Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wow! Could Lee Child be recycling his plots?

I made an amazing discovery when I was reviewing this book. Please check out my review on to check it out and express your opinion.
See this review of "61 Hours" and the comparison to this first novel, "Killing Floor," the similarities are amazing.

If you enjoy the review, please indicate that it was helpful on the amazon link.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"I'm not a heavy drinker. I can sometimes go for hours without touching a drop." Noel Coward

As I was reading Lee Child's current best seller with Jack Reacher, something kept nagging me then I remembered reading the author's first novel, "Killing Floor," and was surprised by the many plot similarities between the two books. It almost seems like he is recycling the plot.
In both novels, Reacher is helping an overwhelmed police department in a small town. In "Killing Floor," the action is in Margrove, Georgia. In "61 Hours," the story is centered in Bolton, South Dakota.
Both stories have only two members of the police department helping Reacher. In "Killing Floor," his helpers are Capt. Finley and Officer Roscoe, in "61 Hours," he is being helped by the police Chief, Holland and Andrew Peterson, the second in command.
In both novels, Reacher calls the Washington area for help. In the first novel, it is Reacher's brother's division of the treasury. In "61 Hours," he calls in a favor and a lot of background help from the commanding officer of an elite military group in Rock Creek, Va., a group that Reacher once commanded.
Both stories have a deadline. "Killing Floor" has something happening on the next Sunday and Reacher has to stop it before then. "61 Hours" it is sixty one hours before an event will happen that Reacher must prevent.
The towns in which the stories are told both benefit from wealth that made the town seem prosperous but also added an obligation that required the town to be less cautious about wrong doing.
In "Killing Floor," Reacher is saving the family of Paul Hubble. In "61 Hours," there is a witness who saw a drug deal going down involving an important member of the drug group.
I enjoyed both novels and admire all the attributes of Jack Reacher, his bravery, strength, compassion and loyalty, however, I feel that "Killing Floor," was far superior because of its uniqueness. In addition, Lee Child is still one of the best story tellers and thriller writers that we have.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Macho does not provide mucho" Zsa Zsa Gabor

"Mucho Mojo" is a good summer beach book. The story moves along nicely and there's has an interesting plot line.
Leonard Pine is surprised to learn that his uncle Chester left him his home and $100,ooo. Leonard's felling was that he uncle didn't approve of him because he is gay.
He's with his friend, Hap Collins, when he arrives at his uncle's home. They find drug dealers from the crack house next door, using his front porch for a place to do business.
Pine asks Hap to move in with him and help fix up the house and as they do, they find a body of a young child in the basement. They also find some old coupons and photographs of little children in sexual positions. At first they suspect that Pine's uncle may have been a child molester and killer but upon looking at the evidence and Pine remembering that his uncle was a cop wanna be, they realize that it's something else. Uncle Chester must have been searching for the killer and perhaps leaving a message before the apparent dementia took his mind.
The book deals with significant subjects: the relationship between a black and a white man, friendship between a gay and straight man, the problem of crack cocaine and what a crack house does to a neighborhood, and child pornography and pedophilia.
The setting of La Borde, Texas' slums is well done and picturesque and the characters are likable and dialogue is a strong point to the novel.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"I am president now, and tired of being kicked around." Wm Howard Taft

In the Steig Larsson's Millinnium trilogy, the story picks up after the action in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Lisbeth Salander is taken to the hospital after being shot three times and buried alive. She's in critical condition with a bullet in the brain.

Her friend, journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, found her and called in help. He tells police that he tied killer Ronald Niedermann to a road sign and could be taken into custody. He also warns the police to be careful of him. However, police don't take his caution seriously enough and Niedermann kills one of the police officers and severely beats the other.

At the same time, former Russian hit man, Alexander Zalachenko, who is Salander's father is found injured. He is the person who shot his daughter and buried her alive. She managed to escape and hit him with a hatchet. He's severely injured and taken to the same hospital as his daughter.

Inspector Modig and Criminal Inspector Marcus Erlander, from violent crimes are the investigating officers.

