Mark Terry

Sunday, October 04, 2009

What I've Been Reading

October 4, 2009

Here's my latest 10.

The Doomsday Key by James Rollin
Another rip-roarin' Sigma Force novel. Terrific as usual, involving, oh, genetically engineered food and a plot to kill off huge numbers of people.

The Inside Ring by Mike Lawson
The first in the series featuring a troubleshooter employed by the Speaker of the House. I started with the 3rd or 4th and am working my inside-out. Excellent.

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
At least this one made sense. Another Pendergast novel. This series may have worn out its welcome, but maybe that's just me.

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Enjoyable, light and fun. And like most Stephanie Plum novels, I'm not sure I could tell you what it's about.

Step By Step: A Pedestrian Memoir by Lawrence Bloc
A very strange but entertaining memoir about race-walking mostly.

Whispers of the Dead by Simon Beckett
A terrific forensic procedural by this British author. I highly recommend his books.

Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
A spy novelist that makes me feel quite inadequate as a writer. Wow.

The Chaco Meridian: Centers of Political Power in the Ancient Southwest by Stephen H. Lekson
Anthropology, a bit over my head, about a theory he has about several Anasazi sites, Chaco, Aztec and Paquime. I thought it was fascinating, but it was like reading a textbook.

Even Money by Dick Francis & Felix Francis
Dick's about 82-years-old, and once senses that although all the elements of a Dick Francis novel are there, it's his son, Felix, who is writing the books and probably not all that well. It really sagged in the middle.

Shockball by SL Viehl
SF, the 4th in Viehl's Stardoc novels. Really pretty good, if a little bit frustrating because the characters spend so much time underground on earth being held hostage by a cult of former Navajo.

What've you been reading?


Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

I think the Stephanie Plum series peaked at #12 (the Ranger one with his daughter), and has been sort of mindless and programmatic since then. I hope she gives us another #12 soon, but I believe #16 will be a Joe book. :-(

I've been reading lots of old childhood favorites. Plus I re-read the Harry Potter series and am halfway through the Narnia series. I just finished an AMAZING recursive fantasy based on Peter Pan, called The Child Thief by Brom. I'm also reading through the Oz series, which is politically interesting as history, but not as interesting a children's story as I once thought it was.

Have you read Suzanne Collins? The Hunger Games is amazing. It's YA, but it's the most gut-grabbing book I've read in years.

I adore Ally Carter's Spy School series, but it might be "too" YA/female-y for you, I'm not sure.

I respect Daniel Silva a lot, but I never did much like the Cold War spy stories. Some of them I LOVED, but I'm done with them, LOL, and they seem to be making a comeback, unfortunately for me.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Wow. You actually read books by living people that are being published right now that, in addition to their entertainment value, might give a professional writer some idea of what's going on in the publishing industry today. What a concept :)

I really enjoyed quite a few of Dick Francis' earlier, leaner books. When they sold more and got bigger I didn't care for them as much, whoever was writing them.

Interesting about that Lawrence Block. My mom racewalked locally from her mid-sixties to her mid-seventies. She had a room full of trophies!

1:55 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I once described the Stephanie Plum novels as "perfect disposable entertainment." The woman I said that to seemed taken aback, but it wasn't a criticism, actually. I think what Evanovich does is really, really difficult to do and she does it remarkably well. Her books seem to come out in paperback in June or July. I usually have a week at the beach at the beginning of August. I like to pick up a Stephanie Plum and read it at the beach. Engrossing. Funning. Entertaining. Largely forgettable. Undemanding. Looking at her titles, I can't tell you what any of the plots are except: Stephanie tracks down some people and tries not to choose between Ranger and Joe; she blows up or destroys a vehicle; she hangs out with a former ho and typically some former high school friend who is now a stoner/transvestite/etc. They're fun.

I've read "Gregor the Overlander" by Suzanne Collins. I didn't realize they were the same author until I was at the bookstore recently. Ian's birthday's in a few weeks so he might get The Hunger Games as a present, but at 16 he's finding YA less and less satisfying. We'll see.

I've read 2 or 3 of Silva's The Kill Artist series and they're pretty remarkable, although he writes dramatically different books than I do.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, yeah, I do tend to read living authors, even well-known bestsellers in my genre.

As for Dick Francis, I've read probably his first 7 or 8, then last 20 or so. There's a batch in the middle I've never read. Some hold up very well. There was one that dealt with computers in the 1970s or 1980s that I found unreadable because the technology was so outdated (a real risk when writing about computers). Toward the end of his wife's life I didn't think the books were so great. Stormy Weather and Shattered, for instance, although Shattered has its moments. Othertimes, like To The Hilt, Straight, Decider, when he's at the top of his game, the top of his game is pretty much miles above everybody else.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Chrissy said...

I really want to read Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, I've heard great things so far and reading your review confirmed in my mind that I deff want to read this.
I just finished a great memoir that I really liked called Replacement Child by Judy L. Mantel.
I really liked her book and learned about her life. It made me laugh and cry and any book that can do that, is a great one!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Chrissy said...

Sorry, the author of the book, Replacement Child, I checked my book from upstairs and it's written by Judy L Mandel, ( I was thinking Mantel as that's a family friends last name...oops sorry!!)

5:25 PM  

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