Recent Books — Breathless, Cloud Atlas, ReacherX3, Bad Things Happen

* “Breathless”:amazon by Dean Koontz. A pleasant little romp about the arrival/evolution of a new species on Earth. Some intrigue, some danger, more questions than answers. “Goodreads”: gives it a 3.15, Amazon says just 2.5 stars, but I think it is more pleasant than that, I’d say 3.
* “Cloud Atlas”:amazon by David Mitchell. An intricately interwoven set of adventures across hundreds of years, all shining a light on unchecked greed and ambition and injustice. Very nicely done, the structure is unusual and engaging. Amazon says 4.5 stars, “Goodreads”: says 4.2, I give it 5 stars.
* “Running Blind”:amazon by Lee Child. An early tale in the Reacher series. Ok tho not great, the central mystery was telegraphed. Amazon says 3.5 stars, “GoodReads”: says 4.0, I am stuck at about 3 stars.
* “Die Trying”:amazon by Lee Child. Another early Reacher. Solid but that is all. “Goodreads”: says 3.96, Amazon says 4 stars, I’d just say 3.
* “Persuader”:amazon by Lee Child. 3 Reacher tales in a month might be a bit much, the misogyny is a little overwhelming. Actually maybe just misanthropy. Whatever. Amazon says 4 stars, “Goodreads”: says nearly 4, again I’d just say 3 stars. I am obviously Reacher’d out.
* “Bad Things Happen”:amazon by Harry Dolan. Very very very nicely written tale of authors and ambition and murder. The protagonist is an editor of murder tales, and the parallel between his own work process and the evolution of the story is a nice effect. Best read of the summer, amazon says 4.5 stars, it is better than that — 5 stars.

Recent Books

  • “Vacuum Diagrams”:amazon by Stephen Baxter. A pastiche of short stories, many in classic pulp style, strung together with some connective narrative to make into a somewhat interesting whole.  Diverting but ultimately kind of hollow, the main character is pretty thin.
  • “Meat Market”:amazon by Bruce Feldman. Nonfiction, Bruce sits inside the Mississippi team for a year following primarily their recruiting travails under (now former) head coach Ed Orgeron. Life on the margins of bigtime college football is tough for the players and the teams, gives me new appreciation for coaches that are able to lift programs up from the doldrums.
  • “Nothing To Lose”:amazon by Lee Child.  Another Reacher tale, this one is one of the weaker in the series, or maybe I am just Reachered out.  This book starts to feel like it is heading toward Stephen King territory with Apocalyptic cults which seem to have possessed whole towns.
  • “The Watchman”:amazon by Robert Crais.  A Joe Pike thriller, this one is far more satisfying than the Reacher tale above.  Characters are more human, and thus resolution of plot is far more satisfying.