I believe Lee Child has a subtle sense of humor in his
writing. It feels like he thoroughly enjoys writing Reacher stories, making the
unbelievable believable, letting this giant of a man wander across the country
taking out all the bad guys in his path, and painting a picture of a country he
I won’t go into the plot of Past Tense. You can read about it in almost every review. But I liked it.
I’ve read most or all of the Reacher books and enjoyed every
one of them.
The novel felt like several stories stuffed into one book with no real connection except Ya’ara Stein, an ex-agent of Israel’s Mossad, who is training a group of unlikely recruits to become a black ops unit. There is no overall plot, unless you count the random chapters about the sculptor, which doesn’t tie into the story until the end. There is a story with a plot in the first half of the book, but that ended in chapter thirty-something out of seventy-eight.
Lots of time is spent on character development of the
unlikely recruits. The main protagonist, Ya’ara, is the least likeable—cold and
Slow paced, the story didn’t flow. I wouldn’t call it a
(spoiler alert) I think Reacher is getting older and meaner,
less tolerant of the bad guys. He’s still unbelievably observant, sharp,
calculating, and very, very lucky. This book reads like a violent video game,
with a lot more mayhem than previous Reacher novels. And the girl who
accompanies him through the story is very tolerant of his murderous ways. I
found it difficult to believe he and a few friends could take out two whole crime
All that said, I still enjoyed this addition to the series. I
like Lee Child’s clipped style of writing and strange sense of humor.
I just returned from an awesome trip into the Amazon
rainforest without leaving my home. All my senses are on overload. Erica
Ferencik not only excites sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, she introduces
you to a variety of alien cultures and characters, pulls at your emotions, plucks
your heart strings, and teaches you about the unique environment of the jungle.
She is an extraordinary storyteller.
Into the Jungle is
my favorite read this year.
I enjoyed the read, but there was far too much action and
technology packed into two or three days in the story. I found myself speed
reading through or even skipping sections of the book describing weapons, battles,
and physics lessons, also some of the repetitive descriptions.
I like the concept of a super-intelligent AI trained in two different ways—one to be helpful and the other to be destructive. The science behind bringing Kat back from a coma was interesting. Rollins notes on the read history and technology at the beginning and end of the book were thought-provoking.
Some of the characters seemed thin to me, probably because I
haven’t read any previous books in the series. But the story works as a
Peter Ash goes to Memphis to help Wanda Wyatt, who has been
receiving strange threats since purchasing an old house and moving in. When he
arrives, he finds someone has driven a dump truck into the front of Wanda’s
house. While trying to track down who might have done it, A young thief, a
homeless street musician, steals Peter’s pickup truck. Peter decides to help
the young musician, too.
I like Peter, even though he often makes stupid and risky
decisions. (He always gets out of the dangerous situations where these
decisions lead him.) All of the characters in the story are interesting, even
the bad guys. Plenty of bad guys populate the book—the young boys, who rob a
jewelry store; a farmer and his psycho brother, who are trying to drive Wanda
out of her house; the gang boss of the Memphis drug world and his close
associates, who are chasing the boy that stole Peter’s truck; and more. Even
Peter and his friend Lewis are not always on the right side of the law.
Suspend your disbelief, and you will enjoy the story.
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.