Monthly Archives: August 2016
By Dan Cobain
People are disappearing and a group of supernatural creatures called Angels are responsible. How do they relate to a super-collider in Switzerland? Or to a young girl who’s personality is changing? Or to a priest trying to cope with a secret from long ago? Will the world survive?
This book is all over the map and although I thought at first the plot was intriguing, there are a lot of tenuous connections throughout with little explanation.
Robert Jones: drives a BMW, smokes, divorced with a son
Father Montgomery: priest, dyed graying hair, fit, 60s
Klaus Boerman: professor/scientist
A few others. The characters were okay. I didn’t feel close to any of them
Fairly okay throughout although the Angels speech is repetitive and hardly scary. There’s some dialogue that I scratched my head at, including a cop who replies something completely out of context to what his partner said.
Titled chapters headed by location.
One mild profanity (hell) I found.
Let me discuss the tenuous or distant connections and I’ll try not to play spoiler too much.
The super-collider was a big problem for me. Supposedly, the Angels were created when the scientists turned this ting on and conducted their experiments. Okay, but the Angels weren’t shown to be from the machine. In addition, there’s a continuity problem because in another scene it’s mentioned by the Angels that they have been around for centuries judging the wickedness of humanity.
The priest and Jones visit one of the collider scientists but it’s not explained how they knew to do so, how the priest knew the scientist, and nothing really was gained by the meeting.
The possessed girl was interesting (can you say Linda Blair?) but it wasn’t explained why the Angels chose her or why they should possess anybody in the first place. That part didn’t make sense to me.
There is an acronym cleverly related to the Angels, but the spelled out phrase doesn’t take into account all of the letters in the acronym.
This is a short story and that’s also a problem. With a short you have to get in, get the trouble started, get to the action and get a solution. This book spent too much time killing people and not enough time connecting the dots. The subplot with the priest’s secret was fine but it should have played a bigger role in the climax.
Speaking of: the climax was too cerebral, philosophical, not enough action.
Scary thrills were low, action low, tension medium-low.
By David Pepper
When a midterm election results in unlikely victors, reporter Jack Sharpe starts investigating. He discovers that certain people had access to certain voting machines. But that’s only the beginning. Who’s behind the conspiracy to rig an election? Who can be trusted? Sharpe won’t stop until he finds the answers.
Pretty good plot and timely since the recent debacle with the Democrat party. There are problems here and there but the premise is a good one.
Jack Sharpe: reporter, divorced, 6’2”, played football in high school and at Youngstown State, dad was a state senator, sister is dead, dad is dead
Lee Kelly: U.S. Representative, married, brown hair, 50’s
Tom Stanton: U.S. Representative, married with three children
Scott Sharpe: Jack’s son, attended the University of Chicago & Stanford Business School, married
Elizabeth Johnson: U.S. President, red hair, former TV news anchor
Oleg Kazarov: 6’1”, slight frame, pale, oily black hair, round head, smokes, dark eyes
A large cast but personalities come through I like Oleg and Sharpe as the distant enemies. Stanton is a good baddie.
Voices are fine. Conversations don’t wander afar.
The book is in Parts. Chapters are headed by time or location. A bit of profanity. 1st person from Sharpe’s POV and third person POV in some chapters.
One of the big things I found difficult was the time jumping. This story goes from X-days after the election to X-days before the election. After awhile, I stopped trying to keep the time line straight. Because of this I found it difficult, too, to keep plot points intact.
This book had almost no tension, emotion, or action. This cold have been a great thriller but Jack wandered around with a tail, an almost peaceful kidnapping, and very little ineffective violence. Yes, there were some murders, but they weren’t dramatic, just…there.
I’m not in the business of telling authors how they should plot their books, but this one could have used some attempts to kill Jack throughout, followed by the inevitable kidnapping near the end. Nothing. A lot of investigation and explanations, but that was about it.
The ending was long and drawn out. There was no climax, so to speak, because there was no tension when the good guy and bad guy meet. It was a good plot and took some thinking to write it. It told some truths about politics.
It just didn’t excite me all that much.
By Bill Larkin
A massive earthquake devastate Leos Angles. Kevin Schmidt, a deputy with Orange County, is called upon to track down a missing Captain. Together, with hastily thrown together team they navigate the chaotic metropolitan streets. However, there are forces working behind the scenes to take advantage of the destruction…and to cause more.
A very interesting plot. A bit of action, a bit of thriller, a quest, a chase. It builds from a simple seek and find to international intrigue.
Kari Boyd: Black, drives a BMW 550, works in the Office of Emergency Services
CAP. Mara: LAPS detective, divorced with kids, Irish/Mexican heritage
Kevin ‘Schmidt’ Schmidt: Orange County Sheriff’s detective, father is a LAPS detective, has an older brother, attended US Long Beach
Roger Jenkins: Deputy Chief, black, 50s, small stature, wears glasses, graying hair, 5’8”, graduated Loyola
Karen Anderson: detective, athletic, 40s, short dark hair, freckles
Brett Gallon: tall, Lieutenant, 40s, attended UCLA, former minor league baseball player
Shawna Hogan: rookie cop, 20s, athletic
A nice cast of characters. Well rounded, each with different personalities and quirks and attitudes. More characters show up later in the book
I thought the voices were very well developed. Conversations had impact. Not too much miscellaneous stuff.
