Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope

Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope; 2016; $25.99; 306 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-07287-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 8/9/16-8/10/16

Why did I read this?  Because Chelsea Cain, Lisa Gardner and Phillip Margolin all recommended it and the main character is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, where I have lived before and the author is also from there.

Imagine seeing peoples auras, not just when looking at them, but wherever they have been.   He has acquired a reputation as a Human Bloodhound, making sure to use enough man tracking standard terminology and methods to ensure convictions.  He is the main member of the FBI’s Special Tracking Unit, whose specialty is tracking serial killers.  This story is about the sad face killer and the three main members of the team each contributes valuable insights into the solving of the the crimes.  Even the supporting members of the team are  individuals and pretty well rounded.  This is an awesome debut thriller of a flawed hero, who uses his gift for good, but is racked with guilt over those he wasn’t able to save.  Brad Thor and a couple of other thriller writers get nods throughout the story.

Grade-A, this was the epitome of a page turner, it came home and didn’t even turn the TV on but had to finish the story.

 

If You Can Keep It, The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas

If You Can Keep It, The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas; 2016; $26.00; 255 pages; Viking, New York, NY; 978-1-101-97998-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 7/29/16-8/9/16

Why did I read this?  It is a subject that concerns me, where is this country headed, can it remain the shining city on the hill that it has been in the past.

Metaxas makes all kinds of arguments about what it will take to keep the United States a republic of the people, by the people for the people.  Some of them sound pretty good, but it doesn’t  seem coherent to me, he does literary critique of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and also talks of Tocqueville and Os Guiness.  He insists that virtue is a necessary part of what it takes to keep the country on track.  There is a certain point to this, but his definition of virtue would probably not resonate with many.  He does say that attitudes trickle, if our leaders are corrupt it will show in the populaces actions also.  One of the points that he makes is that the country was founded to be a charitable community and that we have often looked out for others, from our neighbors to other countries in many ways.  Also that we should love our country not in a love or leave it way, ignoring all that we have done wrong, but in a way that highlights the good we do.

Grade B, I feel that the book could have been more concise and to the point without so many tangents.

 

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg; 2016; $14.95; 296 pages; 47North, Seattle, WA; 978-1503935600; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 7/27/16-7/29/16

Why did I read this?  I have read three previous books by the author and really enjoyed, so I thought I would try this.

A creator who is less than a god with the power to create grass, flowers, trees and other pieces of nature decides to try her hand at creating a human being.  She is not able to effectively craft a soul and it has all kinds of consequences for her, her creation and her husband.  She had been an ethereal being but in her creating the being she becomes human with a loss of memory and becomes a slave to a person with many personality disorders.  She is haunted by a ethereal being who she feels she has a connection to, but can’t figure it out.

Grade-C, I couldn’t figure out the point of the story and it just seemed to wander all over the place with no real conclusion.

McCallandia by Bill Hall

McCallandia, a utopian novel by Bill Hall; 2015; 297 pages; Nestuca Spit Press, Astoria, OR; 978-0-99067750-5;checked out from Multnomah County Library, Holgate; 7/25/16-7/27/16

Why did I read this?  Oregon is home and Tom McCall is a legendary figure in Oregon and I thought it would be fun to read this.

Faced with the specter of Spiro Agnew having to resign as Vice President Richard Nixon must find someone to replace him.  Reaching as far away from Washington, D.C. as possible he taps Oregon Governor Tom McCall to be the new veep.  Nixon insists that he won’t resign so it really doesn’t matter who the veep is since it is largely a ceremonial post.  As more and more facts come out about Watergate, Nixon realizes he must resign and that means the Oregon story can continue on a national level.  The Bottle Bill and the Beach Bill go national and environmental concerns are addressed in a way that we have still not not done.  Having President McCall in office enables many other personal, national and international issues to be solved.

Grade A, there are 3 things in this book that I wish had really happened,  Steve Prefontaine did not die in 1975, there was no Olympic Boycott in 1980 and Mark Chapman did not kill John Lennon.  The book was so well written that I believed the premise and what was happening.

ghost wave by Chris Dixon

ghost wave, The discovery of Cortes Bank and the biggest wave on Earth by Chris Dixon; 2011; $24.95; 256 pages; Chronicles Books, New York, NY; 978-0-8118-7628-5;checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 7/20/16-7/25/16

Why did I read this? Because I like surfing and am interested in reading anything about those who risk life and limb to ride big waves.

Cortes Bank wanted to be a part of the Channel Islands off the coast of California, but didn’t make it above the surface.  Cortes Bank is a seamount about 20 miles long and anywhere from 6 feet below the surface to 100 feet the surface.  Located 111 miles west of Point Loma, California it spawns giant wave that have been measured at over 100 feet high.  Chris Dixon gives a good history of what has gone on at the Bank for the last several hundred years.  He traces the evolution of big wave surfing from paddling in to being towed in.  He showcases the personalities who have grown big wave surfing from Sean Collins who forecast the waves to Greg and Rusty Long, Laird Hamilton, Peter Mel and more.  He also exposes the dangers of big wave surfing, highlighting the deaths of several big wave riders.

Grade-A, Chris Dixon is able to paint a vivid picture of the giant waves.

 

 

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