After bashing so many contemporary authors, I'll have to salute a really good one. Mills takes @500 pages and actually fills them usable, interesting...moreAfter bashing so many contemporary authors, I'll have to salute a really good one. Mills takes @500 pages and actually fills them usable, interesting content. Free Fall moved like lightning and still had a complexity that was different from the genre. Certainly the hero is not the typical beefy hulk that can kill anything.
One thing that might turn off some is the heavy politics involved. I liked it, but then again I'm a nut about politics. From my vantage point, the political stuff is pretty mushy and simplistic.
Still this is a terrific book and one of the best of recent released books I've read.(less)
As a noir novel this book was OK. I saw where this was going and that didn't help the so-so writing skills of the author. I wasn't surprised that the...moreAs a noir novel this book was OK. I saw where this was going and that didn't help the so-so writing skills of the author. I wasn't surprised that the author also writes comic books. I think he was hoping to emulate Elmore Leonard or some such, but misses that by a few lightyears. The characters are pretty typical and lack significant depth, much like in the comic books. In the comics, the artist makes up for much of the narrative.
What makes this book standout for me are the Florida locations. Gischler does an excellent job of being accurate of Florida locations in Seminole, Orange and Marion Counties. Bravo for that!!! These are areas pretty much left entirely alone by Florida, or for that matter any, writers. His references of the Shoot Straight gun range and State Road 200 in Ocala were particularly impressive. He stumbles only once particularly with his mention of Piggly Wiggly stores. They have been out of the bulk of Florida for more than 15 years. Though starting and being the first chain of grocery stores in Florida, Piggly Wiggly can only be now found in the Panhandle in places like Chipley and Apalachicola.(less)
This is really a fun and good story. It's also well written. It's just that something is not quite right with Date's books and I'm not sure what it is...moreThis is really a fun and good story. It's also well written. It's just that something is not quite right with Date's books and I'm not sure what it is. It's been a few years since I've read a Date book and thought I might figure it out this time. Nope. Still not sure what it is. Though, this seems to be the best of his books I've read.
One issue I have is that it seems there are just a handful of people existing in the world he creates and no one else. There is hardly any point where anyone other than the central/only characters are mentioned. Considering he skirts the whole car racing time in Daytona Beach, that would be nearly impossible. I also felt that in many of the Hiassen novels, too. Tim Dorsey, of the same wacky Florida genre seems to flesh out a more populous Florida.
Still it's a great story with lots of humor, action and accurate depicted Florida locations.(less)
I really don't know why I don't give this a solid 5 stars. It is just tremendous. The plot is very involved yet succinctly written. I read this over t...moreI really don't know why I don't give this a solid 5 stars. It is just tremendous. The plot is very involved yet succinctly written. I read this over two weeks while flying from state to state, finishing large projects, plus driving around and finishing other projects and getting day to day stuff done. A chaotic two weeks. Yet, I could pick up this book and not be lost. The problem came as I closed in on the ending and couldn't put it down.
It is the best job Flynn has done in his first 9 books in fleshing out characters and really laying out directly conflicting views of extremist Islam and politics. I would highly recommend this book as a guide to understanding the different views from conservative to liberal to extremist Islam to actual Islamic attitudes to the complacent.
The book is also laid out and ended in a way that is perfect in the book market being what it is today.
This book is excellent. OK, I gave it 5 stars.(less)
A very thorough overview of the life of Nelson Poynter who helmed the St. Petersburg Times from the end of the Depression to his death in the '70s. Al...moreA very thorough overview of the life of Nelson Poynter who helmed the St. Petersburg Times from the end of the Depression to his death in the '70s. All sides are covered of Poynter, the good and the bad. Also many others involved with the Times have their lives also featured in the book. It is well written and very well researched. It could almost be a novel in it's approach to Poynter. The one draw back is that the book does seem to relatively over credit Poynter at times. Making me wonder about issues I don't other wise know about might be skewed a bit much in his favor also.(less)
My favorite and most fun book read this year so far. It just jettisons from page 1 in an exciting and enthralling 400+ pages. Good guys John Deal and...moreMy favorite and most fun book read this year so far. It just jettisons from page 1 in an exciting and enthralling 400+ pages. Good guys John Deal and Vernon Driscoll are up against a seemingly impossible task that is just too much fun to follow along with. There are a few holes in the plot. However, recently it seems to me too many authors are going overboard trying to cover every second covered in a story and author Les Standiford leaves gaps of time to the imagination and makes it work. To me that is the sign of a skilled author. It is so much fun and well written that, especially compared to recent written novels I've read recently, I have to give this book 5 stars.(less)
What a book! It's short but chock full of great information with documentation as to the beginnings of St. Petersburg, Florida. I wish the author had...moreWhat a book! It's short but chock full of great information with documentation as to the beginnings of St. Petersburg, Florida. I wish the author had written more about the history of the area. Interesting, too, is the struggle the author had in getting one of the St. Petersburg founders, Peter Demens (Dementiev) , originally from Russia, recognized. A few years after getting recognition with a park and statue, a St, Petersburg centennial is celebrated in 1988. Instead of honoring the Russian founder the organizers cut loose with a political rally espousing pro-communist views of Russia and America that were entirely opposite of what the founder, Peter Demens, believed.(less)
Terrific book! I nabbed it after hearing an interview with Mr. Hackman on the Dennis Miller radio program. He sounded so coy about having written his...moreTerrific book! I nabbed it after hearing an interview with Mr. Hackman on the Dennis Miller radio program. He sounded so coy about having written his first book on his own, yet there was a certain treble of enthusiasm of the accomplishment that made me want to purchase the book just out of support. I also figured anyone who can pick as many good films rolls as Hackman has, must know a bit of how to assemble a good novel. I say he has.
