Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Games, by Ted Kosmatka

An unspecified time in the future.   An Olympic game of gladiators fighting to the death is a bit hit.   The twist is, geneticists manufacture the contestants, and the key rule is that no human DNA may be used.   So disposable living creatures are built to fight in an arena.

Here's where things go bad because of poor writing and plot development:  a genius builds a computer which then designs the genetic blueprint for the US entry to these events.   It is deadly.

Much confusion.   Massive gaps in character development too.

Bottom line: I read through this so that you don't need to.  Instead, take my advice and pass.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kill Shot, by Vince Flynn

It must be that I'm in the mood for predictable reading this week.   Not that the specific plot of Mr. Flynn's novel is predictable.  Rather in the sense of wanting a reliably interesting espionage thriller.   Sometimes you want to stay at a small local hotel, and sometimes you want the predictable service of a Four Seasons.   This novel provides, in effect, the latter.

So with that long preamble:   same hero (Mitch Rapp), same supporting characters, some new villains, surprises only in how things come to closure but no doubt that they would.   An excellent book of the genre.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Full Black, by Brad Thor

Mr. Thor's books deliver very consistently:   spy adventure, a Fox News -style of thinking to save the world from socialism slowing worming its way into American life as illustrated by government handouts and an entitlement point of view.    Many of the negative reviews of his novel focus on the political statements.   But I don't share in that criticism:  you get what you get from Mr. Thor, and either the plot and thrills are worth the political context setting or not.  (Or, a third choice:  you agree with him.)

In my case, I'm after the thrills, so to speak.  And that, Mr. Thor delivers undeniably reliably.   This isn't a fantastic example of the spy thriller genre, but it is a solidly good example.