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The Trinity Six: A Novel
The Trinity Six: A Novel
by Charles Cumming
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $24.99
208 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional - a great spy novel!, July 31, 2011
Charles Cumming is quite simply, one of the best purveyors of real spy fiction on the planet. And "The Trinity Six" is yet another excellent novel from this very fine author. It is no wonder that "The Trinity Six" was a 'starred review' from both Booklist & Publisher's Weekly. Most spy buffs will know about thee infamous 'Trinity Five' spy ring - Philby, MacLean, Burgess, etc. - who all attended Trinity College, Cambridge & who became, argueably, the most infamous spies of all time. But what if there was a sixth? This is the premise behind "The Trinity Six", and Cumming provides a most plausible arguement for it. When journalist Charlotte Berg asks friend & academic Sam Gaddis for help in researching the possibility of a sixth member of the Trinity College spy ring, a communist agent code-named ATILLA, who may have become a mole at the heart of Britain's political & intelligence establishments, Gaddis knows he's onto a good story. So much so, that when Charlotte dies suddenly, apparently of a heart attack, he decides to continue the investigation himself, not realising how close to the truth Charlotte was. In his pursuit of the truth, he becomes the focus of attention of the intelligence agencies of Britain, the USA, & modern-day Russia, on a trail that takes him accross Europe to a conclusion that threatens the very foundations of the British and Russian political establishments. "The Trinity Six" is not an action thriller, it's a spy thriller for thinkers, reminiscent of LeCarre & McCarry, and requires patient reading. There are swags of historical information & facts about the Trinity College spy ring to digest, but for the patient, the outcome will be rewarding, and the conclusion satisfying. The only problem with a book like this, is the reader is left hungry for more. Highly recommended!


10th Anniversary (Women's Murder Club)
10th Anniversary (Women's Murder Club)
by James Patterson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.38
359 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In a word - rubbish!, July 31, 2011
I'm beginning to think that someone at Amazon does not like negative reviews being written by customers. This is the third book that I have reviewed where the review has mysteriously vanished into the ether. Frankly, I don't believe I'm being unfair, either! I say what I feel, based on the quality of the book I've read. I have no personal axe to grind, but realise that I do sometimes say things that some people may not like hearing. Regarding "10th Anniversary", it is my belief there is not much good to say about it. The earlier titles in this series (from 4 to about 6) were acceptable fare, but still a long way short of the first couple. The latter titles have been boring, have lacked any real depth in plotting, and have been anything but thrillers. As for being mysteries, well the lest said the better. '10th Anniversary" is no exception! It is like so many other James Patterson titles nowadays, which seem only to be a source of cheap revenue raising, rather that real 'thrillers' like those the man himself used to put out so many years ago. And of course, like most of Pattersons books nowadays, they are not solely written by Patterson, but rather by a bevy of unknowns, 'writers' of questionable literary talent. Churned out like the legendary penny-dreadfuls of pulp fiction they appear, emblazoned with Patterson's name in large print (while in this case Maxine Paetro's name is practically miniscule), & described as works of the so-called world's bestselling thriller writer, but in reality, a selection of some of the lowest quality fiction novels available. And oh, how the money must be rolling in, for both Patterson & publisher that is.


Tracers (A Harry Tate Thriller)
Tracers (A Harry Tate Thriller)
by Adrian Magson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.92
110 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two out of two for Magson!, July 2, 2011
Harry Tate is back! Now retired from M15, he is working freelance as a people finder. When asked to locate one Samuel Silverman, supposedly an Israeli professor, Harry & his associate, Rik Ferris (also late of M15) find themselves chasing shadows, & everyone else, except the very elusive Professor Silverman. It becomes clear early in "Tracers" that Harry's employer, the enigmatic & equally elusive Jennings,is clearly not who he seems, and the prey Harry & Rik are looking for, proves to be more dangerous than they could have ever envisaged. With hunter-killers on their tail, an ever-rising body count amid a flod of storyline twists & turns, and no shortage of double crosses and fast-paced action sequences, "Tracers" is a non-stop adrenalin rush, one that keeps the reader engrossed & guessing until the final chapter. Harry Tate is every bit an action hero for today, but be advised, "Tracers" is much much more than just an action novel. This is spy thriller writing at its best. And once again, Adrian Magson has shown what a gifted purveyor of the spy novel he is. "Tracers" makes it 2 out of 2 (great novels) for Adrian Magson.


