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.


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.




liars figure

Simple Genius by David Baldacci; 2008, $9.99, Kindle Edition, 444 pages, Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; purchased from Amazon.com; 2/20/18-2/22/18

Why did I read this?  Because David Baldacci has gotten me to care about the characters of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell and I want to see what has happened with them.

Michelle Maxwell is feeling something, she doesn’t quite know what, but it leads her to the seediest bar in Washington, D.C.. Once there she proceeds to drink herself to a place where she decides to pick a fight with the biggest guy in the place.  She is kicking his ass and just gives up, letting him kick her ass all the way to the hospital.

Sean finds her in the hospital and talks her into committing herself into a psychiatric facility, where we meet some new and interesting characters. Meanwhile Sean is hired to investigate the death of a genius at a facility that borders a CIA training camp and another top secret installation.  While Sean is investigating that, Michelle is solving a couple of cases at the facility.  Once she does that she declares herself cured and goes to help Sean with his case.  Her doctor however continues to investigate to ascertain the cause of Michelle’s problem, what he discovers adds a chilling new dimension to Michelle’s life.  It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Sean and Michelle solve the case at the genius facility and are able to reward some victims with what they find.

What is with the title of the review?  A couple of the key bad guys use the genius as excuses and their “figuring’ as national security covers.

Grade 10/10

what would you do?

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland; 2018; $26.00; 286 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-5247-9702-7, checked out from Multnomah County Library, St. Johns; 2/3/18-2/5/18

Why did I read this?   I found a really good site, The Real Book Spy, that reviews thrillers and makes recommendations.  This is a debut novel that was highly recommended.

The main character is a married CIA analyst with 4 kids who works on the Russia desk.  She has developed an algorithm that lets her find Russian sleeper agents in the United States.  She gets into the computer of one of the handlers and is clicking through the pictures of his agents and recognizes one of them, her husband.  The story would end suddenly if she turned him in so she begins to rationalize doing other things.  Her life takes several turns that seem amazing and unlikely.  There are twist that will throw you for a loop.  I didn’t like the non linear structure of the story.

Grade 6/10

Over Watch by Matthew Betley

Over Watch by Matthew Betley; 2016; $26.00; 391 pages; Atria Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-9921-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Albina; 3/22/17-3/24/17

Why did I read this?  Well because Brad Thor, Clive Cussler, Christopher Reich and Matthew Reilly all recommended this author.  I almost didn’t read it thought because General Michael Flynn also recommended it.

Logan West and John Quick are former Force Recon Marines who suffered through some atrocities in Iraq and lost most of their squad through a blown operation pushed on them by the Agency.  They have retired and one moved to Montana and the other has retreated deep into a bottle.  They are sucked back into the game because of something that happened during the incident in Iraq.  The action moves quickly and all over the world as another psychopath tries to remake the world into what he thinks it should be.  Logan, John and the rest of the characters are well written.


Night School by Lee Child

Night School by Lee Child; 2016; $28.99; 369 pages; Delacorte Press, New York, NY; 978-0-8041-7880-8; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 1/18/17-1/22/17

Why did I read this?  Because I have read every other book in the Reacher and find Lee Child’s work to be an enjoyable escape from real life every once in awhile.

Jack Reacher is bigger and uglier than he appears on the movie screen and a bigger badass also.  Now that my opinion is out of the way, let me tell you about the book.  It’s a prequel to all the other Reacher books.  This one takes place while Reacher is still in the Army, he is given a temporary assignment to attend a school for the Army.  It’s cover for a mission that pairs him with someone from the CIA and the NSA.  It involves travel to the European continent, relics of the Cold War, both human and otherwise.  It shows that Reacher can work as part of a team, but that he still prefers human interaction and wants to do what is right.