Mystery/Thriller Reading Friends discussion

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Monthly "Reads" > Sept '17, gone already? (Barry)

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message 1: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2964 comments Dinner at the Center of the Earth: Nathan Englander
I’m thinking this is barely a mystery/thriller, even if it centered on a spy gone bad, and imprisoned in Israel, the beautiful spy that caught him, and the General, defender of Israel’ The spy gone bad regretted his part in an unintended loss of a family in Gaza when a bomb maker was killed. He tried to make amends by betraying Israel, and was stripped of his identity and imprisoned. The spy who caught him was affected by what he tried to do, and worked to secure peace. Peace was in no way in the cards though, and we see at the end what happened to the people of conscience. I have to say I approached this book with some trepidation, knowing it would touch on subjects not just near and dear to me, but subjects for which i certainly have no answers. (A)

The Hangman’s Sonnet: Reed Coleman (Robert B Parker)
Truth is, this book arrived and i put down everything else. I was leery at first at the darker character Coleman had created in Jesse Stone, but have come to appreciate how much deeper and more complex this character is. I will fault him though for putting Spenser in the book, and having a Spenser that might have doubled for a funeral director. The subject matter had appeal as well, an old rocker and a lost album. Toss in a few murders, and you have a winner. (A-)

Hillbilly Elegy: JD Vance
Non fiction. A hillbilly escapes from Appalachia via the Marines and Yale Law School. Then reflects back on a segment of America most of us only see in the news.This book is worth the read if only for the vivid descriptions of his family dynamics growing up rural and poor. (B+)

Enemy of the State: Vince Flynn/Kyle Mills
Of course, Flynn has passed on, and Mills is now writing the books. Perhaps they are not exactly the same, but the spirit is certainly there, and I appreciate it. The theme her (and we have seen it before( is treachery in the middle east. Good escapist reading. (B+)

The Room of White Fire: T Jefferson Parker
A new series for Parker, Roland Ford, a disgraced ex-cop PI, but with smarts and heart. As we have seen in his other characters, he is damaged in so many ways, but so are all he encounters. Here he is hired to find an escapee from an asylum, but quickly realizes there is more to the story than he was told. (B)

The Cuban Affair: Nelson DeMille
A new character, and as charismatic as many of his past efforts. The story revolves around the adventure of retrieving treasure from Cuba, and a love story with the protagonists. The adventure proceeded well, with the level of suspense and action ramping up with each page. I was a bit less bought in to the love story. (B)

The Man Who Died Laughing: David Handler
AUthors love to write about authors. Here, a ghost writer experiences the murder of the borscht belt comedian whose story he was trying to write. He goes on with the story, but goes on to solve the murder as well. (B)

The Man Who Lived by Night: David Handler
Hoagie, our intrepid author, takes on the biography of an aging British rocker. Once again people start dying around him, and he is compelled to figure out why. I noticed that the books were published by Busted Flush Press. FOr those that do or do not recall, Busted Flush was Travis McGee’s boat in the series that started it all. (B)

Ice Station Nautilus : Rick Campbell
AUthoru I heard talk at Bank Street books. As a fellow submariner, how could I not read him? The books have vivid scenes of underwater warfare, but some of the plot elements can be seen from a 1000 miles away. This book deals with the rescue of submariners trapped under the polar ice from a russian/us collision. Both sides want to sneak on the other;s ship though….(B)

Blackmail: Rick Campbell
Submarine warfare and then some. He does well with the tactical aspects of battle, less so with the geopolitical implications of world war. (B)

No Safe House: Linwood Barclay
Aargh! This is the other author of suburban mysteries. We met Terry Archer in an earlier book, and the same cast of ordinary people and thugs returns in a tale of robbery and murder where every single character in the book is either familiar with, or related to every other character. The plot line went beyond incestuous to straining credulity. (B-)


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments A lot to talk about here Barry! I will come back to the discussion with more comments later; for now I will simply thank you for pointing out the new T. Jefferson Parker which I had missed and mention I am in a rather long line for the new DeMille and a slightly shorter one for the latest Jesse Stone. I would also drop just about anything for that one. Good reading ahead.


message 3: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3598 comments I've got the DeMille coming up pretty quick. I was extremely ambivalent about Hillbilly Elegy. Vance's background is entirely mine, though removed by one generation. He has accomplished much in his short life. In the end, however, I felt he came across with a condescending attitude toward the blue collar background he came from. I have absolutely zero tolerance for that attitude and those who espouse it.


message 4: by Merrilee in AZ (new)

Merrilee in AZ | 1114 comments Interesting list.Barry


message 5: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1342 comments Good month Barry.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments Melodie: I understand your ambiguity about Vance's (later in the book) attitude that could be construed as distanced and perhaps condescending. He did in my opinion paint a recognizable portrait in general and I am glad I read it.
Melodie wrote: "I was extremely ambivalent about Hillbilly Elegy. Vance's background is entirely mine, though removed by one generation. ...... however, I felt he came across with a condescending attitude toward the blue collar background he came from..."


message 7: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3598 comments Ann wrote: "Melodie: I understand your ambiguity about Vance's (later in the book) attitude that could be construed as distanced and perhaps condescending. He did in my opinion paint a recognizable portrait in..."

