Benediction takes you on a journey with a small town family facing the impending death of the patriarch, Dad Lewis, after a bout with cancer. The novel has the feel of what it must be like to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, but there are dark stories just under the surface. As the novel follows Dad Lewis’ slow march toward death, author Kent Haruf spins us off different side roads into the family’s past and into the lives of others from the community.
Posts Tagged ‘novel’
One of my favorite genres of books is the thriller featuring American (mostly) heroes from special forces kicking the butts of our enemies. Author Don Mann, a former SEAL Team Six member, takes his shot with Hunt the Wolf featuring a seemingly superhuman SEAL Team Six leader named Thomas Crocker. Though there is plenty of action and the novel is very entertaining there is much lacking in the story and some of the connections between royalty, the CIA, other clandestine services and the bad guys are a little out there which make the story less fluid.
In The Andalucian Friend I have to admit to being somewhat lost through the beginning as author Alexander Soderberg developed his characters. Though this is not my favorite format the author quickly got to the point where connections were made. Set mostly in Sweden the characters are very interesting in that the traditional bad guys and good guys don’t always follow expected norms. This is not your typical criminal investigation novel as there are very few sympathetic characters and the ones that may be have checkered pasts. True evil in The Andalucian Friend may not rest with the gangster.
Presumable set in the future, circa 2060, in New York we have a successful detective and her associates involved in a murder investigation that was supposed to look like a mugging gone bad. I guess even author J.D. Robb couldn’t imagine NYC being a much better place in the future. That aside there is not much futuristic toys used in by the police except for some souped up communications and what amounts to skeleton keys for buildings in Calculated in Death.
“and so began a journey in which I sought one thing and found another. Much of my life has been like that. I have seldom found what I most urgently sought, and only rarely sought what I found. Since much of what I enjoy is then the result of a good fortune which I knew not to seek, I attribute the laudable in my life to the will of God, who, it is written, knows what we need before we ask.”
As I read my first Brad Meltzer novel I soon came to realize that this was not the first one in this “series” nor will it be the last based on the ending. This is not an unusual occurrence, but I found that I seemed to be missing a lot of backstory that was probably in the previous book. Maybe this information would have made The Fifth Assassin more compelling instead of leaving me wanting more. I felt that the gaps took away from the story.
In his second Pike Logan novel author Brad Taylor has the damaged hero looking in from the outside of the Taskforce as they try to unravel the theft of some dangerous military apparatus that could be used against America. The latest threat seems to be coming from the far east and that is where the focus is at least initially. Logan joins forces with the Taskforce not as an operator, but as the part owner of a cover company, but that changes quickly as things spin out of control and he is force to use All Necessary Force in pursuit of an unnamed enemy.
I am fond of many different types of books and the easiest for me to be grabbed by are thrillers – fast moving world travel with high-tech weapons and the world on the verge of collapse. The Unquiet Bones features none of that. The hero of this novel is Hugh de Singleton, the local surgeon, who cannot bill himself as a doctor as he had not finished his schooling. Singleton’s skills, and some luck being near the site of an injured nobleman give him an opportunity to improve his station or at least his ability to make a better living.
“The sun was in the western sky, and it shone down into the covered walkways and on the faces of the people who were part mourners and part curiosity seekers. Some of them, Khalil thought, did not comprehend what had befallen them, and some only dimly understood why this had happened. Most of them, he was certain, saw this event as a single incident, without context and without meaning. The Americans lived in the moment, without history and thus without prophecy. Their ignorance and their arrogance, and their love of comfort and their disobedience to God, were their greatest weakness. The moment in which they lived was passing and there was no future for them.”
Imagine a murder mystery where the investigator doesn’t have a cell phone, electronic surveillance, laboratory tests, DNA evidence, or any real modern tools. If you are thinking Sherlock Holmes you’d need to go back in time a few centuries to a simpler yet seemingly crueler time; A time when your guilt was decided then you were tortured until you confessed. No imagine that you were the “hangman” who was tasked with inducing the confession out of the accused and the tables were turned.
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