The Survivor by Kyle Mills

The Survivor, A Mitch Rapp Novel by Kyle Mills; 2015; $28.00; 388pages; Emily Bestler Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-8345-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 5/12/16-5/14/16

Why did I read this?  Because I wanted to see how the series would continue with the death of Vince Flynn in 2013.  Kyle Mills is an author whose books I have read before so I was wondering if he could ably continue the series.

Coming close on the heels of Vince Flynn’s last book prior to his death, The Survivor follows up the events of The Last Man.    Joe Rickman is dead but prior to that he ensured that CIA secrets will continue to come out electronically.  He used a combination of very legal means and very illegal means to ensure that he can bedevil the CIA from beyond the grave.  Every intelligence agency in the world is trying to find where the secrets are hidden.  Mitch Rapp is running all over the world saving assets while the analysts back at Langley are trying to find the source of the electronic leaks.  The action moves quickly between the technical and the action of Mitch Rapp.  An effective use of tension between technological intelligence and  human assets.

Grade A, the very definition of a page turner.

Custer’s Trials by T.J.Stiles

Custer’s Trials, A Life on the Frontier of  a New America by T.J. Stiles; 2015; $30.00; 464 pages; Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY; 978-0-307-59264-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 5/3/16-5/12/16

Why did I read this?  I decided that I wanted to read (or at least try to read) all of this years Pulitzer Prize winners.  I put them all on hold and this was the first one in.

Custer was the son of poor parents and he always seemed to be seeking fame and fortune.  He often hitched himself to an ascending star, but often did not seem to always know when to keep his thoughts to himself.  He sometimes opened his mouth and made enemies of those who could help him.  He was a gambler who gambled his fortune several times over in various ways from games of chance to speculating on stocks and risky investments.  He had many faults but he had one great strength and that was the ability to devise and execute battle plans, often on the fly.  Custer mostly led from the front, a trait that probably got him killed but also endeared him to many of the men he led, who followed him.  He had a wife that loved him dearly and tried to cover some of his foibles and also whispered in the ears of those who could help him.  Two things I found out about him were that he was a great battle leader and that some men from his family were with him at the Little Big Horn and died with him, two brothers, a brother in law and a nephew.

Grade-A, an interesting read of Custer’s life that lead up to his death.  It is a interesting life of a man who seemed to be sure which way to lead his life.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog, A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight; 2016; $29.00; 385 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-3591-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 4/29/16-5/3/16

Why did I read this?  Because I went to high school in Eugene and NIKE was beginning in town then.  The story of NIKE is to me very interesting.

Phil Knight recounts how he started NIKE, that is rather simplistic, but so does much of the content of this book.  I have to remember that it is a memoir and not a biography or history of a company or person.  I am amazed with how far Nike has come with how little business acumen Phil had at the beginning of his relationship with Tiger.  Several things seemed to have just dropped into his lap.  I didn’t feel he gave enough credit to several other people that we big contributors to the success of the company.  There is no mention of Wieden & Kennedy and all that the advertising they did which contributed to the selling of the product, Michael Jordan and most of the endorsers get short shift, and their is no mention of Athletics West. My recollection of Steve Prefontaine and his recollection are different.

Grade-B, I was expecting much more from this than is here.

The Last Man by Vince Flynn

The Last Man by Vince Flynn; 20112; $27.99; 433 pages; Emily Bestler Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4165-9521-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 4/27/16-4/29/16

Why did I read this? Because I like Vince Flynns books and I want to see how Kyle Mills does after taking over the series.  Vince passed away in 2013 and Kyle Mills takes over with the next book.

One of the CIA’s biggest assets in Afghanistan, who has been running covert ops there for the last eight years is kidnapped and killed while being tortured.  Mitch Rapp and the rest of the CIA are in hot pursuit of the killer, because all his files were also taken which wouldn’t be good for the US Government is many of the things in them come out.  Mitch must track down the kidnappers and killers and find the files.

Grade-A, it is an exciting thriller that moves along at a breakneck clip.

Warhawk by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

Warhawk by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood; 2016;$27.99; 368 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-213527-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 4/26/16-4/27/16

Why did I read this?  James Rollins is one of my favorite authors, alone or with others.  This is a follow up to The Kill Switch.

Tucker Wayne and his dog, Kane are back.  Kane is half of a duo of dogs that Tucker had in Afghanistan.  They have retired and are just moving around the country trying to get their footing back.  Tucker is approached by an old companion from his time in country, who is worried about the disappearance of another soldier they both knew.  Tucker agrees to look into it and he travels all over the world following the clues, until he finds out what has happened to so many people who have worked together. Some of the plot reminds me of the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, with a media magnate manipulating the news for his own ends.



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