I was lucky enough to come across a Jack Reacher thriller from 2009 that I hadn’t read. Lee Child’s “Gone Tomorrow” has plenty of all the elements that have made this series so successful, including an intriguing plot, well-drawn characters, and especially, the almost stream of consciousness reports of Reacher’s observations of every detail of his surroundings, the habit that is one of the bases of his consistent victories over bad guys. The other important reason that he always c
The Fire Child, published by S.K. Tremayne in 2016, is an odd book that I bought by mistake. A mistake, because it was billed as a thriller, but turned out to be more of a Gothic romance. Poor girl marries dark, handsome, and rich widower and moves into his crumbling and isolated ancestral mansion with his fragile young son and slightly dotty old mother. Unfortunately, the Bronte sisters and Daphne du Maurier did it first and better, and managed without the information overl
The Widow, published by Fiona Barton in 2016, is a successful psychological thriller presented in a novel way. The plot concerns the abduction of a toddler and the various characters involved in the crime, including the child’s mother, the detective obsessed with solving the crime, the reporter who covers the story, and the main suspect and his wife (the eponymous widow). Alternate chapters continue the story from the points of view of each of the characters except the suspect, wh
A Hero in France, Alan Furst’s latest historical espionage novel, was published in 2016. Set in World War II Paris, it’s as good as the cover blurbs claim:
Thorough research of the history, people, and places – Check.
Meticulous recreation of the atmosphere by inclusion of real details and anecdotes – Check.
Creation of a plausible protagonist who epitomizes the heroism of good and capable but relatively ordinary people under extreme circumstances – Check.
There are many good points about “The Third Gate”, published by Lincoln Child in 2012. Most important, of course, is that it’s a good read. It’s an interesting genre, a combination archeological/supernatural thriller, and I think Child has avoided the many possible pitfalls this involves. He apologizes for liberties taken with various facets of life in ancient Egypt in service of his plot ( the search for a pharaoh’s tomb), but speaking as someone who likes this
You don’t have to understand Latin to enjoy “Different Class”, but it would certainly help. This book, published by Joanne Harris in 2016, has two voices and two time peiods. One voice is that of a teacher at a venerable grammar school in Yorkshire who peppers his conversation, and even his thoughts, with quotes from ancient Romans. The second is one of the school’s boys. The story shifts back and forth between 1981, when the boy was in Straitley’s Latin cl
It’s a pleasure to read books by experienced, masterful story tellers. Here are two.
Daniel Silva published “The Black Widow” in 2016. It’s so up to date that he feels the need to explain that the linking of Islamic terrorists to the Brussels district of Molenbeek in the book was coincidental. The attacks in Paris and Brussels that were indeed carried out by residents of Molenbeek occurred after the book was written. It’s the type of coincidence that results fr
The Other Mrs Walker, published by Mary Paulson-Ellis in 2016, is subtitled “A detective story with no detective”. That’s not accurate. To the extent that it’s a detective story, it has a detective. What struck me most about this novel is that it’s all about women. Hardly any space is given to male characters and except for one who is barely more than a shadow, none of them are nice. Come to think of it, the women are no models of virtue either, but we can empathize wi
I just finished reading the Kindle book “Isolated: A Jason King Thriller”, by Matt Rogers. It only cost 99 cents and was moderately enjoyable, so I’m not complaining, but several comments come to mind.
First of all, the English grammar is sketchy, to say the least. Some of it might have been on purpose, with the idea that special-forces type Jason King would express his thoughts that way. If that was the idea, I think it was a mistake and just made him sound dumb.&nb
The Washington Post called Tana French “One of the most talented crime writers alive.” I think they’re right. Broken Harbour, published in 2012, is the second Tana French book I’ve read, and I also admired the first one. In both books, French writes in the first person as a male police officer, and as far as I can tell, assumes the persona perfectly. Maybe she manages this so successfully by steering clear of sex. And maybe the reason she chooses to do this