Sunday, September 18, 2011

Second Son by Lee Child - Book 81

Second Son is a short story which goes back to Jack Reacher's childhood and previews the man he will become. In it, Reacher exhibits all the characteristics for which he is famous in the series of novels by Lee Child. He has an instinct for what lies behind problems and is willing to use both physical and intellectual levels to solve them. Although I enjoyed the story, I found that Jack Reacher seemed almost too grown up for 13, exhibiting a calm and unhurried approach to everything that seems almost uncanny. Still, the story of Reacher's move to a new base with his family and how he solves issues for himself, his brother and his father, make entertaining reading. Recommended.

Lynda La Plante - Books 78-80

I've always liked Lynda LaPlante's books. She specializes in crime - detective fiction and is most famous as the author of the Prime Suspect television series featuring Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison. So I was pleased to get hold of a bunch of books I hadn't read - and they are next on my list. I started with The Legacy , the story of Freedom Stubbs and Evie. I found the plot involving Evie as a miner's daughter at the turn of the century quite compelling, with the additional plot line of Freedom's murder trial and subsequent rise to the heights of professional boxing less so. All in all, though, it was a good read, which most LaPlante fans will enjoy. Recommended (though she's written better).

Next, I moved onto Blood Line which featured more of my favorite characters, James Langton and Anna Travis and was an excellent read.

From that recent case I stepped back to the start of their work together with  Above Suspicion where they investigated a string of unsolved prostitute murders. The killer plays cat and mouse with them all the way through until, after a dangerous confrontation, his guilt is revealed and he's caught. There's an excellent British drama adaptation of this novel which is also worth watching. Highly recommended.

See more of Lynda LaPlante's novels on Amazon's Lynda LaPlante author page

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dead Simple by Peter James - Book 77

A stag night prank goes horribly wrong when groom-to-be, Michael, is abandoned by his four best friends who subsequently die in a road traffic accident. No-one knows where Michael is, or do they? Fiance Ashley is suspiciously close to best man Mark, who missed the stag do because of a delayed flight. It turns out each of them has an agenda, and time may be running out for Michael. This is an excellent mystery with enough twists and turns to keep any reader entertained. Highly recommended.

The Town by Chuck Hogan - Book 76

It's not often that the film is better than the book, but that's the case with The Town. The novel meanders for more than 600 pages covering the crimes of four criminal partners and the gradual unraveling of the partnership as Doug, the brainy one, falls for Claire, the bank teller he helped to kidnap on a recent bank job. The bones of the story are fine, but I found myself skipping some of the lengthier passages. Not recommended.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tough Customer by Sandra Brown - Book 75

Tough Customer doesn't lack for suspense. Berry survives a murder attempt by a stalker, while her colleague and former lover gets injured in the incident. Her mother, Caroline, calls in Berry's father, whom she has never met, for help, and the investigation begins. This is a good read, with an unanticipated (at least by me) twist in the end which explains some of the stranger events. Recommended.

The Cure by Geeta Anand - Book 74

The Cure is an inspiring story of two parents' race to save their children, who are affected by Pompe's Disease, a genetic mutation which could prove fatal. They invest everything - both financially and emotionally - in getting their children the help they need, from finding a potential cure to investing in the scientists who will develop it. This story was the inspiration for Extraordinary Measures, and it's good to get more of the background to the story. Recommended.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How Starbucks Saved My Life - Book 73

Michael Gates Gill is the kind of person who, depending on your views, embodies all that is good or all that is wrong with corporate America. He's at the top of the tree, in a highly paid job, with a wife, kids and all the perks to which an Ivy League education, the right connections and the right background entitle him. Then it's all snatched away as he loses his job, his wife, his home, his good health and - almost - his self-respect. His salvation comes in the form of a job at Starbucks and his unlikely savior is an African American woman with a troubled background. The tale of his redemption is highly readable, including both his experiences as a Starbucks employee (doing everything from cleaning to working as a barista) and the contrast with his former life. He is honest about his failings and that, more than anything, makes this a likeable tale. Recommended.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Worth Dying For - Book 72

I said I couldn't wait to read Worth Dying For, the next in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, so I started on it within a few days of finishing 61 Hours. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was pleased to find out he'd survived the last book and that despite some injury was on top form as he took on a bunch of small town top dogs, their henchmen and various crime gangs, while solving a decades-old mystery. Classic Reacher action, well told. Highly recommended.

Lady Killer - Book 71

There's not much to say about Lady Killer, other than that I read it. Amazon describes this supposed thriller as 'less than convincing' and I think that's right. It was readable, but not enthralling, and I found myself skipping to the end to see how it turned out so I could put it down.

Launch - Book 70

This was an excellent read, which I'll review in detail on Get Paid to Write Online. Check out my thoughts there .

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - Book 69

Nicholas Sparks does it again. Safe Haven has a woman (Katie) running from her homicidal ex (who also happens to be a police officer), a single father (Alex) raising 2 children after losing his wife to cancer and a friendly but occasionally elusive neighbor (Jo) who helps Katie to heal. This was a heartwarming story with just enough danger to make it interesting. It was so good that I read it from cover to cover (or whatever the Kindle equivalent is) in a few hours. The characters were lifelike and I got lost in the book, rooting for Katie and Alex all the way through. A great read! 4.5 stars.