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D. Lowrie RSS Feed (Fairfield, CA United States)
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Locked On
Locked On
by Tom Clancy
Edition: Hardcover
398 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT vintage Clancy, January 23, 2012
This review is from: Locked On (Hardcover)
***SPOILERS ARE PRESENT***

I have been a fan of Tom Clancy since I picked up "The Hunt for Red October" while in college. I have devoured every book since then, including his nonfiction works. As the series developed, I became a steadfast fan of Jack Ryan, author, analyst, and reluctant hero. He was the sort of decent fellow who put patriotism before party, who got along with Congressmen from both parties. The Jack Ryan of old was perfectly willing to serve as Vice President under Democrat Roger Durling, while confessing he himself was an independent. This is not that Jack Ryan, and this is not the work of that author.

***SPOILER***
In this alternate reality version, Jack Ryan has accepted the GOP nomination, and his old Chief of Staff Arnold (Van Dam?), who previously worked for not one but two Democratic Presidents, is willing to stick with him. In this story, every stereotype and conspiracy theory spun by the right wing is brought to life, with the Democrats the party solely of rapists, knaves, and traitors. Quite frankly, by choosing this portrayal, Clancy has chosen to trash his earlier canon of Ryan as the thoughtful independent staying above politics. This by itself is upsetting enough.

However, there are other flaws as well, not likely to be present in a vintage Clancy. Jack Junior's love interest is inexplicably a mole for the CIA, a development never explained in the story -- an oversight Clancy would not have allowed in earlier works. There are some noticable technical errors regarding weapons, another departure from the Clancy trademark. With some of the action scenes, there is a bit too much of the "Mack Bolan" style superheroics, unlike the ordinariness of former characters, as well as a general sloppiness to the writing in fight scenes. There is no explanation for why it is that Russia has launch vehicles that can retrofitted as nuclear missiles -- weren't all ICBMs banned after "Sum Of All Fears"? Also, isn't Russia part of NATO? This point seems to have escaped the author as well.

In short, this book may have been enough to make me walk away from the Ryan franchise. I cannot recommend it.


Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles  (A Valdemar Novel)
Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Hardcover
132 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not her best, December 11, 2008
I have been a fan of Mercedes Lackey for nearly 20 years, devouring her books as I can find them. While this book returns us to Valdemar, the experience is like returning to your childhood home as an adult. It's almost as you remember it, but not quite. The discrepancies in timeline & canon are enough to make one cringe. Other reviewers have mentioned many of the issues, but the timeline itself deserves mention. Based on my recollection of the other Valdemar books, it is seriously out of whack, and has distorted the chronology greatly.

As for the book itself, it follows a trend seen in some of her other recent books. Developing the story and characters takes 90% of the book, and the climactic action is introduced from nowhere and resolved swiftly in a few pages that smack of poor editing. In Foundation, we see the development of Mags, the introduction of his Haven friends, the buildup of interweaving plot threads -- and the action sequence has no bearing to anything that has happened before. Honestly, the book could have used another 50-60 pages so the denouement made sense.

I hope, really and truly hope, that the next book in this series improves, and that she rediscovers her joy in telling the stories of the Heralds. Ms. Lackey's books still have the power to grab me, but it seems the Valdemar series no longer holds her interest. That is a shame.


First Among Equals
First Among Equals
DVD ~ Tom Wilkinson
Price: $31.22
12 used & new from $26.50

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair Adaptation of the Book, November 13, 2008
This review is from: First Among Equals (DVD)
I have been a fan of the book since it first come out, having read it well over a dozen times. I was eager to purchase the video adaptation once it came out on DVD. Overall, I was pleased.
The miniseries is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book, with some scenes taken word for word from the printed page. In other cases, changes are made to the storyline -- in some cases to advance the plot quickly, in others for no apparent reason. However, the general plot of the book is retained.
My major quibble with the series is its casting. Jeffery Archer's description of his major characters was detailed, and in most cases the actors do not resemble the characters in the book. This was the major drawback for me, but I doubt it will matter to any but avid fans of the original.
All told, I recommend this miniseries.


The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers
The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers
by Lilian Jackson Braun
Edition: Hardcover
287 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Same Cat Who..., January 15, 2007
The series has, for me, long been in a gentle decline as a mystery series, as Qwill has been less & less involved in solving, or even participating in, the recent mysteries. However, I liked visiting this oddball community with its collection of eccentrics, so I kept reading.

This book, however, can only be described as a disaster. The life changes Qwill goes through are VERY contrived, and I had absolutely no sense of resolution to the plot elements. To be blunt, I checked to see if my copy was missing the last chapter! Do not, do not, DO NOT buy without reading it.


Rebuilding The Democratic Party From The Grassroots: The Ultimate Guidebook For Democrats
Rebuilding The Democratic Party From The Grassroots: The Ultimate Guidebook For Democrats
by Drucilla Badurina
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.66
27 used & new from $6.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Not A Helpful Book, January 11, 2007
I cannot agree with the glowing recommendations given this book. I found this book to be very disappointing, especially given the apparent 'how-to' nature of the title. Most of the book contains a rather withering critique of the party structure & operations in the authors' community during the 2004 election. While the complaints may be valid, it crosses the line between constructive criticism and finger-pointing. The prescription for rebuilding is very general, without the detailed point-by-point guidance that an inexperienced activist might need to pull off the desired result. Also, some of the proposals are beyond the scope of a local activist to accomplish in his or her own community, as they require changes in state or Federal law. In conclusion, there are many other references I would recommend over this book.


Get Out the Vote!: How to Increase Voter Turnout
Get Out the Vote!: How to Increase Voter Turnout
by Donald P. Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.00
43 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable book for campaign workers, July 27, 2006
This book is very important for campaign workers for the simple reason that it provides statistical proof of "common sense" assumptions about campaigning. Perhaps more importantly, it also demonstrates to first time candidates & campaign workers that some highly-touted gimmicks DON'T work and are a waste of money. It seems to me well worth the price of the book to know how not to waste a campaign's time & money.


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