End of Watch by Stephen King





More like end of good writing….   *

Prior to this novel, I thought Duma Key was King’s most boring novel. Having read and praised the first two novels in this series, I was anxious to see how King finished the trilogy. What a disappointment!

My first reaction was, did King actually write this or did he hire a ghost writer who was just learning the craft? For the first sixty-five percent of the book, up to Chapter 14 of the section called BadConcert.com to be exact, I was totally bored. The writing was amateurish and filled with cliches. Maybe a sign was in the first sentence of the book – “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” To be more accurate, he should have said, “It gets worse after page one.”

Sadly, once the book starts to pick up, it only lasts for twenty-seven pages. Then for whatever reason, King chooses to take us back in time to fill in some of the gaps. This can work, but not here. The gaps he wants to fill in are insignificant, and any intelligent reader has already done so.

The plot line of the antagonist, Brady Hartsfield, using out of date “gameboys” stretched the bounds of believability and King had to scramble to connect all the dots as to how this was even possible.

The ending is predictable, and like so many bad detective novels – insert Michael Connelly here – is not believable.

King is a great writer, as he has proven time and again, but this one slipped by his creative skills.

This one gets one star. Usually I can’t put a King novel down until I finish it, this, I just couldn’t wait to put down.

Life or Death by Michael Robotham



More like life, then dull…..   ***


Having read all of Robotham’s Joe O’Loughlin series, I was curious to read one of his stand alone novels.

Life or Death is a unique story that grips you from the beginning. Just the premise of a character breaking out of prison one day before his release is enough to make you want to read the book. Weaving the present with the past, Robotham reveals the motivation behind the escape, saving the twist to near the end. I do have to admit I had not figured things out until the author revealed the full story. Up to that point the novel is well written.

Robotham even manages to take what could have been a cliche –  prisoner on the run connects with down and out mother and child – and gives it a twist that was surprising.

It is not until the climax that this novel falls apart. The confrontation between the good guys and bad guys is so full of holes, I was expecting the pages to fall apart. The rest is tied into a neat little package and left me with a feeling of being let down.

This one gets three stars.  Actually it is a four star read up to chapter 64, then it becomes a three star read.

The Check by Clair Wm. Harmony

best    Great idea, devil in the details……  **


What a great idea!  Someone is putting money in Ronald Sizemore’s bank account and is then sending checks out to people in need. The money is being drained from every imaginable drug dealer, terrorist, or criminal’s account and is being used for good. This sounds reminiscent of a story one might have seen on Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.

The idea is good and the novel holds together for about the first third of the book.  Unfortunately, it then deteriorates from cliche to unbelievable.

Harmony does a good job of setting  up the plot and brings the reader in deep. I found myself turning pages anxious to see where this was going and who was causing the money transfers. The story begins to fall apart after Sizemore hires a security firm to protect him from threats on his life. Without giving anything away, the decisions made for his protection soon become unbelievable.

The novel could use a rewrite. Harmony mixes up the names of his characters. Sid Madras is the man Sizemore rescued as a marine but is called Sgt Pollock in a TV interview. There are inconsistencies that throw the reader out of the story. For example, when the head of the security team calls to set up a meeting, he says he will be bringing egg McMuffins and coffee in the morning. When he gets there he has egg McMuffins and says he didn’t have time to get anything better as if it was never said before. There are more plot holes here than potholes on a California highway.

This good idea just needed a good editor to flesh out the details that would have made this a thought provoking read, as opposed to a read that ended with me saying, “Really?”

This one gets two stars.