uses animals to tell a fairly anodyne anti-war story. Art work is decent, nothing too breathtaking bQuick (>2 hrs) read. Based on a true story, it uses animals to tell a fairly anodyne anti-war story. Art work is decent, nothing too breathtaking but plenty of talent on display. Seeing as it's a war story set in Iraq, fairly limited color palette....more
Kind of a mixed bag here. A decent Thor story, a decent if confusing Cap story and a pretty terrible Iron Man story. Maybe the Cap story had the betteKind of a mixed bag here. A decent Thor story, a decent if confusing Cap story and a pretty terrible Iron Man story. Maybe the Cap story had the better art over the Thor story (both were pretty impressive, particularly the color work). The Iron Man story was the worst, hands down. Awful story combined with art that varies greatly, ranging from almost mediocre to is=this-really-comic-book-quality-work-or-is-this-a-joke? There are better stories out there than these....more
Stunning art work. Not the greatest story but certainly decent. It definitely is a showcase for the artwork and many, many of Marvel's greatest heroesStunning art work. Not the greatest story but certainly decent. It definitely is a showcase for the artwork and many, many of Marvel's greatest heroes....more
Yet another time when I wish Goodreads had half-stars. I loved so much about this book. The science was challenging. Mark's narration was funny. It reYet another time when I wish Goodreads had half-stars. I loved so much about this book. The science was challenging. Mark's narration was funny. It read fast and easy. And yet I just didn't get too many goosebumps from it. I think I just read/have read too many books and so the bar is just impossibly high now....more
Very poor story partnered with just - I can't believe I am saying this - terrible art work. It looked like it was penciled and inked by a talented 7thVery poor story partnered with just - I can't believe I am saying this - terrible art work. It looked like it was penciled and inked by a talented 7th grader....more
There are hints of a very interesting and potentially entertaining world (make that worlds) in this book. Unfortunately, McDonald gets bogged down inThere are hints of a very interesting and potentially entertaining world (make that worlds) in this book. Unfortunately, McDonald gets bogged down in creating the world(s) and never gets around to showing us much more than these tantalizing hints.
This book is really three different storylines that deal with the 'many worlds' universe. The three stories all take place at different times in Brasil, from the 1730s of colonial Brazil to the contemporary Brazil of 2006 to the future Brazil of 2033.
The tale from the 1730s involves an Apocalypse Now like expedition to the remotest regions of the Amazon to reign in a renegade priest in the jungle. The 2006 tale centers around a reality TV producer who stumbles onto the existence of the multiverse when she comes across her own doppleganger. The final story is a cyberpunk, quantum computing love story between upwardly mobile Edson de Freitas and another multiverse traveler, quantum computing researcher, Fia.
The real problem with this book as I said in the opening paragraph is that McDonald spends too much time creating a world with the result that surprisingly little happens in it. River of Gods suffered from this (to a lesser extent), too. So much of my time was spent trying to grasp the setting and decipher the Brazilian Portuguese argot (and I speak Portguese, BTW) and to get my head around the rules of the setting, that I wasn't clear about some of the events of the story....more
I really enjoy the Inspector Shan series. This is the fourth I've read and I've reviewed the other three so I won't go into too much detail as to why.I really enjoy the Inspector Shan series. This is the fourth I've read and I've reviewed the other three so I won't go into too much detail as to why. If you are curious as to why I like the series and the author so much, I invite you to read my other Pattison reviews.
I don't think this one is quite as good as the others. It suffers from a little bit of sameness. About the only departure from the formula is that Pattison introduces Shan's son, now a young man and a convict, to the story. At this point, I think Shan should be growing a bit more. He still seems a bit lost for purpose, a knight-errant wandering around Tibet. Maybe more of a Don Quixote with Lokesh as his Sancho Panza.
