Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews

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.”


“When you cross the Piscataqua River Bridge from New Hampshire’s abbreviated, novelty coastline into Maine there is a sign at the border that says “MAINE,” and beneath that, “VACATIONLAND.” It also says “VACATIONLAND” on the license plates. This is either a cruel joke, or maybe simply an error. It may be that Maine is called Vacationland because when Maine was invented, we didn’t really know what a “vacation” was yet.

Forbidden Knowledge: A Wickedly Smart Guide to History’s Naughtiest Bits

Think about a book full of facts that you neither care about nor gain much in the way of useful knowledge after having read it.  Like a “bathroom reader” for folks who have an interest in history.  Perhaps if you’re training for Jeopardy this book would help.  The subjects are so scattered and so little time is spent on any subject, that I found the book unenjoyable except for a few excerpts:

The Day After Never – Legion

Legion is the eighth in Russell Blake’s Day After Never post-apocalyptic dystopian thrillers.  The earth has been ravaged by a killer virus and the lawless have taken over.  These novels cover the happenings in the West and Midwest as rival gangs struggle to control the cowered populace.  There are a few who stand against the cruelty.  


“Sierra blinked back her tears and looked away. “I missed you, Lucas. I don’t want to spend my life missing you.  Is that too much to ask?” Lucas squeezed her hand. “I missed you too, Sierra. And no. That’s reasonable,” he said, and it was his turn to look away, his face drawn and his expression fatigued. “Only we don’t live in a reasonable world. At least, not yet.”

Running with Sherman

Christopher McDougall is a masterful storyteller.  His stories, however, are jammed full of research about the human body and our remarkable ability to do (endure) great things.  Sherman is a rescue donkey that McDougall found near where he lives.  Not expected to even live, Sherman proves that his is “The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero.”  Soon after saving the donkey’s life, a plan is hatched to race Sherman in a grueling race in Colorado.  Oh and he has around a year to train the critter.