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My Book Reading

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly  (completed)

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Killing Floor by Lee Child   (completed)

   (1997, Reacher's first appearance)

Sticky Fingers - The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan

(done)

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (Dey St. Books, just completed, full review just published)


Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980, the book that started the franchise, just completerd)

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)


Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

http://www.richroll.com/podcast/bryan-fogel/

http://www.richroll.com/podcast/lance-armstrong/

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.

 

Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.

Sunday
Oct292017

Two Kinds of Truth - Michael Connelly

 

Settle in for a compelling detective story with never-quite-retired LAPD detective Harry Bosch. Connelly has been bringing Bosch alive for twenty novels, and Two Kinds of Truth shows both the author and his character at the top of their games.

Bosch has again returned to the San Fernando Police Department, happily digging through unsolved cold case files in his office in a jail cell. Connelly’s descriptive writing brings the setting alive without getting in the way or bogging down the story. Minor details such as a bicycle chain and lock used to secure the cell door add layers.

This seemingly mundane work existence is shattered when a killer’s case from long ago returns to haunt him. Bosch is being framed for planting evidence against this death row inmate, and though he knows in his heart the guy is guilty, everything from this 20-years-ago case is back in play. 

At the same time, Harry goes undercover in a large prescription drug abuse case, placing himself in situations he’s never tested himself in before. Reading, I felt the tension and sweat Bosch was living with. The action was vivid and yet in character. Connelly shines as a writer here, putting Bosch in a very new universe, slowing my quick reading pace so I can fully absorb and enjoy what’s happening and how he’s brought it to the page. 

Two Kinds of Truth is as good as Connelly has been, in my opinion. I’ve read perhaps ten of his books, possibly all of them featuring Harry Bosch. This is terrific. Combining an imaginative plot with fully realized, memorable characters is an art unto itself, and Connelly shines.

@littlebrown, @Connellybooks, #HarryBosch, #MichaelConnelly

Saturday
Oct142017

The Wanted by Robert Crais  

 

When private detective Elvis Cole takes a phone call from Devon Connor, worried about her teenage son’s activities and friends, he has no comprehension that his world is soon to be turned inside out. Cole almost doesn’t take it seriously, at first. Quickly, though, his investigation triggers events making The Wanted a damn-difficult to put down book.

As if being part of a burglary ring wasn’t a bad enough start for Connor’s son Tyson, it turns out something he and his two friends have stolen is of great consequence to some powerful people who will go to any length to recover the item. The two menacing figures sent out to investigate the burglaries are cold-blooded, smart and quick to act. Elvis Cole doesn’t even know they are in the picture, at first, as they present themselves as police detectives, and tend to leave few witnesses.

As mysteries unravel and Cole digs deeper, he finds an unlikely ally in a police detective also on the case. Clues and people and tangents begin to pile up as the stakes get bigger, so Joe Pike is called upon to work with Cole. When Pike is on the scene, the action intensifies. 

Twenty novels into his stellar book-writing career, Crais reaches to new heights of intense characterization in The Wanted. Early in the book, when witnesses are telling Cole about the two big, scary police detectives who always seem a step ahead, as a reader I wanted to alert Elvis Cole to the truth and warn him. My reaction tells me how deeply I’d fallen into the book. Dani Cassett, the detective whose role gradually steps up throughout the course of the The Wanted, is a fully realized character I’d be happy to see again in Cole’s life. 

Joe Pike, the crazy cat who lives with Cole, a potential new love interest, a reclaimed villain - all the pieces are here for a terrific, taut, thrilling mystery. Few writers effectively combine action, tension and mystery as well as Robert Crais does in The Wanted.

 

@PutnamBooks, #robertcrais, #thewanted, 

 

Sunday
Oct082017

Act of Betrayal - Matthew Dunn


Lee Child endorsed this one, top of the front cover. Continuing my theme of always trying to read any book either Child or Stephen King writes a blurb for, I dove into Act of Betrayal expecting action and excitement from this Will Cochrane character.

Dunn fulfilled my expectations, presenting a fairly complex guy I found it easy to like and respect. At the same time he was putting Cochrane into relationships and situations I didn’t expect, keeping me alert. Act of Betrayal isn’t a “write by the numbers” thriller with an unbreakable, superpower hero. Will Cochrane lives a complex life with civilians (real people) close to him. 

I found his need to juggle relationships within the CIA and FBI and other covert agencies to ring true and interest me. I wasn’t able to quickly guess what course actions and decisions were going to take. Act of Betrayal isn’t littered with red herrings and false leads, happily. Author Dunn wrote a complex tale of intrigue and betrayal, crossed with good intentions and honor and integrity.

Opening with the assassination of a terrorist financier in Berlin, at the hands of Cochrane, the second chapter jumps forward three years. I was quickly caught up in the spreading web of lies and shadowy relationships surrounding Cochrane and the CIA, FBI and government officials. Finding the truth is the real theme of Act of Betrayal, and what to do with that knowledge is a burden shouldered by several of Cochrane’s friends and opponents. Prepare for plenty of action, motivated and passionate people on both sides of right as they work to unravel a wild conspiracy, and a couple of damn effective surprises.

I’m now a fan of Will Cochrane and Matthew Dunn, and looking forward to searching out the six earlier entries in the series of books featuring Cochrane. 

@WmMorrowBooks, #matthewdunn, #actofbetrayal, @TheRealBookSpy

Thursday
Oct052017

Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben

Thriller writer Coben has been around for a long time, he’s popular and highly regarded, I’ve been aware of him, but for some reason haven’t read him before. Or, and this is actually quite possible, I’ve inhaled one or two of his books years ago and don’t remember. Just as I eat too quickly, sometimes I read too fast!

Don’t Let Go takes the reader inside the head of Nap Dumas, a police detective shouldering unresolved issues surrounding the tragic death of his brother and simultaneous disappearance of his girlfriend. Fifteen years later, mysterious deaths in his hometown shake loose emotions long buried, and set events in motion nobody can predict an end to.

Friends from high school are turning up dead, and as Dumas’ investigation reveals an unlikely thread connecting everyone, events move faster and faster. A long-ago buried secret reveals itself, few people seem to truly be who Nap thought they were all these years, and he finds himself wondering if there is anyone he can trust. Nobody wants Dumas to investigate and dig and find the truth.

Finally, as it's darkest for him, help appears from an unlikely source. 

I enjoyed the building tension throughout Don’t Let Go. Nap Dumas is a good character, a police detective who doesn’t act or think in traditional ways. He’s not afraid to get dirty to get the information he needs, thinks too hard, carries a lot of emotional baggage, and is stubborn to a fault. Who doesn’t like a police detective like this guy?

Don’t Let Go is suspenseful with good action, highlighting a deep touch of insight into how people can be backed into a corner, with surprising results. When events demand it, Nap Dumas does what needs to be done.  He handles things, in a way I appreciated. You'll read Don’t Let Go in a rush.

@harlancoben, @duttonbooks, #dontletgo, #harlancoben

 

Tuesday
Oct032017

Thriller Day at My Office

It’s Thriller Day! New releases are keeping my bedside table happy. I’m nearly done with Conen’s Don’t Let Go. It’s gripping and speeds up as the storyline (and twists) mount up. Next up will be Robert Crais. He’s consistently one of the best cop mystery writers out there - has been for years. Elvis Cole and especially Joe Pike never disappoint. I’m not sure about Rollins. I’ll dig into Demon Crown and give it a fair try. @duttonbooks @harlancoben #robertcrais #thewanted, @putnambooks @jamesrollins, #demoncrown