In many ways this is a perfect mystery novel. Good characters, ruthless villian, engaging plot, enough red herrings to stock a small lake and just a g...moreIn many ways this is a perfect mystery novel. Good characters, ruthless villian, engaging plot, enough red herrings to stock a small lake and just a great read.
Great book to finish the year with or read any other time.(less)
Dry insightful espionage novel, the sixth in the Liz Carlyle series by Rimington. Not for those who want super hero espionage warriors who kill a terr...moreDry insightful espionage novel, the sixth in the Liz Carlyle series by Rimington. Not for those who want super hero espionage warriors who kill a terrorist a page, these British novels are set in an Anglocentric interpretation of the world and feature investigations, more of the nuances of tradecraft, the upending of terror cells through good old fashioned footwork and smarts.
Bloodshed is minimal, but Rimington knows her craft and her characters and they all are shown to good effect in this smart novel.
A continuation of Lackey's Valdemer series. This latest book is the third book in her series about three trainees in the Collegium, Mags, who is clear...moreA continuation of Lackey's Valdemer series. This latest book is the third book in her series about three trainees in the Collegium, Mags, who is clearly being trained to become a spy or the King's Own, Bear, a gifted non magical healer, who has to fight bigotry on the part of his family -- who think healing is for only the magically gifted, and Lena, a shy bardic trainee, who has to suffer at the hands of her obnoxious bullying self indulgent father.
Really however, it feels to me that the Bear story and the Lena story are just there as filler. The main story and the only one worth reading is the Mags story as he is a non traditional trainee but (as many of Lackey's character's) a powerful magical mindspeaker.
The nub of this tale is that certain agents of another land are trying to kidnap Mags because they know something about his unknown past and/or Amily, the King's Own daughter, so they can blackmail him into doing things their way. At the same time, Lackey uses Bear and Lena to illustrate how Valdemer has to change to adapt to new influences.
The back and forth espionage battle between Mags and Nikolas on one side and Stone and Ice (the enemy agents) is not a bad story but its all so predictable, and the ending just augers another volume in this tale.
As an aside, I have read many of these books and there is a use of a strange stone in the bowels of the Collegium, which vaguely, ever so vaguely I think was in another novel. It makes me think that the past of this land is like the past books in my mind -- vague whisperings.
I am invested in this Mags story, but luckily I have been able to take the books out of the library, as I cannot recommend paying money for these novels.
But if you have read the first two books, you probably should read this one -- just know that what little is resolved will be primarily with respect to minor characters.
the main story resolution -- well that's still in the future.
Eric Rider is an Army Cop, a member of their Criminal Investigative Service during the early days of the Vietnam War. He is sent to Cheo Reo, a remote...moreEric Rider is an Army Cop, a member of their Criminal Investigative Service during the early days of the Vietnam War. He is sent to Cheo Reo, a remote base in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, on a secret mission to find who is growing opium in the highlands and using the proceeds to fund Viet Cong activities. Its partly a spy mission, partly combat duty and partly a cop mission, but its a superb novel of the early days of the war.
Rider goes on spy missions with the local CIA agent, while also helping a local doctor who is ministering to the Montagnard tribes people. He also aids Colonel Bennett in his camp. The remote outpost has little military value to the North Vietnamese, but hidden in the jungle it seems like many locals from the AIDE group, the South Vietnam Army, the Viet Kong, the North Vietnamese are all doing business. Corruption is rife.
Rider must manuever among these groups and survive the machinations of the drug overlord, who is closer at hand than one would imagine.
Its a great superb war novel and spy novel because it explores another side of the conflict that is not covered in other fiction about this period. How much of it is really fiction and how much is fact is hard to say, but Jurjevic's journey into his past is all good.(less)
David Weber's latest Safehold novel, titularly science fiction, has now swept straight into the alternative history segment of the field. True its an...moreDavid Weber's latest Safehold novel, titularly science fiction, has now swept straight into the alternative history segment of the field. True its an alternative history not shaped by events on Earth, but set in a far distant world, but its mostly a story about the conflict between a sailing empire and a religious empire who are coming to blows both at sea between their fleets and on land. Most of the action takes place at sea in the form of two richly detailed engagements and some terrorism on land by the Church's proxies. If compelled to read it by an allegiance to the past novels, you will find the talkative aspects of the prior books quelled a little, but still predominating the action.
At the same time, Merlin, the character who has set in motion many of the events of the book, has been relegated in many ways to a sideshow. Its his very advanced nature that compells this. These novels, to my mind, are almost like a what if episode of Star Trek's prime directive. What if, Kirk and Spock intervened on a medieval industrial planet and parsed out ideas to the smarter inventors and industrialists to use to advance military warfare and industry. But Kirk and Spock after doing so, are not going to get into a phaser engagement with others, and here too, Weber is constrained, by both that issue, but also by sticking some mysterious devise under the Church territories.
At the same time, we do see a little into Merlin's mind as to what he may contemplate to break the stalemate with the Church, and Weber has added some elements of a possible return of prior Archangels.
Overall, this book is mostly filler in a line of books. the plot seems to have advanced a tad, the lines are even more drawn between the sides, but the excitement of the early books in the series has faded to an extent. The cast of thousands of characters has grown -- even the death of a few, will ever be inevitable as will Merlin's superiority even with that World's weapons, but we can and should ask for more from this author.
Is it my imagination or have I read this book before. Actually, I have not, but the plot is nothing to write home about. Its not that I am tired of Si...moreIs it my imagination or have I read this book before. Actually, I have not, but the plot is nothing to write home about. Its not that I am tired of Silva's ability to write because he still remains a great read, but the plots are a tad tired, and the characters are looking a little frayed around the edges.
I liked the book, but its too similar. Formulaic in the extreme.