Blomkvist asks Insp. Modig if she will make sure that there isn't a cover up for the crimes against Salander by the Secret Service, SAPO, who brought Zalachenko into the country, used him as a political tool, and declared Salander insane when she finally took action against Zalachenko after the years of extreme physical abuse he gave to her mother.

The case is set for trial and as the trial date is set, Blomkvist persuades his sister, Annika Giannini, a woman's rights attorney, to act as Lisbeth's counsel.

The men behind the scenes at SAPO are led by Everett Gullberg, a former chief os Sweden's secret police. It was he who appointed Gunnar Bjorck, who was one of the major players in SAPO's recruitment and cover up of Zalachenko. Gullberg tells his current secret service group that they must work together to discredit Salander and stop Zalachenko from telling what he knows.
The story goes on to tell the plot of SAPO and all of the inhumane things that they have done and plan to do to Salander.

An interesting subplot tells of Blomkvist's associate and occasional lover, Erica Berger, being offered a job at a leading publication company. We follow her actions as she attempts to run that company.

This is a significant work of literature, very realistic and emotionally captivating. Lisbeth Salander is the most outstanding female character that I have ever read.

The novel pulls together the threads of the first two novels and could have used some editing but the author died, soon after delivering the manuscript to his publishers. Nevertheless, this is one of the best books of the year and of the decade.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"...he just kept right on...killing me softly with his song." Song Lyrics

Reacher matches the description of the suspect who shot a man the prior night and is arrested for murder shortly after arriving in Margrove, Georgia.
As he waits in the jail, he speaks to Capt. Finley, chief investigations officer and attempts to convince him of his innocence.
A cell phone by the body belongs to a man named Paul Hubble and when questioned, Hubble confesses to the murder. However, he was at a social event and couldn't have committed the crime.
Reacher uses his skills, learned when he was with the Military Police and served as a homicide investigator. He has to figure out what is happening in this small town in Georgia. He only has two people on his side, Capt. Finley and an attractive police officer named Roscoe with whom he becomes romantically involved.
Reacher learns that the scheme has something to do with finance. He and his two associates must find out the details while keeping their investigation apart from the corrupt members of the police force and town mayor. To add to the tension, there is a deadline in finding the necessary answers. The Coast Guard will change their manner of patrolling the coast on Sunday and Reacher must get his answers and stop the criminals before that time.
The charactes are well portrayed. Reacher and the honest members of the police department are dedicated, brave and determined. The antagonists are arrogant, brutal and truly evil. This is the kind of story that, when finished, the reader can sit back, breathe a sigh, and congratulate the author for a writing an exceptional novel.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"If at first you don't succeed you're running about average." M. H. Alderson

Emma Caldridge is running an ultramarathon in South Africa when a roadside bomb explodes. As she lay dazed, a man injected her with some medication and left. She was able to finish the event with surprising speed and endurance.

Kahlil Ibrahim Mungabe is in Dubai when his contact tells him that he will pay to have Mungabe and his Somalia pirates intercept a cruise ship. The ship hods pharmaceutical products that his contact, The Vulture, wants.

Darkview, an American company, provides security for the ship.
Recently, that company has sunk a number of Mungabe's boats and captured the pirates to stand trial. Mungabe wants them put out of business and The Vulture tells him that he agrees and the plan to do that is already in motion.

On the "Kaiser Franz" Cameron Sumner, an employee of Darkview is the first to observe the pirates approaching. Since it's a cruise ship, there are no weapons aboard but he smuggled his own rifle aboard and is able to fire a few rounds, wounding a pirate and discouraging the remainder of the raiders, for the moment.

The reader follows the action as The Vulture meets with his contact, Karl Tarrant, the man who dosed Emma. Tarrant performs the dirty work for his boss and he's ordered to inject another dose of the chemical into Emma. They know that this would have fatal results.
There are several attempts to discredit and disrupt Darkview and Emma volunteers to be smuggled onto the cruise ship since, as a chemist, she will be able to analyze the pharmaceuticals.