The plot was rather confusing. It involved stolen priceless stolen Tibetan art pieces, forgeries, a ruthless software magnate with a few too many similarities to Bill Gates, a politically ambitious museum director with visions of the Chinese Politburo in his eyes, and an FBI agent specializing in art heists looking to right a wrong. Add to all that a treasure hunt in a Tibetan monastery labyrinth and it was just too much to keep straight....more
I really enjoyed the Indian cyberpunk setting. I liked the various characters that intertwined to tell a complex story about sentient AIs and their efI really enjoyed the Indian cyberpunk setting. I liked the various characters that intertwined to tell a complex story about sentient AIs and their efforts to break free and find their place in the universe.
However, similar to my complaint about 'The Quantum Thief' (though to a lesser degree) I felt the author made the reader work too hard.
First and foremost was the sheer number of Hindu words used. I read the Kindle version of the book. It was only when I reached the end that I became aware that a glossary was included. That being said, when reading an ebook, it's not easy to access a glossary at the end of of a book. Had I been reading a conventional paper book, I think I would have tired of constantly flipping back to the glossary. The embedded OED in the Kindle did help out with some of the words but not all of them.
I liked the setting, a futuristic India. However it is a fragmented India. Instead of one large country there seems to be several smaller states such as Bharat (with its capital in Varanasi) and Awadh (with its capital in Delhi). Nowhere did the author explicitly detail how present-day India was divided so the reader is left to try and piece these not insignificant details together.
I felt like the author skimped on action and required the readers to infer too much. Moving from one chapter to the next, a reference would be made to an action sequence and again the reader would be left to infer what had taken place.
It's as if John Le Carre had decided to write a sci-fi/cyberpunk novel. Still enjoyed it a lot but came away feeling like this should have been a five star read....more
This was a pertty good read. GEN McChrystal had a stellar career in the military that was, in my opinion, unfairly cut short by an article in RollingThis was a pertty good read. GEN McChrystal had a stellar career in the military that was, in my opinion, unfairly cut short by an article in Rolling Stone.
As is the case with most of these memoirs, don't expect bombshells. In the case of the incident that cut short his career, GEN McChrystal pretty much glosses it over. He tells you it happened, he accepts responsibility and tenders his resignation and that's the end of it.
On the other hand, GEN McChrystal does provide a surprising amount of detail about his work as commander of TF 714 in Iraq and as ISAF/NATO commander in Afghanistan. As someone who spent five years working in both places, I found this meaty middle most interesting and gratifying. The hunt for Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is probably the most detailed and the most interested.
GEN McChrystal writes well, as you would expect of a highly-educated West Point graduate. His style is clear and concise. About the first 25% of the book is straight biography and then the remainder is devoted to his increasing responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan....more
I wasn't as big a fan of 'The Perfect Storm' as some people. I liked 'War' much better. Having spent much time in Iraq and Afghanistan but very littleI wasn't as big a fan of 'The Perfect Storm' as some people. I liked 'War' much better. Having spent much time in Iraq and Afghanistan but very little time anywhere near combat as intense as what Junger describes, it's interesting to compare it to my own experience. Junger is a keen observer of the young men with whom he embeds. It's clear he loves them, yet he is able to study and report on them as objectively as possible....more
I've been on a Michael Lewis mini-tear. I recently read 'Liar's Poker' and 'The Big Short' and enjoyed both immensely. 'Flash Boys' is right up thereI've been on a Michael Lewis mini-tear. I recently read 'Liar's Poker' and 'The Big Short' and enjoyed both immensely. 'Flash Boys' is right up there with them. Hugely entertaining and yet disturbing at the same time. The story is about the effect of High-Frequency Trading (itself part of an ongoing game of 'whack-a-mole' between financial regulators and Wall Street) on the market place.
I must give credit to my cousin, Jonathan Birge for engendering my interest in this topic. For at least three or four years Jon's been clued in to the paradigm shift introduced by HFT. As Jon put it, stock trading has now been reduced to a war between teams of computers and programmers fighting over pennies and milliseconds.
Lewis and the story in 'Flash Boys' were recently featured in a piece on '60 Minutes'. Seeing that piece prompted me to want to read the book. Having read it, I can now see that things are so much worse than I ever suspected. An entire crooked infrastructure had grown around the electronic trading industry.
