I've been looking for a good modern-day version of the classic pulp adventure stories like Doc Savage, John Carter, Indiana Jones, etc. and so I gave...moreI've been looking for a good modern-day version of the classic pulp adventure stories like Doc Savage, John Carter, Indiana Jones, etc. and so I gave this one a try. This novel is from the producers of the Hard Case Crime imprint (created by Charles Ardai) and is the first of six in the series (so far) featuring Gabriel Hunt. This particular entry in the series is written by James Reasoner, known mostly for his Civil War fiction novels, and each book in the series is by a different author. And although this is listed as the first book in the series, I'm not sure if the reading order matters. In fact, this book has several references to Hunt's previous adventures; he is not a newbie to the scene.
The story pretty well fit my expectations: lots of adventure action, a nice mythological-type mystery, as well as some real history thrown in. This is not a literary read by any stretch of the imagination (thankfully), just a nice down-to-earth story with a pretty well thought out plot that definitely is in the vein of the pulp era "romantic adventures". I will definitely be reading more and even though each is written by a different author, I suspect they will fullfill my need for such relaxing novels.(less)
So I inherited a lot of books from my mom and among them were about 10 Sidney Sheldon novels. I had read a couple of his years ago and while I thought...moreSo I inherited a lot of books from my mom and among them were about 10 Sidney Sheldon novels. I had read a couple of his years ago and while I thought they were pretty good, I wasn't compelled to go out of my way to aquire more of them. So I went into this one with a certain hopefulness but not expecting to be blown out of the water.
But I was...blown out of the water, I mean. Written in the '70s, it takes place during and shortly after WWII. But it's not "about" WWII but rather about three main characters who happen to interact during that time period. This novel is intrigue to the max, featuring numerous sordid affairs, rags to riches storylines, power-grabs, glamour, backstabbing plotlines, etc. Definitely a page-turner and suprisingly (at least to me) risque for the time it was written. It is the only Sheldon novel I know that has a sequel, Memories of Midnight and I am looking forward to that one with relish. Highly recommended.(less)
I have yet to read a "bad" or even a "just OK" book by either of these two authors, either as stand-alone authors or as a writing team. The Pendergast...moreI have yet to read a "bad" or even a "just OK" book by either of these two authors, either as stand-alone authors or as a writing team. The Pendergast novels have become some of my favorites of the genre and this one only adds to my reverence.
This is the second of the "Diogenes" trilogy within the greater Pendergast series and the stakes are really ratcheted up here. The story is complete in and of itself but it does also serve to set us up for the next novel. Many old friends from previous books in the series make their appearance here and have major roles, many of them interacting for the first time. Definitely looking forward to the next one, to see how on earth it can top this one.(less)
This was Michael Crichton's first published work, at the age of 26, written shortly after his graduation from Harvard Medical School. I found it to be...moreThis was Michael Crichton's first published work, at the age of 26, written shortly after his graduation from Harvard Medical School. I found it to be a fairly straight forward and fairly tame medical thriller by today's standards but at the time of its publication, it might well have been more cutting edge.
The protagonist is a pathologist working in a large Boston hospital who comes to the defense of a friend who has been accused of murder via a failed abortion procedure. It's one man against the establishment, so to speak, and Crichton uses the setting and the plot to show off his medical knowledge. Almost too much at times for it seemed to get in the way of the story occassionally. There are even footnotes throughout as well as a multi-subject appendix that further explains the terms and the history of medical practice. It is, however, dated; the medical landscape and state of technology has obviously changed a lot in the last 43 years. But I found the plot to be interesting and a harbinger of the "scientific thriller" style that the author would come to perfect in later novels.
The novel also attempts to deal with some controversial medical topics such as abortion and euthanasia although Crichton is careful to maintain a sort of neutrality and allow his characters to have divergent opinions. All in all, a reasonably good medical thriller that probably won't set your world on fire but should serve to provide some light escapist entertainment.(less)
I had not yet read any of the author's previous work so was excited to see if I now had a "new" author to follow. I've read numerous "thriller" novels...moreI had not yet read any of the author's previous work so was excited to see if I now had a "new" author to follow. I've read numerous "thriller" novels, no matter how you define that term, and have long been wary of trying new authors because there just seems to be so many that write by some perceived formula for "success". That's not always bad as I do like a good adrenaline rush as much as the next guy, as long as there are the other aspects of a good novel (like well written characterization, proper plotting, setting, etc.)
