Clear by Fire by Joshua Hood

Clear by Fire, A Search and Destroy Thriller by Joshua Hood; 2015; $26.00; 339 pages; Touchstone, New York, NY; 978-1-5011-0571-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Northwest; 7/29/17-8/2/17

Why did I read this?  I read somewhere that this was comparable to the Brad Thor and Vince Flynn books so I decided to try the series.  This is the first book and I am currently reading the second.

Some generals have decided that the U.S. is not doing enough to contain terrorist in the Middle East so they decide to strike out on their own to upset the apple cart enough that the U.S. will be pulled into full scale war.  They go against all the rules of engagement, the Geneva convention and all that is moral.  One soldier stands against them and he is put on a watchlist and a kill order is put out against him.  He forms a strange group of supporters who help him put down the current plan, but someone higher up is pulling strings and the commander on the ground is pulling strings.

Grade-B, there is something out about the main character.  I didn’t really find myself pulling for him or even completely liking him, like Mitch Rapp and Scott Horvath.  Rapp and Horvath have a clear motivation and mission but I didn’t feel that here.  Hoping the second book is better.  A couple of the secondary characters would have been a better choice for the main character.

Trust No One by Paul Cleave

Trust No One by Paul Cleave; 2015; $26.00; 342 pages; Atria Books, New York, NY; 978-1-4767-7917-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 7/22/17-7/29/17

Why did I read this? A coworker was reading it and knew I read mysteries and asked if I read it.  He wanted to talk about it, so I read it.

Mystery writer Jerry Grey, who writes as Henry Cutter is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  He is having trouble separating what happened in his books from real life and some one is taking advantage.  He keeps waking up away from the facility he has been parked in and in rooms with dead bodies and covered in blood.  It is somewhat disturbing trying to figure out what is real and what is not, I hope that I do not succumb to either of the diseases.

Grade-B, I figured out about halfway through the book who was taking advantage of Jerry’s misfortune.  Also I was severely disappointed in the ending of the story.

The Sons of Slabtown & Tales of Westside Sports by Donald R. Nelson

The Sons of Slabtown & Tales of Westside Sports by Donald R. Nelson; 2016; $25.00; 145 pages;DNelsonbooks, Portland, OR; 978-0976282396; purchased from the author at the Oregon Oldtimers & Active Association Banquet; 2/18/17-2/21/17

Why did I read this? Because I am interested in baseball and the city I live in.

The audience for this book is probably very limited.  This is the story of the neighborhood in Northwest Portland that produced some major league baseball players, chief among them Boston Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky.  There were several other players that made major league rosters and had cups of coffee in the majors.  It is an interesting history of a neighborhood from the beginning of the twentieth century to mid century.  Living here there is much that was very interesting and several old timers that I have met including Vince Pesky, who signed my copy the night I purchased it.  Also John Leovich who I got to visit  with on the Oregon Coast at his restaurant.  This is actually a scrapbook with captions.

Grade-B

House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg

House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg; 2016; $28.00; 352 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-4555-5949-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 2/2/17-2/7/17 

Why did I read this?  I have read much by Brad Meltzer across multiple genres and liked them.

Hazel and Skip are in the desert with their father, Jack Nash, host of the House of Secrets.  Think Robert Stack on unsolved mysteries or John Walsh on America’s most wanted.  There is a terrible accident and Hazel has little remembrance of who or what she was prior to the accident.  Much like Steve Berrys’ books this mixes history and modern day espionage.  I found it enjoyable but much less compelling than previous books by Mr. Meltzer.

Grade B

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead; 2016; $26.95; 306 pages; Doubleday, New York, NY; 978-0-385-54236-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 1/22/17-2/2/17

Why did I read this?  A co-worker recommended it (although she doesn’t remember doing so) and the Corner Reading Society decided to read it during the coming year.

Cora and Caesar decide to escape the brutality of the Georgia plantation on which they are slaves.  Caesar has found a contact that will put them on the underground railroad.  Even as they escape and make new lives for themselves they live in constant fear of slave hunters and other whites, who would do them harm in a myriad of ways.  Each chapter is from the point of view of the characters, encompassing some we don’t hear about or from until their chapter arrives.  It is a complex story that incorporates some fantistical elements such as how the train runs.  I think it is a story that would take several readings to really understand the story.

Grade B, I had difficulty following the story at a couple of points due to the structure of the novel.