Monthly Archives: July 2018

Quick Kick – Breakdown

cover

By Jonathan Kellerman

Kellerman

https://www.amazon.com/Breakdown-Delaware-Novel-Jonathan-Kellerman/dp/0345541421/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480216211&sr=8-1&keywords=breakdown%2C+kellerman

Plot

Psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware meets beautiful and emotionally fragile TV actress Zelda Chase when called upon to evaluate her five-year-old son, Ovid. Years later, Alex is unexpectedly reunited with Zelda when she is involuntarily committed after a bizarre psychotic episode. Shortly after Zelda’s release, an already sad situation turns tragic when she is discovered dead on the grounds of a palatial Bel Air estate. Having experienced more than enough of L.A.’s dark side to recognize the scent of evil, Alex turns to his friend LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis for help in finding out who ended Zelda’s broken life.
 
At the same time, Alex is caught up in another quest: the search for Zelda’s missing son. And when other victims vanish from the same upscale neighborhood, worry turns to terror.
 
As Alex struggles to piece together the brief rise and steep fall of a gorgeous, talented actress, he and Milo unveil shattered dreams, the corruption of a family, and a grotesque betrayal of innocence. With each devastating revelation and damning clue, Alex’s brilliant mind is challenged as never before—and his determination grows to see a killer caged and the truth set free.

My Analysis

I have listened to most of Kellerman’s books. I don’t recommend reading them. I urge you to listen to the audio books. John Rubenstein does an excellent job of narrating. Good voices and he really brings me into the books.

With Kellerman and the Alex Delaware novels, if you read enough of them, are pretty formulaic but not in the traditional sense. What I mean is that he starts out with a simple mystery and two or three CDs in, you find the case has expanded to cover not only left field but the entire ballpark.

There’s more detecting and clues being reveled than actual action. It’s low tension, but still very enjoyable.

I think Kellerman’s talent is bringing in real human drama and emotion. He doesn’t overwhelm you with psychological talk but strives to bring in the humanity. A bit of humor here and there to keep you from going too deep.

I’m always up for an Alex Delaware novel.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

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Term Limits

Term Limits

by Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn

http://www.vinceflynn.com/

Plot

It’s budget time in Washington and it’s politics as usual. Blackmail, coercing, threats. But into the mix comes murder. Three career politicians are killed in one night and a threat to kill more if the government doesn’t get its act together comes the next morning.

Micheal O’Rourke, freshman representative; Skip McMahon, FBI agent; and Stu Garrett, Chief of Staff are all players in this game of politics turned deadly.

I think Flynn writes a timely plot. This was written in ’97, but could easily fit into today’s world. He hasn’t come up with something brand new, but I always enjoy a goo political thriller.

Characters

Stu Garrett: U.S. President chief of Staff,

Micheal O’Rourke: 32, freshman U.S. Representative, younger brother is his chief of staff, graduated from the University of Minnesota, played hockey at the university, ex Marine, earned the Silver Star, handsome, family is the timber industry, knows judo, has a sister and another brother, parents died in car accident

Skip McMahon: FBI Special Agent, large frame,

Brian Roach: 26 year FBI veteran, currently is the director,

Mike Nance: National Security Advisor

Bridget Ryan: NBC intern

Liz Scarlotti: O’Rourke’s girlfriend, reporter, black hair

Pretty standard cast. You have the clean cut guy and the dirty politicos. Good basic information on everybody.

Dialogue

Voices stand out, especially since I listened to the audio version. Conversations stay on point.

Writing

Chapters are headed by time. Action is non-nonsense, to the point and quick. There are no real surprises, but just a well written book that is an enjoyable read.

My rank:

Blue Belt

Blue

Quick Kick – The Woods

Cover of Woods

By Harlan Coben

Coben

https://www.amazon.com/Woods-Harlan-Coben/dp/0451221958/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494983598&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Woods%2C+coben

Plot

Paul Copeland, a New Jersey county prosecutor, is still grieving the loss of his sister twenty years ago—the night she walked into the woods, never to be seen again. But now, a homicide victim is found with evidence linking him to the disappearance. The victim could be the boy who vanished along with Paul’s sister. And, as hope rises that his sister could still be alive, dangerous secrets from his family’s past threaten to tear apart everything Paul has been trying to hold together…

My Analysis

First off, I listened to the audio and enjoy, for the most part, Scott Brick as narrator. He does goo voices, good tonal quality, and his voice holds onto you.

For Coben, he likes these something-happened-in-past-and-now-I’m-going-to-slowly-reveal-it plots. They take awhile to develop and usually there is a secondary plot that may or may not connect to the main.

In The Woods, there is a court case that Copeland is trying. I was more interested in that case than finding out what happened to his sister twenty years before. At least a lot of the times I was. There were clues to the past mystery sprinkled hither and yon and there were a few twists and surprises. A few times I figured out what the development was before it was revealed.

The ending was a little blasé. It tied up the pieces and just…sort…of…drifted to…the end.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. Sometimes I think Coben doesn’t quite know what to do at the end of these types of mysteries and just…sort…of…well, you get the idea.

Still, worthy of:

Blue Belt

Blue

Dead Eyes

cove

by Stuart Woods

Stuart woods

http://www.stuartwoods.com/

Plot

Chris Calaway is on the road to stardom. She’s in a new film that looks to be a potential hit and she’s having a new house built in Malibu. However, she’s also attracted an admirer who sends note with no name or return address. One day into the new film, an accident causes blindness. Now she has to deal with recovery, being able to find work, and her admirer evolves into a serious problem.

