The Broker – John Grisham

the brokerThe Broker 
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 02, 2019  

 

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.

Jack Reacher – Night School

night schoolNight School (Jack Reacher #21) 
Lee Child (Goodreads Author),

Dick Hill (Narrator)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 30, 2019

 

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.

Mission Impossible – Fallout

missionWhat 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.

Continue reading “Mission Impossible – Fallout”

The Equalizer 2

equalizerWho doesn’t like Denzel Washington? I can think of one or two of his movies I didn’t like, but can’t think of one that I didn’t like him in. Many of us complain about sequels, like I just did with Jurassic World, but it’s hard not to cheer for vigilantes like Denzel’s Equalizer character.

As The Equalizer he has no problem taking on the roll of action hero. Cathryn doesn’t usually go for the shoot-em-up flicks, but she wanted to see this one and was glad she did. It was no surprise to me that they made a sequel to the first movie since they teased us with the option at the end.

Continue reading “The Equalizer 2”

Extreme Measures – Vince Flynn

extreme measuresExtreme Measures (Mitch Rapp, #11) 
byVince Flynn

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jun 05, 2018  

 

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 Target – David Baldacci

targetThe Target (Will Robie, #3) 
by David Baldacci (Goodreads Author)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Mar 27, 2018  ·

 

I haven’t read a lot of Baldacci, but I can say this book was my least favorite so far. The two protagonists were cookie-cutter type American super spies who save the world with their every breath. I felt the story steered too far away from the main plot with the introduction of sub-plots that really didn’t add much depth to the overall story.
In my opinion the author went overboard in describing the miserable life the antagonist had in a North Korean prison. I’m not squeamish by any means, I just tired of the to-numerous descriptions of human torture and degradation.
The story moves along quickly and is not a bad read, if you’re into a mindless thriller.

Churchill’s Secret Agent – Max Ciampoli

churchillChurchill’s Secret Agent: A Novel Based on a True Story 
by Max CiampoliLinda Ciampoli

 

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 12, 2018

 

Oh, sorry, I was sleeping. This is easily the most boring spy book I’ve ever tried to read. I say ‘tried’ because I gave up after 150 pages. I assumed the missions would get more exciting as the agent gained more experience, but it is not the case.
This book should be called, Churchill’s French Chef. The protagonist shares more about his daily meals than he does the dangers or intricacies of his missions. I guess that should be expected since he went on to become a chef after the war.
Not to take away from the important work that Max Ciampoli may have done during the war, I was totally disappointed in his book.

Allied – Spies & Lies

alliedposter

Allied is a fresh take on a second world war spy thriller. In this case, a male and female agent team up for the British Government to assassinate a Nazi sympathizer, and they fall in love while on the assignment.

The movie has a bit of everything – suspense, intrigue, drama, romance and even some action. I can’t recall any humor, but it they were serious times in Europe, during the war. That tone rang true in Brad Pitt’s character, he barely cracked smile the whole movie. His partner, and later wife, Marion Cotillard, did a superb job in keeping us guessing about her true identity.

Even with the spies and lies, the plot is easy to follow. Like a good novel, the tension builds throughout the movie. When it finally breaks in the end you’ll be reaching for a tissue.

Cathryn and both enjoyed the movie and give it an 8 and 9 respectively.