Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Defector, by Daniel Silva

This is the ninth of Silva's novels featuring spy Gabriel Allon. It does not measure up to his previous writing: the "catch up" prose, to fill new readers in on essential plot development of earlier episodes seems bulky and redundant. The first half of the book, or more, read slowly.

Having said that, nine novels in, it is unlikely I'll pass on the next one. But you could pass on this one and miss little of importance.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hothouse Orchid, by Stuart Woods

This is the latest in a series by Mr. Woods featuring recurring characters. It was fast paced; Woods doesn't waste words. Yet, this gets a lower grade than his prior work because it reads like part one of a three part novel. Sure, it is good writing when the author gets the reader excited about buying his next book, but that's not the feel here. Instead, it just feels too brief, as though he was in too big a rush to get it done.

The bigger issue is a major failure in character development. Without giving away any secrets: a hero is attacked, yet has no reaction. None. Zilch. This is totally out of character. Woods needed to handle that situation far better than he did. And, since it is a recurring lead role, this is a glaring problem.

Still, for fans of the series, a positive recommendation. For those unfamiliar with the characters, start with Orchid Beach.

Rules of Vengeance, by Christopher Reich

This wasn't difficult to read, but it at times felt like a chore. I don't mind a story that stretches plausibility, and I don't mind plot complexity. But this just wasn't that good -- I'm not sure how else to convey my view. It was like airplane food.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Apostle, by Brad Thor

This could have been an acceptable action novel, of the "Navy Seal goes off the books into Afghanistan to save overly idealistic kidnapped physician at request of her rich mother who was influential in election of new US president" genre.

Oddly though, the author interspersed a parallel story of a completely unsympathetic, unethical Secret Service agent's efforts to bring down said president.

The verdict: for a long flight, in paperback, to be left behind, a C+. Otherwise, don't bother.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eyes of the World, by Rob Palmer

This was a very interesting thriller. The plot was good and it kept my interest to the surprising ending. I recommend it.

The Gray Man, by Mark Greaney

This was a very enjoyable spy novel. A touch bloody, definitely stretches believability, but still kept my interest right to the end. Would also make for a good "B" movie; just right as a vehicle for the current generation Steven Seagal action star -- maybe Vin Diesel, or better yet, some new aspiring action hero.

Dictator's Ransom, by Richard Marcinko

I often load up on paperbacks when I'm facing long flights, and this week I prepared for the flight from London's Heathrow airport to New York's JFK. The idea is to leave the paperbacks behind, so a random stranger might enjoy them, and to lighten my load.

That's my excuse for this atrocity of a novel.

Probably leaving this one behind for others to read is needlessly cruel to strangers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Predator Hunting, by Ron Spomer

I was curious about this topic (hey, I'm curious about lots of things!) and when I saw this at Half Price Books, figured, "why not?" It was pretty interesting. I'm not quite ready to start nailing coyotes, but at least I have some basic concepts.

(If you're wondering: the idea is to reduce the impact of varmints like coyotes, foxes and the like, as they kill cattle and chickens and generally annoy ranchers.)