Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sand Trapped, by John Gratton

When Rodney suggested that I write a "murder mystery that involves a software strategist, a mysterious tattooed girl and a golf club," I told him I have something pretty close on my to-read queue. This is it.

The main character is too slow to be a good strategist, the heroine is pierced but not tattooed, and there's a lot less golf involved than the title would have you think. This is a fast and amusing novel with an engaging plot.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Increment, by David Ignatius

This is a spy novel about a CIA agent done in close to a traditional British spy tone. It is complex, but interesting. On a flight, this would be a great book; sitting on the deck with a cool beverage it drops to average (there's more amusement against which it must compete).

Oddly the title (even though there's a brief inside-flap explanation of it) has very little to do with the story.

Breach of Trust, by DiAnn Mills

I should have given up on this book at page two, but kept at it out of stubbornness. The book wasn't that bad, other than the writing and the plot development.

Here's a sample; see for yourself if I'm overly critical:

"She scraped the grasshopers from her shoes and onto the curb. The pests were everywhere this time of year. Reminded her of a few gadflies she'd been forced to trust overseas. She'd swept the crusty hoppers off her porch at home and the entrance to the library as she'd done with the shadow makers of the past. But nothing could wipe the nightmares from her internal hard drive."


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Armor of God, by Paul Block & Robert Vaughan


I know, out of respect for anyone who goes to the trouble to read this blog, I ought to at least attempt a complete review. But really, "eh" just says it all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Associate, by John Grisham

Now maybe it is just a sign of the sorts of books I've read lately: I really enjoyed "The Associate." I was totally surprised to see that Amazon reviewers dislike it so, with one-star ratings outnumbering five-stars by nearly a three-to-one ratio.

The biggest complaint: the ending seemed rushed, wasn't sufficiently developed.
Other complaints: poor character development, dull and boring.

I'm sticking with my initial assessment. This is a fine legal thriller.

Then again, compared to the fantastical Tanenbaum or the hero-as-vampire-slayer, my bar wasn't set all that high at this point.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Capture, by Robert K. Tanenbaum

Would you believe me if I said that the last book I read -- about vampire hunters -- was more credible than this one?

Tanenbaum's given up on character development: he spends pages explaining what his characters are thinking and why.

At least the plot is complex. And, as is so often my situation, I keep reading these books even though I know when I'm done that I've wasted my time.

This book was the equivalent of a mediocre cheese danish: not only was it not healthy eats, it didn't even taste good enough to be worth the calories.

And yes, I'll read Tanenbaum's next one anyways.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Skin Trade, by Laurell K. Hamilton

Let's cover the negatives first: the mediocre writing descends to abysmal in too much of the dialog, redundancies imply the lack of capable editing, and the plot -- well, this is about vampires and other supernatural beings.

On a positive note, it is the best written of Hamilton's books thus far.

And there you have my confession: I've actually read this tripe. Sigh. Hey, everyone's entitled to a vice or two.