1st person from Schmidt PROV and 3rd person PROV throughout. Relatively short chapters. Profanity.
So, what can I say. I enjoyed the book. The action was good. I thought it depicted the devastation and the people fairly well. As mentioned the plot built and grew and turned into something I didn’t expect.
I think some details could have been expanded upon a bit more but I thought there was good emotion shown by the characters.
So why did I give it a lower then expected rank? I think it goes back to the details. A bit more would have rounded out the story well. Not details on the way the bad guys did what they did. I understand that being glossed over. But there were times when the travels through LA. could have been more detailed. More streets and well known sites described. Just a bit more. But it was still an enjoyable book and bring some of these characters back for a second round, I’m there.
By Ken Fry
An at buyer/seller, Jack Manton, is after paintings undiscovered by auction houses that don’t know what they actually have. He comes across a couple of rare paintings by Brodsky, a Russian Jew who died in WWII. He’s not the only one after those paintings. A Russian collector (by any means), sends his man out to obtain the paintings. It’s a race to see who can have the paintings, who can discover the whereabouts of more by Brodsky, and who survives.
A very nice suspense quest/chase thriller with enough background info to keep me moving through it.
Josef Laventry Verezin: 54, former mafia, dark dyed hair, brown eyes, wears glasses, tattoo on back, affected by palsy, art thief, Chief of IAS
Jack Manton: 44, attended Edinburgh University, Masters in History of Fine Art, former magazine writer, art buyer/seller, fit, teaches fencing
Tamsin Greene: Jack’s girlfriend, 34, slender, 5’8”, dark hair, brown eyes, Spanish/French/Russian ancestry, 2 siblings, parents dead, attended London University, fluent in 4 languages, divorced
Vladimir Novokov: thief/killer, former SVR, parents dead, fit, homosexual
There are a few others that make for a nice cast. Very well presented with separate personalities. I did tire of Tasmin’s constant badgering of Jack. If she didn’t want to stay with him, just leave. Some decent baddies.
Pretty good voices. They came through well. There were a few instances of B-movie threats and dialogue that popped up throughout but nothing overtly ham-ish.
Chapters are headed by location.
Near the beginning there were several weather references that didn’t seem to go with the scene or the story. It was as if the author finished a scene and thought, “Oh, yeah, I’d better put that snow is falling.”
There were some obvious tense shifts. Past to present.
Good action scenes. Background on Brodsky was laid out pretty well.
All in all, I think a fairly good story. Writing could have been tighter in some places.
By Dr. J. A. Kahn
Well, like the title says, it’s a book about the defense against vampires. It explain a bit about the physiognomy of vampires, their biological systems, their strengths and weaknesses and how you can properly train yourself to protect yourself and possibly others. There are anecdotes on successes and failures from around the world.
Not sure what to make of it. Kind of what I expected, but kind of not, also. It’s a guide but I think of it like I do martial arts self defense – if you’re properly trained, you have a better chance of success and even self defense will not be successful 100% of the time. I think that’s why the author gives various methods of disposing of the toothy beasts.
Uh, vampires (kind of a ‘duh’ here, right?): for a pretty fair description of them, read the book.
Kahn: Yes, the author is the character because he’s the narrator. He is well trained in many martial arts but no picture is shown above so as not endanger others and because he doesn’t want to be recognized by a large number of people. If he comes upon a vampire who recognizes him from his reputation…well, too bad for the vampire. He does describe himself, but not in specific terms, for the same reason listed above.
None. Several quotes from various persons.
Titled chapters and sections. Relatively short chapters
There are some missing words noticeable in some sentences.
Easy, conversational. Some of the authors whimsy phraseology about “If you don’t do this or try to do this then this will be the result” get a bit repetitive.
Some moments of humor.
I did have a problem when it came to the equipment the author purports to carry with him most of the time. I don’t think even Batman carries so much stuff. Plus, the amount and size of the items would make moving difficult, let alone fighting the enemy, so that was a bit over the top…if I can go there with this type of book. (Tongue in cheek, doncha know?)
Long about half done I did start to recognize some shades of life advice. He discusses how a proper diet, resisting temptation, obeying parents, making good choices, proper exercise will help you in your defense against the fangs, but couldn’t you also use the same notions for life in general. Those things will also help you succeed in other areas: business, schooling, friendship, etc. I don’t know if this was intentional, but it exists and is a good thing without being overly ‘preachy’.
So, what about rank? Not usually my choice for reading. I mean vampires and zombies have saturated the market the book has to catch me from the back blurb (and yes, the cover) to be given a second look, let alone a read. Did Kahn catch me on a good day? Maybe. It was a fun read, so I’ll go with: