This was my first novel by David Hagberg, and although I enjoyed the overall story, I feel it’s been done to death – secret agent saves the world from nuclear destruction.
I had some difficulty starting the book, probably because of way too many characters with military or political titles to remember, not to mention the many Arabic names.
Once the story unfolded I found it very predictable, even though it was apparent the author was shooting for mystery and suspense.
The plot evolved well but didn’t have to be so complicated.
The Fourth Horseman was an okay read but I’m not running right out to find another book by this author.
I use the number 300 instead of 3 – for the third installment of the John Wick, the master assassin. Seeing the film with an action-appreciating buddy, we couldn’t keep track of the bad guys killed by Wick. He commented later that it was the highest body count he’d ever seen in a movie, a bold statement considering other slaughter movies we’d seen, like Rambo 3 or Hacksaw Ridge.
I’ve always liked Keanu Reeves and that includes his John Wick character, but I started to chuckle after his first 30 or 40 kills. The man deserves credit for the way he handles himself in the action sequences – basically a two hour long chase and fight scene. He masterfully handles an assortment of weapons that must have taken hours of practice to successfully operate.
If you don’t mind a few dozen blood-spattering head shots and an overly violent plot, this movie could be for you. I do find it odd though, in this day and age, how movie makers can present us with such mindless slaughter, and add a dry touch of humor to make the film more entertaining. In a way this movie reminded me of the Walking Dead – the bad guys weren’t dead until you shot them in the head, in many cases more than once.
Enough about the violence. The movie has a highly paid all-star cast, perhaps to give the flick some credibility with movie buffs. I have to say I was shocked at the other online reviews I read from sites like Roger Ebert and company. So maybe it was just me…and my buddy, who thought there was enough carnage to call the John Wick movies a trilogy and leave it at that.
Cathryn could never have sat through this movie with her eyes open. I don’t think my buddy was too impressed. For the sake of mindless entertainment I give it 5 out of 10.
Edmond Gagnon‘s review
I found the setting interesting, the far north, beyond what most of us call the civilized world. The characters are strong, some likable and some not. The plot involves a bit of a treasure hunt with the usual alliances and double-crosses to see who will end up with the booty.
The author, Jack Higgins, gained notoriety with his war/spy thriller ‘The Eagle has Landed.” East of Desolation is just as well-written and I have no problem recommending the read to anyone who enjoys those types of novels.
What can I say, I’ve been a fan of Mission Impossible since Tom Cruise was kindergarten. And as much as times and television and movies have changed over the years, I love how the producers have kept the same theme and music and gimmicks. Yes, one CIA character in the new movie even refers to the Halloween masks that the IMF uses to pull off their impossible missions.
Edmond Gagnon‘s review
Gabriel Allon is supposed to be the Israeli intelligence officer who assassinated the terrorists known as Black September for their killing of Jewish Olympians during the Munich Olympics. The character is also a world renown art restorer.
The story is a good old fashioned spy thriller where the good guys chase the bad guys through various exotic locations around the world.
I’m now a Daniel Silva convert.
If you see this movie you’ll never think of wildfires in the same way again. Ever. We hear about these disasters all the time, but I’m sure most of us have no idea what the firefighters or hotshots who deal with these raging infernos do for a living.
Only The Brave gives us a firsthand look at the job these men do and how it affects their personal lives at home. Like Navy Seals, Hotshots are elite specialty units with the expertise that allows them to be dropped into the middle of out-of-control wildfires in the hope they can save thousands of acres of forest or in some cases, whole towns full of private homes.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an action movie that allows you to laugh out loud in certain scenes and with certain dialogue, comparable to to Bruce Willis’s Die Hard series. The action is pretty well non-stop throughout the movie, an on-going pursuit plot with a couple of outstanding car chases.
Does anyone know why bad guys on motorcycles think they can somehow stop a speeding car? You know they’re always going to lose. The cinematography showcases Amsterdam and the Netherlands, with a lot of the chase footage filmed along and in the canals and narrow streets alongside.
Ryan Reynolds’s character is a bit of a sap, but it’s a perfect fit with Jackson’s opposite and bad-ass character. Gary Oldman always makes a good bad guy, and doesn’t let us down in this movie. I think Salma Hayek’s character is over the top and a bit ridiculous, but it adds to the comic relief.
Cathryn and I both enjoyed viewing this flick on the big screen, but had trouble rating it. We both settled on a 7 out of 10.
This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler
The Way Back
Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.
Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.
This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler
Cathryn’s big question was, “How do I pack for a whole month?” She was faced with the dilemma of how to get her clothes, shoes, and toiletries into one small suitcase, that fit into the trunk portion of our Harley Davidson motorcycle. I had laid out a plan to ride all the way to Vancouver, and back, within a month…or so.
“You only need to pack for five to seven days,” I offered, “We can do our laundry along the way when we stop for more than a day.” I broke the trip into segments, staying in a few different places for more than one night at a time, so we could take a rest from the bike, and not have to be on it every day of the trip.
We met with our friends Greg and Brenda, to discuss the first leg of the trip. They changed their final destination, deciding to only ride as far as Milwaukee with us. It didn’t matter, we were going on with or without them. Figuring traffic would be lighter, and a hotel in downtown Milwaukee cheaper, we left at 9 am on Sunday, July 3rd.
“Finding Hope, The Highway of Tears, is a fictional depiction of a true real-life horror story. Gagnon tells us the story of Hope, who goes missing along the notorious Highway #16, in northern B.C. and is sought by retired Detective Norm Strom. Engrossing plot, engaging characters, and superb imagery make this a hard story to put down. This well-written and timely account of a truly heart-wrenching problem, is well worth the read.”—Christine Hayton – Author, Samhain Publishing Ltd.
“Fix yourself a cup of tea and settle in for a great rainy-day read. You’re not going to want to put down “Finding Hope.” The author takes you on a haunting ride up western Canada’s Highway #16, from Calgary to Hyder, Alaska. Along the way, retired Detective Norm Strom meets Hope Lachance, and then helps the RCMP try to find her after she’s gone missing. Strom learns the real reason why the aboriginal people call the route, The Highway of Tears.” —Caroline Hartman – Author of Summer Rose
“Ed Gagnon weaves fiction and reality into an exciting story about the Canadian women who have gone missing along The Highway of Tears, in northern British Columbia. More than a book about crimes against women and the lack of attention from law enforcement, Finding Hope is about prejudice, despair, and the courage of one woman named Hope.” – Ben Van Dongen – Co-Author of No Light Tomorrow