Brimstone
Brimstone
by Robert B. Parker
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from $0.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spencer & Hawk in the saddle!, June 24, 2011
This review is from: Brimstone (Hardcover)
Let me just say from the outset that I have never been a great fan of westerns! No, I don't have anything against them - they are a very legitimate genre of fiction with a wide fan base, & I have the greatest respect for western authors, just I have for all good authors of all other genres. Having said that, I must admit I was blown away by Brimstone. I have been an avid fan of Robert B Parker for as long as I can remember, but until Brimstone, have only been exposed to his great talent for writing crime fiction. Brimstone changed all that! But because I have known only Parker's crime novels, I quickly found myself comparing Cole & Hitch to Spenser & Hawk - you just can't avoid it. And therin lies the greatness of this most gifted writer. In my opinion (and I realise that others may disagree) Brimstone is quite simply, as good as any crime novel Parker has written. And certainly just as exciting. I'm not going to go into the storyline in this review - plenty of other reviewers have covered that nicely - but suffice to say that Cole & Hitch are two of the coolest characters ever to get into the saddle. These two are what I always, as a child, envisaged cowboys to be like. They are tough, they drink & cuss, they shoot bad guys, and they are mates who stand by each other, no matter what. And yes, they are also basically honour bound. They may have no trouble killin' when it's needed, but not indiscriminate killin', and it seems that those they do shoot, are ones who in one way or another, deserve it. Oh, and they're also pretty good with the ladies too. Brimstone was a real eye-opener for me, and I loved every minute of it. Since finishing Brimstone, I have also gone on to read Resolution & Apaloosa. Great stuff; highly recommended!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2011 12:53 PM PDT


Private London
Private London
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback
52 used & new from $0.01

29 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Define the word, 'drivel'., June 2, 2011
This review is from: Private London (Paperback)
This book(claiming dual authorship by James Patterson & Mark Pearson - yes, another of Patterson's dual-penned 'thrillers') was released late-May in Australia, so that's why I can review it before it's US release date.
Hannah Shapiro, young, vulnerable & endangered, escaped a horrible death in LA, saved only by the brave Jack Morgan, head honcho of Private International, supposedly the world's most exclusive detective agency. She heads off to old London town (too many bad memories back home!), where some 8 years later (she's not quite so young now), she finds herself in danger all over again (damn, she seems to attract danger like a corpse attracts flies). Enter police sargent Dan Carter, head of Private's London office, who is thrust into the race to save Hannah for a second time (can you believe this?). Meanwhile, Carter's ex, one Kirsty Webb by name, and a Detective Inspector no less, is working her own case in London, involving the abduction, murder & mutilation of young women (remember Hannah is also young, although not as young as she was). There are indications the two cases are somehow linked (my, my, what a coincidence), so what does this meaan for Dan & Kirsty (not to mention poor Hannah, who has just about had enough of bad people trying to kill her). Will Dan & Kirsty be reconciled, or will her superior rank come between them? Or will they just end up 'having it off' for old times sake, before finally solving both cases, saving Hannah yet again (or at least until the next time), and walking separately into the sunset? And what does the future really hold for poor, dear Hannah? Will she ultimately perish, or will she live long enough to sell her story to News of The World, and make her fortune? Frankly my dear, after the first few chapters, I didn't give a damn!
My dictionary defines drivel as 'nonsense'. Nope, it just doesn't seem enough to describe "Private London".
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 8, 2011 6:47 AM PDT


Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher)
Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher)
by Lee Child
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.71
329 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all been said before!, May 31, 2011
He may never win the Pulitzer or the Nobel for literature, but who the hell cares? I don't! As long as I get my one Jack Reacher fix each year, I'll be happy. It would be nice to have two each year, but only if the quality is unaffected. I guess Reacher is the one bloke that every man would like to be, and the one man every woman would like to have. As for 'Worth Dying For'? - worth staying up all night for, worth staying home from work for, worth missing a holiday for, etc., etc., etc. The list is endless. It's a great read, one of his best.


