When a commercial aircraft makes an emergency landing at an Iranian military base, it looks like a crisis has been narrowly avoided. But for undercover intelligence analyst Zac Miller, the CIA-staged crash landing is the only part of his assignment that goes right. What was supposed to be a simple surveillance mission quickly heads south when the Iranians apprehend the smooth-talking American. Never trained to be a field operative, Zac's in over his head, especially when it turns out escaping from captivity is only the beginning of his problems.
This, the 9th in the series, is the first I've read . . . but it feels like a first novel, an early effort to write a topical thriller, Ripped From the Headlines, as they say. Parts of the book are really pretty good, but there's a lot of milking of the plot and clumsy efforts at misleading the reader. I'm not especially bright, but I had this one figured out almost immediately: it's never going to be the obvious bad guy, so of course it's the only slightly less obvious one. It's formulaic, not to mention cliche. In this case, though, it's a weird way to blame the victims, to turn righteous condemnation of predators into a weird indictment of the prey, all to make a surprise narrative twist. I get the idea the writer cares little for the story or the issues the story raises, just wants to plug things into a pattern, send it in and start the next one. Pulp fiction doesn't have to be bad fiction, but in this case, it is.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hitman known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only "righteous" assignments. But then Paul gets caught. And the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He's to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst - the ruthless architect of Hitler's clandestine rearmament.
This was a good book that maybe went on a half hour or so too long, with a few too many complications that eventually appeared to be narrative missteps, milking the scenario a bit ore than the structure could support, while nonetheless doing a good job of testing simplistic notions of allegiances. I might read this one again.
Travis Roan and his dog, Bear, are hunters: They travel the world pursuing evildoers in order to bring them to justice. They have now come to Kansas on the trail of Rudolph Bormann, a Nazi doctor and concentration camp administrator who snuck into the United States under the name Rudy Goodman in the 1950s. Travis quickly learns that Goodman has powerful friends who will go to any length to protect the Nazi; what he doesn't know that is that Goodman has furtively continued his diabolical work.
The climax of the book seems to lose sight of some of the major premises from the beginning, much as many blockbuster movies lapse into shootouts and confrontations rather than working through the issues raised by the rest of the book. The old Nazi theme that begins the book is never really dealt with, save to show how it morphs into more home-grown opportunistic mistreatment of others. It was an enjoyable book with interesting protagonists, a young girl who also fails the 'transcend Hollywood memes' test, a way-too-smart dog and some truly horrifying torture scenes. I will be reading more from this author . . .
Henry Parker's life is looking up. He just landed his dream job as a reporter at the renowned New York Gazette, has a great girlfriend, and the world at his fingertips. Henry is smart. Ambitious. Determined. He's ready to take the world by storm. But Henry's dream is about to turn into a nightmare.... On his first assignment, a man ends up dead, and Henry finds himself on the run and accused of murder. On his trail is a dogged cop who wants to see Henry behind bars, and a ruthless, demented assassin who wants to see Henry dead. Henry's only hope of survival is a woman he barely knows.
I had to abandon this book. The narrator was probably a good choice, but for me his dramatic rendition and the overly self-loathing protagonist was a bad combination. The story is a strong one, even if a bit trite, and i would have liked to have learned the outcome, but I really couldn't listen to all the self-reproach and guilt and endless doubt in the soap-opera-voiceover breathy voice . . .
Late one night, outside Stockholm, Mikael Kohler-Frost is found wandering. Thirteen years earlier he went missing along with his younger sister. They were long thought to have been victims of Sweden's most notorious serial killer, Jurek Walter, now serving a life sentence in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Now Mikael tells the police that his sister is still alive and being held by someone he knows only as the Sandman.
