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Entries in @TheRealBookSpy (2)

Saturday
Jul152017

Every Day Above Ground by Glen Erik Hamilton

Do cover blurbs by popular authors work? If I’m a litmus test, then yes they do. Hell, I still give books a try based on Stephen King recommendations, and he seems to have written hundreds of them! On the cover of Every Day Above Ground, between the author and the title, is “This guy has got what it takes” - Lee Child. 

Bam, I’m in.

Going by the press release, this is the third novel from Hamilton featuring his primary guy, Van Shaw. I’m kinda stunned I’ve been unaware of Glen Erik Hamilton and his work. His Van Shaw is clearly the reason people people compare Hamilton’s work to Lee Child, but I’m telling you, no matter how flattering that is, Every Day Above Ground stands firmly on it’s own. This book is outstanding all the way through.  

Van Shaw is an ex-Army Ranger living in the grey areas between law and his own set of rules. Life since the Army has been tough. He’s trying to rebuild his family home after a fire; his career thief grandfather, his adult role model, has passed away. Shaw is a good guy, by all basic measures, but isn’t afraid to tackle life head-on and utilize his lifetime knowledge of thievery and Army training to take care of himself, and those he cares about.

That compassion is where trouble finds Shaw. Everything in his life begins to unravel after an old prison acquaintance of Van Shaw’s grandfather lands on his doorstep. His  fantastic story and opportunity involving millions of dollars in gold quickly draws Shaw in, though quickly the game changes and the stakes grow much higher. 

Tense action and a lively storyline throughout kept me eagerly reading and wondering and hoping. When millions of dollars in gold bricks are at stake, relationships change quickly and events move faster. 

Hamilton proves to be more than effective with plot and drawing personality on the page. With only his third novel, he assumes a place in the top thriller / mystery ranks. I enjoyed getting to know Van Shaw and several other of his friends, and certainly felt I had a stake in how Shaw was going to extricate himself and his captive friend from the situations they were in. A few timely surprises along the way proved welcome and fit the plot nicely - quite an array of “bad guys” are all over this story.

I look forward to more from Glen Erik Hamilton, and will find copies of his first two novels and add them to my “must read” stack. 

@GlenErikH, @WmMorrowBooks, #EveryDayAboveGround, @TheRealBookSpy

 

Sunday
Jul092017

House of Spies - Daniel Silva

I’ve less patience with books than I used to have. It doesn’t take much for me to put a novel aside out of boredom, or sudden realization I don’t give a damn about any of the characters, or worse yet, don’t even feel I know them. 

House of Spies is a big book. These 524 pages make it something decisions have to be made about. Do I lug it to the beach? Out to the deck? Are there all these pages ‘cause the author can’t figure out how to bring people to life with words, or because he thinks he’s Tom Clancy and the plot dances all over the place for the first half?

Yeah, I think of all this stuff. Which makes my applause for Daniel Silva’s House of Spies all the more relevant. Read in a relaxed manner, letting Gabriel Allon, the master spy and assassin disguised as an art restorer, weave his web of accomplices and plots slowly and carefully around the nefarious Saladin, is entirely satisfying every turned page.

Complex spy novels, notably those involving Russians, often become blurry and difficult (and boring) to follow. Silva kept me engaged at all times, with pacing tied closely to events and plot developments. I felt the story unfold around me as I read, helping me care and understand about bad guys turned “almost good guys”. 

Crossing borders amid global terrorism, Allon and his teams form unlikely alliances in an all-hands effort to prevent horrifying acts. How this is pulled together, how everything is even dreamed up, is a testament to the masterful storytelling abilities of author Silva.

Now I’m faced with a great situation. There are a bunch of Daniel Silva’s books I’ve not read, but I'm going to rectify that. Clear a bookshelf!

 

@danielsilvabook, @TheRealBookSpy, @HarperCollins, #houseofspies, #danielsilva