I started the book only thinking of how I was reading a Gene Hackman book. Along the way, I forgot all about that and found myself wrapped up in the adventure of Jubal Young and other characters in the west in the late 1800s. Hackman does an excellent job of delivering the literary image of both main and secondary characters and their emotional depths. The sense of place is also very well laid out, something I feel is severely missing in many books written today.
Drawbacks I had was a question if a bit of the dialogue really fit the era. From what I've learned, it really doesn't, which tripped me up and had me realizing it is 2011. Otherwise, I felt like I was in the era of the novel.
A great first book entirely written by Mr. Hackman and I hope to see more in the future!(less)
This was Hampton Dunn's first book in this format and I guess due to page length considerations, was restricted to the expanse of history of St. Peter...moreThis was Hampton Dunn's first book in this format and I guess due to page length considerations, was restricted to the expanse of history of St. Petersburg he could cover. What is there is very good from text to photos. I just wish there was much more of the decades between the 1930s to the publication year, 1973. Otherwise there is well written history and lots of little anecdotes, something that is a particular favorite of mine.(less)
A very good history of Sarasota along with photos with detailed descriptions. Marth does a great job with narrative and covering some overall Florida...moreA very good history of Sarasota along with photos with detailed descriptions. Marth does a great job with narrative and covering some overall Florida history that affected the Sarasota area.(less)
I have to wonder if there could be a better history of Sarasota written. This is just an outstanding effort. LaHurd's book is more thorough than most...moreI have to wonder if there could be a better history of Sarasota written. This is just an outstanding effort. LaHurd's book is more thorough than most all of the histories of anything I've read. This book also takes care of a number complaints I find with many histories: including dates of referenced historical occurrences, the interaction of historical figures, the result of time to historical places or events, etc. Something else included are location photos that are usually left out of histories. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it to fellow Florida history buffs!(less)
This is another fun John Deal story by Les Standiford. To start, I am a big Les Standiford fan. In fiction and non-fiction. This is the first book of...moreThis is another fun John Deal story by Les Standiford. To start, I am a big Les Standiford fan. In fiction and non-fiction. This is the first book of his I would say is a disappointment.
In 'Deal on Ice' there's lots of action and another heavy handed punch to religious faith by an author. When I read 'One More Sunday' by John D. MacDonald back when it came out it was the first MacDonald book that really disturbed me as it went spinning around attacking anything with faith. Since then I've read far more in the genre - Let's-Make-Religion-The-Bad-Guy. Even more specifically organized religion. It seems an easy literary device to build a story around. It might be OK if the angle was used with some intellect. But I've yet to read one where thought is involved, including MacDonald's turn. Someone is a religious "zealot" and they are out to destroy the world, the society, a family. Never is there a balance of someone else with faith who might redeem the bad religious guy, usually a murderer of some kind. Never is there a discussion by characters of any value of faith. It's just a wan ton machine gunning of religious faith...and ALWAYS Christian. There may be stories of bad guy rabbis or Hindu priests gone wild, but I've yet to find them. MacDonald went after a cult in 'The Green Ripper'. But my concern isn't with some fictional cult. My concern is with the bashing of a specific religion in the same way with no redeeming value given to the religious ideals.
And here's the real crux of it all: The least the authors could do is balance the story with establishing the main hero or characters as atheists out to right wrongs. Or maybe a dialogue with characters as to their reasons for an inner hatred to those with religious beliefs. That would give more power as the religious bad guys are defeated.
Or here's a thought!: How about a twist where the head of the religious organization is really an atheist and then the hero has a struggle with what he believes as he tries to bring the bad guy to defeat! Now that would be something fresh!
I'm very tired of the technique. In this one there's some allegory of small bookstores, mega-bookstores, mega-churches and that reading more will save you from those with religious beliefs. Too bad the author didn't have the guts to step forward and just craft a story about atheism vs all faiths and be done with it than the silly attempt strung together in this book.(less)
My first Stuart Kaminsky 'Toby Peters' novel full of 1940's Hollywood stars and a fun mystery will have me going back for more. I was terribly disappo...moreMy first Stuart Kaminsky 'Toby Peters' novel full of 1940's Hollywood stars and a fun mystery will have me going back for more. I was terribly disappointed with the one 'The Rockford Files' original novel I read, that I stayed far away from Kaminsky. A friend has been encouraging me to read Kaminsky. Specifically his Sarasota based books.
My major complaint with the Rockford book is that I feel he entirely missed the gist of Jim S. Rockford. In this Toby Peters book he nailed the personalities of Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Mickey Rooney, etc. Excellent work!
The mystery of the book is rather simple and the writing is a little less than standard P.I. fare. Still a fun book to read and I will return to Peters and Kaminsky soon...sooner next time.