A decent British police procedural. The coppers are good; the villains villainous. Not a whole lot of character development. I thought the way the aut...moreA decent British police procedural. The coppers are good; the villains villainous. Not a whole lot of character development. I thought the way the author finished things was too cursory, but it was an entertaining book, overall.(less)
This book begins with a dead Roman centurion left in the toilet of Hector Belascoaran Shayne's office building. The third, and presumably last, in the...moreThis book begins with a dead Roman centurion left in the toilet of Hector Belascoaran Shayne's office building. The third, and presumably last, in the series featuring the laconic engineer turned private eye. As in the other entries in the series, Hector faces off against shadowy, powerful forces of corruption and evil. As usual, his only support is his small circle of friends and his gun.
In Shayne, Paco Ignacio Taibo II has created a character both cynical and principled, depressed without being depressing. He inhabits a Mexico City rife with corrupt officials, murderous police, and the decadent rich, where everyone is on the make, and it is crucial to know whom to trust. It's like Philip Marlowe's Los Angeles, crossed with Oz. Shayne isn't sure he really wants to be a detective; he should probably mind his own business, but he can't stand it when the powerless have no one on their side.
This book received some very prestigious awards, and I feel bad about giving up on it. I just couldn't get into it. Perhaps the translation isn't as g...moreThis book received some very prestigious awards, and I feel bad about giving up on it. I just couldn't get into it. Perhaps the translation isn't as good as it should be. Maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it. I don't know.
There's a police investigation into the death of a journalist who was looking into an earlier investigation into the serial murders of young girls. There's police corruption. The detective investigating the journalist's murder is threatened and involved in an accident, which sends us back in time to the original investigation into the child killings.
I'm not saying don't read it. I might get back to it myself, at some point. Just not now.(less)
Mostly, I enjoyed this book, though I found some of the characters underdeveloped and their actions simplistic. Also, things resolve themselves far to...moreMostly, I enjoyed this book, though I found some of the characters underdeveloped and their actions simplistic. Also, things resolve themselves far too quickly and neatly to my mind.
I thought that Ignatius did a decent job of capturing the attraction that the Levant has for people. He also portrayed Arabs and Arab culture sympathetically, which if one has read any Vince Flynn, comes as relief. There is a cogent critique of American foreign policy and the way we advance our interests in this book that I find myself agreeing with more and more.
Ignatief is a good writer with knowledge of his subject, and I intend to read more of his fiction. I did think that the film, in this case, was better than the book, more emotionally powerful, with a more believable ending. Still, this book is better than the dreck spewed forth by hacks in the genre. (Clancy, Flynn, I'm talkin' 'bout you!)(less)
Simply put, John McNally is a hell of a writer. In all of these stories, the characters are either in trouble, trying to avoid trouble, or compelled t...moreSimply put, John McNally is a hell of a writer. In all of these stories, the characters are either in trouble, trying to avoid trouble, or compelled to rush headlong into some bad decision-making. Like a lot of us, McNally's protagonists suddenly look up and wonder how they got to where they are. In some of the stories, there is a sense of resolution; in others, a feeling that just getting to the next day is a victory in itself. (less)
I've enjoyed all of Michael Harvey's books fceaturing private detective Michael Kelly. I enjoyed reading this book, too, but I'd rank it below the oth...moreI've enjoyed all of Michael Harvey's books fceaturing private detective Michael Kelly. I enjoyed reading this book, too, but I'd rank it below the others.
At times, I felt my suspension of disbelief unsuspending. A weaponized pathogen has been released in Chicago, and Kelly has been drawn into the investigation. I get that there are people who are using Kelly for their own purposes, but it seems a little farfetched that a private detective would be allowed anywhere near this.
The part about the bioweapons aspect that I found very believable was the part that I wish was not,that being the cynical, even sociopathic, way people in power approach national security. Believability aside, there were points in the book where plot developments seemed rushed and not as worked through as they might have been.
As I've stated, I liked this. For all its faults, it's still an exciting, entertaining page-turner. However, if you haven't read Michael Harvey, start with one of his earlier books. If you have, this is worth the price of a paperback. (less)
I'm torn on how I felt about this book. Anaya conceived and wrote it on the death of his wife. It is basically the story of a man returning home after...moreI'm torn on how I felt about this book. Anaya conceived and wrote it on the death of his wife. It is basically the story of a man returning home after spending his life outside of his culture.
One realizes pretty quickly that this is deep in mytho-symbolic territory. Sometimes I felt all the metaphor and allegory was a bit much and I wished there was more REAL. Still, on the level of trying to make sense of death, and the ways life is led, with its choices and compromises, this was pretty good.(less)
Angels are attacking the Nightside. These aren't caring, gauardian-type, every-time-a-bell-rings angels, but incredibly violent agents of their respec...moreAngels are attacking the Nightside. These aren't caring, gauardian-type, every-time-a-bell-rings angels, but incredibly violent agents of their respective master's will, the masters being God or Satan. From a mortals perspective, it's a toss-up as to which is worse. The supreme being in this book is the vengeful smiter of the Old Testament and Satan is, well, Satan.
First the negative. Sometimes this book seems to be a series of vignettes strung together along an overly simplistic plotline. Some of the characters seem more devices than fleshed-out in their own right. They pop in, do their business (or have something done to them), and then move along (or, more often ,die horribly).
Still, the writing is good. Vignettes? Yes, but very cool vignettes. The important thing is it's entertaining. If a writer delivers that, who gives a toss about plot construction?
The ending of the book was great, in a very sublime, almost understated way, and was nothing I expected. It wasn't all blood and pyrotechnics and was the stronger for it.(less)
More of a steaming pile of crap than a serious book. I am fairly dismayed at all of the reviewers who see it as insightful.
D'Souza plays fast and loo...moreMore of a steaming pile of crap than a serious book. I am fairly dismayed at all of the reviewers who see it as insightful.
D'Souza plays fast and loose with the few facts that he presents. Since this would only get him to 10 or 11 pages, he pads the rest of the book with stuff he makes up.
D'Souza's central thesis is that Obama inherited a fanatically anticolonial, anti-British world view from his Kenyan father. He tortures this theory in an earlier book, "The Roots of Obama's Rage."
In the current book D'Souza tries to show how Obama's supposed rage informs his policies as President. D'Souza "knows" this because he seems to have skimmed through Obama's memoir, "Dreams from my Father" and combines this with an assessment of those policies that is not dissimilar from the bufoonery of Glenn Beck, channeling the ghost of Joe MCarthy. It's all bargain bin know-nothingism, tricked out with footnotes to ensnare the easily impressed.
In order to make his argument, D'Souza ignores an awful lot of Obama's book to the point that one might legitimately question whether he even read it. In his memoir, Obama recounts his search for identity, exploring his complex ancestry, his place as a black man and an American, and what he was going to do with his life. In D'Souza's mental universe all of this is deeply suspicious. The Kenyan ancestry is a form of original sin, fating Obama in some way to hate all things American. (When he says "American," D'Souza really means Anglo-American, or at the very least, Euro-American. Compounding this notion for the author is the fact that Obama spent part of his youth abroad. (Gasp!)
D'Souza also ignores the fact that Obama's policies are in accord with the thinking of most Democratic centrists, as well as quite a few Republican moderates.
D'Souza's method is to string a few facts together and then give them the meaning he already believed. It could be that his judgements are clouded by his own fundamentalist world view, wherein things are devoid of nuance and there is only one possible answer to any question? Or perhaps he's merely one of those people on conservatism's fringes who just hates the idea of an African-American president? (less)