Mark Terry

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What I've Been Reading

March 2, 2008
Here's my first 10 books read in 2008, with a few comments.

The Death Trust by David Rollins
Nominally a mystery, Rollins is an Australian writing about the U.S. military. The main character is sent to Germany to investigate the apparent murder of a general. Much mayhem and conspiracies ensue. Very entertaining, very well written. Great book? No, probably not, but fun.

The Overlook by Michael Connelly
A Harry Bosch novel, but almost disappointing. It was originally a serialized mystery, and as such, seems a little thin. I had the entire mystery figured out about a third of the way through, but like all Connelly novels, it's pretty good.

Bones To Ashes by Kathy Reichs
Yet another solid, albeit a little questionable, mystery by forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. It's a bit muddied and the number of coincidences in this book is mind-boggling. Still, I enjoyed it. A fair amount of interesting info on the history of leprosy in North America.

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
Here's an oddity. I was slightly disappointed with this tech thriller about the world's largest supercollider and how apparently they are hearing the voice of God from it when it's operating at 100%--at least when I was reading it. However, once I finished, I found it sort of relentlessly thought-provoking, the type of book that stays with you long after you're done reading it.

The Betrayal Game by David L. Robbins
A historical thriller taking place in Cuba shortly after Castro takes power. I loved this book. It's a somewhat alternate view of history, although not remotely improbable and Robbins writes like a dream. Highly recommended.

Scorpia by Anthony Horowitz
One of the more interesting entries in Horowitz's Alex Rider series. This is for YA, and Alex Rider is sort of a 14-year-old James Bond. In this one he's pursuing the truth about his father; in the previous book Alex was told that his father was an assassin for the underworld group, Scorpia.

The Last Colony by John Scalzi
SF and good stuff at that. The third book after Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades. It's much more political than the first two, which tend to be military SF with heavy doses of space opera, but John Perry, the narrator is funny and sarcastic and I enjoyed this one a lot.

Stranger In Paradise by Robert B. Parker
I'm beginning to wonder why I bother reading his books any more. Part of the reason is a long line of excellent reading, but the guy probably needs to retire. This book just makes no sense and had a lot of glaring copyediting errors that suggests to me the manuscript goes straight from Parker to the printer with no editing whatsoever. I also wish he'd get off his ass and do a little research for his novels, particularly if he's going to continue to write nominal police procedurals.

Jumper by Stephen Gould
More YA, sort of. This is, loosely, the book the movie Jumper was based on, although the changes to the book are significant. I liked the movie reasonably well, probably better than the book. I would describe the book as being like J.D. Salinger's "Catcher In The Rye" if the main character could teleport. Sort of slow, given the potential storylines.

Memo To The President Elect by Madeleine Albright
An attempt by me to read more nonfiction books. This is a profoundly great book if you're interested in politics, foreign policy and American history. It's also remarkably well-written, witty and insightful. One of my favorite quotes (of many) is:

She's speaking of how to isolate Al Qaeda. "The bottom line is that we are idiots if we fail to win the public relations war--and ultimately the real war (or struggle, battle, or fight)--against a bunch of murderers whose only tangible promise to supporters is posthumous recognition on a website"

Mark Terry


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