Mark Terry

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What I've Been Readin'

May 7, 2008
These are #11-20 of this year to-date. With comments...

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford
A re-read, actually. Sandford kind of inspired my latest novel-being-marketed with this novel in that they're both about political consultants, and I wanted to re-read it.

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
Sort of dubbed the next "Harry Potter" which is total B.S. My son liked this novel about a kid who discovers an entire world beneath the earth. He'll probably go ahead and read the sequels. I wasn't real wild about it, primarily because I thought every character in the book was so strange that I couldn't relate to any of them.

Black Widow by Randy Wayne White
A "Doc Ford" novel. In this case, his goddaughter is being blackmailed after she and some friends went to a Caribbean island for a bachelorette party that got out of hand. When it really spins out of control, Doc leaps into action. It was good, strange, fun, typical RWW.

Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman
Another good outing with Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis, although Kellerman seems to completely jettison any real rationale for Alex to be so involved in a homicide investigation.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is Stephen King's son and it's his first novel. Genes do tell. I was somewhat skeptical, although I liked the premise--an older death metal star (think of a coherent Ozzy Osbourne) who collects odd things like letters from serial killers, buys a "ghost" over an eBay knockoff... only it really does have a ghost and it's really going after him. THIS. NOVEL. ROCKS. I was floored--and envious--just how good and creepy and scary and everything this novel is.

Stardoc by SL Viehl
Sci-Fi. I like her blog and I liked the idea of a doctor in outer space, so I checked it out. It's a little episodic, but there's a lot of humor, a little bit of space romance and sex, a little bit of adventure and I enjoyed it and will probably look for other books by her.

Nerve Damage by Peter Abrahams
Wonderful thriller. A famous sculptor is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Egged on by a friend, he gets a hacker to break into the computer files of the New York Times to see what his obituary will look like. But there's a misprint in it about his late-wife who died in a helicopter crash in Venezuela. He brings it to the attention of the NYT writer, who is shortly after killed in a break-in, and the main character finds himself trying to figure out what's going on while people are trying to kill him... even as he goes through experimental chemo therapy. This is the second book I've read by Abrahams, the first being Oblivion, and they're similar, but wonderful. 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
As recommended by my son, Ian. Probably middle-grades rather than YA, it's definitely an interesting spin on things. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius and master criminal who, through machinations too complicated to describe here, is blackmailing leprechauns and fairies into turning over gold. Colfer's voice is very funny (the narrative is omniscient and strange, but you get used to it) and the way he spins this bizarro story of kidnapping, hostage rescue, etc is ingenious. My favorite character was Munch, a dwarf criminal who, like all the dwarves in the novel, creates tunnels by eating the dirt and, er, pooping it out the other end at high velocity (with occasionally comic results). Yeah, yeah, boys LOVE this stuff. Hilarious and compelling.

Enemy Combatant by Ed Gaffney
Legal thriller. Really enjoyed it.

Seven for a Secret by Mary Reed & Eric Mayer
Historical mystery taking place in 6th century Constantinople. John is Emperor Justinian's Grand Chancellor and when he is approached by the model for the mosaic of a girl in his study who later ends up murdered, he begins to investigate, eventually turning up a plot to overthrow the emperor. I enjoy this series a lot and enjoyed this book. I happen to agree with their editor and publisher (Eric has shared this with me, by the way) that they should write a big, sprawling Rome-based epic. I thought this novel had all the elements of one--palace intrigue, religious conspiracies, murder, sex, family secrets--but on a smaller, more modest scale. Highly recommended.

Cheers,
Mark Terry