Origin (Robert Langdon, #5)
by Dan Brown (Goodreads Author)
I generally liked this novel and was leaning toward a fourth star, but I think it fell short of the great stories that preceded this Robert Langdon novel. As usual, Dan Brown weaves an interesting tale of intrigue, but he added a bit too much fluff and back story for my liking. His detailed descriptions of religious sites and places in Spain gave me the impression I was reading from a Wikipedia post or even a travelogue.
The plot was good and the author keeps you guessing for more than half the novel. It didn’t move as quick as other Langdon stories, but as usual the story and characters were realistic, making for a good read.
East of Desolation
by Jack Higgins
This book is a re-write of the original 1968 novel, which the author and publisher decided to bring back to life. I think it was a good decision. The story-line could easily fit into any 19th or 20th century decade. It’s got drama, suspense, intrigue, action, a bit of romance, and even a couple twists to keep you thinking.
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.
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
I’ve read four other Grisham novels, with mixed reviews. I’ve also seen many of the movies made from his books and perhaps The Broker needs a few Hollywood twists to liven it up.
The story is about a Washington lawyer/power broker who’s greed lands him in jail. A presidential pardon gives his a second chance at life, but the CIA must hide him so other governments don’t kill him.
Without giving away all the backstory I thought this would be an action-packed spy thriller full of drama or intrigue. I was wrong. The author wasted about one hundred pages describing the Italian lessons the main character had to take while in hiding. Grisham said in his author’s notes that he was enthralled with Italy. I wished he would have spent half those pages describing food instead of Italian verbs.
The story dragged on and became predictable in the end. In thinking about the book and this review I was generous in giving it three starts. I’ve read much better from Grisham.
Extreme Measures (Mitch Rapp, #11)
This was the first Vince Flynn novel I read and have to admit it was pretty good. In some ways, as a political thriller, it was too predictable, but realistically I think it accurately portrayed the terrorist versus constitutional rights issues America is faced with today.
The characters too may be predictable, but the author easily gets the reader to cheer for the good guy, resent his adversaries, and want to wipe the bad guys off the face of the earth.
Extreme Measures is a fast-paced spy thriller that will easily keep you flipping pages.
The Crossing (Harry Bosch, #18; Mickey Haller, #6; Harry Bosch Universe, #27)
by Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)
I have to say Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch are two of my favorite men, the author and one of his characters. In “The Crossing” Connnelly writes a crossover novel with one of his other characters, The Lincoln Lawyer, bringing the two series’ together in one great story.
Connelly is a master at building up the momentum to the point where you’re flipping pages faster than burgers at McDonald’s.
The Crossing is about the newly retired Bosch helping his half brother, lawyer Mickey Haller, get a suspected murderer out of jail. It is crossing the line for Bosch, who spent his career putting killers in jail.
The Messenger (Gabriel Allon, #6)
by Daniel Silva
I’d read The Black Widow before this book, but it actually follows the Messenger. That wasn’t a problem because the story stands well on its own and some of the names are familiar adding more to the story.
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.
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)
This book was a great read and a nice surprise, from John Grisham. No usual courtroom drama, just a steady pace of crime investigation by an unknown agency who investigates corrupt or crooked judges. The story is full of suspense, with some good action and strong characters who are portrayed as real people. The plot revolves around a criminal enterprise and skimming operation at an Indian casino. I recommend this book to any crime fiction or thriller fan.