I am pleased to report that this novel is, indeed, very well written and offers taught plotting and excellent characterization. As others have mentioned, the first part of the book requires paying close attention to make sure you understand the many different characters and what their roles/motivations might be. I won't rehash the plot here as that has been done well by other reviewers but suffice it to say it's a plot that is not only plausible in today's political world, but even likely. Some reviewers refer to a "stream of consciousness" approach to the story-telling but don't let that dissuade you. The author uses present tense throughout but, in my mind, that simply reinforces the here-and-now urgency of the plot and serves to suck you in to the story.
I would have awarded 5 stars except for a small feeling of dissatisfaction with the way certain plot elements were resolved. Chalk that up to my need to witness events instead of being told about plot climaxes that occur off-stage. Other than that, a most satisfying reading experience and, indeed, I do now have a "new" author to follow. (less)
Finishing up my year in fine fashion. Lots of converging plot lines in this one with old friends from the first books in the SIGMA Force series. Rolli...moreFinishing up my year in fine fashion. Lots of converging plot lines in this one with old friends from the first books in the SIGMA Force series. Rollins always does a great job of taking interesting factual and theoretical science and extrapolating it to intriguingly imaginative conclusions. Tasty stuff.(less)
This one didn't seem quite up to Vince Flynn's standards although I am having trouble putting finger on exactly why. It might be because it deals a lo...moreThis one didn't seem quite up to Vince Flynn's standards although I am having trouble putting finger on exactly why. It might be because it deals a lot with the Israel/Palenstine political situation which isn't my favorite. Or it might be because there are really two seperate stories here, two novellas really, that only minimally tie-in together.
And Mitch Rapp's wife is really starting to annoy me.(less)
I pulled this one from my book store because I was looking for a Cold War era thriller and have not yet read much from Mr Forsyth. I understand that h...moreI pulled this one from my book store because I was looking for a Cold War era thriller and have not yet read much from Mr Forsyth. I understand that he does an enormous amount of research for his books and that certainly showed here. This was a well-though out novel and well-structured even though it suffers from amazingly bad publishing timing. It was written in the late 1980s and the traditional Cold War relationship between the US and USSR continues throughout the novel. Of course the author could no more see the incredible events of 1989 (the Wall coming down, the desolution of the Soviet Union, etc.) than the rest of us.
I was a little worried as I read the first several chapters as the author spends a lot of time building the background for the story. We get a lot of back story on numerous characters, including high ranking politicians in both countries as well as businessmen, Senators, etc. but it was unclear just who the POV character would be. It isn't until around page 100 or so that we meet Quinn, the Negotiator himself and the novel settles down into a nice coherent plot. On the surface, the story centers around the kidnapping of the US president's only son but there is so much going on here that it is not at all predictable. Very enjoyable and now, of course, I want to read more from this author, especially his more famous works such as "Day of the Jackal".(less)
I had read the novel Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter several years ago and had been pleasantly suprised by the quality of the work. And then, about a ye...moreI had read the novel Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter several years ago and had been pleasantly suprised by the quality of the work. And then, about a year later I saw the movie, "Shooter" starring Mark Wahlberg and once again, came away pleasantly surprised. I realized that the movie was based on the novel, "Point of Impact" also by Stephen Hunter but beyond that I discovered the two were related in a unique way. The main character in "Hot Springs" was Earl Swagger (with at least three books in that series) while the protagonist of "Point of Impact" is his son, Bob Lee Swagger, the lead character in a seperate series. That mix got me interested in pursuing other novels in both series to discover what happened between the two seperate time frames.
I've got to tell you...as much as I enjoyed the movie, Shooter, I was absolutely blown away (no pun intended) by the novel that it was based on. This book is a major tour de force, as they say, combining the best elements of action, hi-stakes crime, great settings, and noble and slimy characters alike. This is the first of the Bob Lee Swagger novels and what a character! Trained by the marines to be the soldier's soldier, and refined to be one of the best snipers in the world, his past almost becomes a character in itself as he is forced to deal with events beyond his control. This is a high-energy, well-plotted story that isn't always headed where you think it is; definitely one to keep you turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning.
I'm so glad there are quite few books left in this series (and at least two more in Earl's series as well) for me to sink my teeth into.(less)