I really enjoyed the debut of John Verdon's Dave Gurney series, "Think of a Number". Dave, a retired homicide detective, is a likeable and sympathetic...moreI really enjoyed the debut of John Verdon's Dave Gurney series, "Think of a Number". Dave, a retired homicide detective, is a likeable and sympathetic character. Dave's strained relationship with his wife wasn't believable to me but I enjoyed his interesting mind and ability to figure out puzzles. So, it was with great eagerness that I dashed through "Shut Your Eyes Tight", the second book in this series. The moment I finished the second book, my impression was WOW! WHAT A GREAT STORY! A day later I realized that both storylines are completely improbable and most definitely overly complicated. The puzzles within puzzles are there just to demonstrate to the reader how smart Dave. The Da Vinci Code similarly exists to prove how smart Robert Langdon is. I prefer my mysteries straight up, please, without painfully convoluted and contorted puzzles along the way. That said, I'm definitely going to read Verdon's third offering in this series, "Let the Devil Sleep", if for no other reason than to find out what Dave's been up to.(less)
I truly enjoyed "Think of a Number", the first book in a series featuring Dave Gurney, retired detective extraordinaire. The characters were well draw...moreI truly enjoyed "Think of a Number", the first book in a series featuring Dave Gurney, retired detective extraordinaire. The characters were well drawn, the dialog nuanced and well written, the puzzles puzzling, and the denouement thrilling. I'm eager to begin reading "Shut Your Eyes Tight", the next book in what is sure to be a standout series.(less)
As I was reading the debut of David Baldacci's series featuring A. Shaw and his sidekick Katie James, I was struck by how similar the characters seeme...moreAs I was reading the debut of David Baldacci's series featuring A. Shaw and his sidekick Katie James, I was struck by how similar the characters seemed to other hero/heroine duos I have enjoyed more, most notably Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill by Brad Taylor.
Baldacci’s “The Whole Truth” had some trouble getting out of its own way and the story lost momentum a number of times, but I think the series might have shown more promise if the author would have fleshed out his characters and placed them in more believable (albeit wildly fantastic) situations. (I haven't been able to locate Book #2 of this series so I imagine it never went anywhere.)
A. Shaw is a tragic figure who has been compelled to work for a shadowy international intelligence agency that gets the job done without sweating the details, like whether or not what they’re doing is legal or sanctioned. Katie James, a disgraced journalist with an alcohol problem, yearns to add another Pulitzer Prize to her name. They meet under extraordinary circumstances and together they limp along, sharing mutual mistrust, grudging admiration, and finally, hard-won friendship. Everything about the book was frustratingly derivative and it read more like a pitch for an active movie than a novel.
I have read, and to a certain degree enjoyed, Baldacci's King & Maxwell series, which also features a male and female crime-fighting duo. I'm not a fan of his Camel Club series, but I keep reading Baldacci’s books in the hope that one day he’ll meet my expectations. Unfortunately, “The Whole Truth” fell short. (less)
James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell’s “The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines” is somewhat offensive, surprisingly derivative and ultimately pret...moreJames Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell’s “The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines” is somewhat offensive, surprisingly derivative and ultimately pretty silly. First, let me say that I am not a Catholic so the barbs that the authors aimed at the Catholic church didn’t bother me. However, as a Christian, I found the licenses that the authors took with the Gospel and the way they reimagined the Holy Bible were both distasteful and unnecessary. If one can overlook these obvious flaws, the storyline (which pits good vampires against bad vampires and the coming together of a long-prophesized threesome who will “SAVE THE WORLD”) is overwrought, overheated, and overdone. The juvenile love scenes generate laughter, not heat. It's all just too formulaic. As the first book of a series, I imagine that the authors will only continue to cash in on the current enthusiasm for all things quasi-religious and supernatural. Too bad. Although I haven't read anything else by Cantrell, I know Rollins is capable of better writing than this.(less)