Dark Towers by David Enrich

 

 

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.

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram x. Kendi

51W5SGVOqGL  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.

Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump

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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.

 

 

 

 

A Book of Bones by John Connolly

51C4u4LYFuL        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.

The Goodbye Man by Jeffrey Deaver

51tPE6OT3wL  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 by Michael Connelly

GUEST_1060cffa-3a48-446b-b94b-fada4cc4d72eFair 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.

 

 

Man of The World by Paul D. Brazill

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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.

If It Bleeds by Stephen King

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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.

Devoted by Dean Koontz

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Sadly, a let down……. **

In my bedroom is a bookcase with every Koontz novel and short story collection, three of which are signed by him.  Needless to say I am a fan.

What I enjoy most about his writing is his mastery of words that make thin plots enjoyable to read. This book fits that to a tee, except for the enjoyable to read part.

One of my favorite novels is Watchers, and this could be described as a sequel to it. Sadly, this one does not have the tension nor story that Watchers had. The characters are poorly developed and true to form the plot is thin, just thinner than most. Unfortunately, the story is completely predictable and upon reaching the end my only thought was, “Okay.”

This book also falls into the trap of when an author is a best seller the editing is not always what it should be. One of the main scenes, and this is not a spoiler, is when the character Shacket is in Megan’s bedroom and he relishes in the smells from the unwashed sheets on her bed, making the point that had they been clean, he would have been disappointed. Later, when she is in bed she notices a stain that should not be there as the housekeeper had just washed the linens. This caused me to come out of the story and go back and check to see if I was correct. To me this is a major flaw in editing.

This one gets two stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lens Without A Face by Maddisen Alexandra

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An extraordinary gifted poet…..  *****

 

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings…” In this sense, Maddisen Alexandra is a true poet. In this collection of 101 poems, she invokes emotion and thought in the reader in a way that for this reader was often surprising.


While I read each poem and reacted, it was a unique experience in that she saves the titles to the last pages. Once I saw her titles I had to go back and reread the poems to see her meaning and compare it to mine. The comparison was made easier as the book is set up so that the poems are on the verso side and the recto side is blank leaving room for one’s thoughts (or as she suggests drawings) on each poem


She is a master at repetition. The majority of the poems end with the beginning lines in reverse which has a strong impact on making her point.


This collection is one I will reread many times.