Mark Terry

Monday, July 06, 2009

What I've Been Reading

July 6, 2009
Here's the last 10 books I've read.

True Detectives by Jonathan Kellerman
Pretty good, overall. He wrote a novel about two brothers, one a cop, the other a P.I., one black, one white, that he introduced in a previous novel. Like most readers, I prefer his Alex Delaware novels, but I thought the brothers' interactions were interesting.

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass by Erica Kirov
The first in a series for middle grades about a boy who discovers he belongs to a family of magicians. Includes Houdini, Anastasia, Rasputin and tame polar bears and tigers, among many other things. A lot of fun, but I'm biased, because Erica Kirov is actually Erica Orloff, who is a friend of mine.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian
The 5th and final book in the Percy Jackson series for middle grades. A fantastic conclusion to a fantastic series.

Wicked Prey by John Sandford
Another excellent outing by crime fiction's most reliable writer.

The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success by Donald Maass
Although some of the e-rights issues are dated, this is an excellent reference for writers and aspiring writers, and it's free as a download on Maass's website.

A Knife Edge by David Rollins
An Australian thriller writer who writes about an American military investigator. The voice is terrific. The action is over the top--even by my loose standards--but Rollins delivers. The voice reminds me a lot of Nelson DeMille.

The Human Disguise by James O'Neal
SF under a pseudonym, James O'Neal is actually James O. Born, better known for writing police procedurals. Guess what? This is a police procedural. But it takes place 20 or 30 years in the future when everything's pretty much gone to hell, aliens are headed our way, and some mysterious folks are trying to locate the parts for a nuclear weapon. Good stuff.

Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
Another Doc Ford novel. It involves kidnapping and all sorts of strange stuff and unfortunately, spends a huge chunk of the time in the Hamptons instead of Doc's Florida. It's enjoyable, but not his strongest outing. And there's just not enough Tomlinson.

The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
SF and great, although I found it a bit depressing because of the subject matter. It's a significant distance in the future. We have colonies on the moon and Mars and other places. We interact with a bunch of other races. For a variety of reasons (I would have been interested in a book about how these came about), Earth has made a number of treaties with other races on other planets where we abide by their laws under certain circumstances and they abide by ours under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, some of these races have laws that make your skin crawl. One does ritual revenge killings. Another takes the "eye for an eye" thing to an extreme, by taking the perpetrator's oldest child and raising them as their own, genetically modified and everything. As a result, companies have sprung up that help people disappear. This is a complex, haunting novel and I spent much of it doubting that it could possibly have anything resembling a happy ending, but Rusch pulled off a reasonably satisfying ending that didn't make me want to kill myself.

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis
More than most of the founding fathers, George Washington is a bit of a cipher. Not much is known about his formative years. Martha W. burned all their letters upon his death, and Washington was so concerned about his posterity and public persona that he periodically edited his diaries so nobody's even sure if his early writings aren't bullshit. It seems like he was an enigma while he was living and remains something of one 200+ years after his death, but a fascinating book.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

5 Comments:

Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I read the Maass book and was amazed, and a bit distressed, to realize that all the unpleasant facts about modern publishing that Mary and I have learned since our first novel appeared had already been laid out by Maass and were available to us before we stated trying to publish our books.Maybe it's just as well we didn't read his book in 1997. We might not have bothered writing a novel!

Speaking of is it a mystery or sf I am reading The City and the City by China Mieville which is pretty much staggeringly awesome.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I liked the Maass book, but it wasn't without some ambivalence. He also sort of paints a rather rosy picture about the just-publish-four-books-in-your-genre-and-everything-will-be-great scenario. I wanted to occasionally shake him and scream, "It's sometimes outside the writer's hands! Tell it to the publishers!" I'm sure he knows that, though.

10:46 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I love these lists and now I have more to read. Plus, I got the best gift today- two books from a friend! One just jumped to the top of the stack, but thank God the other is his and I read it in beta. :)

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

One thing about the Maass book, he was talking, I think, strictly about Big Publishers, which makes sense as you can't have a career, in the sense of making a living, with a small publisher. So I just passed over some of those guidelines an inapplicable to my situation. I wonder if he would think that 4 book rule still applies?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Eric,
I wonder just how much the industry has changed in a decade to make him question the 4-book rule, too. Seems to me you get 2 or 3 books with larger publishers to have an effect or you're out of luck.

1:15 PM  

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