Highly recommended, especially if you have any interest in the stock markets....more
This is the second Michener I've read. I hated 'Space' because in it Michener decided to fictionalize the space program. I found it an un-necessary giThis is the second Michener I've read. I hated 'Space' because in it Michener decided to fictionalize the space program. I found it an un-necessary gimmick. It seems like this is Michener's modus operandi. He does the same thing in 'The Drifters'. He takes the late '60s and then fictionalizes a couple of locations (such as the former British colony in Africa, the improbably named Vwarda) and then populated them with uninteresting, self-important windbags for characters. It's like Michener painted a pair of earrings on the Mona Lisa and then proclaims it his masterpiece.
Honestly, I could forgive the slightly tweaked reality if the writing, characters and plot (such as it is) weren't so weak. Here's an example of what the book is like:
I'm Britta. I'm from Norway. All my life I've dreamed of going to Ceylon. Then one day I walked past a travel agency and saw a poster for Torremolinos. I instantly knew that this was the Most Magical Place in the World. When I asked the owner of the travel agency how much it cost to go to Torremolinos, he told me it would cost $100. I told him I didn't have that much.
'Well, it's obvious that you are the Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Britta, so you must go to Torremolinos! '
'It looks like the Most Magical Place in the World!'
'It is! Can you afford $75?'
'How about $50?'
'How about $25?'
'How about $14?'
'Well, then it just so happens we have a few seats that we reserve for special young people because we know how important it is for you to go and find yourself. Since you are the Most Beautiful Girl in the World, I can sell you a full vacation including flight, hotel and all meals for $12'
A few weeks later I pulled into Torremolinos. I instantly knew that I could never go back to Norway and that I had to find a job to stay in Torremolinos, the Most Magical Place in the World.
After checking in to my room, I put on my bikini and went down to the beach. While there, I spotted the Most Beautiful Girl in the World. She was British and said her name was Monica. I asked her how long she'd been in Torremolinos.
'I've been here for ages, but I am getting ready to leave for Mozambique soon.'
'Mozambique? I hear it's the Most Magical Place in the World!'
'It is! How long do you plan on staying in Torremolinos?'
'I'm booked for two weeks but it's obvious that Torremolinos is the Most Magical Place in the World -'
'Do you think I will be able to find a job here?'
'Beautiful girls come here from all over the world and line the main square five deep trying to get jobs in Torremolinos. But since you are the Most Beautiful Girl in the World you won't have any problem finding a job. Let's go to the Alamo and I'll introduce you to the gang.'
A little later Monica and I walked into the Alamo. Monica introduced me to the American bartender, Joe. He had long hair and a beard, very much the Jesus look that was popular with all the young men these days. I immediately decided that I would have an affair with him.
'Hi. I'm Joe. Britta tells me you are looking for a job?'
'Yes. I am although I have no skills and no experience.'
'That doesn't matter since you are obviously the Most Beautiful Girl in the World. Would you like a place to live to go along with your job? I share a house with the Cato, the Most Interesting Man in the World, and Monica, the Most Beautiful Girl in the World.'
The whole book is like this. Every character is the smartest/hippest/most beautiful/handsome boy or girl in the world. Everyone is a dropout from a Harvard or Yale or Duke or Michigan. Everyone immediately recognizes how hip and cool they all are. Yet at the same time they are all walking cliches. Joe, draft dodger. Cato, black radical. Monica, rich, spoiled slut dope fiend (thankfully she ODs and dies - the high point of the book). Yigal, tough, smart, little Jew.
I suppose if I am being charitable I can see how a young reader (who hasn't read very much yet) or a reader who hasn't traveled very much might really enjoy this book. Otherwise, it's just pompous bloviating. It's like Michener took a correspondence course on the '60s from East Panhandle State and then decided to write a novel about them.
I have a really bad habit of plowing through books even when I am not enjoying them. I trudged through 750 pages of this book and I really should have quit about 650 pages back. I think I am off Michener. I wish Goodreads would allow negative stars....more