Tag Archive | thriller

Book Review: The Charlemagne Pursuit

The Charlemagne Pursuit, by Steve Berry

This is another in the series following Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department agent, who owns a rare book shop in Copenhagen.  But somehow he keeps managing to get pulled back into the adventures he tried so hard to leave behind.

The Charlemagne Pursuit (Cotton Malone, #4)

Malone brings it upon himself this time, as conversations with his son lead him into a new desire to learn the truth behind his father’s death in 1971.  He knows that he died in a submarine accident in the North Atlantic, but what went wrong?  

Malone asks his former boss to get him a copy of the still classified file, which leads him on a pursuit he never expected.  His father, in fact, did not die in the North Atlantic, but instead while on a mission in Antarctica.  But why?

Malone learns that as he is trying to learn why his father died, there are powerful men who want to ensure that the secret never comes out.  His pursuit to find out the truth leads him to uncover the ancient secrets that his opponents don’t want him to know.  

As usual, this is a fast paced book with several twists and turns.  Unfortunately, I feel like this novel sort of fell flat on the believability index.  It was disappointing, because I never really bought it since the story is just a bit outside of the realm of reality.  That said, it was still an interesting read.  

3 stars.

Book Review: The Alexandria Link

The Alexandria Link, by Steve Berry, read by Scott Brick

This was another book in Steve Berry’s series featuring Cotton Malone, a retired Justice Department Agent who moved to Copenhagen to open a rare book shop.

The Alexandria Link (Cotton Malone, #2)

In The Alexandria Link, Cotton Malone is drawn into the chase when his son his kidnapped.  The kidnappers want information related to a previous case Malone worked on, and that only he possesses.  Making sure his son is safe will require him to revisit the previous case, and make sure what has been hidden remains that way.

And what is that secret information?  Well imagine for a moment that the Holy Land as named in the Bible is not actually in Israel and the region of Palestine?  What if Israel, as created after World War II, is not actually located where today’s version of the Bible says it is?  And along those lines, how would you prove it?

The adventure sends Cotton Malone on a search for the lost library of Alexandria, the huge research library of the ancient world, that was supposed to have been located in Alexandria, Egypt.  The library was said to have contained scrolls of the Old Testament prior to their translation into modern languages.  And those scrolls would hold the key to whether the location of the Holy Land, as described in the Bible, was within the modern state of Israel.

But why would that matter?  Because…  Modern day Christians, Jews and Muslims all make claim to the Holy Land.  But if it were in the wrong location, what do that do to the already tense situation?  Would an all out war ensue?

Berry’s writing style keeps the reader engaged throughout the whole book and his creative interweaving of history and hypothetical scenarios makes you think.  Plus, Scott Brick is one of the best narrators out there!

4 stars.

Book Review: Deception Point

Deception Point, by Dan Brown

I hadn’t read Dan Brown since I read the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons almost 20 years ago, but this was among my parents audiobooks.

Deception Point is a political thriller, with plenty of action, deception (hence the title) and murder…

Deception Point

Rachel Sexton works in the National Security Office of the President, writing briefs for the President on various topics of national security.  Until one day she receives a call from her boss, letting her know that she’s been summoned by the President.  She is taken in a White House helicopter to begin the most bizarre and dangerous 24 hours of her life.

As it turns out, NASA has discovered a meteorite, buried deep within the ice of the Milne Ice Shelf in the Arctic.  It’s incredible all on its own, but then she learns that this meteorite has the potential to be the biggest scientific discovery NASA has ever made…  But why has Rachel been summoned to see a mysterious meteorite in the Arctic?

Like other Dan Brown novels, this one is fast-paced, leading the reader down multiple twists and turns, and barely letting you catch your breath before the next plot twist comes along. 

It held my interest, and I appreciated the scientific discussion that is present throughout the book, but it didn’t have the same allure as the DaVinci Code.  My biggest disappointment was that I found myself not being satisfied with the motive of the villain in the end; it wasn’t clear why that character was the one behind it all…

That being said, I still found it to be an easy, interesting read. 

