Predictable yet tense…. ****
You know you are in the hands of a great writer when a book is totally predictable yet you are on the edge of your seat as the story unfolds. Koontz is a master at this and once again proves it in this novel.
As in most of his work, the story itself is thin but his ability as a wordsmith not only shines through but makes this an enjoyable read. My only negative comment is that the end felt rushed and was tied up a little too neatly. I had the feeling that Koontz used this novel to express frustration with our current state of politics and pandemic, yet with the hope that things will be okay.
This one gets four stars.
Irony at play….. ***
Having been a fan of Ian Rankin and his Inspector Rebus series, I was anxious to read the newest novel. On page two, Rankin refers to the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, this should have been an omen. Ironically, I stopped reading Child years ago as the writing became lazy and the books repetitive.
Sad to say, this novel falls into the same trap. While the prose still is above that of most detective novels, the story was predictable and dragged. Not only does Rankin fall under the Reacher curse, but he emulates Michael Connelly by describing all the twists and turns, highways and byways, as Rebus drives from point a to point b. As in any novel that does this, the story then drags.
Usually, the characters in Rankin’s novels draw me deeper into the story. Unfortunately, in this novel, the characters I have enjoyed are one dimensional and dull. Even the normally interesting Cafferty is bland.
This one gets three stars, and I hope the next one gets us back to the standard we have come to enjoy.
This is a must read…..*****
This is a must read. This is also a book that needs more attention from those who can do something about the current political situation.
Enrich gives a detailed account of Deutsche bank and how it developed into the sleazy institution it is today. This reads like a novel more than a nonfiction account. While the first half is slow, the second half picks up and becomes a page turner. Enrich does a good job of explaining the financial terms so they do not bog down the reading.
This book also explains some of the mystery around the current president and how he has managed to stay afloat in spite of his bankruptcies. It also draws back the curtain on the intrigue surrounding the retirement of Justice Kennedy which opened the door to replace him with Kavanaugh.
I highly recomment this book and give it five stars.
More like what is an antiracist….. ****
While the title implies a “how to”, the book is more of a “what is”. The author, through his own personal struggle, defines what is a racist and what is not extremely well. The book was an eye opener for me and has me re-evaluating my own beliefs and attitudes. Prior to reading this book I would have said I was not racist, which I now know is a racist comment.
This book is a must read especially in the current climate of our nation. Kendi pulls no punches about the discussion of racism and his message is that much stronger as he narrates his own battle with becoming an antiracist.
My only negative comment is in the title which makes the book fall short of expectation. While Kendi defines antiracist and gives some pointers in to how to be one, I feel there could have been more practical suggestions toward that end.
This one gets four stars, and I highly recommend.
Not enough and not much…….. **
While everyone was hoping that this would be a book giving us more dirt on DJT, from that perspective it is a disappointment. It is, however, a look into just how messed up the heirs of Fred Trump are and how Mary’s father, Freddy, was mistreated.
The insights into the environment he grew up in may help explain DJT’s mindset, but as the author points out does not excuse them. The information is not new. She does amplify the fact that no one, even today, has confronted DJT about his actions. The fact that others can so easily use him is both sad and scary. The fact that his enablers do not confront him is even sadder. One of the best points Mary Trump makes is the “normalizing” of DJT by the media and others that has allowed him to become who he is.
This is a book that spends too much time whining about the mistreatment of Freddy Trump. It is very repetitive and her psychological insights are simplistic. If DJT was not the current president, this book would never have been written nor, if so, would not have been noticed.
This one gets two stars. I read this because I have a need to get information first-hand, but would not recommend it.
Thank you John Connolly……… *****
After being disappointed by some of my favorite authors recently, it was great to see Connolly not falter. This is another amazing book in the Charlie Parker series, each one better than the last.
A large part of this one gave me chills while other parts brought on a range of emotions from sadness to elation. Connolly is a master at weaving the macabre with noir and here he shines.
This is a read that drew me in and didn’t let go until the last page, and even then I am not sure it did. This one gets a full five stars.
More like goodbye Mr. Deaver… **
Just when I thought Deaver was back to his excellent writing mode, here comes The Goodbye Man. I was looking forward to another great read and sadly was disappointed.
The style he chose of giving us a scene and then going back and describing how it was set up was good, maybe a bit over used but it worked. My problem is that Deaver wrote this as if his readers are not capable of remembering what he has written. Time and again he explains something that we have read not that long ago and don’t need reminding.
My biggest complaint is not so much the writing as the editing. It seems that popular authors are not being edited well, not only here but I have seen it in, for example, the most recent Dean Koontz book. Either publishers are getting lazy, have hired incompetent editors, or are not bothering if the author is popular. In any case, when it happens it derails this reader from enjoying the book.
This one gets two stars. Not sure if I will buy another Deaver novel.
Fair warning, not that good…… **
The Poet is the best book by Connelly. Much like The Stand by King or Intensity by Koontz, it represents the time when he wrote at his best, caring more about the story than the market. The one redeeming aspect to Fair Warning is that Connelly brings back some of the characters from The Poet.
Having said that, I did expect this book to be at least half as good. I was disappointed. Within the first twenty-eight pages there was a plot flaw that told me not only was it poorly edited, but that Connelly had phoned this one in. The main character, Jack, falls into the TSTL category and was at best irritating beyond belief. The antagonist, Shrike, began as an intelligent serial killer but ended as a joke. The few bright spots were the times Rachel, from The Poet, appeared and even those were dimly lit. The ending stretched the believability factor too far.
I have read all of Connelly’s books and this was a let down. This one gets two stars.
Blast from the past… ***
This novella reminds me of the old Mickey Spillane books where he introduced Mike Hammer to the world or maybe Erle Stanley Gardner and his Perry Mason series. Short vignettes that capture the essence of a character without going too deep. Short reads that are light entertainment.
While this style is the intended genre for the author, and for which I would give five stars, I feel as though this was an outline for an even better book that was never fleshed out. There is so much more I would like to know about each of the characters and even the setting of Seatown.
Brazill is a an excellent writer and I would be the first in line for a full blown version of this story, Tommy Bennett has the potential of being as good a character as Mike Hammer or better yet, Ray Donovan.
In the mean time this one gets three stars.
Back to five stars….. *****
Sadly, I have given one star reviews to the last few books by Stephen King. Thankfully, in this new book he is back to being the master story-teller we have come to love. King has an extraordinary ability to create characters that you care about and can relate to along with stories that draw you in and hold you. He accomplishes both in this collection of short stories, which are really novellas.
I would recommend reading The Outsider prior to this book, to fully grasp the character of Holly Gibney, and if you have only seen the television version you may have trouble seeing her, as in all of her appearances in King novels, as white. Even knowing this I could not help but imagine Cynthia Erivo as Holly as I read the story If It Bleeds.
As a writer, I really enjoyed the story, The Rat, and the struggles that the main character, Drew Larson, has with writing a novel. The story is as much about good writing as it is about Drew’s encounter with the rat.
Thank you Mr. King for getting back on track and writing a book worthy of your talent.
This one gets five stars and to Mr. King I say, rat on.