Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews

Gunmetal Gray

This is the sixth in Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series.  I have to admit that I am a bit out of sequence in reading them…not sure how I got here.  The Gray Man is by reputation the most accomplished assassin in the world.  Called the Gray Man because, as an “average” man, he blends into the background until he kills you.  Trained then abandoned by the CIA, he uses his skills for contract work.

In Gunmetal Gray, he has to find and either kill or rescue a Chinese defector.  The world’s powers either want this man death or to interrogate him for his secrets and abilities.

The First Deadly Sin

They say that the hardest crimes to solve are those where the deed is done by a complete stranger.  Perhaps a stranger simply killing someone that he does not know.  If that works, maybe he’ll try it again.  But the other side, the lawful side, gets a say in the game.  How long can you get away with the killing?

The Day After Never – Rubicon

So all that you want is peace and to live out some semblance of a quiet life with your family.  You’ve successfully battled many a bad guy in an America that has fallen prey to first a killer virus, then competing violent forces trying to control larger and larger portions of this nation.  The “good” citizens are all but shell-shocked and often lack the will to stand up to bullies…really violent bullies.  You’re tired, but you are the best for the job.  And there is this huge army that is at your command and you can do such good.  What do you do?

The Order

“Gabriel was not yet convinced that anything at all had happened that night, other than that an old man with a weakened heart, a man whom Gabriel loved and admired, had died while praying in his private chapel. Still, he had to admit there were enough troubling circumstances to warrant further investigation, beginning with the whereabouts of Niklaus Janson. Gabriel would try to find him, if only to put Donati’s mind at ease. And his own mind, as well.”

It’s hard to believe that The Order is Daniel Silva’s twentieth novel in the Gabriel Allon series.  I really look forward to this each summer when the book usually is published.  This year was no different.

All Quiet on the Western Front

If you have never read anything about World War I, you know what a brutal war that was.  I had two grandfathers who fought and survived.

All Quiet on the Western Front is written from the viewpoint of a group of German soldiers who were friends and decided to join the great adventure as young boys just out of school.  I am not sure whether the war made them men or just survivors.  Their lives were surely changed and one wonders how any would be able to return to a “normal” life after fighting.  This journey takes you on a ride through massed attacks, blundering leaders, massive artillery barrages, and brutal death.  And between those times, it often was all quiet on the Western front.

The Inner Circle

Imagine that there is a very secret society or ring who has a mission of protecting the American presidency.  Not necessarily the U.S. President, but the office.  Now imagine that there may be a ring within the ring operating at odds.  Imagine being thrust into the middle of this chaos when an old flame shows up asking for help and the mystery further unravels.  In the first of the Culper Ring series, Beecher White is an archivist working in the National Archives and his calm…maybe somewhat boring job turns on a dime into action adventure.

Loserthink

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.

Fallen

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.