Project Nemesis is a throwback and homage to monster books and movies from years ago as well as a brand new direction for giant monsters, or Kaiju. EiProject Nemesis is a throwback and homage to monster books and movies from years ago as well as a brand new direction for giant monsters, or Kaiju. Either way it is a lot of fun and a nice light entertaining read.
Project Nemesis keeps the mix just about right. You’ve got enough character depth to keep you rooting for or against the heroes and villains along with the right amount of monster description and scenes of death, destruction and general rampage to keep the pages flying and the stakes increasing. The good guys are a little too good and nearly indestructible, and the bad guys a little too evil and indestructible, but that’s kind of the point. The goal here, I think, is not so much believability as plausibility.
Robinson keeps the danger and the action ramping up throughout. The heroes, Hudson and Collins grow as well while they must stay ahead not only of the beast, but its creators. It all combines to keep the pages flying. This is escapist fun at its best....more
I’ve long been a fan of James Rollins’ work, and his collaboration with Rebecca Cantrell on The Blood Gospel has produced one of his best books yet.
TaI’ve long been a fan of James Rollins’ work, and his collaboration with Rebecca Cantrell on The Blood Gospel has produced one of his best books yet.
Take a really interesting idea, add some great characters and a lot of action and you wind up with a very fun and entertaining book. This book has exoctic locales, from Israel to Italy and Germany to Russia, as well as events spanning from biblical times all the way to the present.
I’ve enjoyed Rollins for his great action, which this book has, but the addition of the supernatural elements and greater depth of characterization here I have to attribute to Cantrell. It’s a collaboration that really seems to work. Rollins and Cantrell quickly boil the cast down to three central and engaging characters. Each has a backstory, parts of which are revealed as the novel progresses. Fascinating supporting characters are folded in throughout the story. There are a number of “whoa” moments as some of these characters and events are revealed.
Part of the thrill of The Blood Gospel is the taking of events which most people are familiar with and putting a new interpretation on them which leads to chilling consequences if the heroes aren’t able to overcome them. The balancing act which is done so well here is to tell a thrilling story that keeps charging ahead, while also setting the stage for future books in the series with a world and characters that have so much left to explore.
Rollins and Cantrell have created a huge world and reality to explore and I can’t wait to read more adventures in it. Highly recommended. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book....more
The Death Relic is the latest Payne and Jones thriller from Chris Kuzneski. It’s an exciting page-turner with an interesting backdrop.
One of the thingThe Death Relic is the latest Payne and Jones thriller from Chris Kuzneski. It’s an exciting page-turner with an interesting backdrop.
One of the things I like best about the Payne and Jones books I’ve read is the extensive research that goes into the setting and the story. In this book, it’s the Maya and Aztecs as well as the Spanish conquer and rule of central and south america. The characters are a lot of fun too, particular Payne and Jones as well as their historian and antiquities friend, Petr Ulster. The non-stop banter between Payne and Jones is entertaining, if a little sophomoric. The action sequences and battle scenes are exciting and well plotted.
While the background for the story is well-researched, the information is not always interjected smoothly into the story. Kuzneski often conveys this information in lumps or lectures that don’t flow well with the story. This was more noticeable early in the book than in the latter part. Kuzneski also feels a need to explain simple concepts, like what a “benchwarmer” is in a sports setting that makes it seem like he’s talking down to you and had me rolling my eyes in a few places. There were also a couple of scenes where Payne became angry for reasons that did not seem to make any sense and took me out of the story for a while.
The Death Relic is another entertaining chapter in the Payne and Jones series and a very quick read. There are a couple of minor annoyances in the story, but if you can overlook those it’s a lot of fun. Recommended read. I was fortunate to receive an early review copy of this book....more
The Night Ranger is the latest John Wells novel by Alex Berenson. Instead of Aghanistan and the Middle East, this time the action takes place in AfricThe Night Ranger is the latest John Wells novel by Alex Berenson. Instead of Aghanistan and the Middle East, this time the action takes place in Africa, specifically Kenya and Somalia.
Alex Berenson is one of the rare authors who seem to get better and better each time out. This book is exceptionally well-researched. I felt like I was in Africa. The complexities of both everyday life and the political situation in Africa were clearly conveyed while also being smoothly integrated into the story.
John Wells is one of my favorite action characters. As it says in the book, “John Wells is awfully simple and awfully complicated.” He is not superhuman, bullets don’t bounce off him and he makes mistakes. He also makes choices that aren’t always the right or moral ones, but he questions those decisions himself and has to bear the consequences. He feels more “real” than just about any action character I can think of.
Berenson also makes great use of Wells’ former CIA bosses (Shafer and Duto) and his complicated relationship with them and their complicated relationship with each other. The conversations between Shafer and Duto highlight the political considerations that take place and the dichotomy between loyalty and callousness. With limited page time, these characters are very well fleshed out.
