I've never read a Tom Clancy novel and think I am now a big fan. This book pulls absolutely no punches and the death toll is high but it's a great rea...moreI've never read a Tom Clancy novel and think I am now a big fan. This book pulls absolutely no punches and the death toll is high but it's a great read.
A character named Moore is an ex-Navy Seal gathering terrorist intelligence when he finds his way to Mexico to take down a major drug cartel leader. Both stories and a host of characters intertwine masterfully as we deal with loner Moore who's bad luck is everyone who surrounds themselves with him seem to die off.
There aren't many plot secrets here, just action, reaction and the results afterward. The plot is strong, the writing stronger and I appreciated how the book didn't end with a slapped together happy ending.
I'm an Audible listener and got my points worth as this was a very long book and well worth it. Enjoy!(less)
John Lutz uses one approach to writing all his books. Sometimes this method of using current events intertwined with past history really works and som...moreJohn Lutz uses one approach to writing all his books. Sometimes this method of using current events intertwined with past history really works and sometimes it falls short. Serial is one of John's better outings with excellent character development with some real toe-curling suspense added at just the right times.
The police detective-turned-private dick is hired once again by the NYC police to investigate a serial killer nicknamed The Skinner. While the Skinner claims his victims, we follow Frank and his team through their investigation with about half their time working hard and the other half involved in personal affairs.
As with all John Lutz books, the back story of the killer is told in past-tense but in this book there are some really unique twists to his approach which I really appreciated.
Something else I liked about this particular outing is how John Lutz seriously toned it down with the superlatives when referring to Frank Quinn's capabilities. Often John Lutz uses terms that make you think Frank is a mastermind and lives inside the killer's heads. In reality, Frank rarely catches the killer on his own and it is the great surrounding cast of characters that he teams with to get the job done with real police work and quite a bit of grunt work.
If you are a fan of John Lutz, I think you will find this book entertaining and one of his better stories. If you are unfamiliar with the characters from previous Frank Quinn books, you might find yourself trying to figure out the characters and their meaning.
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child bring back the ever popular Pendergast for another wild ride as he searches for the secrets of his wife's death.
Whil...moreDouglas Preston and Lincoln Child bring back the ever popular Pendergast for another wild ride as he searches for the secrets of his wife's death.
While I've always loved the Pendergast stories, most focused on terrorizing the poor sods who entered the Museum of Natural History in New York. Fever Dream, released in 2010 started a whole new plot and started the series in what I think is a great new direction.
Pendergast's past, his family and people that support him have always been a bit of a mystery. In Fever Dream, we are thrust into Pendergast's past relationship with his wife, her horrific death and the realization her death may have been planned. This book was action-packed and instead of focusing on the characters surrounding Pendergast it instead focused on Pendergast himself.
The end of Fever Dream felt more like a sad ending with the possibility of a cliffhanger. With Gideon's Sword I wondered if Preston and Child gave up on one of my favorite characters. It was with absolute pleasure that I saw Cold Vengeance show up on the home page of Audible.com.
With the release of Cold Vengeance, we pick up where Pendergast left off. The story focuses on Pendergast's tenacious attempts to learn what happened to his wife while risking his life at every turn. This is a dark book with some new characters and some very surprising plot twists with others. The book is fast-paced and shows a more fallible side of Pendergast we rarely see.
If you have not read a Pendergast novel in the past, I would not recommend you start here. There are many characters, plots and past stories that come together in this book and they are not explained. Naturally, it would be best to pick up this series from the beginning but at least start with Fever Dream before Cold Vengeance. To get a real sense of character and learn how all this ties together you might start with the Diogenes Trilogy (http://www.prestonchild.com/books/).
I would have given the book a full 5 stars but there are some secret cult/evil power bits that I felt started falling into the same genre of books such as The Da Vinci Code. Mind you I like those books but that has been done before.
Great Pendergast Novel, Great Story and Great Fun!
As usually happens when my favorite authors are having a dry spell, I start looking up new books to kill some time. And as usually happens, I find som...moreAs usually happens when my favorite authors are having a dry spell, I start looking up new books to kill some time. And as usually happens, I find some fun story with great characters just to learn later it was part of a series. Back in '07 I was struggling to find something a bit more upbeat and found a book called The Road to Ruin (not listed as a series at the time) and fell in love with Dortmunder and his cast of flagrant friends.
Now that all Dortmunder books are available in audio, I decided to go back in time to 1970 and listen from the beginning. Being a technology buff and a lover of all things new and shiny, I was worried about getting into a book series that took place so long ago. This was not a problem at all and aside from some period moments, this book reads (well, listens) like it could have happened yesterday.
John Dortmunder is a non-violent criminal with particularly good expertise in planning impossible capers. The entire book surrounds an African tribe that wants their sacred stone stolen from a museum. The gang heists the rock just for it to be lost in a very odd place. To get the rock back, the team jumps into action yet again with another crazy scheme. The scheme works but the rock is still on the move to another location. Wash, rinse and repeat...
