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.
Rage (Alex Delaware, #19)
by Jonathan Kellerman
I like Johnathan Kellerman’s voice and main characters in the Alex Delaware series. Being a former Police Detective I find the Milo Sturgis character spot on for my kind of sleuth. I’m a bit skeptical about the amount of involvement with Dr. Delaware but the work is fiction.
I’ve enjoyed a couple other novels in this series, but in my opinion this one fell flat about half way through. The back and forth interaction between the protagonists was loaded with a lot of opinions and guesswork and conjecture that seems to go in circles, slowing the pace and confusing the plot.
The story was descent but I found the ending anti-climatic.
Hide and Seek
by James Patterson (Goodreads Author)
It was nice to read a novel that was actually written by Patterson himself, before he started publishing underlings with cookie-cutter stories. I’d forgotten that the man can weave a good tale.
Hide and Seek is a murder/mystery story that moves along at a good pace with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested.
The different points of view bring you closer to the characters and let you inside ‘their’ story.
I liked the main character and it was easy to root for her throughout the book, whether she was guilty or not.
Hide and Seek is a good book and easy read.
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.
Night School (Jack Reacher #21)
Lee Child (Goodreads Author),
I zipped through this one in four sittings, I think. It’s the first Reacher novel I’ve read where the story takes place while he’s still in the army. In this one he’s on a mission to save the world, instead of some anonymous person along the back roads of America.
There’s the usual action and fight scenes and even a couple sex scenes. I like the way Lee Child describes the smutty stuff, almost with military precision, and not like fifty shades of pornography.
The book is well-paced and it steadily picks up speed as the action and story unfold. One of my editors explained a writing trick in which the author uses short or brief sentences to speed things along. I completely understand it, having been caught up to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down. It works.
Here’s a movie for all you Outlander fans. It’s about two different Queens from two different countries trying to control their own kingdoms, while maneuvering to combine the two and decide who will rule the British Empire.
It’s a true story that takes you behind the scenes of Scottish and English royalty, revealing their personalities, quirks, ambitions and idiosyncrasies. There is plotting and deceit and treachery that offer twists and turns throughout the story.
There are only a few recognizable faces in the cast, but the acting was superb. Outlander fans might also recognize some of the scenery and at least one castle in particular. Although the flick wasn’t one we were dying to see, Cathryn and I enjoyed it, both giving it a 7 out of 10.
Clint Eastwood says The Mule is the last movie he’ll act in, but oddly enough, he fit the main character’s roll perfectly. The story is about 90 year old horticulturist Earl Stone who takes on a job transporting dope for a Mexican cartel after his plant business goes belly up.
Earl was only going to make one trip, but upon seeing how easy he could make a pile of cash, he takes on bigger and bigger shipments. He uses the money to try and buy his way back into his family’s good graces.
Eastwood brings back Bradley Cooper for the role of a DEA Agent who is trying to make a name for himself, and to make his boss look good, by making a large cartel bust.
The movie is descent, perhaps a bit less intense than most of Clint’s work, but with a few life lessons about family and money. Cathryn and I both give it a 7 out of 10.