Actress versus stalker. Blind woman versus bad guy. Nothing new but Woods has done his version of Strangers on a Train and I enjoyed that book so I was interested to see how he’d handle this.

Characters

Chris Calaway: 31, actress in Bel Air, drives a Mercedes 500SL convertible, was a dancer on off-Broadway in New York, graduated from the University of Georgia with a BA in drama and dance, took acting classes at the Actors Studio, divorced, father is a pharmacist

Mel Parker: owns Keyhole Security, blond, wiry, athletic, scar on upper lip, hooded eyes, attractive

Jason Quinn: actor, working with Calaway in a new film

Brent Williams; film director

Ron Morrow: Calaway’s agent

Jack Berman: Calaway business manager, mid-fifties

Danny Devere: 40, Calaway’s hairdresser, homosexual, ws in the Navy

Jon Larsen: late thirties, 6’2”, blond, very white, 180 pounds, detective with the LAPD Threat Management Unit, has a blind younger sister, attended UCLA, passed the bar exam but never practiced law, father was a lawyer, parents dead

Chuck E. Ripley: MD, developed a profiler program, stout, balding, was a staff psychiatrist at San Quentin

The cast is what you might expect. Woods only goes as deep as is necessary to get a good feel for the character.

Dialogue

Fast-paced. Short sentences. Conversations are to the point and don’t wander, However, there are a few that get a little b-movie-ish. Not typical of Woods.

Writing

Fast read. Fairly short chapters. I’ve read most of Woods’ novels from the Stone Barrington series to the Eagle series and have only been disappointed in one (only because he brought together characters from different series but left nothing solved. The bad guy got away and the good guys went on with their lives.) Woods keeps his stories interesting with just the right amount of tension, intrigue and mystery. There is one sexual scene in this one. The action is quick and decisive. He keeps things simple. Technical details are explained in everyday language. Many times I enjoy stories written decades ago mainly because of the technology in use. This was written in ’93 so cell phone popularity hadn’t exploded and I had to pause to remember the year because caller ID on landlines was fairly new. Sometimes I don’t mind a fast read and few details, but in this one I could have used a little more depth.

My Rank:

Purple Belt

Purple

Drunken Angel

Drunken Angel-angel on cover

By Charles Stoll

chipocean - Copy

https://www.amazon.com/Drunken-Angel-Charles-Stoll-ebook/dp/B07CN85258/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526778979&sr=8-1&keywords=drunken+angel%2C+stoll

Plot

Daisy Perlman’s life is opened up and examined. From her early days as a neglected child, to her striking out on her own and learning how the world-or rather her world-works, to her exploring new territory, to finding few and far between friends, to her falling back on old habits…in a new way. From youth to old age, Daisy’s life is lived her way.

Doesn’t explain too much, but I think it’s enough. Why play spoiler with trying to get into the finer details of the plot? Just know that Daisy is not a nice person…at times, but the plot shows the choices she makes because of the circumstance. It delves into a bit of mysticism (in a unique way), and there is character development. The basic lot of writing about Daisy’s life, at first doesn’t seem like much, but there are interesting bits.

Characters

Daisy Perlman: large woman, short orange curly hair, freckles

Willy: Lean, black, has 2 brothers

Mama: Scrawny

There are other characters who come and go in Daisy’s life. The pastor, Irma the Salvation Army woman, Lucy.

Although I know the book was solely about Daisy, I would have liked to have know what happened to some of the other characters. What happened to Willy during the time that he was missing from Daisy’s life until he’s seen at the end? Why didn’t the relationship work between Daisy and the pastor and what was his life like afterward?

Some of the characters were interesting, but when they left the story, hardly anything is ever heard about them and the reasons for their departure aren’t explained.

Dialogue

Okay, at first I had a problems with the backwoods hick accent. Sometimes it was difficult to follow, especially since every character, for a while, talked the same. Daisy does come out of it and there is more ‘normal’ speech.

Some of the long philosophical speeches by Daisy get a bit winded, especially when much of it is repetitive in their ideas.

Writing

Profanity. Daisy’s moving through life is sectioned by what age she is.

The book starts near the end of her life and then jumps back to when she was a youth. Yes, it circles back to the scene at the beginning.

I was okay with the book going along with her developing throughout the years, jumping to the next scene and having her older. There was a huge jump and I wondered about that and what happened in the intervening years.

This was a shorter book and it might have been longer to have some of those missing years and explanations on those missing years included.

I was a bit thrown by the mystical scenes with the forest creature (gnome? Wizard?) Those were interesting, but nothing was really solidified with those scenes. I think they helped Daisy with her view on life but they seemed outside the norm, like the book wanted to have an element of the supernatural, without going too deep.

I understand the Daisy character. I didn’t like her. What I mean is, I didn’t think she was an awful character type. I just didn’t like her as a person. I couldn’t empathize with her and she didn’t strike a note of sympathy. Maybe a bit when she was younger, but even though she stayed in the same general area throughout her life, I found it difficult to believe she didn’t develop in a more positive manner. How was she able to contact a publisher for the books she wrote? She didn’t care too much about money, but her books were successful, so what did she do with the royalties?

There was a lot of information about Daisy missing. A lot of questions unanswered. Maybe another reader will like her.

My Rank:

Camouflage Belt

Camo