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Monthly "Reads" > Barry's January

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message 1: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2965 comments I am Pilgrim: Terry Hayes
Once in maybe a decade a first novel comes along that is so spectacular as to be notable as an outlier. Pilgrim is such a book, bringing me back to the earliest days of Robert Ludlum, without the ponderous writing, and giving me the little shivers I felt when I read my first book by Michael Connolly, The Concrete Blond. This is also a spy novel, incredibly hard to do well, but this is done very well. A Saudi doctor decides he must set Islam right by removing the United States from the world stage by biologic attack. The government gets a whiff of the attack, and assigns a retired spy who was once the best. He is not James Bond, he is not superman, he does not carry the political agenda of some spy books. He makes mistakes, but he makes progress as he races the clock. It is just January, but this might be the best book I read this year. I might note that even though this is a first novel, the author is responsible for writing the Road Warrior, and several other big hit screenplays. I hope he keeps writing. (A+)

The Apostle: Jack Kerley
Kerley has finally realized that cutting Harry Nautilus out of the series led to less interesting book. Harry is back, and the plot allows for him to stay.
As I had hoped, the story is massively improved by adding Harry back into the mix and as a foil for Carson Ryder. We get the benefit of a new character too, Holly Belefonte. She definitely adds some spice to the mix as Harry and Carson, with an assist from the insane brother, tackle another case that is somewhere between convoluted and ridiculous. (A)

Golden Son: Pierce Brown
Book 2 of Red Rising. While the series is somewhat derivative of the Hunger Games, it follows a very different path, even if the outcome will eventually be the same. The society built for this novel is stratified and structured, much as the Hunger Games is, but on a much more ambitious level. We follow one rebel in particular, and by association, many he has encountered in his growth, in an uphill battle to bring a caste based society to equality. (A-)

Shot on Location: Laurence Shames
After 20 years gone from the writing scene, Shames self publishes his own work. I missed him, but all the love, all the humor, all of the lively scene of the Keys is back as if he never left. It was fun 2 decades ago, and it is just as much fun now. (B+)

Tropical Swap: Laurence Shames
Another Romantic mystery. A house swap between New York and Key West goes a bit sour. Why do I like these? They make you believe in Love. (B+)

Tokyo Kill: Barry Lancet
Like Japantown, the book and characters bear a strong resemblance to what you would fin in a Barry Eisler book. The quality is there too as our hero (Brodie) goes after killers and an ancient treasure. (B+)

The Hobbit: JRR Tolkien
Having been polluted by the movie, it was time to read the book again. (B+)

Japantown: Barry Lancet
If you liked Barry Eisler and the John Rain series, you will probably like the Lancet book. An American antique store owner, who owns a japanese detective agency on the side (willed to him) searches for the murderer of his wife, and finds a conspiracy deep in the roots of both countries. (B+)

Betrayal: John Lescroat
Lescroat again deviates from formula with most of the book describing the life of the man behind bars, and only the last quarter being the effort to overturn his conviction. The bad guys are nasty enough that you know the laws of literature will not let them escape, so the fun is in watching how it happens. (B+)

The Global War on Morris: Steve Israel
An entertaining farce of how Homeland Security is protecting us. (B+)

A Plague of Secrets: John Lescroat
Classic legal defense of “some other dude did it”. (B)

The Jungle; “Cussler”
Oregon files. The usual action, the usual perils of Pauline chapter endings. Somehow though, they are starting to all run together. (B)

Zero Hour: Cussler
Quick moving and action packed adventure on the oceans with Kirk Austin. Yet another insane megalomaniac is trying to destroy the world. (B)

The 500: Matthew Quirk
Corporate/Political corruption and intrigue. Resembles Joseph Finder, but kind of on steroids. Not even the good guys are good here. (B)

Starfire: Dale Brown
The US builds a directed energy weapon in space, and Russia responds with an attack. (B)

And When She Was Good: Laura Lippman
I did better with this Lippman than the last few, I at least finished it, so I’ll try the new Tess Monaghan as well. The book centers on a prostitute trying to get out of the life. Not the fastest story ever, but it moved along. (B)

Wicked Appetite: Janet Evanovitch
Like the Plum series, these books maintain the power to amuse, but have long since lost the power to shock. As long as they are cheap or free, they are worth reading. (B)

The Assassination Option: WEB Griffin
WW2 is over, and the spies of the OSS prepare for the coming test of wits with the Soviets. (B)


message 2: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3599 comments A good month! I hope to get to GOLDEN SON soon. I'm not a fan of Evanovich's WICKED books. I stopped reading them pretty quick. Didn't like Diesel.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1342 comments Good month.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14294 comments Wow, Barry! Three times my number and many I would consider ambitious books included! I am intrigued by I Am Pilgrim, happy to hear Harry is back with Carson Ryder and excited to read of the return of Laurence Shames I read one of his books so long ago it isn't in my database.


message 5: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1257 comments You sure had a stellar month! Will definitely have to add I Am Pilgrim to my list after that review. While I don't care for Evanovich's Wicked series, I still am quick to read her Stephanie Plum series, and her new Fox and O'Hare series.


message 6: by LizH (new)

LizH (liz_h) | 955 comments Barry, just downloaded the first in the Wicked series, worth a try. Also will keep an eye out for I Am Pilgrim, sounds great!


message 7: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2628 comments I am Pilgrim sure sounds like a winner.


message 8: by Donnajo (new)

Donnajo | 3498 comments I have red raising on the nook. Heard great things about books and the author on the you tube book bloggers videos.


message 9: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments 17 books! Holy moly!

I am Pilgrim does indeed sound intriguing, with a rave from you.


message 10: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2965 comments I am generally raving, sometimes stark, occasionally mad.


message 11: by LizH (new)

LizH (liz_h) | 955 comments Lol!!


message 12: by Susie (new)

Susie Fevella (susieinks) | 1606 comments I tried a few by Laura Lippman, but then sort of gave up on them. I've been meaning to reread The Hobbit too :)


message 13: by Barry (new)

Barry (barrypz) | 2965 comments Lippman has had a couple clunkers lately. I ordered her new book, could be a make or break thing for me.


message 14: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7808 comments Susie in KS wrote: "I tried a few by Laura Lippman, but then sort of gave up on them. I've been meaning to reread The Hobbit too :)"

Me too, Susie. I enjoy her on panels, have seen her a few times at Bouchercon, but stopped after one or two in her series. I hear her standalones are good though.


message 15: by Susie (new)

Susie Fevella (susieinks) | 1606 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Susie in KS wrote: "I tried a few by Laura Lippman, but then sort of gave up on them. I've been meaning to reread The Hobbit too :)"

Me too, Susie. I enjoy her on panels, have seen her a few tim..."


Maybe I should try one of the standalones Carol. I might like those better than the series!


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