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Real Tigers (Slough House)
Real Tigers (Slough House)
by Mick Herron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.19
66 used & new from $8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Not bedtime reading, February 4, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Because if you start it when you get into bed, you'll read all night. It is very difficult to close before reaching the final page.
What you need to know is that this is an unembellished spy novel with an intricate plot, sparkling dialogue and finely drawn characters. The basic story line is a power play made in the upper levels of English government and spydom, intending to use Slough House (the Siberia where inept operatives are banished) as a pawn. However, this pawn has a few moves of its own. The author seems to find his best voice in his Slough House series.


The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything: A Novel
The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything: A Novel
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.81
34 used & new from $8.22

1.0 out of 5 stars Dime novel meets science fiction, January 28, 2016
The book is like someone who goes out and builds a mansion from the finest Italian marble and then furnishes it through Wal-Mart. The man can flat out tell a story. But, the characters and dialog are right out of dime novels.

This is billed as the author’s venture into science fiction. Aren’t most of his works that? His world is populated largely by women of easy virtue with bodies that put the Playboy Vargas girls to shame and Adonis males of amazing physical and intellectual capabilities.

The concept has great potential. An insipid young man (also described as a “ninny” for a good part of the book) inherits a watch capable of freezing time for everyone but the holder. But, others suspect he inherited millions and are out to take advantage. You are given the impression that he will evolve from a milquetoast idiot to a confident shrewd man, but he remains stupid and inept through the end, blabbing what he shouldn’t and making all the wrong moves. He’s the product of a quality college education and has traveled the world. So, what do he and his newly acquired bimbo girlfriend (an inexplicable occurrence) do with the limitless powers bestowed by the watch? They mostly run around and steal money and pull people’s pants down.

Far be it from the author to allow the characters to merely state a few lines, like real people. No, even the most obtuse among them launch into lengthy, boring soliloquies. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of the cheap strippers or some lout, whatever syntax that had been employing, they suddenly transition to the author’s voice.

The almost-saving grace is the basic plot line, which is interesting.


Nobody Walks
Nobody Walks
by Mick Herron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.35
75 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Skillfully writtne, for the most part, January 25, 2016
This review is from: Nobody Walks (Hardcover)
As an undercover operative in London, Bettany brought down the heads of a major crime organization This unmasked him so the book opens with him living under the radar and under a different name butchering livestock in France. Gangsters aren't big on forgive & forget. He cuts no strings in moving on since the closest thing he had to a relationship was an estranged, stoner son. There was no communication for years and the, Bettany gets word that the son died in an "accident." Surely, the fact that someone has penetrated his new cover raised a red flag but, for some reason, he returns to London to investigate and possibly avenge. It's a wee bit of a stretch. SPOILER ALERT: I've read some complaints about the ending. However, the author doesn't cheat the reader, underscoring where Bettany sets the wheels in motion for it. Bettany is obviously damaged goods and suicide is not out of the question. For that, some choose pills, others opt for eating a gun and then there's the ever-popular leap from bridge or building. But who favors tipping off savage enemies who are bent upon your torture and slow death? That aspect makes no sense. I'm a fan of the author's Slow Horse books, but less so for his other works. This falls in between, closer to the upper end. Definitely worth a read.


Hack: A F.X. Shepherd novel
Hack: A F.X. Shepherd novel
by Kieran Crowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.62
70 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Hope it was intended as parody, January 25, 2016
My perspective is viewed through the eyes of someone who has been a newspaper columnist and publisher. So, it will probably differ from "civilians." It's a fair parody, with caricatures of the players and procedures of the business, a well as police work. The writing is clear and the action constant. Nothing groundbreaking or inspired, but somewhat entertaining. If viewing it as a novel (as opposed to parody), deduct at least one star.


Crimson Shore (Agent Pendergast series)
Crimson Shore (Agent Pendergast series)
by Douglas Preston
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.52
158 used & new from $9.25

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bush league marketing ruse, January 18, 2016
I’d warn you about potential spoilers here, but the book is already spoiled by the blatant commercial caboose. A sculptor shows up on Pendergast’s doorstep (he’s in the phone book?) to request he investigate the theft of his wine collection. He’s informed that private cases are not considered but offers a bottle or rare wine for payment, overcoming the objection. Really?

The setting is a small, oceanside town in Massachusetts. Pendergast noses around and corpses start to be produced, linking themselves to the case. The bodies have demonic symbols carved in them so Constance is dispatched to Salem to learn of the history of witches in the area. It turns out that some who fled Salem settled in a minute village, south of that where the theft happened.

