Mark Terry

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What I've Been Reading

August 14, 2007
Before I get to my last batch of reading, I just want to point anyone in the Michigan area to my news page, which we updated to include a number of events I'll be doing in a couple weeks.

Now, on to reading.

Bag of Bones by Stephen King
One of my all-time favorite books, which I try to read or listen to every couple years.

The Cleaner by Brett Battles
A debut novel and a very strong one. Did it live up to what I perceive as a lot of hype? Welllll, probably not, but it was a very enjoyable book.

Hunter’s Moon by Randy Wayne White
Another outing for Doc Ford and although I enjoyed this book quite a bit, it is, to say the least, a fairly improbable plot, with an ex-president asking Doc to sneak him out from under his Secret Service protection, etc. If you like Randy's books you'll probably like this one. If you haven't read any of his books, don't start with this one.

The Second Horseman by Kyle Mills
A fun, enjoyable thriller. I really, really like this one, which isn't always how I feel about Mills' books.

Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz
Another terrific outing in the Alex Rider YA adults. Alex is a high schooler in England who periodically is blackmailed and/or recruited to work as a sort of James Bond for MI6. In this case he's loaned to the CIA to provide cover to a couple of CIA agents who are trying to infiltrate a Russian general who is staying at an island near Cuba. When they die Alex is on his own to find out what the Russian's nefarious plan is.

The Judas Strain by James Rollins
A Sigma Force novel involving Marco Polo's lost journal, a plague, an evil conspiracy, science, adventure, etc. Fun.

Spare Change by Robert B. Parker
Well, another Sunny Randall novel. Although it was readable, I hit a big technical error--cops hunting for ejected cartridges from a revolver--that made me wonder why I still bother. Particularly since, although Parker is one of my favorite authors, I thought BLUE SCREEN was just plain awful.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
Although I have some clarifications I would like to corner Jo Rowling with and I'm sorry to see the end of the series, I enjoyed it. It's one of my least favorite (but better than The Chamber of Secrets) of the books, but I found it very readable and particularly the last third of the book was very exciting.

No Man’s Land by G.M. Ford
I had this book for over a year and I have no clue why it kept getting backburnered. Ford's Corso novels are so damned good and this one is, too. Corso is a true-crime author/investigative journalist. A guy named Driver who is in a supermax prison takes over the prison and with the other prisoners starts a riot, holding the guards hostage. Corso had written a bestselling book about Driver's crimes (killing his wife and her lover) and Driver indicates they'll start killing a hostage every hour unless Corso shows up. Excellent.

Patriot Acts by Greg Rucka
Another novel--probably the last novel--featuring bodyguard Atticus Kodiak. If you haven't read his previous AK novel, CRITICAL SPACE, there's a good chance you won't have a clue what's going on in this one. It's a very good novel, very exciting, with a slightly depressing feel to it, probably because Rucka seems to be ending the series and bringing the main character's totally changed life to some sort of resolution. If you haven't read anything by Rucka, don't start here. Start somewhere, because he's terrific, but this isn't the place to start.

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich
I was on vacation when I read Patriot Acts and the next book I was going to read was THE CHEMISTRY OF DEATH by Simon Beckett, but it became clear to me after reading the first three chapters of Beckett's first novel that following PATRIOT ACTS with this intense, moody, British forensic procedural about serial killers was going to be a downer for a bunch of beach days. So I hit the local Wal-Mart and picked up MOTOR MOUTH, Evanovich's second book in her "Barney" series. What can I say? It's light and funny and sassy and sexy and completely disposable. It's like a meal of cotton candy. It was exactly what I needed, even if I think the first one in this series, METRO GIRL, was a lot better, and I think both probably pale to her Stephanie Plum novels (which may be losing steam, too, but I'm one or two books behind on those, so maybe not).

So I'm reading THE CHEMISTRY OF DEATH right now and unless he falls apart before the end, it's really a terrific book that I would highly recommend. It's paced much slower than what I usually prefer, but it's very engrossing and I find the narrator very sympathetic and believable.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

I need to try Motor Mouth! I started it and loved it. I just couldn't buy it, with about thirty books in the queue at the moment!

The big deal about The Cleaner, for me, is that's in that assassin/spy genre with a friendly style and great characters. I love le Carre and Littell and such, but you know, sometimes I just want spy fiction that's an easy and flowing read. There's not that many with that style (although more, lately) in the spy genre, at least that I know of.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I wouldn't want to give the impression I didn't like The Cleaner. I did. A lot. The problem I had with it might quite possibly be sour grapes in that I managed to miss being a Killer Year writer by about a year, so they get a really, really big push from International Thriller Writers, Inc. (who have been quite kind to me, as well), so perhaps I was just expecting to have my socks blown off. I didn't. I liked it. I thought it was good. I'll buy his other books, undoubtedly. But it's hard to blow me away these days.

11:16 AM  

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