An old recipe makes something new

LOCK IN by John Scalzi; 2014; $24.99;336 pages;  A Tom Doherty Associates Book, New York, NY; 978-0-7653-7586-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 12/20/14-12/23/14

Many people around the world are locked in their bodies due to a disease called Hadens.  They are not comatose but there minds are still active, technology has been developed that allows them to move about in the real world.  One way is in a threep, or a personal transport device, think Robocop or any other metallic personage.  Another way is to integrate into another person who has been specially trained to accommodate your mind alongside yours while you enjoy the physical sensations they can provide.  Now throw in murder, a rookie FBI agent who has Hadens, an older more experienced FBI agent who is damaged goods and a conspiracy and you have the story.

Grade-A

Did I like it?  Yes, it was an interesting take on a familiar story, all of the characters were three dimensional.  It was an interesting combination of genres.

What is with the title of the review?  There are many familiar ingredients here but the meal was stunning and new.

 

I think it would be a good movie

The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg; 2014; $28.00; 303 pages; Bantam Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-54308-0; Mystery; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 5/21/14-5/22-14

In The Heist  Evanovich and Goldberg introduced us to con artist/thief Nick Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare.  Nick is staying out of jail by helping the FBI collar other con artist and thieves.  The Chase runs from New York to Kentucky via Shanghai, China.  Nick and Kate have to recover an ancient Chinese artifact that everyone thinks is on display at the Smithsonian, but was previously stolen and is in the position of a former Presidential staffer (think Karl Rove but maybe worse).  As Kate and Nick chase the rooster around the world there end up being several cons and burglaries.  Nick and Kate are attracted to each other but their previous lives keep them apart.

Did I like it?  Yes, the authors have assembled a exciting supporting cast for Nick and Kate and the action is constant and exciting.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  I love heist movies and I think the two books in this series would make a good movie franchise.

 

Hope Kate doesn’t fall into the same hole as Stephanie

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg; 2013; $28.00; 304 pages; Bantam Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-54304-2; Mystery; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 8/20-8/21

Why did I pick this up? Janet Evanovich has proven that she is a good writer, her co-author wrote the books the Monk TV series is based on and I like heist books and movies.

What is the story? FBI Agent Kate O’Hare has been pursuing ace grifter Nick Fox for years and she finally catches him.  Then he escapes and she pursues him and finds him and is about to arrest when she finds out that her bosses at the FBI have made a deal with Fox to keep him out of jail.  O’Hare and Fox are tasked with taking down a corrupt financier who has defrauded thousands of people and millions of dollars.  They assemble a crew and run a con on the financier and recover the money.  O’Hare and Fox have a Dave and Maddy type relationship which runs to the wisecrack and sexual tension side.

Grade-A

Did I like it?  Yes it has some great dialogue and the con is great.

What is with the title of the review?  Janet Evanovich has published 19 books with Stephanie Plum as the main character.  The books were fun at first but then they got repetitive and nothing changed, there was no growth in the characters.  I like the characters but hope they don’t fall into the same trap as the Plum books.

 

Epic travels through the badlands of Oregon, California and Colorado

The Passage by Justin Cronin; 2010; $27.00; 766 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-504-96-8; Fiction; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 5/28-6/2

Why did I pick this up?  Because my friend Kelly Lowe recommended it and rave about it on her blog (at least that is the way I remember it.)

What is the story?  Deep in the jungle (isn’t that the modern day equivalent of “it was a dark and stormy night”)  a team of soldiers and scientists (that is a clue that something bad is going to happen)  find a species that ferociously attacks them, but someone survive and (surprise, surprise) the military wants to militarize the survivor who have genetically mutated into something more and less than human.  Just when the military thinks they have a handle on the program something goes drastically wrong, (what you thought the military would be able to handle it) and the subjects escape wreaking havoc on at least the United States.  People are living in fear, in walled  cities, only going out during the daytime, (living in stadiums would have been a good idea, oh snap Terry Brooks already did that).  This is a combination of a traditional horror story, and several love stories of different sorts and a survivors tale of survival.

Did I like it?  I was strongly reminded of Stephen Kings’ The Stand (which is one of my all time favorite books) in the scope of the story and the storytelling ability of the author.  Justin Cronin managed to tie together several disparate storylines into one cohesive story, I marveled as he let one thread drop only to bring it back seamlessly later on.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  The story and many of the characters of the story  move through these various states which have become terrifying because of the pandemic.

Lee Child made me stay up Late!

A Wanted Man by Lee Child; 2012; $28.00; 405 pages; Delacorte Press, New York, NY; 978-0-385-3443-3; Checked out from Mutlnomah County Library, St. Johns; 1/17-1/18

Why did I pick this up?  I am a big fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and this is the newest entry in the series.

What is the story?  As the end of the last contemporary Lee Child book Jack was leaving Nebraska to head to Virginia to meet Susan, and that is where this story picks up, with Jack on the Interstate hitchhiking east.  He is picked up by two men and a woman in a sedan.  Little does he know that he has managed to land himself in the middle of a case that involves the FBI, the State Department, the CIA, Local law enforcement and international terrorists.  To say anymore would be to spoil the story.  Know that all the action and personality you have come to expect from Jack Reacher is here.  By the way the real Jack Reacher is nothing like the pretty boy portrayed in the the new movie.

Did I like it?  Yes, each and every Jack Reacher novel is an exciting page turner and an exciting adventure.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  I was reading this at bedtime last night and ended up staying up until the book hit me in face multiple times and then I knew I needed to go to sleep.