The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (10)
The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery (10)
by Henning Mankell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.73
212 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wallender's curtain call?, May 31, 2011
There is no doubt that Henning Mankell is one of the finest authors currently putting pen to paper today. His prestigious catalogue of work is testament to an extraordinary literary mind and a rare & gifted ability to write. His series of engrossing mystery novels featuring Swedish policeman Kurt Wallender are renowned world-wide, and have been published to wide acclaim. These are the facts. However, judging from some of the reviews posted here, there are divergent opinions on the substance and quality of his latest Wallender novel, The Troubled Man. Much is made of the the suggestion that this will be the final in the Wallender series - the final chapter strongly suggests this in a manner that will no doubt agrieve many Wallender fans. Lilian suggests that The Troubled Man is "A tired end for a fine series", while Zenreader describes the book as "not a book you can read by itself & enjoy". I beg to differ on both counts. With The Troubled Man, Henning may well have brought the series to an end, but he has done so in the most natural & dare I say, sensitive way. Wallender has simply aged, as do we all. And in The Troubled Man, we are given a most sincere & sensitive insight into the infirmities of oncoming old age. His diabeties, his blackouts, his frequent memory lapses, all these combine to bring home the reality of his advancing years, leaving him at times distressed and fearful. It is clear that he is scared of growing old, of losing control of himself, & in turn, his precious independence. As a result, there is a very dark & sombre thread that runs through The Troubled Man as the all too human side of Wallender is prsented to us. Yet despite all this, The Troubled Man is still a triumph in detection. Wallender may be aging quickly, but not so Henning Mankell. Whilst it is slow going in places (appropriate for an aging Wallender), I found The Troubled Man impossible to put down, and if in fact, it is Wallender's curtain call, then there can be no more fitting tribute to this fictional icon, than The Troubled Man. Certainly, some fans of Wallender will find the ending to The Troubled Man sad & distressing, but personally, I'm very grateful to Mankell for allowing me to share in those private aspects of Wallender's 'coming of age'. Like most fans, I will miss Wallender, but I'm thankful that we had him for the short period of time that we did. I think he made us all look at the fictional policeman in a new and different way.


The Secret Soldier (A John Wells Novel)
The Secret Soldier (A John Wells Novel)
by Alex Berenson
Edition: Hardcover
231 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superlative work from Berenson - as usual!, April 24, 2011
A review by The Providence Journal Bulletin on the dust jacket of this book, suggests that Berenson's earlier novel, "The Silent Man" quote, 'elevated him to the rarefied league of Vince Flynn', unquote. This preposterous statement only goes to highlight the problem of newspaper 'journalists' writing book reviews. Don't get me wrong, I am not being critical of Vince Flynn as a writer. I have read most of his work & he can be a very entertaining writer of action thrillers. His hero, Mitch Rapp, charges into action with the Stars & Stripes flying, & guns blazing. He typifies the all-American hero that features in so many thrillers coming from American authors these days. BUT, let me say that patriotic fodder such as this does not a good spy thriller writer make! Flynn's storylines are generally predictable & limited in scope, with action the prime component. A sort of wham, bam, thank you ma'am, if you like. On the other hand, Berenson's plotting is meticulous, often complicated, & demanding of the reader's attention, and his characters interesting & extensively developed. Flynn's hero appears to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, whereas, Berenson's John Wells is a flawed character, cautious, & often seemingly introspective. A methodical man, & yet in some ways, an enigma; more human than Flynn's Rapp. It is authors of the calibre of Berenson who will carry the torch of superior espionage fiction, first flamed by the likes of LeCarre, Forsyth, Deighton & McCarry.
As for "The Secret Soldier", it's simply further evidence of just how good an author Alex Berenson is. The storyline centres around a future regime change in Saudi Arabia, with internal rivalry within the House of Saud the catalyst for terrorist attacks against the family of the ruling monarch. Enter John Wells (now retired from the CIA), recruited at the behest of the ailing King Abdullah & his brother Miteb, to stop the attacks and expose the plotters. Meanwhile, the powers that be in Washington have their own agenda, one that focuses on America's interests first, rather than what's the best for Saudi Arabia. This is vintage Berenson and he does it so-o-o well! My advice? Go out & buy a copy, put your feet up, and enjoy! And if you start it in the evening, don't expect to get to bed that night.