The book is good: spooky, creepy, tense, to tense, intricate, tragic. The tale is well-told, too . . . but a bit spasmodically. There are nearly 200 'chapters.' Sometimes the POV shifts between chapters, other times it's just a dramatic pause. White space--a little pause--would be as effective, it seems to me, and a plot line a bit more linear would be nice. Sometimes the choppiness contributes to the tension, as one vignette reaches a climax only to shift to another also reaching a high point, which sometimes dilutes rather han intensifies the drama. Still, a major effort, and well done.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes - obscure Bible verses, odd symbols - have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex's sister and her family. It's a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has been there only a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.
It's nice when authors who are pretty much guaranteed a new book with a wide readership decide to undertake some kind of topical issue in a provocative and informative manner while delivering an engaging thriller. Lee Childs' last book dealt with the opioid epidemic, and so does this one. That's all to the good, and more power to all of them. But this book lacks some luster, alone or in comparison to the Reacher book. This larger-than-life hero has some weird supernatural powers with little or no limitations (can be useful or vanish at any moment), has a tragic backstory, an odd relationship with his new partner, and a kind of persuasive earnestness he diesn't mid using on small children even as he appears to recognize the problematic aspect of doing so. The result is a decent potboiler with some nice topical accents, taking place in a fictional yet representative town with some pretty wild variations on crime and how it happens. The narrator is adequate but a bit mealy-mouthed for my taste, enphasizing the weaker aspects of the narrative rather than repairing them. I think this is my last Baldacci . . .
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
The critically acclaimed A Corpse in the Koryo brought readers into the enigmatic workings of North Korean intelligence with the introduction of a new kind of detective—the mysterious Inspector O. In the follow-up, Hidden Moon, O threaded his way through the minefield of North Korean ministries into a larger conspiracy he was never supposed to touch.
This book was very good, on the line-by-line level: it reads like it was written by Chandler, and it's read by someone who knows how to interpret that, yet with an Asian flair. The story, though . . . I never really figured out what this book was actually about. Chandler famously had the McGuffin . . . this book seems more like the travelogue of a North Korean who similarly never really knows what's going on. It's a very interesting and well-told and amusing travelogue, with all kinds of vague skulduggery going on, but really . . . what is at stake?
A woman stumbles onto a dark road in rural Oregon - tortured, battered, and bound. She tells a horrific story about being kidnapped, then tortured, until she finally managed to escape. She was the lucky one - two other women, with similar burns and bruises, were found dead. The surviving victim identifies the house where she was held captive, and the owner, Alex Mason - a prominent local attorney - is arrested.
It's not easy to write a book. It takes a lot to get the first one out, and sometimes people improve after the first one. I hope this author gets better. This plot was highly unlikely (as presented), character motivation was weak, the major premises flailed. All in all, though, a respectable effort. The narrator wasn't awful.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
In the early hours of a quiet weekend morning in Manhattan's Diamond District, a brutal triple murder shocks the city. Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs quickly take the case. Curiously, the killer has left behind a half-million dollars' worth of gems at the murder scene, a jewelry store on 47th street. As more crimes follow, it becomes clear that the killer's target is not gems but engaged couples themselves.
This is a good story, with an unusual angle on the same old stuff. Deaver likes to digerss, though, and sometimes I just want him to get on with it. Too often the digression is to set up characters who will vanish sadly, jsut for the effect . . . kind of a cheap bid for affective response, and it takes the tale away from its complex unraveling.
The narrator's good. Not gerat . . . but good enough. He misses some cues, misses some emphases, but all in all knows how to read and do voices and pronounce odd names.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
When he saves the life of a controversial politician, Victor Wells is thrust into a world of outcasts and rebels, a place he has been taught to fear. Stripped of his elite status, he finds himself the target of a shadowy organization with a singular goal - his death. Aided by double-dealing Sinisters and friends he once left behind, Victor must unmask his enemies and uncover a truth that will shake the very foundations of society.
This turned out to be a lot more YA than I had in mind when i bought it. This led to some bad dialogue that contributed to what felt like a way-too-long book. Way too much bickering and teen angst drowned out the interesting world created around teh annoying characters. It's a good-enough book made more palatable by the fast-forward button: nothing important will be missed by the generous application fo the skip-forward-30-seconds button.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful