Monday, July 29, 2013

Blowback by Brad Thor

Today I finished reading Blowback by Brad Thor.

Blowback was rated #52 by National Public Radio listeners in its list of top 100 Killer Thrillers.

This was the second Brad Thor novel I've read.  One of the characteristics that I've noticed in his novels is his habit of naming obscure government agencies or military units and then referring to them by their initials.

When I finished The Athena Project I wondered, 'is he making this stuff up or is that the real name.'  I didn't like The Athena Project so I didn't give it much further thought.

I read Blowback because of the NPR list.  I was again struck by how much effort Thor goes into establishing all of these initialed agencies.  I remembered reading an offering of research advice by an aclaimed writer to make it up.  It's fiction.  Don't worry about getting it exactly right.

Thor is so precise.  Does he know all this stuff he packs into his novels or is he making it up?  So after I read Blowback, I cranked up Google and began searching.  Sure enough I found multiple obscure government agencies in Wikipedia.  Then I looked up the story of Otto Skorzeny which is highlighted prominently in the novel.  Yes, it was a real story.

Now I'm wondering how much more of the novel is based on fact and how much is fiction?  When I read my next Thor novel I'm going to read with a tablet to list things to look up when I finish reading it.

Blowback is a good read and apparently a lot of it is based on fact.  And because the subject of the novel is Islamic terrorism, it's kinda scary to think about the parts that might really be true.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader

Today I finished reading The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader.

This was the eighth Bourne novel.  Three by Ludlum and five by Lustbader.  I've enjoyed them all.

I'm not sure if this one is the most violent or if I just woke up to how over the top the violence is in the Bourne novels.  This one is almost like an encyclopedia.  There may be a method of killing or incapacitation that isn't described but there can't be many.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

Today I finished reading Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson.

This is book #3 in the Walt Longmire series.

One of the interesting things within this book is the additional backstory information that is dropped: he had played offensive guard for USC; he had been awarded bronze star, silver star and Navy cross while a Marine in Vietnam.  These were things I would have highlighted in book #1.

In my head Walt Longmire looks like the TV actor.  In the book he is a much bigger guy.  As they would have said on Laugh In - verrrrry interesting.

Monday, July 22, 2013

No Colder Place by S. J. Rozan

Today I finished reading No Colder Place by S. J. Rozan.

It won the Anthony Award and was a 1998 Shamus Award nominee.  Rozan made my reading list as the 2003 Edgar Award author of Winter and Night.

It is the fourth book in the series about PIs Lydia Chinn & Bill Smith.  It was a fun read.  

When I went to GoodReads to find out more about S. J. Rozan, I found out that the first three books of the series were free on Kindle for Prime customers.  It was almost enough to pry the $139 from my fingers to buy a new Kindle Paperwhite.  But, I'm addicted to the feel of paper.  What can i say?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Laguna Heat by T. Jefferson Parker

Today I finished reading Laguna Heat by T. Jefferson Parker.

It was Parker's first novel.  I do not think it is as good as his more recent books.  Still it is a fun read.  And I can only wish that my first novel would be this good.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

War of the Rats by David L. Robbins

Today I finished reading War of the Rats by David L. Robbins.  It provided significant inspiration for the movie Enemy at the Gates.

The plot focuses on a 1942 battle between the Nazi Germans and the Soviets set in Stalingrad, Soviet Union. The battle is declared by Viktor Tabori to be "Rattenkrieg"; translated, War of the Rats.
The story focuses in on the lives of two expert snipers, a Russian and a German, each with the goal of killing the other. The two snipers, Army Chief Master Sergeant Vasily Zaytsev of the Red Army and SS Colonel Heinz Thorvald of the German army, are equally matched. However, the story is complicated when a woman sniper Tania Chernova becomes one of Vasily's most talented assistants, and Zaitzev's battlefield lover. ~ Wikipedia

I'm working on a list of books to read that is now up to 54 pages.  I'm not sure how a WWII novel got on my reading list.  Probably as I was watching the credits for Enemy at the Gates.  It was outside my normal choices of thrillers, suspense and mysteries.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The love scenes are written tastefully and masterfully.  You can almost taste the setting descriptions.  Robbins is a really good writer.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Place of Execution by Val McDermid

Today I finished reading A Place of Execution by Val McDermid.  This novel was the winner of the Anthony Award and was a 2001 Edgar Award nominee.

I had a hard time getting into this novel.  It received praise on its back cover from Robert Crais, Minette Walters, Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin so I kept on slogging until it grabbed me at about one-fourth.  The first quarter was very much a police procedural.  A good one, mind you.  But, the hook was weak and the pace was sloooow.  In the end, I persisted and found it enjoyable.

But then, it may all be my fault.  It hasn't done anything this week but rain.  Everyday, two to four inches.  One day we got six to eight and a bit down the road got an amazing twenty inches in the same twenty-four hour period.  A little rain is okay. But this week has been ridiculous.  It probably made me a grumpy reader. :(