The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson 

With a flair for the dramatic, Isaacson relates the story of how RNA was dissected and the competitive shenanigans that went on in the race to be first.

This is an easy read on a complex subject. The story of the discovery is fascinating by itself, but Isaacson adds the debate about the moral and ethical questions regarding gene manipulation.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to truly understand not only our current pandemic, but where our future may lie. This one gets five stars. *****

Quicksilver by Dean Koontz

Vintage Koontz…..

If you are an avid fan of Dean Koontz, then you will recognise several things from this book. First, this is vintage Koontz, writing as he has for many years except for a few miscues like “Ashley Bell”. Second, the main character in this story has the feel of Odd Thomas. Third, the plot is strangely similar to his book “Twilight Eyes”. And finally fourth, this has all the earmarks of a continuing story line.
Koontz is an author that loves words and his stories are always thin on plot but full of description, this is no exception. Much like Stephen King, you either like Koontz or you don’t, I do.
This one gets four stars….

The Adam Project

This has to be right up there with one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The only good quality is the sound track.

With the exception of Walter Scobell, the acting is lame. Mark Ruffalo acted like he didn’t want to be in the film. The dialogue was horrendous and the plot ridiculous. Totally predictable ending.

Normally I give my rating in cigars, this one doesn’t even deserve a match, unless it is used to ignite the reel.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Keeping a promise…..*****

After four years of muck and mud, reading A Promised Land was like taking a hot shower. Obama is articulate, intelligent and candid in his recounting of his early years in politics and a portion of his term as president.

His reflection on the events and what it takes to be president are open and informative. Although he tries to give all sides there is a bit of his own bias that shows through. Perhaps his most candid discussions are in the telling of Michelle’s reaction to his political career.

This book made me laugh, made me feel proud, and made angry. Laughing at some of his own gaffes he makes the reader laugh, proud of his term and the work he and his administration accomplished made me proud. His discussion of the political shenanigans that he had to put up with, and as we see still exist, made and makes me angry.

This is a refreshing insight into the workings of our government, and I look forward to volume 2.

This one gets five stars.

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

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.

A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin

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.

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



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.