Monday, March 31, 2008

March Reviews: 7 Books

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: The story is of a man and his son and their endless slow walk across the country. The world has been devastated by some unknown incident that killed most everyone. We follow this father and son as they wander starving, tired and scared with only each other for any hope or love.

Rate of Interest: 287 pages (41 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: The vivid and disturbing detail in the book. The ashes that they lived around, the absolute desolate landscape, the creepiness of an empty house, the haunting images of the walking dead. McCarthy put you there and you could feel the hopelessness. It is all in stark contrast to the father son relationship that is bound by survival and love.

Worst Thing about the Book: I am not sure if I really wanted it or if it is the worst thing about the book, but you never learn why the world is like it is. What happened? Was it a nuclear disaster, war, etc.? But, with that said, it also keeps you wondering though you quickly just start focusing on the father/son relationship.

Overall: This is a beautiful book. McCarthy creates a stunning and depressing world and how two people can get through it all. You know this book cannot end well, but you just hope that somehow these two can make it through. So far, probably the hardest yet best book that I have read so far this year.


False Impression by Jeffery Archer (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: The story ties 9/11 with art masterpiece thievery and intrigue as a famous Van Gogh's painting is taken all over the world as assasins, art lovers and business owners in heavy pursuit to get the painting. One woman attempts to keep it out of all of their hands and get it into the hands of the rightful owner.

Rate of Interest: 384 pages (32 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: The visual aftermath to the 9/11 scene is pretty terrific as is the terror of the woman who used to work for the business that is basically trying to 'steal' the Van Gogh painting. She knows she needs to be secret and disappear and try to make things right and it is interesting to see her anticipate the moves of the 'bad' guys.

Worst Thing about the Book: It was all a little too 'of course' that would happen. You could see things happen before it did as it just set itself up too much too often.

Overall: I liked it. The art angle was interesting in what people are looking for and what people are willing to pay for the best of art. Though Archer can be challenging to read at times, this was definitely an easy beach read type of book.



Mad River Road by Joy Fielding (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: A man was released from prison and he seeks revenge on his former wife who put him there. You see how lies and lives converge and bring strangers together in a bad way.

Rate of Interest: 512 pages (25.6 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: Pretty good narrative taking us from one house to another house to another house. There are 2-3 central characters and then another strong 2-3 characters and you can sense the train crash coming soon.

Worst Thing about the Book: There is a very disturbing scene in the book that I ended up skipping. It was too graphic and not needed in this book when the action could have been mentioned instead of described. That obviously detracted from the book quite a book.

Overall: It is pretty good. The manipulation from the prison guy is pretty powerful and you can sense how he could use people and keep people around him. The stories and the plot were actually rather well done.


Desperate Networks by Bill Carter (Entertainment NonFiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: A rare glimpse into the decision making deals to bring shows and stars onto a network. You read of how CSI, Desperate Housewives, Survivor, the Apprentice, Friends, etc. all made it onto the air and how close they all were to never being made.

Rate of Interest: 384 pages (54.8 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: It was great to read how 'Survivor' almost did not make it on television. How it was turned down several times and only made it when the president of CBS said that he saw it being a summer show that wouldn't kill the network. It was fun reading how 'American Idol' first effort to get on American television was thru the UPN network and they were turned down. And FOX finally gave it a chance as long as American Idol had to get all of its funding by itself before FOX would show it. Also interesting to note the Simon Cowell only made $25,000 that first year. He now makes over $20 million a year doing the show.

Worst Thing about the Book: I just wanted more of it...it was told interestingly and it would have been nice to see some examples of why some shows breeze thru it all and get on air when they are truly terrible shows.

Overall: Terrific. A good view behind the scenes of some of the tv hits on today and how they struggled to get on air. If you like little entertainment facts, this is a fun read.


Killer Smile by Lisa Scottoline (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: A man was released from prison and he seeks revenge on his former wife who put him there. You see how lies and lives converge and bring strangers together in a bad way.

Rate of Interest: 368 pages (26.2 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: Pretty good narrative taking us from one house to another house to another house. There are 2-3 central characters and then another strong 2-3 characters and you can sense the train crash coming soon.

Worst Thing about the Book: There is a very disturbing scene in the book that I ended up skipping. It was too graphic and not needed in this book when the action could have been mentioned instead of described. That obviously detracted from the book quite a book.

Overall: It is pretty good. The manipulation from the prison guy is pretty powerful and you can sense how he could use people and keep people around him. The stories and the plot were actually rather well done.



Barbados Heat by Don Bruns (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: A music reporter is caught up in a story of a congressman who was shot and killed. It takes us into the music industry and the crusade to get rid of offensive lyrics and the length some people would go to protect their career, lifestyle and themselves.

Rate of Interest: 320 pages (20 pages per day)

Best Thing about the Book: The discussion of whether or not a lyric is offensive simply because the phrase is uttered...should it be interpreted differently depending on who is saying the lyric, their upbringing, etc.

Worst Thing about the Book: Some of it seemed a bit farfetched with how a reporter ended up figuring it all out as well as being thrust into a action type role of people trying to kill him, etc. while we hear very little of or of anything the police are doing to try and figure out who killed a US congressman. That was a rather big hole.

Overall: Pretty good read. It is pretty standard though though interesting especially if you like the music industry...there are some tidbits in how that industry works. The main relationship in the book though was lacking.


The Power Broker by Stephen Frey (Thriller Fiction)

Story Summary in about 30 words: Christian Gillette is the CEO of Everest Capital that manages over 20 companies and over $10 billion. Several of Gillette's companies are struggling, he is being set up, and he has been asked to be a Vice President candidate to a leading politician. And, a secret group of men are causing trouble. And, they all collide. Gillette needs to figure out who to trust and who to run from.

Rate of Interest: 416 pages (27.7 pages)

Best Thing about the Book: I enjoy the business deals and the business side of things quite a bit from Frey.

Worst Thing about the Book: Too much of it seems farfetched. A couple of individuals in the book have unbelievable power with the key word being 'unbelievable.' There were so many different plots in this book that you could have filled out 20 books, but it is attempted to bring them all somehow together.

Overall: It just wasn't believable. From extortion, to sports franchises, to billion dollar companies to a 'hero' in Gillette that often seemed weak and confused. It was just a mess from an otherwise pretty good writer.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

And he claims he has no free time. Whatever!

Brodi

Peter said...

Great reviews - I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for some of those.

Great article. I've just finished reading Mary Martin's "The Osegoode Trillogy". There is "Conduct In Question", "Final Paradox" & "A Trial For One". They fall under the genre of legal suspense and I feel it has all the elements of a great thiller. Engaging characters that you sympathize with, a devilish villain that makes your skin crawl, an emotionally gripping storyline that builds up to an exciting climax. I found it a real page turner. Worth checking out.