Monday, June 27, 2016

Cargo: A Leine Basso Thriller, by DV Berkom

I found this on BookBub as a limited time free Kindle download not realizing that it is the fourth in a series by Ms. Berkom. Fortunately there were no gaps, it seems one can jump in without a problem.

The good news: I enjoyed this well enough. The less good: I'm not going to bother to find volumes one through three to catch up on what I missed.

Our hero is Leine, a former assassin who now works for an agency fighting human trafficking. She is distracted from her day job to do a favor for a friend whose daughter went missing in Thailand. In the course of finding this kidnapped girl, Leine is herself abducted and shipped to Africa. En route she meets a quasi-reformed poacher, Derek, and they team up to save the day.

I suppose if I were to write this sort of book I too would give my heroine a mysterious agency backstory so that she could rely on former contacts to resolve any plot problem that would otherwise be disasterous for the hero. There were several of these moments, where credibility was sacrificed to get past narrative problems.

Well, I'm going to spoil this for you: she makes it out at the end. Well, it is a series.

Wild-born: PSIONIC Book One, by Adrian Howell

This is the first volume of what turns out to be a young adult series that is absolutely appropriate for old adults. The writing is quite good. Our hero is Adrian, the narrator of the story. As we enter this book, Adrian is 12 years old. He discovers he has telekinetic abilities, his family is horribly disrupted, he is kidnapped, saved, kidnapped, saved... well you get the gist.  There's no major spoiler in pointing out that he survives these events, given that is is a series.

As is often the case, this first book was free on Amazon Kindle (perhaps for a limited time); as is seldom the case, it was actually quite good. I am definitely planning to read the next volume, once it arrives at a public library or is on sale.

Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben

This novel kept me reading to see what was going on, but I didn't love it, and I really disliked the ending. The hero is Maya. She is a military veteran who was forced to end her career when a video leaked of her violating rules of engagement to rescue her colleagues. Now she's stateside, a flying instructor, a terrible mother to a  two year old, and married to a successful businessman.

Her sister had been murdered some time ago. And at the start of this novel, Maya's husband is murdered as well. She investigates both murders and things get complicated.

This is a spoiler-free safe space: the hero is not likable, doesn't make great decisions, and the ending makes her even less likable. In fact, no one was likable in this novel; tough to buy into a story when there's zero empathy for the characters. The plot was a bit convoluted, more so than necessary.

I do not recommend it.


Monday, June 6, 2016

The Temporary Agent, by Daniel Judson

Our hero is Tom, a former Navy Seabee who apparently has a special forces operator level of fighting skill. He was severely injured in Afghanistan and owes his life to a Marine, Cahill. Tom works at a job for which he's overqualified at a low wage, in some sort of fugue. He's dating a very smart capable lady who is also underemployed, a waitress at a diner.

Out of the blue, Tom is contacted by his former CO and asked to find Cahill.

All sorts of plot confusion and mayhem result.

The plot is very interesting. The writing is okay but sometimes awkward; since Mr. Judson is an award winning novelist and this isn't his first try, I assume it is a deliberate device.

I'd read another of Mr. Judson's books, but I'm not rushing to browse Amazon to find one.

Harmony Black, by Craig Schaefer

Our hero, Harmony, is an FBI agent who is also a witch. Consequently, she works for a secret sub-section of the government (Vigilant Lock) which addresses occult threats, eliminating the problem without the exposure a court of law would draw.

She has, of course, a troubled past: her sister was abducted by a bogeyman when Harmony was a child. So, of course, she faces this same villain now that she's in this FBI program.

This was surprisingly interesting: well written and enjoyable. While some of the plot was predictable, it was still a fun read.

Infinity Lost, by S. Harrison

Often when a book is free for Amazon Kindle it is the first of a series. The idea is to suck you in so you'll pay for the subsequent volumes. This is a smart model -- if the first book is good enough. I will not be buying volume two.

The book is choppy which seems deliberate. We follow the story of Finn, the daughter of the richest man on earth, a brilliant technologist whose products are used by literally everyone. Finn never sees her father and is raised by teachers and nannies. She has memories or imagined experiences which imply something strange about her upbringing. At age 17, away at boarding school, a class trip to her father's research headquarters leads to a major crisis.  We won't know what happens until volume two or three -- which is to say, never.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Private Paris, by James Patterson

I saw this at my local public library and recalled that I didn't mind reading another of Mr. Patterson's series recently. Hit with an overabundance of rainy days, I figured it would be good to pick up more light reading.

This turned out to be a good decision. This series has more action and less romance than the NYPD Red books I'd just read. I'd describe Mr. Patterson's books as interesting enough to be a TV show and about that deep; this is meant as a positive. It also turns out that I'm late to the party: Paris is number 10 in this run.

The concept of the "Private" titles is that there is a worldwide private investigation and security firm called Private and run by hero Jack Morgan. In this episode, Morgan's visiting his Paris office where he and local office chief Louis Langlois get caught up in two mysteries. One is a case of apparent Muslim based anti-France terrorism and the other a missing persons job.

If this rain keeps up, I'll read more in this series.