AS I noted in 2007, 'Excellnt bio of Mencken.' I recall how much I liked this book and how I went back over parts of it to reread as i was already readi...moreAS I noted in 2007, 'Excellnt bio of Mencken.' I recall how much I liked this book and how I went back over parts of it to reread as i was already reading it. I wish I had stuck notes in the book to remember specifics. I do recall how through this book is and how Teachout's writings pulled emotion from me as I read. Great book and great way to learn about one of America's greatest critics.(less)
Folks have been telling me for years to read Lee Gramling and, over the years, I picked up the Pineapple Press series. I just read my first one after...moreFolks have been telling me for years to read Lee Gramling and, over the years, I picked up the Pineapple Press series. I just read my first one after starting to collect them in the 1990s. I almost wish I had not cracked open the book and just ride the praise I've heard of them.
The story starts in 1700s British St. Augustine and continues in the northern part of the state. That is, if you want to call it a story. It's a very flimsy premise that is cloaked in a novel length chase toward a common goal. The writing is almost Ok and the narrative about the outdoors is less than that. His best writing is during the many scenes of action.
What might have my opinion extra low is reading prior to this Frank Slaughter's 'Storm Haven' that is so beautifully written and well researched. This book pales in comparison. Gramling, being a fifth generation Floridian, I am sure did his best to construct the best novel he could about early Florida. He just needed direction in plotting, narrative and story telling.(less)
The loudest kudos I can offer of this book are the location references. Some of Lifeguard takes place in Massachuets and I know nothing about that pla...moreThe loudest kudos I can offer of this book are the location references. Some of Lifeguard takes place in Massachuets and I know nothing about that place. Florida, on the other hand, I very much do. Someone involved with the authoring of this book did a crackerjack job of checking locations to get this book set in the right palace. The Palm Beach County locations are right on. The Coleman Correction Center was also very good (though it's a good 5 hours to get to Delray Beach from Coleman). It might have been fun to have the character have to be trying to put together the 32 dollars to pay for parking at The Breakers.
Humor is one thing missing from this book. There are some attempts at humor but otherwise this is just short of being a Matthew Reilly binge of action. There is plenty of character development, but when a book like this moves like it does - Who cares? Thus, I really didn't care about any of the characters.
The story is intertwined with all kinds of switchbacks, but I was on to them at the start and, as always, HATE IT when I'm right and know the ending so soon.
The problem, to me, seems to be that there were three writers, at least, working on this book. I could tell tenor changes all over the book. Me reading this book was sometimes like roaring across an unpaved road. It also seemed to pave the way for an inevitable conclusion. Too many cooks have to be careful not to add to many ingredients to spoil the stew.
I sure had fun reading the book and I think anyone would. But it sure would be neat to have been crafted by a better writer like John D. MacDonald and see what the book could have been.(less)
This is the first I've read of the Stuart Kaminsky series involving Lew Fonesca that otherwise takes place in Sarasota. This entry in the series, thou...moreThis is the first I've read of the Stuart Kaminsky series involving Lew Fonesca that otherwise takes place in Sarasota. This entry in the series, though, mostly takes place in Chicago as the main character looks for the murderer of his wife. The writing is well done. Especially in getting the Chicago dialogue to read true. There are a number of twists. One twist involving one character is especially well done. Also, this is not an overwritten novel as so many others are today.(less)
I do like Kaminsky's books, including this one. I just wish that most of the characters in the Lew Fonesca series weren't so mopey. Depression is ramp...moreI do like Kaminsky's books, including this one. I just wish that most of the characters in the Lew Fonesca series weren't so mopey. Depression is rampant throughout this volume and it gets reading a bit tough sometimes. Otherwise there are two good mysteries happening throughout. Another of Kaminsky's books where figuring out the ending is very difficult. He is very good at defining his characters as separate entities despite how many are populating his stories and this is one of the best examples of that.(less)
Britt was a journalist at the time of much of this writing and it comes out in the chapters as each comes across as an encapsulation of time. It would...moreBritt was a journalist at the time of much of this writing and it comes out in the chapters as each comes across as an encapsulation of time. It would be best to read this at different times as collectively it doesn't hold together as a linear history, though that is the attempt. She mentions at the end that the bulk of the book had been written many years earlier and I get the impression she may have gone back over the book and reedited parts to update. if that happened, or if it did, it didn't help.
The first long chapter is enough to discourage further reading. it's a drawn out early history of Florida. She covers the more factual based beginnings of early explorers being far before Juan Ponce. It is just written poorly and is mired in a collection of tangents that make reading difficult for me.
This book is best when she is writing of her personal experiences in Palm Beach County. Near the end she writes of her view of civil rights issues. This is one of many areas where her political viewpoint stands out. Wish she had toned that down and written more history.
