Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews


You wouldn’t expect a liberal (mostly) cartoonist like Scott Adams to be a leading voice in the attempt to change America.  Maybe not so much change America, but to return her to an era where its citizens thought before acting.  I am hopeful, but not confident that this will occur as history teaches about so many societies where their successes spiral into decay and then oblivion.  I often say that I am glad that I’m not twenty-something and have decades left to deal with unthinking people who are ever so happy to display their ignorance…loudly.


Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series combines (generally) very disturbed characters both the criminals and the investigators.  Sometimes the “cops” seem much more damaged than the unsubs…they’re just not serial killers.  In Fallen, Faith, Will Trent’s partner, encounters a criminal encounter a little too close to home.  As her team works to resolve the apparently bloody abduction, she works hard to find the perpetrators as she tries to hold herself together.

“Competing sirens filled the air. Police cruisers. Ambulances. A fire truck. The call had gone out. Code 30.  Officer needs emergency assistance. Three men shot to death. Her baby locked in a shed. Her mother missing.  Faith sat back on her heels. She put her head in her shaking hands and willed herself not to cry.”

Into Thin Air

When you think of the world’s most glorious physical achievements, perhaps summiting Mt. Everest is the pinnacle (no pun intended there).  While many have done it by now, still so very few have actually done it.  Into Thin Air is the account of Jon Krakauer who took on an assignment to climb the peak and document his experience.  His ascent happened in 1996 and captures both the folly of such an attempt and the brutal conditions one must endure to even get close to the top.  If you’ve ever fantasized about making the climb, make sure that you read this book before you shell out the tens of thousands of dollars.

Falling Stars

When your protagonist is called Ivan the Ghost and no one ever has seen him let alone beat him, you might be in trouble.  Kyle Achilles has come closer than anybody to catching this elusive villain, but how can he get three steps ahead of a man that is already three steps ahead.  Partnering with a relative rookie operative, Achilles must stretch his resources to stop the murderous rampage that was unleashed on the United States, oh and he has to keep from being killed himself by either “friend” or foe.

Back Blast

Back Blast is the fifth in the Gray Man series about a former black ops “soldier” who for some reason the United States’ intelligence leadership wants eliminated.  With the threat of terminate-on-site hanging over his head, he does the only logical thing…he returns to America to face the threat and find out why his life is threatened.  You would think that his enemies would be thrilled about his return to the states, but they know that the Gray Man is the best at his craft and that craft is gathering intelligence and killing.

The Guardians

“Since gas is slightly cheaper than cheap motels, I spend a lot of time driving lonely roads at dark hours. As always, I tell myself that I will sleep later, as if a long hibernation is waiting just around the corner. The truth is that I nap a lot but rarely sleep and this is unlikely to change. I have saddled myself with the burdens of innocent people rotting away in prison while rapists and murderers roam free. Duke Russell was convicted in a backwater redneck town where half the jurors struggle to read and all were easily misled by two pompous and bogus experts…”

Witch Is When It All Began

Imagine that you’re a witch.  Not that you’re a mean person, but really a witch.  You didn’t grow up being a witch.  You didn’t even know that you were one until your long lost mother dropped this bomb on you from her deathbed.  “She did it to protect you!”  Talk about life-altering!  Oh and you’ve been hired to solve a murder mystery.

Skin Tight

“Stranahan heaved the body into the Seacraft and took the boat out into the Biscayne Channel. There he pushed the dead guy overboard, tossed the pistol into deep water, rinsed down the deck, dove off the stern, and swam back toward the stilt house. In fifteen minutes his knees hit the mud bank, and he waded the last seventy-five yards to the dock. That night there was no sunset to speak of, because of the dreary skies, but Stranahan sat on the deck anyway. As he stared out to the west, he tried to figure out who wanted him dead, and why. He considered this a priority.”

A World Undone

A World Undone is an in-depth book about World War I.  Not just the battles, but the cause, how it should have been prevented and the shear number of mistakes made by both sides to snatch losses from sure victories.  I have a personal interest in this war as both of my grandfathers fought.  I regret not asking them about their experiences, but like most veterans, they rarely (actually never) talked about the war.  My paternal grandfather emigrated here in the early 1900’s.  The story is that when he went back home to visit, he was conscripted to fight.  It took us a while to figure out that he actually did fight on our side.  He survived, came back and NEVER went back to the “Old Country.”  My maternal grandfather had to have a lung removed when he was in his sixties and I now wonder if that cancer was caused by the lingering effects of being gassed during the war.

The Day After Never – Nemesis

“Maybe. But now you have a choice, and I’m asking you as your friend, and as the leader of the army – take this battle to the miscreants behind most of our suffering. We’re in a unique position with a bunch of victories under our belt, and this will only build from here. But it needs a strong vision…and someone to follow.” Art closed his eyes. When he opened them again, they were pleading. “You’re that man, Lucas, like it or not. I hate to play the last request card if I can avoid it, but I will if I have to.”