Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: Natchez Burning

Natchez Burning Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always, Greg Iles delivers with more than just a punch in this the fourth in the Penn Cage series and first in his epic trilogy about the sins, the sinners and the saints of the civil rights war in the 1960's south.

When Penn's father, Dr. Tom Cage, is accused of murdering the nurse who worked by his side in the days the KKK and a secret murderous cult known as the Double Eagles had more power and influence than J. Edgar Hoover and his army of FBI agents, secrets thought to be long buried ooze to the surface. Penn, devoted to his aging and ill father, disregards the past ghosts, though, now forty years in the rearview, to save his father from a corrupt DA and the hit the Double Eagles put out on Tom. But in the course of Penn's frantic efforts, he not only comes in conflict with the horrific past and those who will stop at nothing to keep their role hidden, but also his fiancé, the Noble Prize winning editor of the local newspaper. To get the jump on the story, she wants to reveal the web of terrorists who murdered several black men in the mid '60s before Tom, who has gone to ground, can be found.

Iles is a master of the thriller. "Edge of your seat" and "thrill ride" doesn't begin to describe this read. It's more like clawing at the walls while your fingernails rip and tear from their roots. I only have two minor critiques and is why the four star rating. 1) This is a Penn Cage novel and Penn is hardly a character for the first third of the book. 2) Iles is a bit repetitive on historic details. I found myself saying, "I already know that," when he would describe an event through a new characters eyes.

But don't let that get in the way of the read. If you love great thrillers, I guarantee that once you start reading "Natchez Burning" you'll find it almost impossible to put down.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review: A Dance with Dragons

A Dance with Dragons A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No spoilers here, just total enjoyment in reading.

Martin continues to be the master of suspension of disbelief in this his fifth edition to the fantasy novel series "Song of Ice and Fire Ice." He moves from point of view to point of view, giving the reader just enough detail to keep the pages turning and the plot weaving (not maundering or at a glacial creep) ever forward. The story is vivid in its beauty, bloody in its execution, majestic in its passion, and humiliating in its retribution. He crafts confrontations from which the characters see no way out and, yes, from time to time, they meet their end of days. Yet, at other times there's just another cliffhanger for this book ... or maybe not. In fact, there are so many cliffhangers by the end of "A Dance with Dragons" my fingernails are already fractured trying to hold on for book six.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Vanish

Vanish Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gerritsen continues to delight with this addition to the Rizzoli and Isles saga.

While Maura finds a live "dead body" in the morgue, Jane is ready to pop with her first child. When both converge in the hospital and Jane has a gun to her head, all bets are off as to what the truth really is. Why are all these alphabet soup federal agencies involved in a simple local abduction (if adduction can be simple for those who are hostages)? Is this story really about a national threat or is there something else afoot that the reader, without a microscope, can’t see.

With all the polish of a great mystery writer, Tess, weaves just enough clues and backstory so the reader is kept guessing. Yet, the truth is out there—between the lines. A great read.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: A Feast for Crows

A Feast for Crows A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now the fourth offering in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" novel series. There is so much going on in seven kingdoms, George R. R. Martin has chosen to move the action from the war over the Iron Throne (which is winding down now after the Red Wedding - book three) to Cersie Lannister's who is out for her dwarf brother's blood as she assumed he poisoned Joffrey, her first incestuous son, at his own wedding and killed their father), the search of Sansa, and the brewing battle between the Wildlings beyond the wall and those who have taken the black, led by Arya and Sansa's bastard brother John Snow.

About half way through the story, I began to wonder about some of the other characters I had learned to love or hate. But it wasn't until after I reached the final page that Martin explained that those characters would be back in volume five. Of interest also in this edition, the reader is introduced, or at least allowed to follow, some of the lesser characters (and even some new ones) to see how they move the story forward.

A good read. I'm enjoying this epic fantasy series almost as much as "Lord of the Rings.

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