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3 Days of the Condor
3 Days of the Condor
by James Grady
Edition: Hardcover
6 used & new from $4.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best thrillers ever, February 16, 2011
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This review is from: 3 Days of the Condor (Hardcover)
This is up there with Marathon Man and The Day of the Jackal. The only complaint I have about the book is that the movie turned out better. Not because of the plot changes; they weren't significant, but because the the narration in the book is overdone vs dialog and immediate scene. I've never read anything else by Harris, but I would like to see this book written by someone else just to see how much better this excellent plot could be.

Sorry if I am stepping on the toes of a thriller classic, but if Robert Ludlum or Elmore Leonard (I acknowledge, two very different writers) had written this, it would have been much more gripping. As it is, you can't go wrong. It's a classic for a reason, but I just think that Harris could have stepped it up more by putting you inside the head of the characters while they were in the action instead of being so analytical from an omniscient veiwpoint.

The Mission Song: A Novel
The Mission Song: A Novel
by John le Carré
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $9.99
121 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best plot, but the writing is superb, January 25, 2011
Not LeCarre's best plot, but the writing and the characterizations are superb. Every time he turned a phrase or captured a character in a succinct few lines, I asked myself who it is that he writes like that I admire so, then remembered it's LeCarre. I'm ignorant of the Congo, so I don't know how realistic his cynicism is about the country's inability to ever extricate itself from greedy profiteers, egomaniacal politicos or arrogant do-gooders who are convinced they know better what's good for the Congo than it does, but LeCarre conveys it effectively as a background to his story. This story of Salvo, an interpreter for the British Secret Service and his work in brokering a political solution, coupled with a mercenary coup in the Congo, leads toward a trainwreck with Salvo's naivete and idealism, and ultimately his handlers. Like I said, not LeCarre's best, but worth the trip.

Simple Genius (King & Maxwell)
Simple Genius (King & Maxwell)
by David Baldacci
Edition: Hardcover
457 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, January 24, 2011
I still believe Baldacci hasn't lived up to Absolute Power, at least in his plotting, and Simple Genius is no exception. This isn't very well written in the first place, but I don't think any of his books are. But who cares (at least, who cares that much) if you can weave a good story? Well, he doesn't here. Michelle's psychological exploration while self-committed to a mental institution is boring and at the end, ridiculous. Sean's murder investigation takes on contrived plot zig-zags that are downright silly. Don't bother with this one unless you're rained in for a week on vacation with no TV.

The Bourne Identity: A Novel (Jason Bourne)
The Bourne Identity: A Novel (Jason Bourne)
by Robert Ludlum
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.99
193 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Ludlum's Signature Novel, January 17, 2011
I didn't expect to like this novel. I'd tried to read Ludlum 20 years ago, because my ex-wife used to take his novels on vacation, and every so often I'd pick one up to see what was all the fuss about Ludlum. I couldn't get through them (I don't even remember which ones they were). His characters were so overdone as to be unreal, his plots were ridiculously grand scale and the things that happened were like something out of cartoons.

So I decided to read The Bourne Identity after seeing and enjoying the Matt Damon movie. I approached the book with some skepticism, but was quickly and pleasantly surprised. Bourne is instantly a sympathetic character, since you meet him after he's been horribly injured, and has no idea who he is or where he came from. The novel unfolds from there, with Bourne successively learning bits about his past as he realizes he's a trained killing machine. He has genuine anguish about what he does to the people who are chasing him, and is even more tormented by what he may have done in his past to have these mysterious people trying to kill him. The love interest he develops is believably handled and tastefully done. The action scenes are not only exciting but realistic. This is a great thriller that deserves to be on a short list of classics like Day of the Jackal, Three Days of the Condor, LeCarre's Smiley series and The Hunt for Red October.

Out of Sight
Out of Sight
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $10.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard's Best, January 17, 2011
This review is from: Out of Sight (Kindle Edition)
I've read about half of Elmore Leonard's novels and still think this is his best. Get Shorty may be his most entertaining and funny, but Out of Sight combines all of Leonard's best features in one novel. His dialog, one of his strongest points, crackles at his best. His cast of characters includes the usual misfits and freaks, but here they range from pathetically funny to unusually scary. Jack and Karen, his lead characters, are well developed and believable, and you root for them both from their first appearance. The plot moves at a steady pace; not breakneck, but it builds to a perfect crescendo. And Leonard's toolkit to fold in backstory to develop his characters is never more effective. If you've never read Leonard, this is the one to try first. If you like Leonard and haven't read this one, do yourself a favor and buy it.

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