Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Stand, Above Average Novel

Finished Reflex and I am now trying to finish my vacation book.

I remember going to Hawaii as a child and enjoying it immensely. My mother enjoyed it immensely too, but what I remember her enjoying the most was a book I was reading at the time called, Norman Schnurman, Average Person (see here). I still remember the title, not just because it has an interesting one, but also becuase on that trip my mother ran out of books to read and had to turn to mine. She loved Norman Schnurman and I remember her telling her friends about the book even after we came home.

I was determined not to run out of books so I took Stephen King's The Stand (see here).

Yet another old favorite (see here) I read the Stand back in high school and loved it. I'm enjoying it again. I took it to Costa Rica in a paperback form. That didn't last and now I'm on the Kindle. It's a long one, and it's been unabridged since I read it the first time, still just as good as I remember. It grabs the reader from the very beginning and off it goes on a wild ride.


A mutter. 

“Wake up now, Sally.” 

A louder mutter: leeme lone. 

He shook her harder. 

“Wake up. You got to wake up!” 


Charlie’s voice. Calling her. For how long? 

Sally swam up out of sleep. 

First she glanced at the clock on the night table and saw it was quarter past two in the morning. Charlie shouldn’t even be here; he should be on shift. Then she got her first good look at him and something leaped up inside her, some deadly intuition. 

Her husband was deathly pale. His eyes started and bulged from their sockets. The car keys were in one hand. He was still using the other to shake her, although her eyes were open. It was as if he hadn’t been able to register the fact that she was awake. 

“Charlie, what is it? What’s wrong?”

King, Stephen - The Stand

Friday, August 5, 2016

"Think Dashiell Hammett meets Lee Child meets John Locke" for FREE

I have just made my latest book, Vapor Trail, free for the next week on Kindle (see here). I've gotten some great reviews. One of the best reads:

This is hard-boiled crime with a military twist. Think Dashiell Hammett meets Lee Child meets John Locke. The protagonist's almost clinical lack of empathy is shocking at first, then the speed at which characters are dispatched becomes a rhythm that draws the reader in, carries you through the plot twists, and dumps you out at the end of the book, determined never to join a military style workout group, ever. A great, quick read, especially if you are a fan of grindhouse movies.

If you have been looking for a free book with some decent reviews, may I suggest Vapor Trail (here). And may I also suggest you let me know what you think? I promise to return the favor.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Back to an Old Friend

The problem with having a favorite author who is no longer around is that once you've read all their stuff, it's hard to go back and enjoy their works in the same way that you enjoyed them the first time around. I'm going back to read an old friend. Dick Francis. One of my many favorite authors. I'm sure I've read Reflex before, but now that I don't remember it, I think now is a great time to go back and reacquaint myself.

The first line isn't too bad considering some of the others (see here):

Winded and coughing, I lay on one elbow and spat out a mouthful of grass and mud. The horse I’d been riding raised its weight off my ankle, scrambled untidily to its feet and departed at an unfeeling gallop. I waited for things to settle: chest heaving, bones still rattling from the bang, sense of balance recovering from a thirty-mile-an-hour somersault and a few tumbling rolls. No harm done. Nothing broken. Just another fall.

Francis, Dick - Reflex

One of the few good things about going back and re-reading novels is that I like to remember where I was when I read them, and think about who I used for the character models and what places I used for the setting. When I was younger and had a very small history of English country houses to pull from, I always used my parent's friends, the Turner's house as the setting for so many of Dick Francis' novels. It's a tudor style home and was the closest I could get to envisioning British homes.

I also like to remember who it was I envisioned in different roles. Whenever I read a Stephanie Plum mystery (see evidence of that guilty pleasure here) I have a very clear image of the real person in my life who I use in that role. She's perfect for it even though she looks nothing like the way Stephanie Plum is described. Same goes for Jack Ryan. Got me a person for that role too. I like to read these old novels and remember who I used. Usually I remember then think to myself, "What were you thinking!"

Monday, August 1, 2016

Well, . . . It Wasn't Dull . . . But Do We Call That Thrilling?

It's well documented that I have a man-crush on Hugh Grant. Don't know why . . .just do. I suspect it's a British accent thing. And if there is a British accent combined with slang, doesn't matter who says it . . .I dig it. I watch "The Great British Baking Championship" right now and I just love their slang. "I'm going give it a whack in the over." When said with a British accent it is an incredibly endearing statement.

Love Actually is one of my little brother's favorite movies. I don't blame him. Lots of British accents in that sucker. If it wasn't for the fact that Keira Knightley looks so much like a fish when she talks, it might be my favorite movie too. The scene I love most is when Hugh Grant is talking to his aide about a secretary and the aide calls the secretary "The Chubby One." Grant says "Hmmmmm, would we call her chubby?"

That's sort of how I feel about Barry Eisler's book, Fault Line (see here). Except I think my review would be, "Hmmmmm, do we call that a techno-thriller?"

The plot is pretty humdrum. A Macguffin in the form of a secret virus cracking software that the government wants and they will kill to get it. Everyone who comes near it or has something to do with it ends up dead. But really it's the story of two brothers, Ben and Alex. Ben the super spy and Alex the tech lawyer. All in all, although not a yawn fest, it just wasn't as good as some of Eisler's other works (see here).

I loved Eisler's work with the John Rain series. I thought the writing was impeccable. Sadly the last few that I've read just aren't as good as his first few (see here). Now, don't get me wrong. It's better than anything Brad Thor has ever thought about producing and as good as any of the Tom Clancy legacy novels that are still being produced. Are they on par with Forsythe? Not quite. 

His first few may have been, but these latest two have been leaving me wanting more.