The Taskforce characters don’t jell for me. Their dialog is
scattered and often makes no sense. You need to know their relationships with
each other and outsiders to follow the conversation. For a supposedly highly-skilled
group, they make a lot of mistakes and appear lucky to accomplish their tasks.
The best part of this thriller and the best character is a
thirteen-year-old girl, Amena—a Syrian refugee
and pickpocket in Monaco. She lifts an iPhone, which turns out to hold instructions
for obtaining a deadly weapon. Her adventures make the book readable.
The duo of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is
fascinating to me. They write seamlessly together. As an author, I am curious
about how the collaboration works. I’ve tried writing with others, and it
worked only one time. When it gelled, it was fruitful and fun, but you could
tell we were two authors. With Preston and Child, it feels like one.
Also intriguing—Agent Pendergast is still an interesting protagonist after eighteen books. I find it difficult to continue with the same characters into a second novel. I prefer starting with a new story and new characters.
Needless to say, excellent read.
This novel would rate five stars except there’s far too much
Evan Smoak is Orphan X. The Orphan program was a deep,
dark, black-ops program where children were recruited and trained as assassins.
Evan was taken from a group home at age twelve and lived with his trainer/mentor
until he was nineteen and went out into the field on his first assignment. The
Orphans were never told why their targets were
chosen, only that they were enemies of the United States. Later Even
left the program and became “The Nowhere Man” who worked for people in desperate
need of help.
The U.S. president, who used to run the Orphan program, is now
eliminating all the Orphans. When Evan’s mentor is
murdered, he decides to go after President Bennett. But Evan is also
Bennett’s number one target. Evan’s first assignment as an Orphan is one the
president particularly wants to hide.
At the same time, Evan is working a case as The Nowhere Man,
helping a young man with autism whose family has been wiped out by a drug
Evan is violent and indestructible. He has access to all the
right people to get the job done. If you can get beyond the unbelievable
traits, he’s interesting and likable.
Red Moon is combination of speculative
fiction, near-future, environmental, political, hard and soft science fiction, moon
colonization, and a little space opera thrown in. Even though it’s called Red Moon, much of the story takes place
in China. All the main characters but one are Chinese.
The amount of knowledge and research required for this book
is mind-boggling—China’s history, geography, present day culture, technology,
and politics; moon geology; quantum mechanics; artificial intelligence; space
travel; cryptocurrency; global economics;
moon exploration; and more.
Robinson paints images of the moon and China in such detail
that you feel you are there, from earthrise on the moon to crowds of millions
of protestors in Beijing. He also depicts various contrasting possibilities for
communities on the moon.
He extends the unrest in today’s world into a political and
economic crisis in China and the United States (and the world) of the near
future, with a hopeful outcome.
The characters are varied, interesting, and believable. Fred
Frederickson, an American delivering a quantum phone to the moon, is accused of
murdering his client. Chan Qi, the daughter of China’s Minister of Finance and
a leader in the opposition to the current government, is hiding on the moon and
is pregnant. Poet and celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu helps Fred and Qi evade
their pursuers. There is even an AI who matures throughout the book. Even the
less major characters are interesting.
The story kept me involved from beginning to end.
I enjoyed this book, but I’m not quite sure why.
The characters were not very likeable, even the protagonist,
V.I. (Vic) Warshawski, PI and lawyer. If I had read the numerous previous
novels about her, maybe I would have connected more with her. She grew on me as
the story progressed, but she was scattered, running around acting without
thinking, almost always angry at the world and at most people. Many of her
questions could have been answered by her “friends” in law enforcement instead
of illegally breaking into homes or business offices.
The plot was helter-skelter. Vic had two clients—a friend’s
nephew who was a person of interest in a murder because his name and phone
number were found on the victim and Vic’s ex-husband’s niece who was looking
for her missing sister. Even though the cases appeared to have nothing to do
with each other, they became offshoots of the same crime.
Spoiler alert. I’m
disappointedwith the ending. Vic’s
ex, whom she despised, was one of the bad guys, but she didn’t turn him in.
Gideon Crew and Manuel Garza have been dumped by their boss as he shuts down his company without notice. On their way out the door, they discover a computer has solved the translation to an ancient disk. But the translation is in code. When they finally break the code, it turns out to be a map to a remote corner of the Egyptian desert. With only a few months to live, Gideon has nothing to lose, and Garza is hoping to find lost treasure as payment for the years he has given his employer. A lack of guides who are willing to travel to the prohibited region forces them to join a camel caravan with archeologist/geologist/Egyptologist Imogen Blackburn.
Their journey is full of pitfalls and perils, from escaping a sinking ferry in the Red Sea, to being abandoned in the desert without supplies or camels, to the threat of beheading by a tribe of natives…
Reading this made me feel like I was living through an Indiana Jones movie. A true action/adventure book.
Even though her cause is just and those she hunts are not, Jane Hawk is becoming as vicious and brutal as the enemy. Koontz keeps the tension and suspense high, with Jane, her son, and her friends in more and more danger. But…
This third book in the series doesn’t really advance the plot, and we need to plow through at least two more very long books to get the climax. Also, Koontz spends a lot of chapters in this one on twins who are victims of the evil, elitist cabal out to control the masses. But there is no connection to Jane and her quest to stop the cabal. I may skip the fourth book and wait for the fifth, which I hope is the last.
I like Amos Decker, the protagonist. He’s the Memory Man, afflicted or blessed with a photographic memory. It started when he suffered an extreme injury playing pro football. He has synesthesia, sees colors for numbers and sometimes events. The injury also changed his personality and he has problems with social interactions. But he tries hard to overcome his social awkwardness. Most of all, I like his big heart.
Decker and his FBI partner Alex Jamison are supposed to be on vacation, visiting her sister’s family. But from the backyard Decker spots a flickering light in the neighbor’s house on the next street and goes to investigate. He finds two dead bodies and a fire about to start from an exposed wire. So much for vacation.
The plot is complex. The characters are interesting. The setting makes you feel like you know this failing town. Fast-paced, filled with drugs, murder, insurance scams, family feuds, and more, this book is hard to put down.
Baldacci at his best.
I haven’t read Dean Koontz for a while, and I haven’t read any of the previous Jane Hawk novels. I’ve been missing out.
Jane is on a quest to find out who caused her husband to commit suicide. Someone or something was controlling him. As she starts to find answers, “they” threaten her five-year-old son. This turns Jane into a rogue FBI agent bent on protecting her boy and destroying those who endanger him and seek power over the masses.
The characters are interesting and believable, even the minor ones. Settings are well done; this novel takes you all over the country. Quite a road trip. There is action and dark adventure, a plot that is believable and scary.
My only problem with the story is the ending. Koontz left loose ends to entice you to read the next installment.
p.s. I went back and read the first book of the series, The Silent Corner. It would be better to read them in order. This is definitely a series. You’ll want to read them all to get the full story. Two more books are available, and one is due May, 2019.
Both The Silent Corner and The Whispering Room are excellent writing.
I think Stuart Woods has been writing about Stone Barrington too long. Stone has become rather boring. This book is more about the lifestyle of the rich and connected than about the plot. The plot is rather thin as Stone chases the bad guys around the world trying to locate a stolen nuclear device, or the bad guys chase him. There was a hurricane in Key West in the beginning that I liked.
I did read the whole book, which says something was good about it. 🙂