This is her book and she can fill as she likes with neat Florida history tidbits in Palm Beach County, various political issues, an interesting view of early Florida history, etc. Be warned the beginning is hard to get through. In that it really doesn't connect witht eh rest of the book, you could just skip over it.
Despite all that - My bottom line - I recommend the book.(less)
This is a good detective novel that has an ending that is hard to figure out. This is another Lew Archer round by the author who calls himself "MacDon...moreThis is a good detective novel that has an ending that is hard to figure out. This is another Lew Archer round by the author who calls himself "MacDonald" (I recently leaned that none of the names he is printed with is his actual name). It seemed to me MacDonald worked a little too hard with the complexity of the story and had trouble getting it all to flow together. I believe that is why I had a bit of trouble following just who all the characters are in the book. Maybe that was his intent to make solving the mystery by the reader hard to do. I would recommend this book to those looking to settle in for a good mystery.(less)
An adaption of the 1947 film that veers away involving the rap on the head of the Macy "psychologist". That is also where this book falls apart. The G...moreAn adaption of the 1947 film that veers away involving the rap on the head of the Macy "psychologist". That is also where this book falls apart. The George Seaton film version makes far more sense that the version given here, which produced hundreds of witnesses that, in reality, would've altered the results. Otherwise the book is rather faithful to the film and is a fun book to read during the holiday season.(less)
Pretty standard thriller. Where the book is going at the beginning is the funnest part of the book. As it goes from there it takes a track revealing m...morePretty standard thriller. Where the book is going at the beginning is the funnest part of the book. As it goes from there it takes a track revealing most of the bad guys and a few other character interactions. After that, it was clear to me how the book was going to end and, unfortunately, it did end that way. I was hoping for more from my first reading of a book by such a long time author as Archer. More tight writing and more of a chess game for a plot. I do like how the ending includes a mistake of missing a clue.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book was heavily recommended to me. As I started the book and read about a civilian in a mid-eastern country and then his high...more**spoiler alert** This book was heavily recommended to me. As I started the book and read about a civilian in a mid-eastern country and then his high powered connections, I began to think the book was more science fiction/ fantasy than political thriller. I finished the book with the same feeling.
This book couldn't be more disconnected from reality. The very idea that a president could attach himself to a civilian so easily (with the exception of a way, way, way over written challenge) is pure insanity.
The sick part, to me, is the complete disregard of the feelings and faith of the Palestinians/Muslims/Arabs. The idea that they could be paid off - bribed - and thus set aside their religious views for "Peace" is beyond poor plotting. It's irresponsible. To write that the president of the United States would condone a bribe to such a degree as is proposed in the book has to have one wonder just what the writer really thinks of America. I kept thinking of Paul Douglas and his role in 'The Americanization of Emily' where he goes crazy and starts making insane orders. I guess that explains the smaller publisher. A big publisher would've kicked this back and have it severely edited.
Otherwise, the writing is sub-par and the conclusion is really not one, making the rest of the reading excursion feel like a wasted one. The idea is to force you to the next volume. Not sure if I will make that trek.(less)
'Law of the Mountain Man' follows the trail of the four books in the series before it and tends to rehash most of those plots. Either Johnstone was tr...more'Law of the Mountain Man' follows the trail of the four books in the series before it and tends to rehash most of those plots. Either Johnstone was trying to best the books before 'Law of...' or the publisher asked for more of the same. There are some definite differences and it's still a good book, but the fundamentals are way too similar. For someone reading just this book, the novel is very, very good.
The writing is very good as a whole, but there are some obvious missteps that even a bad editor should have caught. Seems to me that Johnstone found himself in the midst of starting this series along with pumping out other books in different genres and ran into trouble.
A huge gold star goes to Johnstone in having a ton of characters in this book and being able to discern who is who. Something I had trouble with in the book I read before this by Louis L'Amour.
I'll continue on from here and hope for better in that this series has continued from this 1989 book to now, 2013. I'm getting pessimistic, though.(less)
I've heard great things about MacGregor's contribution to the Jones series. They are hard to find. I just found one and dug right in!
This is a very go...moreI've heard great things about MacGregor's contribution to the Jones series. They are hard to find. I just found one and dug right in!
This is a very good story with a tight plot. There are all sorts of angles the book takes, which really adds to the excitement. Lots of history, fiction & non-fiction, well told and not confusing or too deep for average readers. I love reading history and it's a real bonus for me in this book.
Clearly MacGregor did his best to get the feeling of Harrison Ford's depiction of the Indian Jones character. You can picture Ford in your mind as you read through.
I wish this book didn't hit such a climax mid way through. The ending isn't as good as the mid-point. It's still a great boo. that's the only criticism i have.