3 stars. 

 

Book Review: Edge

Edge, by Jeffrey Deaver

Officer Corte is in an interesting line of work. He works as a “shepherd,” a term created by those who work in his under-the-radar government organization. He is charged with protecting people whose lives are at risk due to being targeted by a “lifter” or “hitter.” Euphemisms that essentially mean people who are hired to kidnap people in order to extract information, or kill them.

Edge

Corte has been assigned to guard the Kessler family, consisting of a police officer, his stay-at-home wife, their daughter and the wife’s sister.

The book contains a series of plot twists, and the reader never quite knows who is being targeted and by whom. The bad guys go to huge lengths to get their target, including kidnapping and torturing innocent bystanders to make them do the dirty work.

I have never led a life that would lead me to needing protection by these agents, but I found myself fascinated by the intricate dance they do to move people to safety and make sure they are still alive to get to their depositions, or court dates, or whatever other thing is so important that they not attend.

Nobody in this family is who they seem, and the plot progresses as Corte tries to discover who wants the Kesslers, and why.  The book has its share of gunfire, explosions and other things that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat until the very end…  I listened to the audio version, and the narrator, Skip Sudduth, was excellent!

4 stars.

Book Review: The Utopia Experiment

The Utopia Experiment, by Kyle Mills

Can you imagine if someone invented the next phase in technology; a cell phone but WAY more.  A device that can read your brain waves, in order to give you an incredible experience.  Apps that appear in your field of vision and can be manipulated with your thoughts.  A device that corrects your vision and hearing, and gives you a sensory experience unlike any other.  And oh, did I mention that your nightly insomnia can be miraculously eliminated?  

The Utopia Experiment (Covert-One, #10)

Dr. Christian Dresner has invented just such a device.  It has potential capabilities for people with disabilities that can only be dreamt of.  And he’s created a military version that the U.S. will have exclusive rights to that will allow for U.S. military dominance and will hopefully bring peace to the world.  

Dr. John Smith is assigned to explore its military usefulness.  He thinks it is great, until an old friend, Randi Russell, shows up with information and a gut feeling that something deeply sinister is going on…

Kyle Mills wrote a fast paced novel that held my attention from start to finish.  His way of explaining complex technological innovations made it easier to grasp the concepts that were responsible for the premise of the novel.  

I was intrigued by this novel.  Parts of it seriously blew my mind, in terms of imagining the next horizon of technology and the dark purposes it could be used for.  My brain regularly got off on tangents about the power that the tech industry has over us.  There are some troubling parallels to things that are happening in the world today.  For someone with bad intentions, I shudder to think…

4 stars. 

Book Review: The Broker

The Broker, by John Grisham

I haven’t read anything by John Grisham, but I have watched a few movies that are based on his books.  This was one of my dad’s audio books, so I popped it in for a quick read on my commute.

The Broker

Joel Backman was a high powered attorney in Washington, D.C., trying to broker a deal between the U.S. Government and three young middle eastern men who have hacked into a satellite system and want to sell the technology to the highest bidder.  In the process, things go wrong and Backman goes to prison.  Fast forward to the beginning of the novel, when he has received a Presidential pardon (that he didn’t ask for) and is set up with a new life in Italy.  Things seem to be looking up!

However, things are not as they seem, and as it turns out, there are multiple people trying to kill Backman.  The problem is, he doesn’t know who…  He does realize that he can’t trust the government operatives who are supposed to be helping him.  So he’s on his own… 

The Broker is a fast-paced thriller with plenty of intrigue and seeing who can outsmart whom. 

3 stars. 

Book Review: C is for Corpse

C is for Corpse, by Sue Grafton

What if you knew that someone had unsuccessfully tried to kill you, but failed?