Silva may be a master of espionage, but his stories are depressingly the same. (less)
Pocket-47 by Jude Hardin introduces us to Nicholas Colt, a stylish private eye, in this searing bullet of a novel. It’s a quick 222 page slice of toug...morePocket-47 by Jude Hardin introduces us to Nicholas Colt, a stylish private eye, in this searing bullet of a novel. It’s a quick 222 page slice of tough Florida life and also a descent into a private compound of white supremacists where the murder of innocents and the drugging of the inhabitants is de rigueur. In any PI book, there are three essentials, characters, plot and dialogue. This book scores a 10 in each category. A rare triple play.
Colt is a down on his luck PI, who used to be a great guitarist in a hot band, but his band and family were blown up in a freak accident. He is tough, witty and a real piece of work. He is not afraid to break the rules.
PI novels are a bedrock of literature. The solo man ‘s quest to solve the mystery and in the process vanquish his foes must resonate among us, because the bookshelves are full of them. This novel has depth and great dialogue. It should be at the top of your to read list.
Colt is living in a trailer park gutting some fish when he is approached by Leithia Ryan, a cute blonde nurse, to find her 15 year old sister Brittany, who she is raising by herself. Brittney used to be taken care of by the Spiveys, a doctor and his wife in a nice house, where she got free tennis lessons, but Leithia is now raising the girl herself. Brittney still gets lessons from the Spiveys tennis pro. Brittney has runaway from home, and the Spiveys have not seen her. Leitha tells Colt that she forbid Brittney to see her 19 year old boyfriend and found her sister gone.
Colt however does not find Brittney with the ex boyfriend, but tracks her down to the pad of a huge pimp named Duck. He takes her home. While there Brittney says she ran away because someone is after her and wants her dead. Colt is unbelieving. That night he sees a mystery car outside his place and tails it. On his return, Colt finds Brittney gone. Leithia is then murdered in a particularly vicious manner setting Colt on a manhunt for the girl again. Colt tracks the mystery car to a dealership, which apparently is a front for an illegal car theft operation. Colt is captured and almost dies, but escapes, with the help of Massengill, an ex roadie from his band, now turned cop sniper.
After questioning the surviving felon Beeler with a nasty bit of Chinese toothpick torture, Colt is told about Pocket 47, a myth about a how bad things happen to people by bad people by sabotage or other means. Beeler also alludes to Colt’s family being blown up, which sets to Colt thinking there is more to their death than an accident.
Soon Colt will tie other people in Brittney's life to her disappearance.
Ultimately, Colt links a tattoo on Beeler to another tattoo and finally to a nasty white supremacist compound, where Colt must confront a gang of ruthless killers.
In between there are twisty plot lines and great action. The book was unputdownable. Highly recommended for all thriller fans. Jude Hardin is going places. Get on the bus now at the beginning.
As many of his fans know, Dick Francis passed away in February 2010. He was a force in mystery novels all set in some way in the English horse riding...moreAs many of his fans know, Dick Francis passed away in February 2010. He was a force in mystery novels all set in some way in the English horse riding community publishing one novel a year until his wife's death in 2000. She helped him research his novels. In his obituary, the New York Times reported that Dick Francis thought he would never write another book again, but in 2006 he came out with a new Sid Halley novel, in which his son Felix Francis helped with the research. Thereafter Dick and Felix collaborated on several novels. Last year's dual Francis offering - Crossfire - published after Dick Francis's death was also a collaborative entry.
Although Dick Francis’s early novels were firmly set in the horse riding world of England, his later novels, while set in that world, were often about other topics. Nevertheless, they all had an innate feel of that horse riding world and the villains were also part of that world. When you opened a Francis novel, the hero usually was in some awful predicament and you felt it in your gut. There was a ratcheting up of suspense. Time was always ticking and eventually the main character had to overcome his foes, usually with wit and force of arms. In the prior collaborative efforts, the novels did not seem to have that same feel for the horse track or that suspense.
This new novel, Gamble, is Felix Francis first solo effort in the mystery genre that his father so skillfully charted. Although Francis still lacks that Dick Francis touch around the track, it’s a solid overall effort and does have a lot more suspense.
Foxy Foxton, now known as Nick Foxton, was a former jockey, who has gone into financial advising. He works, with Herb Kovak, at Lyall & Black, a financial advising firm. He is standing next to Herb Kovak at the track, when an unknown gunman kills Kovak in cold blood. Surprisingly appointed as Kovak's executor, Foxton soon learns that Kovak was involved in some kind of internet scam involving gambling.
Later he goes to the track to meet with Bobby Searle, a client of the firm, who demands to have his financial portfolio sold immediately to pay off a 100,000 pound debt. When Foxton cannot convert the investments into hard currency fast enough, Searle is nearly killed by a hit and run driver.
Later yet, Foxton is approached by Colonel Jolyon Roberts, a client of the firm, to investigate a Bulgarian investment his family trust has made in the amount of 5,000,000 pounds. It seems that Roberts nephew visited the site where houses and a factory were supposed to be built and found nothing there. When Foxton finds out that something is fishy about that investment and conveys the information to Roberts and tells Roberts to talk to Lyall & Black, Roberts also ends up dead under suspicious circumstances. Suspicious to Foxton.
Soon Foxton finds himself running for his life from the hired gunman who killed Kovak, and like all good Francis heroes he resorts to his wit and fists to defeat this villain and the ones who hired him. He eventually puts the pieces together as to who wanted Kovak dead and solves the mystery of the real bad guys.
Francis only miscue, if it is one, is that when his hero rides a horse in one scene, there is no connection between rider and horse as we would have found in a Dick Francis novel. It’s a minor issue in an overall good effort. (less)