Sunday, 15 November 2009

Book Review - Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

I've been a fan of Robert J. Sawer for a while now; his books are always entertaining, fast-paced, interesting and feel plausible.

So when I heard that his book Flashforward has been turned into a TV series, I started to read the book.  I blasted through it in three days (a fast pace for me) but unfortunately it left me cold and re-reading the back cover blurb to see if I missed something.

It starts out with a particle collision experiment at the Large Hardon Collider where the unexpected side effect propels the entire human consciousness forward 21 years.

Cool idea.  And the first 100 pages live up to the promise; you know, scientists trying to figure out what went wrong.  But the next 100 pages just goes on (and on) about how this flashforward "vision" affects people.  Which is OK but it does drag the pace to a crawl.  The last 100 looks at what happened after the experiment is repeated and it becomes a different story all together.  It takes such a "left turn" that it left me wondering if I had picked up the wrong book.

The premise is very interesting and I hope the TV show takes the idea in a different direction.  I think there is a lot to explore and a TV drama might me a good vehicle for this story.

Sorry Mr. Sawer; I'm still a fan but this book just did not do it for me.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Book Review - The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block

First published in 1965 (what a great year that was) Hard Case Crime has republished it in 2005.

It's a great real estate swindle, yea, sounds boring but it's not. Plus a lot of the action takes place in Toronto. Part of the fun of reading this book besides the wonderful pulpy lines like "I wanted to make her purr" is also just how different travel was back in those days. In a post 9/11 world its fun to read about people carrying guns on board a plane and steak knives being used with the meal service.

Lawrence Block has long been one of my favorite authors. He's been writing for decades and is a Grand Master of crime fiction. He's always easy to read and his stories have always kept me turning pages.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Book Review - Plunder of the Sun by David Dodge

First published in 1949 Plunder of the Sun by David Dodge has been newly published (2005) by Hard Case Crime (HCC - 010).

The Hard Case crime website describes the book like this:

"Al Colby should never have agreed to smuggle the package from Chile to Peru. Now one man’s dead, two beautiful women have betrayed him, and a couple of gunmen are hot on his trail. All because of an ancient Quechua manuscript pointing to the hiding place of a priceless hoard of gold, lost for centuries. Now the race is on — by train, by plane, by motorboat and by mule — first to find the treasure and then to escape with it alive..."

It was a good read. However, the main character, Colby, was a bit of a putz: he was double crossed, beaten, tied up and otherwise outwitted at just about every turn. He certainly was tenacious but the amount of times he came out the looser in situations made it a bit distracting. Indiana Jones her certainly was not.

Still, I never lost interest and that is the real test of a book.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Book Review - The Ax by Donald Westlake

Donald Westlake was one of the most prolific writers of pulps and paperback originals and one of my favorite authors. He's always interesting and makes a quick read.

Sadly he passed away on December 31, 2008. But he lives on through his bushels of books. You can always find something by him in the used book stores and he still has original works in the pipeline.

The Ax was written during the last recession and is apt for this one as well. His main character is laid off and in his two years of unemployment he uses a unique method of getting rid of his competition. Find out if he gets his dream job.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Deep Black: Dark Zone by Stephen Coonts and Jim DeFelice

Back in June of 2006 I started keeping a list of all the books I've read.

So I'll share some of these with you.

The first was from Stephen Coonts. Like Tom Clancy Coonts started to co-write an adventure series: Deep Black.

This one took place in Paris and involved a terrorist plot to destroy the Channel Tunnel.

I found it a bit difficult to get into but once the plot lines started to merge it was quite a page-turner. A good summer beach read.

Deep Black: Dark Zone

The Destroyer #8 by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy

Last night was a long one; poor Sue is quite sick and had a hard time sleeping so, consequently, so did I. I gave up and moved to the couch where I not only began my blog but also finished reading The Destroyer #8, Summit Chase. Published in 1973 Pinnacle this was a quick, fun read about how Remo Williams and Chiun stop criminals from forming their own crime country in Africa.

Always fun with wonderful dialog between Remo and Chiun these early books are a treat.

The book series was once filmed in the attempt to create another action adventure film hero. This was during the Indiana Jones era and did not have any success. It stared Fred Ward and Joel Grey, filmed in 1985 it took advantage of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor and used it as a set for a chase sequence.

The movie was called Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.