C is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)

In Sue Grafton’s third private detective story, Bobby Callahan hires private detective Kinsey Millhone to discover who tried to kill him by running his car off the road nine months previously.  Bobby was in physical therapy still trying to heal from his injuries from the crash that also killed his best friend.

Kinsey has to figure out if Bobby really was the victim of attempted murder, and not just some terrible accident.  Things aren’t very clear.  But soon enough the waters are muddied even further, when Bobby is in another car accident.  Was he the victim of another attempt, or is his battered body the cause of the tragedy? 

This novel had a lot of twists and turns, and in the end, Kinsey discovers the truth.  It’s an easy, quick read, but it did make me wonder at times if what she described was even possible.  Take it with a grain of salt…

3 stars. 

Book Review: The Last Juror

The Last Juror, by John Grisham

John Grisham has been writing for a while, and his history is pretty fascinating.  He started his career as a lawyer and practiced for about 10 years before his first book came out.  He gained popularity soon after and mostly quit practicing law.  He now has written 35 books, and almost a dozen have been made into movies.  This was the first of his books that I have read, but I have seen a few of his movies over the years and liked them.

The Last Juror

The Last Juror is about the trial of Danny Padgitt, a young man from a large corrupt family, for the rape and murder of a young widow, Rhoda Kassellaw.  The widow had two young children, who at least partially witnessed her rape and murder.  The Padgitt family has a long history of buying off the local lawmen and judges, but no one knows if they will be able to continue that streak after such a horrific, brutal crime. 

Willie Traynor is the editor of the local paper, a 23 year old college dropout who is looking for his way in the world.  Traynor covers the trial, and over time, earns the trust and respect of the local community that he is now a part of. 

The book is set in the 1970s and 1980s, and explores small town American, racism and political corruption.  Grisham’s storytelling style weaves these central themes into the story effortlessly, as he explores Willie Traynor’s budding friendship with Miss Callie Ruffin, the last juror selected for the Padgitt trial and the first black person to serve on a jury in Ford County.  Traynor has to slowly work his way into the community, which has a distrust for outsiders, but over the years, they begin to see him as their own.

There is plenty to digest in this courtroom drama/thriller, and his descriptions make you want to take a drive on the back roads of the deep south.

This book was another of the CD audiobooks that I have been working my way through, and it is narrated by Michael Beck, whose style I really enjoyed.

4 stars. 

Book Review: Two for the Dough

Two for the Dough, by Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is a popular writer of crime fiction; this audiobook was one of the CD audiobooks I have been working my way through.

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Stephanie Plum is an inexperienced bounty hunter trying to break into her new career. She is eager and curious, but honestly not very smart.  As a result, her search for her latest criminal suspect, Kenny Mancuso, is fraught with mistakes and near misses.  Somehow we are supposed to believe that a criminal who has no problem murdering others, somehow can’t manage to kill this bumbling bounty hunter.

It was mildly entertaining, but not enough to actually spend money on the book.  The audiobook is narrated by Lori Petty, which may be the best part! 

2 stars.

Book Review: The Templar Legacy

The Templar Legacy, by Steve Berry

I have several of the Steve Berry thrillers among the audiobooks that I’m working my way through, so I pulled another of them off the shelf for some entertainment on my commute.

The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone #1)

Cotton Malone is a retired government operative, who gets tangled up in the quest his former boss is on; this time it has nothing to do with national security.  His former boss, Stephanie Nelle, is trying to discover what her late husband was looking for, that led to a journal of mysterious clues.

Malone learns that the mystery has to do with the riches that were supposedly stockpiled by The Knights Templar hundreds of years ago, and have now been lost.  Stephanie’s husband has been searching for the treasure, and plenty of people think he was onto something, and they want a piece of it. 

This thriller has the usual intrigue, mystery, and plenty of exploration of the myth of the Knights Templar and their continued existence following their arrest and destruction in 1307 AD.  Berry paces his novels well, and keeps his reader interested from beginning to end.

3 stars.