What I've Been Reading
What I've been reading so far in 2014.
Timecaster by JA Konrath
I would say pretty typically Joe Konrath, even though it's SF. Fairly imaginative, filled with over-the-top violence, sex and humor. I enjoyed it for the most part, was a bit pissed off that it didn't end, but leaves you on a cliffhanger for the follow-up book, which I haven't read, but might. In this near-future world crime has more or less been eliminated due to Timecasting, which allows certain trained people to view recent events using a special kind of time-travel equipment. So any time a crime is committed, all the cops have to do is view backwards, see who did it, track that person back, and arrest them. Except the main character views himself murdering a woman.
A Feast For Crows by George RR Martin
Probably the most exasperating of the Game of Thrones books, because few of the main characters are featured in it. Ultimately I enjoyed it, but I was very frustrated at the beginning because the storyline has spread out so far and wide that I was having trouble tracking what was going on. But it sets up a lot of things, so there will undoubtedly be a big payoff.
The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons by Lawrence Block
Ah, Bernie Rhodenbarr, aka Bernie the Burglar, is back, this time stealing spoons of historical importance, and a manuscript by F Scott Fitzgerald, and numerous other amusing twists and turns. Block's a master and he plays with his narrative timeline. I really enjoyed this book. It was great to have Bernie Back.
iSEAL by Jude Hardin
I reviewed this at length earlier, but suffice to say I enjoyed this tech-thriller.
Innocent Blood by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell
The second book in the Sanguinists series, which features a group of vampires who work for the Vatican. I think I liked the first one a bit better, but this was really enjoyable, and has Judas Iscariot as a major character, as well as a returning Rasputin, among others. Highlyl recommended, albeit a bit weird. If you haven't read the first one, this one will make zero sense, though.
All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sazurazaka
An SF novel. The upcoming Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt film, The Edge of Tomorrow is based (loosely, presumably) on this novel. In the future the world is under attack by geoforming monsters and the main character is fighting them (in Japan) when he is killed and wakes up the same day. He finds himself in a time loop, ala Groundhogs Days, where he continually sharpens his skills and eventually teams up with a female special forces soldier who is renowned for her ability to kill the aliens. I liked it, but thought the third act was a bit rushed. And it's possible readers might find the conclusion to be not quite as satisfying as they had hoped because it works against expectations. Enjoyable, though.
Standoff by David Rollins
Another book by Australian David Rollins features USAF special investigator Vin Cooper. I love these books, but every single one has at least one over-to-top sequence that makes me go, "Oh, gimme a break," and in this one it's sort of the premise. After encountering a a serious incursion into the US by a Mexican drug cabal, Vin is, without much backup or preparation, thrown undercover into the group, which involves a crazy Mexican drug lord who wants to invade the U.S. A lot of fun, but it also requires a fairly major suspension of disbelief.
Deep Storm by Lincoln Child
A re-read. In Deep Storm, Dr. Peter Crane is invited to work on a top secret military installation in the North Atlantic that, he finds, is trying to recover Atlantis two miles deep at the bottom of the ocean. People in the cutting edge facility are exhibiting a strange set of medical symptoms. But Crane soon finds that the Atlantis story is just that, a cover story, and that the purpose of the Deep Storm facility is far more strange and dangerous, that they may be attempting to recover weapons or technology left there by advanced alien races. It works pretty well and I've enjoyed it every time I've read it. Very exotic locale. Child is really good at creating exotic self-enclosed environments and putting his heroes into them, ala Utopia, Deep Storm.
Storm Front by John Sandford
A Virgil Flowers novel, also a re-read, because I was in the mood for something relatively light and well written, and this book fit the bill. A minister and archaeology professor from Minnesota apparently steals an artifact from an Israeli archaeological dig that might overturn Middle Eastern history as we know it. State cop Virgil Flowers is told to accompany a woman from the Israeli Institute of Antiquities to recover it. But the minister appears to be attempting to sell it to the highest bidder, which may include Hezbollah, a couple of radical Turks, and two TV stars that operate independent Indiana Jones-like shows that want the publicity. Find out that the woman might actually be Mossad and Virgil has his hands full. Really a ton of fun.