The plot and the action here are also top-notch. The plot moves forward steadily, punctuated with great action sequences combining both brute force and the latest in military technology. Berenson does a good job of conveying the limitations of both. You are left guessing as to what’s really going on and none of the characters are guaranteed to be safe. Some guesses may be right, but nothing is certain until the last page.
Exciting plot and action with real depth both in the locale descriptions and the characters make for a page-turning thriller. Alex Berenson is at the top of my must-read list and The Night Ranger cements that status. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book....more
Say You’re Sorry is another great book from Michael Robotham. I don’t know if there is anyone writing today who writes characters better. What makes tSay You’re Sorry is another great book from Michael Robotham. I don’t know if there is anyone writing today who writes characters better. What makes them so special is that they face their own particular situations, no matter how horrifying, not with despair but with resignation. Almost as if they deserve it. It is not the physical scars that these characters bear, but the emotional ones that will wrench your heart.
Alternating narration from O’Loughlin in the present and a victim in the form of a diary tethers the past to the present and keeps alive both a sense of hope and a sense of dread. Robotham doesn’t let you remain detached. You feel for these characters and you become emotionally invested.
Joe O’Loughlin is a unique hero. His physical ailments prevent him from being a conventional action hero, but his powerful mind is wonderful to observe. He peels back layers and secrets with extraordinary observations and probes areas that most people would rather stay hidden. His intense sympathy for the victims or the wrongly accused give him a determination to succeed that often comes at great personal expense. He is an outstanding character.
A close reading isn’t necessary to thoroughly enjoy this book, but it is rewarded. Nearly everything is significant in one way or another. Saying that a book grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go has become cliche, but Micahel Robotham has a way of making you identify so strongly with his characters that you can’t help but care about them.
Out of some 40 plus books I’ve read this year, I have rated three of them as 5 stars. Michael Robotham has written 2 of them. He’s moved to the top of my must read list. Highly recommended. I was fortunate to receive an early review copy of this book....more
Phantom is the first Harry Hole and the first Jo Nesbo novel I’ve read. He lives up to the hype. Nordic crime fiction seems to share a sort of dark anPhantom is the first Harry Hole and the first Jo Nesbo novel I’ve read. He lives up to the hype. Nordic crime fiction seems to share a sort of dark and moody atmosphere. Nesbo has that too, but he also has more action and intensity than some of the other Nordic novelists I’ve read. Having not read any Harry Hole books before, I felt I was able to pick up on the character and his background rather quickly. Reading earlier novels in the series would be helpful and perhaps enrich the experience, but it is not necessary to read them in order to enjoy this book..
Harry Hole is an outstanding character. Dark, brooding, and trapped by his policeman nature that doesn’t allow him to pursue his own happiness. He recognizes that there are any number of choices along the way, but he always picks the one that drags him in deeper and leads him closer to the truth.
Nesbo paints a grim and unforgiving picture of Oslo and particularly the drug scene there. Harry Hole’s outlook is nearly as dark. He knows he has a blind spot for Rakel and Oleg, the woman he left behind and her son, but he fights through it to find the truth behind the murder Oleg has been accused of. His own alcoholic past leaves him few friends among his former police colleagues upon whom he can rely. Where others are willing to accept easy answers, Harry keeps pushing, no matter the personal cost.
Phantom is an intense book, and the last half of the book rushes at you with a series of twists and turns that keeps you guessing and a shocking ending that will stick with you long after you put the book down. Highly recommended.
I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book...more
Gone by Randy Wayne White introduces a new protagonist, Hannah Smith. While the plot is mildly interesting, but not overly exciting, and a quick read,Gone by Randy Wayne White introduces a new protagonist, Hannah Smith. While the plot is mildly interesting, but not overly exciting, and a quick read, the poor characterization is the book’s ultimate undoing.
It’s not the the characters are caricatures, but they are sort of franken-caricatures. Parts of different cut-out characters stitched together in a way that make no sense. Since most of the unraveling of the mystery here involves long conversations, sometimes oddly recounted after the fact, I spent most of the time frustrated with the stupid or bizarre actions of the characters.
The main character, Hannah Smith, is a pretty girl, who doesn’t think she is, but sort of knows she is, who doesn’t look pretty, except she does, in a certain light, or after a couple of drinks, in a mannish but totally feminine way. I was confused too. Her best friend is a muscle bound gay dude who is terribly shy, but can have a temper, except he just wants to be friends and is willing to play the muscle, but kind of wants to run away from any social situations.
None of the characters in the end did I really care about. And the ones that Hannah felt sympathy for, I’d have rather she just slapped. They were too irritating to inspire real sympathy.
The solution to the “mystery” is pretty much a foregone conclusion almost from the moment it’s presented, with only how the final confrontation would play out really at issue. I may have found that confrontation a little more interesting if I’d cared more about the characters.
I haven’t read White’s Doc Ford books, and maybe he has a better handle on those characters. There’s enough writing skill here for me to check them out. There are too many other better books similar to this one to recommend Gone, though. I received an advance copy of this book....more