short term

West Like Lighting, The Brief Legendary Ride of the Pony Express by Jim DeFelice; 2018; $27.99; 357 pages; William Morrow, New York, NY; 978-0-06-249676-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 8/27/18-6/1/18

Why did I ride this?  Because the old west intrigues me and the Pony Express is an almost mythological part of the history of the frontier of the United States.

The author takes us on an intriguing ride along the route of the Pony Express from St. Joseph, Missouri to San Francisco, California as the results of the 1860 Presidential election are being spread across the country.  We are introduced to riders, station managers, the Express owners, politicians, Native Americans, the countryside the ride traversed and a  sense of what the context of the times was.  This is so much more than just a history of the pony express, the author does a great job of putting the times in a context that makes sense.  I would recommend this who anyone is interested in the frontier history of the United States.

Grade 11/10

What is with the title of the review? The Pony Express only lasted for eighteen months and was only supposed to last until the transcontinental telegraph system was completed.  Its mythological footprint in the history of the United States is much  bigger than its actual impact on the United States.

a changed man

The Fallen by David Baldacci; 2018; $29.00; 417 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5387-6139-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 5/18/18-5/20/18

Why did I read this?  I have been trying to read through as many of David Baldacci’s series as I can and this is the last book in the Amos Decker series.

Amos Decker and Alex Jamison are on vacation in the rust belt of Pennsylvania when murders happen too close to home.  The unemployment mess, the opioid epidemic, fulfillment centers and robotic works all take center stage in this story.  Amos sees a dead body in the home behind Alex’s sisters home and the story is off and running.  The local police at first are resistant and then welcoming, but still reluctant.  The DEA becomes involved and jurisdictional things become part of the story.  This story has everything from buried treasure to life long animosity and everything in become.  Amos and Alex are a wonderful team.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Amos suffered a brain injury at the beginning of the series that gave him a photographic memory and causes him to associate colors with death and other sensations.  At one point in this story he is hit in the head and his injury again causes some things to change in his brain.

I’m Alright

Caddyshack, The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story by Chris Nashawaty; 2018;$26.99; 291 pages; Flatiron Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-10595-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 5/8/18-5/9/18

Why did I read this? Because Caddyshack is one of my all time favorite movies.

This traces the path from the Harvard Lampoon through Lemmings to Animal House to Caddyshack for the writers and stars of Caddyshack. It has interviews with most of the people involved in the creation and production of the movie. It is an enjoyable read of what was a largely improvised comedy. The movie involved two of my favorite actors, Michael O’ Keefe and Bill Murray (what is the secret 800 number) in a movie that was targeted at the demographic I was in at the time. It was fun to read the behind the scenes recollections of those involved and to see how the movie evolved to what it was.

What is with the title of the review?  it is the name of the title song of the movie by Kenny Loggins.  It is a song that always makes me smile.

Grade 10/10

origin story

Warning Light by David Ricciardi; 2018; $27.00; 323 pages; Berkley, New York, NY; 978-0-399-58573-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library; North Portland; 4/26/18-4/26/18

Why did I read this?  I read a review of it over at The Real Book Spy  and decided I would give another debut novel from a new author a chance.

The CIA is mounting a recon mission to Iran when they find out that the agent that is supposed to go on the mission has been compromised.  So analyst Zac Miller is tasked to take on the mission.  After he is inserted into Iran he is arrested and interrogated by the Iranian Army he manages to escape and travese the country.  He confronts forces allied against him from several agencies and country, he is also hamstrung by personal vendettas and turf wars within the CIA.  He  is a compelling character which I am looking forward to reading more of his adventures.

10/10

What  is with the title of the review?  Many of the series these drop you into an adventure with an origin story coming several books into the series, but gives us the origin story first.

 

 

 

The Vitruvian Man

Whispers of the Dead by Spencer Kope; 2018; $26.99; 323 pages; Minotaur Press, New York, NY; 978-1-250-07288-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 4/25/18-4/25/18

Why did I read this?  Because I read the first book in the series and enjoyed it, so I will continue to read them.

A judge finds a Styrofoam cooler in his house, inside is a pair of fully clothed feet.  Steps, who can see the aura (shine as the author calls it)  that every person leaves behind.  Steps and his FBI handler are assigned to the case and initially can’t identify the killer but are able to figure out who the victim is.  They are able to backtrack and put two and two together and figure out who the killer is and figure out the motive for the feet that have been left in various people’s homes and they are able to find the killer and his latest victims.  Meanwhile they have gathered more evidence about Leonardo, a serial killer that has attracted their attention.   Steps is a unique hero with an outstanding supporting cast, I look forward to more from Spencer Kope.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  A serial killer that the task force has nicknamed Leonardo poses his victims as Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man with the limbs pointing in a specific direction each time.