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Aquarium
3.72
liked it
I was quite enjoying the crystal-clear prose and realist-fable tone of Aquarium, when it swerved wrenchingly into some brutal scenes of emotional viol ...more
Dec 23, 2015
Dec 23, 2015
 
City on Fire
3.42
liked it
That's an extra half-star for sheer ambition. As you might expect, this behemoth sprawls out of control, but it's compulsively readable with occasiona ...more
Nov 22, 2015
Oct 25, 2015
 
It
4.17
really liked it
Stephen King knows what's really scary: growing up. Re-read after 30 years. Still holds up; still needs a good editor.
not set
Nov 13, 2016
 
Batman: Knightfall
4.03
it was ok
Students of the comic book medium should give this one a shot. Veteran Batman editor and writer Denny O'Neil boils down the Knightfall mega-series adm ...more
Aug 10, 2013
Aug 10, 2013
 
The Goldfinch
3.87
it was ok
Jeez, all my smart friends loved this. I did not. While big chunks of the novel are really well-written and half the supporting characters near-billia ...more
Apr 11, 2014
Oct 27, 2013
 
Perfidia
3.61
liked it
Sometimes - most times - it's better not to get so far into the villain's head, even when he's as great a villain as Dudley Smith. Still, darkest noir ...more
Jun 14, 2015
Sep 11, 2014
 
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
4.25
it was ok
Since the insiders aren't really talking, Lewis cleverly tells the story through the eyes of outsiders. They're engaging, and this is a fun, fast read ...more
not set
May 01, 2011
 
Unnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh #3)
3.95
it was ok
Does anyone else think this one has a whiff of parody? A little metafiction in the opening, the ridiculous murder method, the taped confession? James ...more
Nov 29, 2015
Nov 29, 2015
 
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)
4.30
liked it
Thank the Seven Tyrion's back. Unlike the previous installment, this one delivers some killer scenes, but it's overstuffed with less-interesting chara ...more
Jan 05, 2016
Sep 07, 2014
 
The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2)
4.17
did not like it
Aww, what a disappointment after the brilliance of Hyperion. Less style and far less insight: Skynet meets a pretty conventional God. Read it only if ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Ubiquitous Persuaders
3.92
did not like it
Sloppily written and reasoned, it's useful for (re-) affirming that most advertising that isn't outright evil is badly done. Stick to his blog, Adscam ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Mugger (87th Precinct, #2)
3.78
liked it
I bought a bunch of 87th Precinct novels when Amazon had a 99-cent sale. Looks like that was a good investment. Fun period detail and great dialogue.
Feb 26, 2012
Feb 20, 2012
 
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
4.08
liked it
I'm stealing this from some other review, but, while the movie, like the book, explored the theme of empathy as identity, it chickened out of the empa ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Serpent King
4.22
it was ok
Off-the-beaten path setting in rural Tennessee, where Pentecostal-types speak in tongues and handle snakes. And our three heroes are well-drawn altern ...more
Apr 2017
Apr 08, 2017
 
Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)
4.29
liked it
In retrospect, it's a bit over-rated - very talky, inconsistent science, and no, even gifted outsider 6 year olds don't think like this - but it's pow ...more
Nov 15, 2013
Nov 15, 2013
 
Freedom
3.72
liked it
Some of the character parallels are contrived, there's way too many bits where they analyze themselves, and it's not as funny as The Corrections. Okay ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The City & the City
3.91
liked it
Surprisingly, the police procedural elements outweigh the fantastical ones. There's a few nifty scenes that play off what Joe called the Big Idea, and ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Darkest Road (The Fionavar Tapestry, #3)
4.18
it was ok
A bunch of memorable episodes of high fantasy - I liked the pacifist giants a lot - bogged down by annoying characters from our own world who inevitab ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Passage (The Passage, #1)
4.04
liked it
A poor man's The Stand. Cronin's a literary novelist so it's surprising how good he is at page-turning scary action sequences - The Passage will make ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
The Long Lost
3.43
liked it
That's really 2.5 stars. As always, Campbell focuses on the dread and the menace present in everyday things, with psychologically believable character ...more
Feb 18, 2015
Feb 16, 2015
 
Let the Great World Spin
3.93
it was ok
Way too show-off-y: the multiple prose styles vary in effectiveness, and the rich white characters are much more convincing than the poor black ones. ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
King Suckerman
4.00
liked it
It’s 1976 in ethnic DC and the older kids are listening to P-Funk and BTO while the aging HS ballers have soul and Johnny Winter on the 8-tracks of th ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
Bridge to Terabithia
3.98
it was ok
Disappointing. Maybe my coal-nugget heart is too hard, but as a Virginia kid in the 70s with imagination-freeing woods nearby, I was expecting a wave ...more
not set
Apr 22, 2017
 
Hawkes Harbor
3.11
did not like it
So here's the thing. The NYTimes reminded me that the Outsiders was having its 40th anniversary so, inspired, I poked around and discovered SE Hinton ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
Zero History (Blue Ant, #3)
3.93
it was ok
When he's in thriller mode, Gibson's MacGuffins and throwaway descriptions of tech and society are way more interesting than his plots or characters. ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
One Step Behind (Wallander #7)
4.08
liked it
In the first sentence, Wallander passes out at the wheel and it's all downhill from there. The weather's shockingly nice, but he's getting sicker, he' ...more
May 26, 2016
May 26, 2016
 
The Islands of the Blessed (Sea of Trolls, #3)
4.10
it was ok
Weakest of the trilogy, due to meandering story and far too many references to what has gone before. An Amazon reviewer said the series runs: world, u ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed
3.44
did not like it
Good Victoriana but pretty weak case against artist Sickert. I prefer my wacky Jack the Ripper accusations with royal conspiracy theories, Masons, or ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
 
King Rat
3.54
liked it
This debut novel predicts Mieville's imagination, urban grit, and genre-blending - if not the linguistic tricks and Big Ideas - to come. And what's wi ...more
Apr 26, 2015
Apr 21, 2015
 
Boys Will Be Boys: The Glory Days and Party Nights of the Dallas Cowboys Dynasty
4.02
did not like it
Disappointing lack of dirt. Some good Charles Haley stories, but way too easy on Jimmy Johnson and Michael Irvin. Appallingly awful 70's-80's pop cult ...more
not set
Jul 25, 2011
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