Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz; 2016; $25.99; 354 pages; Minotaur Books, New York, NY; 978-1-250-06784-5; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 2/11/16-2/15/16

At an early age Evan Smoak, (if that is a real name) is taken from an orphanage and trained to be a weapon in the Orphan program.  After many years of doing as the government tells, he retires and becomes the No Where Man, a help to those can’t defend themselves.  He is a Robin Hood type who helps the powerless against the powerful for free.  At one point in the story he is helping someone when he realizes that he is being targeted himself.  As he fights back he discovers things about himself that he has forgotten.  He also interacts with some people that are outside his usual circle of acquaintances.  Hopefully this is the beginning of what can be a good series like Reacher.


Did I enjoy it?  Yes, it was an exciting thriller that showcases an interesting new character.


The Promise by Robert Crais; 2015; $27.95; 402 pages; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY; 978-0-399-16149-0; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Kenton; 11/12/15-11/15/15

Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, Scott James and Maggie come together in this long awaited thriller from Robert Crais.  Scott and Maggie were introduced in Suspect, Scott is an LAPD detective suffering from PTSD after the death of his partner, Maggie is a Marine Corps explosive sniffing dog who also suffers from PTSD after the death of her handler in Afghanistan.  Maggie and Scott are teamed up as an LAPD K-9 unit.  Elvis is hired to find a woman who has embezzled a massive amount of money from her employee.  As Elvis begins to investigate he is confronted by Scott at a crime scene.  As the investigation continues both Scott and Elvis come to realize that they are not getting complete information from the client or Scott’s superior.  The story involves terrorist, bank robbers, Homeland Security, and corrupt officials.  It is another amazing story from Robert Crais, as with each new book from him it has become my favorite book by him.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Immensely.  It is always an exciting adventure with Elvis and Joe and throwing Scott and Maggie into the mix makes it even more compelling.

What is with the title of the review?  The publication of this book was repeatedly postponed and it has been 32 months since I finished the last Robert Crais book.

interesting thoughts about God and what he thinks

The Third Secret by Steve Berry; 2007; $9.99; 449 pages; Ballantine Books, New York, NY; 978-0-345-50440-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 2/17/15-2/19/15

Murder, intrigue, corruption, lies, and more in this thriller taking place at the highest levels of the Catholic church.  Steve Berry has packed his story with lots of historical facts and then speculated about what those facts mean.  Starting with the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three children at Fatima in Portugal in 1917.  The Virgin reportedly told the children three secrets which two of were well known.  The third was divulged by the Pope in 2000.  However as with any secret there is always controversy with many saying the church did not reveal the actual secret.  Papal Secretary Colin Michner is sent all over Europe looking for the Priest who did the original transcription of the third secret, meanwhile an ambitious Cardinal who wants to be the next Pope is scheming to prevent Father Michner from finding the secret and revealing it.


Did I enjoy it? Yes, this is one of my favorite kinds of books, one that takes historical fact and tweaks it just a little and then speculates What if?

What is with the title of the review?  The supposed revelation of God presented as the third secret reveals God’s problems with the church and is something that most of society today would be glad to hear and would completely challenge what many people of Christian faith believe.


found makes me want more

Found by Harlan Coben; 2014; $18.99; 326 pages; G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY; 978-0-399-25652-3; YA Fiction; checked out from Multnomah County Library, North Portland; 10/20/14-10/22/14

Mickey and Myron Bolitar continue the adventure they began in shelter and continued in seconds away.  Mickey’s father is still dead (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), his tennis wunderkind Mom is in rehab, he’s not speaking to his uncle Myron, his best friend Spoon is paralyzed from the west down, he is being ostracized by the rest of the basketball team, his friend Rachel is made at him for telling her the truth about her Mom, he is falling for his friend Emma but she has an online boyfriend, a holocaust survivor is giving him cryptic messages and someone is trying to keep him from finding out a truth.  Harlan Coben manages to take a whole lot of disparate elements and crafts a cohesive and entertaining thriller.

Did I enjoy it?  If you don’t know by now how much I like Harlan Coben’s writing, you haven’t been reading these reviews for very long.


What is with the title of the review?  Harlan has crafted another series that I look forward to reading.  I want more Mickey Bolitar.

read half the book and got the whole story

Beowulf, A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney; 2000; $25.00; 213 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY; 0-374-1119-7; Borrowed from Pat Jussila; 10/14/14-10/15/14

I recently read a book about 100 must read thrillers, which began with The Iliad, The Odyssey and Beowulf as thrillers.  These were books that I hadn’t read before, so when I asked my friend and former English teacher Pat Jussila to recommend a translation.  This is the one that she recommended by Pulitzer Prize Winner Seamus Heaney.  Beowulf travels from his country to help the Swedes in their battle against the monster Grendel.  He becomes friends with the king of Swedes and does battle with Grendel, defeating him barehanded by ripping his arm off.  The king adopts him as one of his own.  Beowulf then has to battle Grendel’s revenge seeking mother and defeats her barehanded also.  The king of the Swedes rewards Beowulf and his men handsomely before they return to their own land.   Once he is there he with an assist from a younger knight defeats a dragon and becomes king of his own country.  He lives a long prosperous life and is revered by all his people.


Did I enjoy it?  Somewhat, but it was weird to read a story in “verse”.  Beowulf was heroic but his battles with the monsters and the dragon were anti climatic, there wasn’t much too them.

What is with the title of the review?  Since this was a translation, the old English was on the left hand page and the new on the right hand page so all I had to do was read the right hand page.  So even though the book is 213 pages long, I only read 106 pages, but I got the whole story.