Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Report #79 - Star Trek: Chain of Attack by Gene DeWeese

3 of 52
Page count - 251

Published in 1987 this book was a bit stiff; I found the narration went on a bit too much, for my tastes.  But, it was #32 in the Star Trek Original Series novels so, perhaps, Pocket Books and Paramount were still trying to build an audience and didn't want to alienate new readers.  Who knows.

The Enterprise was investigating some gravitational anomalies, as such things tend to happen in the Star Trek universe, and is flung right out of the Milky Way galaxy to some unknown and very distant galaxy.  The gateway they traveled through immediately closes and leave the crew stranded far, far from home.

While investigating nearby stars and planets Kirk and the boys discover that each and every habitable planet has been destroyed.  Some cataclysmic war wiped out all life from each planet they visit.  While trying to understand what may have happened they are attacked quite suddenly by the first space traveling species they encounter.

The Enterprise and its crew have dropped into a war that has been going on for centuries and it's up to them to try and survive long enough to get back home.

I found I had to press through this book.  There were times where I had to go back and re-read passages because I found myself glossing over what I was reading.  To be honest I had the plot pretty much figured out from the opening chapters.

If you miss this book - don't lose any sleep over it.

Next.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Report #78 - Monitor by Janice MacDonald



2 of 52
Page count - 322

I chose this book after reading an Edmonton Journal review of MacDonald's latest book: Condemnd to Repeat.  That book is part of a series; I'm the kind of person who likes to read a series in order.  Years ago, before this blog, I had read the first book; Sticks and Stones, so I decided this second instalment was the right place to jump in.

If memory serves Sticks and Stones only appealed to me because I was set right here in Edmonton.

In the first third of Monitor nothing, and I mean n.o.t.h.i.n.g, happens.  Set in 2003, Randy Craig, the narrator and protagonist of the story, takes on a job to monitor the happenings of a chat room.  Her job is to lurk about making sure participants don't break the rules of conduct.

I would classify this story as a cozy, it really was more about Randy making coffee, cleaning her apartment and gossiping with her friends than telling a mystery.  I got bored a lot.  The ending was pretty good if a bit far fetched.

All in all, for a second book, it was okay but it does not fill me with the desire to rush out to read the next instalment.

Next.

Web page for Monitor: http://janicemacdonald.net/monitor.html



Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Report #77 - Angle of Investigation by Michael Connelly

1 of 52
Page count - 92

A little while ago I stumbled on to a short essay, on Medium, that spoke of the writer's experience having just read 54 books in a year.  In 2011 I challenged myself to something similar; 26 books in a year, it's from that challenge that these book reviews are numbered.  Reading is my most enjoyed activity and I've got hundreds of books just waiting for me to read.

I've accepted the challenge to read a book a week.  The plan is to start a new book every Saturday.  Today I'm giving myself an easy challenge by reading a 92 page, Harry Bosch collection of three short stories.

Here we go.

Christmas Even - finds Harry investigating the death of a pawn shop burglar.  While working the case Harry finds a saxophone that once belonged to Quentin McKinzie which brings back powerful memories for him.

I really liked this story especially the ending it was sweet, sad and hart-warming.

Father's Day - Yikes.  This was a tough story to read; the death of a child is not an easy subject to tackle in a 31 page story.  This one was a bit of a gut punch, not graphic in any way but I was left wondering how anybody could bring himself to the actions taken here.

Angle of Investigation - This one read like a novel complete with a gripping back story of Bosh's second day on the job.  That day he and his partner discover the body of a woman who had been drowned, along with her dog, in the bathtub of her home.

The killer was never found until Harry picks up the case in his role in Open-Unsolved.  There is a satisfying twist and a shocking end.

Note: I once reviewed the first story in the book in a previous post.  This review is for the book as a whole.  Connelly is usually a safe bet for quality story telling.  You might find this book a perfect fit for commuting or waiting at the airport.  The three stories are satisfying and well told.

Recommended.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Challenge Accepted!

A few days ago I ran across this wonderful little essay about the joys of reading.

Julien Smith wrote How to Read a Book a Week on Medium.

The writer wrote about how he challenged himself to do it and has accomplished it for FIVE YEARS!  I found it inspiring enough to challenge myself to the same thing.

I'm not a fast reader so I'm going to cheat just a little bit, in the hopes that I can build in some slack time to read longer books, I will be reading books that are short, preferable between 200 and 300 pages.  I've got a boat load of books on the shelf that qualify so there will be no shortage of material.

Look for my first cheater book review on Monday.  This will be the entry for the first week of February.  I hope to start a new book every Saturday.

This should be fun.

Links:
How to Read a Book a Week
Julien Smith
Medium

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Report #76 - The Black Box by Michael Connelly

Out of respect for Michael Connelly I'm writing this post while listening to Sonny Clark's Dial "S" For Sonny originally recorded in 1957 on Blue Note records.

The latest installment of the Harry Bosch series finds Harry pursuing a 20 year old murder that occurred during the 1992 LA riots.  A Danish journalist was found dead in an alley a victim of an apparent execution.

While Harry reviews the information in the file he notices a small anomaly; a phone call logged 10 years after the murder inquiring about it.  By pulling on this thin thread Harry starts to uncover a much larger conspiracy that dates back to Operation Desert Storm of 1990.

At first I was caught off guard from the Desert Storm twist but leave it to Connelly to develop a gripping and believable plot.  I found this book to be quite the page-turner.  There were a couple little leaps in faith that I had to take; actions that I was surprised Harry took.

Unfortunately I found the climax to be a bit too "cinematic" for my tastes.  Like a bad TV episode, a surprising character comes to help Harry and the final chase to capture the Bad Guy made me groan in disappointment.

The novel was very good but the ending was botched, in my opinion.  The best part of the book was the musical suggestions I lifted from it. I always like tracing down the music that Connelly mentions.

Check out:
Art Pepper - http://straightlife.info/
Michael Formanek - http://www.amibotheringyou.com/index.html
Danny Grissett - http://www.dannygrissett.com/