Mark Terry

Friday, March 12, 2010

What I've Been Reading

March 12, 2010
Here's the last 10 books I've read, with comments.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
I thought this got off to a slow start, but once it got going was pretty compelling. One of the reviewers, I think for Newsweek, commented that one of the problems with Dan Brown was that he does so much research, then has his characters describe it, that they all sound like docents. I agree completely with that statement. I think if you read it as a sort of history of Washington DC with an emphasis on Mason symbolism, it's a fascinating book. If you read it as a page-turning thriller, it's ok.

9 Dragons by Michael Connelly.
This Harry Bosch novel eventually takes Harry to Hong Kong to rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped. I liked this novel quite a bit and has some nice twists. I also thought Connelly was pretty brave for killing off a significant recurring character.

The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe.
The first book I've read all the way through on the Kindle app on the iPhone. It's nonfiction written by President Obama's campaign manager and it's a very compelling read and, for the most part, seems very honest. There's probably not quite enough gossip to make it a really fun read, although Plouffe regularly expresses his shock at the mistakes the Hilary Clinton campaign and then the McCain campaign made. He readily admits to their own mistakes, some of which were pretty stupid, but it's also clear that Obama et al took a somewhat, er, "maverick" approach and it worked well for them, although my thoughts on it are that they don't stand a chance of using the same approach in the next election.

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt
A fun, but somewhat anticlimactic time travel SF novel. When a physicist disappears and his son discovers a time machine, he and his friend travel through time visiting historical events looking for him. I'm sort of a sucker for time travel stories, so I enjoyed it.

The Reclamation Artist by Kristin Katherine Rusch.
This is actually a novella and again, I read it on the iPhone. It's part of her Disappeared series. In the future there are aliens all over the place and everyone pretty much agrees, by treaty, to abide by the laws of the particular culture where crimes are committed. And some of those crimes, by human standards, are nothing, but the punishments are awful. As a result, an industry has grown up that helps people disappear and start up a new life somewhere else. And by more or less the same token, another industry has sprung up that tries to find the Disappeared. Deeply disturbing books, generally, but absorbing.

Altar of Eden by James Rollins
A standalone tech thriller about genetically engineered animals. Good fun.

Capitol Offense by William Bernhardt
Bernhardt's been writing a whole long series of books about an Oklahoma criminal attorney. I got hooked into the books a couple years ago when the character, Ben Kincaid, got appointed to the Senate by the state's Governor. I loved the Washington, DC location and all the government gossip & stuff, so I was hoping this book was more of the same. Instead it was a courtroom thriller. When a man's wife goes missing he keeps trying to get the cops to open a case, but they won't. When he finally convinces them to, they find her within 3 hours, but she dies from exposure and injuries shortly after they find her. The husband then goes and confronts the cop, apparently murdering him in the process (maybe). Kincaid reluctantly agrees to defend him, using a temporary insanity defense. If you like courtroom dramas, it's very good. It has some nice twists and turns, too.

Impact by Douglas Preston
A tech thriller involving strange radioactive gems found in Cambodia, a search for a meteor that landed somewhere off the coast of Maine, and odd gamma radiation signals from Mars. If the ending is somewhat anticlimactic (maybe one twist too many, in my opinion, somewhat undercutting the resolution), the rest of the book is a whole lot of fun.

The Ghost by Robert Harris
Ah, my favorite read this year. The book the Pierce Brosnan/Ewan MacGreggor movie, The Ghost Writer, is based on. A ghostwriter (who is nameless in the entire book, rather a metaphorical point, I think) who usually specializes in celebrity "autobiographies" is hired to complete the autobio of the last UK Prime Minister. The previous ghostwriter apparently either committed suicide by throwing himself off the ferry to Martha's Vineyard or fell off because he was drunk. The ghost moves onto the Vineyard and starts interviewing the PM, when The Hague takes action to try the former PM for war crimes. The ghostwriter starts feeling that maybe the last ghostwriter's death wasn't an accident and might have been onto some sort of conspiracy. A couple things about this book. First, Harris is a fantastic writer. The "voice" for this novel is an almost instant gotcha. There are tons of undercurrents and it really does take a while to figure out what's really going on. There are also some nice twists, in particular, a fairly disturbing one that really resonates at the very end of the novel. Highly recommended. (And no, I haven't seen the movie yet).

Split Image by Robert B. Parker
The first novel of Parker's to be published posthumously, it's a Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall novel, with multiple plots and multiple points of view. I actually thought this one was very good, even if it spent a little too much time on Jesse and Sunny's sessions with their shrinks. As Parker plots go, it was fairly complex.



Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Wow, I'm impressed! That's a lot of reading!

8:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home