I was glad I read it, too. Many of his family members reminded me of members of my own.


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments Melodie: I felt that affinity with many of the people portrayed as well.
Melodie wrote: "I was glad I read it, too. Many of his family members reminded me of members of my own. .."


message 9: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2964 comments Melodie wrote: "I've got the DeMille coming up pretty quick. I was extremely ambivalent about Hillbilly Elegy. Vance's background is entirely mine, though removed by one generation. He has accomplished much in his..."
I have to admit I was expecting more out of this one.


message 10: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3590 comments good month, barry. i really liked the demille book. looking forward to hearing/seeing him at mohegan sun next weekend.


message 11: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2628 comments Dive! Dive!


message 12: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments I used to inhale everything T Jeff wrote; I'm wondering why I stopped. I think I got tired of the tortured main characters. Maybe time to try him again, although your description signals his m.o. hasn't changed much.

I didn't know (or forget) about the latest Jesse Stone so raced over to request it from the library.

I too read the Vance book and it opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about except from movies like Winter's Bone.


message 13: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Sherry wrote: "good month, barry. i really liked the demille book. looking forward to hearing/seeing him at mohegan sun next weekend."

Sherry, how was Demille?


message 14: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3590 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Sherry wrote: "good month, barry. i really liked the demille book. looking forward to hearing/seeing him at mohegan sun next weekend."

Sherry, how was Demille?"


he was great. much shorter than i expected him to be..lol
very entertaining. after he spoke, he sat under a really hot light for over an hour signing books for people and was just as personable to the last person in line as he was to the first- took pictures with everyone, too.
cracked a joke about james patterson- apparently they are friends. someone in the audience asked him how long it took him to write a book and he said he's not as prolific as some authors (under his breath, said james patterson.LOL). then said well, i'm friends with jim. called him the other day and his wife said he was writing, so demille said, that ok, i'll hold. :)


message 15: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Sherry wrote: "Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Sherry wrote: "good month, barry. i really liked the demille book. looking forward to hearing/seeing him at mohegan sun next weekend."

Sherry, how was Demille?"

he was great..."


Oh that's funny. Glad he was good. Did you enjoy working the event, would you do another?


message 16: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3590 comments Carol wrote:Oh that's funny. Glad he was good. Did you enjoy working the event, would you do another?

actually, i am working part-time at the bookstore as an event host! have done a bunch of events, including Joyce Maynard, Celeste Ng, and Ann Hood and Michael Ruhlman. :)


message 17: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments Wow Sherry: that sounds like a very interesting job!
Sherry wrote: "actually, i am working part-time at the bookstore as an event host! have done a bunch of events, including Joyce Maynard, Celeste Ng, and Ann Hood and Michael Ruhlman. :)
.."



message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments Carol: I just finished the new T Jefferson Parker too and also have enjoyed all of his books. This new one is really good. So if you get a chance to squeeze The Room of White Fire in, I say go for it!
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "I used to inhale everything T Jeff wrote; I'm wondering why I stopped. I think I got tired of the tortured main characters. Maybe time to try him again, although your description signals his m.o. h..."


message 19: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3590 comments Ann wrote: "Wow Sherry: that sounds like a very interesting job!
Sherry wrote: "actually, i am working part-time at the bookstore as an event host! have done a bunch of events, including Joyce Maynard, Celeste..."


ann, it is! it's a lot of work, but really fun.


message 20: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Sherry wrote: "actually, i am working part-time at the bookstore as an event host! have done a bunch of events, including Joyce Maynard, Celeste Ng, and Ann Hood and Michael Ruhlman. :).."

That's awesome! (and right up your alley). Let me know if there are any other Carol faves coming.


message 21: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Ann wrote: "Carol: I just finished the new T Jefferson Parker too and also have enjoyed all of his books. This new one is really good. So if you get a chance to squeeze The Room of White Fire i..."

Just requested the audio from the library! I may need to take a vacation from work to get caught up on all the audios I have ready!


message 22: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14291 comments Carol: That sounds like a terrific idea! I could get behind an audio listening vacation!
Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Ann wrote: "Just requested the audio from the library! I may need to take a vacation from work to get caught up on all the audios I have ready! ."


message 23: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3590 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: That's awesome! (and right up your alley). Let me know if there are any other Carol faves coming.

you know i will!


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