The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver

TheBurialHourUSA-220x334  Good to see Deaver back in good form……   ****

As a fan of Jeffery Deaver, and especially Lincoln Rhyme, this book did not disappoint.

Deaver does an excellent job keeping the truth of the who and why of strange kidnappings until near the end. Moving Rhyme and his team from New York to Italy made this a fresh read. Weaving politics, refugees, and nationalism into the story kept me turning the pages.

Although the outcome is predictable, the ride getting there was pleasurable. There was just enough of a twist to offset the knowledge that Rhyme would solve the case, as always.

The introduction of Ercole Benelli, an Italian forestry officer, who gets caught up in the story, was a nice touch.

Deaver seemed to be in his element, as the story is well written.  The only negative is near the end when Rhyme proves he is smarter than the “intelligence” service, the mistake he points out is one they would not have made.

This gets four stars.

 

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On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

ontyranny The second book every American should read…..   *****

The first “book” every American should read is the Constitution of the United States, the second would be Snyder’s On Tyranny. Fortunately, they both come in pocket size so are easy to carry around. Under the current political climate, this isn’t a bad idea.

The book begins with a quote from Leszek Kolakowski, “In politics, being deceived is no excuse.” With the current flood of “fake news”, that quote alone is worth the price of the book. But that is just the beginning of the lessons this treatise offers.

Snyder sets the tone in the prologue with these statements: “Americans today are no wiser than Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism in the twentieth century. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience.” He then proceeds to give twenty lessons on just how to accomplish this.

Each lesson has an action item, an example of how it applies to the past, and what each of us can now do to prevent our future from becoming something other than democratic.

There is so much meat in this little book it needs to be read several times. Passages should be marked and committed to memory. The lessons here should be filters through which we view what is happening around us today.

Perhaps one of the best quotes comes at the end of lesson nineteen: “A nationalist will say that ‘it can’t happen here’, which is the first step toward disaster. A patriot says that it could happen here, but that we will stop it.”

Regardless of one’s political stance, this is a book for all Americans to read and digest.

This one gets a strong five stars.

 

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

Gwendy's Stephen King actually put his name to this?……….    *

I am a Scotch drinker. I drink it neat. Neat means no water, no ice, nothing to dilute the nectar of the gods.  I have read all of Stephen King’s novels and short stories. I love his writing, except for Duma Key.  He is the god of horror.  So why would he dilute his great writing with someone else, in this case, Richard Chizmar, and produce what can only be labeled as an elongated short story not worthy of attaching his name?

This “novella” is a composite of The Monkey’s Paw (which, at least, King does admit in the story), The Black Box from the New Twilight Zone, with a hint of Carrie. King adds the character Mr. Farris who seems like he just stepped out of the Dark Tower series.

This story is listed as Horror/ Occult and Suspense. It should have been listed under Teen and Young Adult Fiction. It is a coming of age story with a bit of paranormal thrown in. The plot is weak, and the level of writing is juvenile. The ending is all roses and daffodils. The main character, Gwendy, is destined to become a famous writer. Really?

I can understand Stephen King wanting to help lesser known writers like Richard Chizmar. But this story does a disservice to both of you.

This one gets one star.