But, the witch angle is a red herring and Pendergast pulls the solution almost from thin air. But, there are some witches in the town and, fearing the investigation might trip over them, one gifts a package of poisoned tea to Constance. You’ve been under the radar for many decades and you think a good way to remain so is to kill the assistant to an FBI agent, leaving a trail Stevie Wonder could follow?

“Fortunately,” the tea doesn’t meet Pendergast’s gourmet standards and it’s pitched into the trash. Our protagonist has pierced the veil of the witch ruse, deduced who the culprits are and gulls them into revealing themselves. End of story.

Or, so it should be. But Constance looks at the solved case and feels there’s a stone unturned. Why? She goes to the ruins of the village that the witches of yore had fled to, which turns out to be the present day enclave of the present day practitioners, who have been bothering no one. But, coincidental to her venture, a demon (mutant human) has escaped from them and begins to wreak havoc upon the town. Pendergast curses himself for not haven’t seen the missing piece she detected (there was nothing to detect) and sets out to save her. He locks into a life and death struggle with the mutant that culminates in the surf outside the village. Pendergast dispatches the enemy, which, with Constance and a trained SWAT team right there, is extracted from the surf. And yet, with all these resources on site and the waves driving toward shore, Pendergast floats out to sea and no subsequent search effort can locate his body. Right. Constance returns to the manse, which is invaded by an unidentified nemesis.

The first two thirds of the book is halfway decent. The last is a blatantly contrived set-up to sell the next book. Strictly bush league.


The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels)
The Bone Labyrinth: A Sigma Force Novel (Sigma Force Novels)
by James Rollins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.94
124 used & new from $9.04

4.0 out of 5 stars You'll be a-mazed, January 14, 2016
This is a definite page-turner, encrusted with gems of interesting facts and theories. It is the standard Sigma format of bringing us back from the bring of destruction, but that's what they were created to do. What did you expect, a book about them selling cookies door-to-door? However, there are two things that stand in the way of a full rave. The characters are more suited for a comic book than an adult-level novel. To create suspense, the author likes to split the group and alternate back and forth, putting each team into a situation of inevitable demise before jumping and leaving the reader hanging. It can be an effective tool. But, I like chocolate ice cream; just not every ten minutes. In spite of these drawbacks, the book is quite entertaining and earns a read.


Helly Hansen Men's Shore Jacket, Black, X-Large
Helly Hansen Men's Shore Jacket, Black, X-Large
Price: $70.02
3 used & new from $44.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good product, January 13, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This may be your ticket if you're looking for a durable, weather-resistant jacket. If you desire a lot of adjustability and bells & whistles, keep walking. HH manages to comfortably seal off the openings without drawstrings and Velcro, which is fine with me. The shell is tough, the insulation adequate and the stand-up collar effective. Some will find the graphic touches way cool while others may think they're a tad much. The shell material is a little stiffer than some others (e.g. Pertex), but that's probably related to its durability. With a 44" chest, I usually fall in the upper end of a large size. I bought an XL to be sure and it's just barely big enough.


The Talbot Odyssey
The Talbot Odyssey
by Nelson DeMille
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $8.00
192 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, January 6, 2016
For context, recognize that this is one of the author's earlier efforts. But, many writers of this genre will still never attain this level. It hooks you from the beginning and hustles you along on a fast, wild ride. As a somewhat nascent effort, it does have some weak points, but those are overshadowed by the suspense and pace. I'd recommend it to readers of the genre.


A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks Mysteries)
A Dedicated Man (Inspector Banks Mysteries)
by Peter Robinson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
98 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat implausible, December 29, 2015
A resident of a small town is killed and Banks draws the task of identifying the killer(s). After some perfunctory questioning of a few people of interest and unable to piece together a motive, he jumps to the conclusion that it must be rooted in the past. Most of the book is him badgering people for that information. In the meantime, a potential witness is also slain. As you draw close to the back cover, a reader notices he has no witnesses, no weapons, no forensic evidence, no nothing, and wonders if this will turn out to be an unsolved mystery. But no, he pulls a solution out of his hat based almost entirely on gut feel. He confronts the guilty party(s). So, you've knocked off two people to attain your supreme desire and someone with no evidence of any substance accuses you. What do you do? In Banks' world, you toss everything you've strived to gain for years and spill your guts. The plot is riddled with holes, but the writing is competent and the characters have some dimension. It's readable but far from top notch.


The Fifth Woman (A Kurt Wallander Mystery)
The Fifth Woman (A Kurt Wallander Mystery)
by Henning Mankell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.64
189 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, December 27, 2015
Basically, a well written murder mystery. It does plod a bit and some of the most rudimentary investigation procedures appear beyond the grasp of these police, but still worth a read.


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