Ben Bova — Death Wave

This book reminded me of the good old-fashioned SF space operas I used to read as a kid. This one is about a more or less one man crusade to get the people of earth to help save other intelligent species in our galaxy.

There is a “Death Wave” traveling across the stars wiping out all life on every planet it touches. Jordan Kell has returned from New Earth, a planet created by a very old machine intelligence. The planet is populated with human inhabitants created with DNA from earth. Kell and his wife from New Earth are on a mission to save intelligence on other planets. His battle is with the politicians who want to silence him. They are too busy trying to save earth from global warming. One particular politician, Anita Halleck, head of the world government, is determined to stop him. She is afraid of losing her almost dictatorial power over the earth.

There are underlying themes about greed, power, loss of freedom and privacy, and not paying attention to what today’s actions will cause in the future.

I enjoyed the story and Bova’s writing. But there were a couple of issues that bothered me in this book. One was the fact that Jordan and company were only concerned with saving “intelligent” life. How about all life?

The other was a minor irritation. The dialog between Kell and his wife is full of “dear,” “dearest,” and “darling.” People don’t talk that way. The rest of the dialog was realistic, but that little tick Bova added to the loving couple’s conversations is an annoyance.

Read the book anyway. It’s fun.

Claire North —Touch

This novel is a SF/Fantasy/Paranormal weird story. I hadn’t read anything by Claire North previously. When I checked her out I found she wrote her first novel at age fourteen as Catherine Webb. She has also published under the name Kate Griffin.

I’m not sure why I picked the book up. It isn’t the type of book I usually read. It’s the story of Kepler, a “ghost” who moves from person to person by touch. “Have you been losing time?” The person whom Kepler inhabits remembers nothing of the time Kepler has been using his or her body. Many times he/she asks permission and leaves the borrowed body better off than when he took possession. He is fond of the people he chooses.

The story begins as Kepler is being assassinated and he jumps into the body of his killer. He is one of a group of people who know of the ghosts and are trying to eliminate them. Kepler sets out to discover who is behind this group. He wants to save the ghosts.

Even though it is a strange premise, the book held my attention. North’s characters, the ghosts, are interesting and her descriptions of settings are wonderful.

I enjoyed the story.

David Baldacci — The Escape

In reading some reviews of this book, I noticed some compare Baldacci to Lee Child and the protagonist, John Puller to Jack Reacher. There may have been some similarities (names and occupations) but there are enough differences in personality to distinguish them. (I prefer Lee Child and Reacher. )

Many unlikely happenings occurred to allow John Puller’s brother to escape a maximum security military prison. Hard to believe, but John Puller is assigned to track his brother. Even though there are many scenarios that suspend belief in the story, I did enjoy it.

Baldacci’s first novel, Absolute Power, is still my favorite of his stories.