She will have to risk her life on more than one occasion, to reach the ship.
The story flows skillfully and the suspense is constant. The characters are well drawn and smypathetic.
The author's first novel, "Running from the Devil" won the best first novel award from the International Thriller Writers and this novel adds to her fine work and excellent reputation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble." Ben Franklin

Joe Hunter is a problem solver. As the story opens, he lands in Florida and helps his sister-in-law, Jennifer, who is being threatened by a criminal, nicknamed "Shank." Shank was attempting to intimidate Jenn into giving money that her former husband had stolen.
When Joe removes the threat, Jenn asks him to find his half-brother, John, who left Jenn for a woman named Louise Blake. Although Jenn no longer loves John, she doesn't want harm to come to him, as the father of her children. She feels that John is in grave danger.
John had been dependent on Joe to repay his many gambling debts and when Joe tried to get John to change his ways, the half brothers became estranged.
In the Southwest, a cold-blooded, thrill killer is active. Tubal Cain enjoys killing and then cutting off the victim's thumbs. One day, while on the road, he stops where a car has broken down and is robbed of his prized possession, his knives.
The story describes what Cain and John are doing and Joe's search for his half-brother. It's the brave man against the bandit and John is the pawn.
If the object of a book is to entertain, the author does a good job at it. He also does a good job of setting the scene and permits the reader to get a vivid picture of the action. It would be easy to adopt the story for the screen.
I enjoyed the novel and following Joe's exploits. He is a refreshing new entry in the thriller field. I look forward to more of the author's work.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Love is like playing the piano. by the rules, from your heart." Unknown source

The story begins in 1952. Claire Pendleton is newly married. She arrives in Hong Kong with her husband, Martin. Claire admits that she doesn't love Martin but, at age 27, she wanted to get away from her home and her bitter mother who complained about everything.
Bored and in need of additional income, Claire gets a job teaching piano to Locket Chen, the daughter of the wealthy Victor Chen and his wife, Melody. After one lesson, a trinket from the Chen's falls into Claire's purse. When it's not noticed, she begins a period of petty thievery from the Chens. This eventually results in the Chens mistakenly firing their servant for the thefts.
The story flashes back to June, 1941, the period before the war and centers on Trudy Liang, a Eurasian and Will Truesdale, an Englishman who is new to Hong Kong. They begin an affair and Will moves through the Hong Kong society as the war approaches.
Back in 1941, Claire meets Will, as she is celebrating her twenty eighth birthday. Will is age forty-three. They begin seeing more and more of each other and begin an affair.
One day Claire is at the beach with her husband and wearing a head scarf that she had stolen from Melody Chen. Unexpectedly, they run into the Chens and Melody tells her that she has a scarf just like it. Claire wonders if Melody figured out that she stole it.
Events move slowly. The Japanese take over Hong Kong and people do what they must to survive. Some people do things that they must hide when the war is over.
Claire and Will continue their affair and then she learns something about his actions in the war that changes everything.
The author is asking if love is enough to conquor all.
The story was an interesting look back at the two moments in history but the characters were unappealing and I found myself looking for some redeeming traits but in the end, I didn't care about their outcome.
The author is a talented writer and the story was a nice diversion.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Patience and passage of time do more than strength and fury." Jean de la Fontaine

A new virus is being experimented on. On one hand, there is a fast recovery and healing period and could have military benefits. However, the life span for those inflicted, is brief.
In addition, in the military facility where this is being experimented on with convicts from death row as volunteers for the experiment, vampire like symptoms develop.
One day, the monsters get out and kill the guards and officials. Only a precocious young girl named Amy Harper Bellafonte and a former FBI agent, Brad Wolgast, survive.
The vampire like beings spread their terror. Chicago and other eastern cities fall and California declares itself independent and becomes a safe haven for humans and a barrier for the monsters.
Similar to Stephen King's classic, "The Stand," Amy and a few other survivors must risk their lives to save the world.
Well plotted with excellent descriptions, this is an enjoyable read. The author does a good job in making the reader interested in the story and in Amy. Because of his skillful plotting, this vampire, world threatening novel is a very entertaining read.

Currently Reading

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Broken Promise