The book moves along at a swift pace, introduces a manageable cast of characters and gets some good laughs along the way. Some of my favorite parts of this book -- and is carried out in future books -- is how Dortmunder and the team work. You get to hear how they come up with their plans, their sometimes laugh-out-loud approaches to dealing with the people paying them and how well the team works together as a cohesive group. Dortmunder may be the main character in this book but he is not quite the leader, more of the coordinator and not everything he says gets done his way.
A great start to a fantastic series. I am looking forward to more!(less)
While this is one of my favorite Dortmunder books so far, I write this with a bit of sadness given Donald E. Westlake is no longer with us and likely...moreWhile this is one of my favorite Dortmunder books so far, I write this with a bit of sadness given Donald E. Westlake is no longer with us and likely this was the last of his books.
In an odd twist for the Dortmunder novels, the gang is asked to be part of a reality television series. What could have been a really bad book (I thought the worst concerning some of the plot points), the characters stick to their negligent ways and the TV Series turns into an opportunity for the theives to steal something more worthwhlie than airtime.
Without giving the end away, I can tell you that the book holds true to all the other Dortmunder novels and the ending left me with a smile on my face.
Most capers include toting guns into a bank, holding tellers at gun point and making a mad dash for the getaway car. In this Dortmunder outing, our an...moreMost capers include toting guns into a bank, holding tellers at gun point and making a mad dash for the getaway car. In this Dortmunder outing, our anti-heroes skip all this pomp and circumstance by simply stealing the entire bank. What makes this particular book a good one is the involvement of family members and Dortmunder's girlfriend May.
Another hilarious character (and family member) is introduced who enjoys recording all the action onto a tape player. Since the caper is not as exciting in real life, Victor simply makes up larger-than-life scenes and up-plays all the characters around him. Some of the funniest moments in the book are toward the end when we get quite a new view of the story as we listen in on Victor recording his narrative on the caper.
I started listening to the Dortmunder series a few years ago but many of the older books just recently became available on Audible. What I love about these books is the characters are so stuck in their ways, they rarely change so it does not matter much where you jump in. Enjoy this book on its own or in series order.
In this second Barrington Stone outing, the plot moves fast but the characters are a bit flat. I've read most of the Stone books and this has to be on...moreIn this second Barrington Stone outing, the plot moves fast but the characters are a bit flat. I've read most of the Stone books and this has to be one of my least favorites.
A person or perhaps group of people begin publishing the dirt on some of New York and LA's elite. Who are these people and why are they doing this? These are the questions Stone sets out to answer. Unfortunately, the plot is thin, there is not enough character development and there are some shady things that Stone normally would not let pass by.
I am a big fan of the series and am glad I listened to this audiobook only because there are characters introduced and re-introduced that I know will have significant meaning later.
Dirt is only worth reading if you are investing yourself in reading the entire Stone Barrington series.
Fred Fitch is just a normal guy who is constantly swindled by nearly every grifter, con man, con woman and thief in...moreAmerican Gods for the Grifter set!
Fred Fitch is just a normal guy who is constantly swindled by nearly every grifter, con man, con woman and thief in New York City. The main character is Fred who gets sucked up in a series of situations after having received $300K following his Uncle's death.
Not quite a comedy but very funny, not quite a drama but with dramatic moements and not quite a thriller this book is an interesting meditation on a single person and his growing awareness of those people around him.
While a completely different read than American Gods, I kept thinking how similar these two books are with the fish-out-of-water-but-just-going-with-it style. I listened to this story on audiobook and thought Oliver Wyman was an excellent choice.
Whether a fan of Donald E. Westlake or not, I would highly recommend this book.
The male version of Now You See Her. I have to say, after having listened to Now You See Her and Kill Me if you Can, I really like this somewhat new s...moreThe male version of Now You See Her. I have to say, after having listened to Now You See Her and Kill Me if you Can, I really like this somewhat new style coming from James Patterson. The "heros" in both books have a shady past yet they are ever the optimists and even while under heavy gunfire seem to be upbeat and chipper. This got on my nerves at first but I found myself enjoying it.
In Kill Me if you Can, Matthew Bannon is an art student who finds a doctor's bag full of diamonds next to a dying Russian mobster. This is the story of the people who need to find Matthew and Matthew's attempts to out-run them.
The pace is fast and aside from a pretty major plot twist we are kept on a very linear path to the end.
I'm giving this book 3 stars because it is a fun read with great characters and for you Audible listeners, you will find two great readers that help break up the good guys from the bad guys.
My biggest issue with any book is when I'm asked to suspend belief when the big shootout/fist fight/final plan is implemented. Without giving anything away, there is a big to-do at the end and quite frankly I had to suspend way too much belief. I also was not a big fan of the ending either.
In summary Kill Me if you Can is a decent book and a fun ride with great characters but don't expect anything special in terms of plot.
If you are not a fan of suspending belief during major action sequences then you might look elsewhere. I was not and dinged this book from a 4 to a 3 star due especially to the last chapters.
A new fan of Christopher Moore. I am a big fan of a book like this. It does not take itself too seriously, has some interesting bits of Science Fictio...moreA new fan of Christopher Moore. I am a big fan of a book like this. It does not take itself too seriously, has some interesting bits of Science Fiction or Fantasy and has some laugh-out-loud moments.