The Gray Man (A Gray Man Novel)
The Gray Man (A Gray Man Novel)
by Mark Greaney
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.74
103 used & new from $3.80

5.0 out of 5 stars They just HAVE to film this!, March 29, 2011
James Rollins describes Mark Greaney's "Gray Man" as 'Bourne for the new millenium', and while I generally discard such statements as overdone praise, I have to admit that here, Rollins is spot on the mark. Reading "The Gray Man" was like watching all three Bourne films - carried along in a maelstrom of relentless death and destruction, where the mantra is kill or be killed. A helter-skelter, no-holds-barred ride of blood-letting and menace, an adrenaline pumping thriller that never slows and never lets the reader off the hook. This is a book that just MUST be filmed! And hopefully by Bourne helmer, Paul Greengrass. I don't think there's another director on the planet that could do this book justice on the screen.
The Gray Man is Courtland Gentry, legendary assassin for hire, and in his particular field of work, there's no one better. But when he takes down the brother of an African dictator, he suddenly finds he himself has become a target, and an international cabal of elite professionals killers are on his tail. But there's much more to this story than just revenge, and the reader is drawn into a mire of corporate greed & corruption involving the rights to a nation's natural gas resources, and that nation's leader, who it appears, is much more than just a puppet leader, but one who understands & appreciates the twin forces of both money and power, forces that make him very lethal indeed.
"The Gray Man" is almost impossible to put down - by the time you get to the end of one chapter, you just have to read on to find out what happens in the next. And while some may suggest that Gentry is a very unrealistic hero - to good to be true, you know, faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings, etc., etc. - you just can't get past the fact that he is everything the hero in a book like this should be. "The Gray Man" is not to be taken seriously, but it's one hell of a damn good ride from beginning to end. And as an extra bonus, Gentry is set to return.


The Red Coffin (Inspector Pekkala)
The Red Coffin (Inspector Pekkala)
by Sam Eastland
Edition: Paperback
57 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing second novel., March 24, 2011
"The Red Coffin", the second novel from Sam Eastland, author of "Eye Of THe Red Tzar" is a real disappointment. His earlier novel was excellent, and a great thriller, with sound plotting, strong characters, & a refreshingly new 'hero' in Inspector Pekkala, originally an investigator for Tzar Nicholas, & later of Stalin's Bureau of Special Operations. But where "Eye" was a winner, "The Red Coffin" is the opposite. The storyline is simple (too simple really): Colonel Nagorski, designer of the F-34, thirty-ton super tank, with which Stalin hopes to use to repel any threat from Nazi Germany, is murdered, and Pekkala is assigned to the case. But there are others trying to get hold of Nagorski's tank, & their leader is quite willing to kill for it. So, who killed Nagorski? The problem here is that there are 2 separate crimes & 2 separate villains, and the astute reader will figure out who they are without much effort. In the first, the answer is predictable, having been used by many other authors before Eastland. As for the second, well it's just common sense. And no, I'm not giving anything away by saying so; it really is a no-brainer. What I found really annoying about "The Red Coffin" however, is the incessant flashback's that Pekkala has as the case proceeds, flashback that have absolutely nothing to do with the case. The copy I read had a total of 352 written pages, and of these, 65 were devoted to Pekkala's episodes; that's a staggering 18.47% of the total reading pages in the book. If only Eastland had devoted more of the book to developing his storyline & characters, expanded on the plot somewhat to make it more interesting, and made a greater effort to conceal the identites of the main 2 villains of the piece, at least until the last chapter or two, then "The Red Coffin" could justifiably be called a 'thriller'.


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