I haven’t read a Dan Brown novel in years. I gave up after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. As you can read in
many of the reviews, he’s not the best writer. But a friend gave me a copy of Origin recently, so I read it.
Where do we come from? Where are we going?
These are the two questions to be answered by the “big reveal” that is the central plot of the novel. There is lots of philosophical discussion about the questions and the differences between religion and science—some interesting, some repetitive. But in my opinion (and maybe the author’s), the big reveal doesn’t truly answer either question. And I guessed the villain of the story early on, so the ending fell flat for me.
enjoyed Spain. Brown’s description of the art, architecture, landscape, and
culture made me want to visit. But even some of this was repetitive.
it was an interesting read, but it could have been much shorter.
Off the Grid is a murder
mystery/police procedural/international thriller set on the big island of Hawai’i.
The story starts with “bang” when a woman’s car is crushed
by a dump truck. As the police and firemen close in, there is a massive
explosion, which turns out to be a bomb. Chief Detective Koa Kãne leaves the
scene to investigate a body found in the volcano Pele’s lava flow. The two
victims are a man and woman who have been living off the grid on the island for
twenty years with little interaction with other people. Who are they, who
murdered them, and why?
Koa meticulously tracks the complicated answers, with his
instincts helping to point him in the right direction. His chief, CIA, MIA, and
island politics all try to block and interfere with his investigation. He
continues to uncover secrets about the two victims, the military, the CIA, the
Chinese, and the locals.
Koa Kãne has secrets of his own that he shares with no one,
not even his girlfriend. The author paints a picture of Hawaii and its people
that is fascinating. You can feel the heat and smell the sulfur of the volcano,
sense the lush rainforest, connect with the variety of people who inhabit the
island. All of McCaw’s characters are interesting.
A great read by a talented author. Thanks to Oceanview
Publishing for sending an advanced reader’s copy of this book.
The Current is a
strange story written in a strange style, and it leaves unanswered questions at
the end. It’s closer to real life where everything doesn’t get neatly tied up. There
is mystery here, but not your typical “whodunit” mystery, maybe a literary
I enjoyed the story, but it took a little while to
understand the flow. At times Johnston writes stream
of consciousness, sometimes he uses second person POV, head-hopping from
one character to another, and he skips back and forth between timelines. But he
digs deep into the psyches of his characters—love, hate, grief, curiosity, need-to-know,
vengeance—and tells all that is going on around them—sights, smells, heat and
cold, sounds, skin sensations.
I enjoyed the book but only gave it four stars. It grabbed
my attention, my heart, and my mind. But the author could have made it a little
easier to follow without losing the grip of the story.
Barry Eisler is one of my favorite authors. It feels strange
to me that I like his writing, because many violent thrillers completely turn
me off. But Eisler gets into his characters’ heads, and we get to know them. He
also does a great job with settings.
I won’t go into the storyline here, since it’s readily
available in other reviews. I will say that having read other books with these
characters was an advantage, but you could probably enjoy it as a stand-alone.
The author brought together a large group of characters from previous novels.
We know who the killer is from the beginning of this book,
but that doesn’t spoil the story. Hen and her husband Lloyd have moved into a
new neighborhood in a small Massachusetts town. She reluctantly attends a party
and sees a trophy in neighbor Matthew’s office that she believes is connected
to a murder she obsessively researched a few years earlier.
She tells the police, but due to a history of mental
problems, they distrust her credibility. Lloyd even doubts her. Hen and Matthew
have conversations where he admits he has murdered people.
The novel is a suspenseful psychological thriller. Swanson
held my interest throughout, even though I suspected the ending twist.
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
Here and Gone kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the
whole book. What would you do if a sheriff in the middle of nowhere pulled you
over with a trumped-up charge and took your children away? Then he claims there
were no children in your car. No one believes you—state police, FBI, media all
think you have killed your children.
Unlike many of today’s thrillers that are filled with
violence and farfetched scenarios, this is an intense, believable psychological
Clyde Barr is a Jack Reacher type character. But Erik Storey
doesn’t write as well as Lee Child. Barr is the only character in this novel
with much depth. The others are brushed over lightly. I liked the setting in
the desert of Utah on a Ute reservation. I could feel the dry heat and see the
The plot wasn’t bad with a motorcycle gang invading the reservation,
waiting for something. A bit too macho for my taste—too much violence. Barr
gets beat up a lot, but always survives.
The book kept my interest enough for me to finish it, but I
won’t be looking for another Erik Storey novel.
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.