Practical Demonkeeping is the story of a guy that looks in his 20's but is much older than that. This is because he has to keep a demon named Catch. Catch is one of the funnier characters in this book as he loves to act out funny scenes from movies while he causes great harm to his victims.
We follow these two characters for awhile until they roll into a town where a coven of really stupid vegan witches, an 80-something barmaid and a cast of other characters find their worlds turned upside down. This is the story of how Catch came to be, the people that want him gone and the alterior motives the characters attempt to make a reality.
This would likely have been a 4-star book for me but I brought it down to 3 primarily because I think the ending was not where it needed to be. That said, I plan on adding Moore to my list of regular authors.
Just like the circus tent itself, a book of great imagination and unique ideas appears out of nowhere with critical acclaim. If you are a Harry Potter...moreJust like the circus tent itself, a book of great imagination and unique ideas appears out of nowhere with critical acclaim. If you are a Harry Potter fan craving for more, you will really enjoy this book.
While many might compare this book to Harry Potter given the involvement of witches, magic and worlds designed by people's minds this is not a knock-off. The Night Circus paints a new world in which the characters live in elaborately designed circus tents that make Cirque Du Soleil acts seem like cheap wirework with D-rate actors.
It is in the 1800's and a magician by the name of Prospero runs a fantastical circus filled with wonder and elaborate imagery. What the guests do not know is these are real magic acts designed just well enough to make people think it is not actually real. When Prospero is visited by his unnamed friend (or foe?) they agree to start a new game.
What is the game? How are the rules played out? How long will the game take? These are things we need to figure out ourselves. When Prospero's untimely death is announced, his daughter moves to a new circus where she weaves more magic. She is part of the game. The mysterious man finds a child to adopt and finds him to this new circus. The child, now grown up is also in the game.
This was a fantastic book that reminded me of dreams I had as a child where I had magical powers and lived in crazy worlds only a kid can dream up. There is little in this book that cannot be enjoyed by parents and children alike.
Stone Barrington's son rolls right onto the pages of this fast-paced book.
Stone's son Peter has been discussed plenty in the past but never introduced...moreStone Barrington's son rolls right onto the pages of this fast-paced book.
Stone's son Peter has been discussed plenty in the past but never introduced until now. His son is very smart, clever and a genius. As a matter of fact, he seems a bit too perfect because everything Stone and Peter do throughout this book is nearly always the exact right thing to do.
There are some very interesting moments in this book that I will not speak of but the lack of emotion and odd actions some people take did not sit well with me. I only say this because I've come to really love all the characters in the Stone series and was surprised how some situations were handled.
If you are a Stone Barrington fan then this is clearly a must-read but do not get your hopes up too high.
If you have never listened to the series, this might actually be a good starting point because while there are characters and history you won't know, the introduction of Peter seems to be something of a new beginning for the series.
For Audible listeners, we still get to enjoy Tony Roberts still turning out great voices for all the characters.
Virtual reality, pissed off drug dealers, terrorists, small time crooks and credit card schemes all fall apart because of a simple virus making its wa...moreVirtual reality, pissed off drug dealers, terrorists, small time crooks and credit card schemes all fall apart because of a simple virus making its way through a virtual universe. It is Neal Stephenson's crafty use of real world happenings tied together with virtual worlds that suck you in to start.
Reamde is really the story of a few select characters who are swept into situations they want no part of while fighting for their own lives and perhaps many others.
There is quite a bit of technical jargon in this book and Neal clearly expects you to know some of the basics (Wiki pages, virtual worlds, avatars) but interestingly it is what happens in the real world that is decidedly low tech and completely understandable by anyone.
If you are considering this book, it is a project (it took me the better part of October and the first week of November to complete) and some of the material has been done before (terrorists, credit card threats, nasty Russian mafia types) but it was a really fun ride and I am hoping there's a chance to meet some of these characters again.
The good guy is perfect and the bad guys are really, really evil. Sometimes David Baldacci gets it just right and sometimes he just falls flat. I am p...moreThe good guy is perfect and the bad guys are really, really evil. Sometimes David Baldacci gets it just right and sometimes he just falls flat. I am putting Zero Day in the latter category.
John Puller is in the Army's Criminal Investigation Division and is called upon to investigate a murder in a small West Virginia coal mining town. While there, he learns these deaths may have very large implications.
The story really falls short in a number of ways. First, the sheer size and scope of the investigation and how the government treated it was just out there.. way out there. John Puller's character was interesting and unique but he had this magic rucksack that contained everything from bio-hazard gear to explosives and night vision gear (and everything in between). It just seemed completely implausible this character could be so perfect in so many ways and be able to carry all that equipment in the rucksack. As you can tell, the rucksack issue really bothered me.
I did listen to this book from Audible.com and the characters were really well played by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy. This is not the first time these two have done characters for David Baldacci and I must say they are the ones that kept me going, not the story.
Being a fan of David Baldacci, I read it and will likely read the next one(s) to but he really needs to bring things back down to earth.