The Dark Tower Series


The Whole Series    ****

Having read the entire series, I am going to review it in total. First, this is a great read even if you are not a Stephen King fan, just a fan of good storytelling. There is so much that takes place over the eight books that it feels like a long and fun roller coaster ride. King has a plethora of references that not all readers may get depending on their age, but enough up to date ones that all readers will enjoy.

Second, if there is weakness to this series it is the negative side of the references I just mentioned. I found myself saying, “are you kidding me?”, especially when he brings in the Wizard of Oz storyline. There is a reference to objects used in the Harry Potter series that made me wonder why King could not have been more creative rather than “borrowing” from another author.

Third, the fact that he does use other writers’ work becomes part of the fun as one reads. King wrote this series over a long span of time but seemed to let himself enjoy every minute of writing. The series shows what happens when a writer lets loose.

If all of this sounds a little contradictory then you understand how I felt in reading the eight books. There were times when I laughed, cried, thought I was wasting my time reading, or went “O, My God”.

Read the series, enjoy the ride, and may you have long days and pleasant nights.

Alex Cross’s Trial


Cliche City   *


First, as others have said, I felt duped by the fact that this book is advertised as an Alex Cross novel.

But beyond that this is a poorly written account of the south and the atrocities whites put on blacks. Using every cliche imaginable, from a mammie in a red handkerchief chasing chickens to the folksy discussion by Mark Twain, this is lazy writing at its best. The “almost hanging” of the main character pushes the envelope of believability.

There are no surprises here and the plot is completely predictable. James Patterson owes an apology to his fans.

Under The Dome: A Novel


The Dome Doesn’t Stand Up   ***

Having read all of Stephen King’s novels I was anxious to read “Under The Dome” and be transported into the imagination of a master writer.

It is long, it does have a plethora of characters, and it is well written (I want to go back and mark all the cliche’s King throws in). It is however not his best. For that “The Stand” will reign supreme with ” Cujo” in second place.

The “Dome” is a good read but too predictable, and too close to an old episode of “The Twilght Zone”-The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960).

The Aisha Prophecy


The Aisha Disappointment    *


In the past anything written by John Maxim would not only capture my interest but would have a special place on my bookshelf. The Bannerman series is one of my favorites. I devoured each one and kept looking for more after the last was read. When I found “The Ashia Prophecy” I was excited to once again be transfixed by Maxim’s talent as a story teller.

Sadly, I am disappointed. It is hard to believe this is the same author who penned even the previous book about the Black Angel in “Haven”. This is not Maxim at his best nor at his worse. This is as if someone else penned this 600 page attempt at writing. It must have been John Minimum. Minimum plot, minimum character development, and minimum reason to turn a page.

My wife kept asking me, “Why are you reading that book if you are so disappointed?”. I kept hoping it would get better and something worth reading would happen. For this reader, it never did.

Frankenstein: Lost Souls


Koontz Is Back    *****


I have read and own everything Dean Koontz has written. His last few books were a little disappointing and it is nice to see him back in “Koontz” form.

This book was hard to put down. He hasn’t kept me riveted since “Velocity“, until now. The end does come abruptly and I had to remind myself this IS a series.

Welcome back Dean!!

Boca Knights


Refreshingly Different   *****


While attending the 2010 Bouchercon Conference in San Francisco, I wandered into a seminar led by Steve Forman. He was discussing writing as a second career and had the room in hysterics with his humor and captivating life story. Purchasing his book, I could only hope that his written story telling was as good as his live story telling. I was not disappointed. By page 26 I had to put the book down for a minute, I was laughing so hard I was crying.

Forman writes about a Boston cop who retires to Florida and falls into the role of vigilante. On the surface this may sound like a lot of current popular books, Child and Connelly come to mind, but Forman’s style and characters are refreshingly different. While laying the foundation for why his main character is who he is, Forman gives us a look not only into the world of a Boston neighborhood, an insight into retired life in Florida, but also a history lesson on Russia and Haiti.

Spiced with humor this is a great thriller unlike anything I have read recently. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series, Boca Mournings and Boca Daze.


Boca Mournings


A Must Read  *****


How many books have you read that combine gay issues, the Holocaust, the dispute between Israel and Palestine, the susceptibility of seniors to exploitation, and a talking penis? Steve Forman has managed to do all of that with not only his trademark humor but with a sensitivity that reveals the heart of a caring soul.

This is a must read for anyone who loves to read and wants a story that is not only a page turner but is a story with some surprising twists. Forman keeps you reading and manages to deal with some serious issues while making you laugh at the same time.

Eddie Perlmutter is not just a character we wish existed but is someone we all could strive to be like. My only suggestion would be to read the first book, Boca Knights,to understand who Eddie really is.

That doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t stand alone, it just means that if you like good books don’t miss any of Forman’s work!!

Cross Fire (Alex Cross)


Almost A Good Book    **


Having read all of the Alex Cross novels it is always with anticipation when I pick up the newest. This book starts out as well as any of Patterson’s prior stories. While taking characters directly from the headlines makes part of the story line more believable, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers that the mathematician as killer was hard to swallow.

My problem with the book is the ending. Up until the final encounter with the main antagonist, Kyle Crane, the reader is told how precise, cautious, and masterful this criminal is and has been. The final showdown does not match what until then has been a very cunning and calculating plot to kill Alex Cross. This is not a spoiler, we all know Alex survives.

Patterson, like Child, Connelly, and Crais, has become lazy in writing a book that fails to keep the reader completely satisfied.

The Sentry (A Joe Pike Novel)


I Think Robert Forgot To Include The Story    ***


There seems to be a trend among authors of series recently to produce a book that is weak in story line. Lee Child did this in “Worth Dying For”, Michael Connelly did it in “The Reversal”, and now one of my favorite authors has followed suit.

As a fan of Pike, I would expect more than reading about him driving his Jeep from place to place and watching for the bad guys. This book is light on plot, character development, and ending. Like James Patterson’s “Cross Fire”, the final showdown between Pike and Daniel doesn’t live up to what we would have expected. Daniel is able to kill Columbian drug muscle with ease yet puts himself in an amatuerish situation when finally confronting Pike.

Let’s hope all these authors come back from their “rest” with renewed commitment to writing a page turner.

The Athena Project


Well Done – A Good Read    ****


Brad Thor writes a good story and “The Athena Project” is exactly that. A page turner with several threads that tie up nicely in the end. While the idea of “teleportation” is on the edge of believability, it is not so far fetched as one might think.

My only criticism would be the “chase” scenes that were a little cliche, maybe too much like recent films. However, if you want a good read that lets you escape, then you can’t go wrong with this one.