Friday, February 12, 2010

Critical Mass by Whitley Strieber


TOR 371 pages


Publish date: 2009


In this overheated thriller about nuclear terrorism, Jim Deutsch, a CIA contract employee whose expertise is counterproliferation, has the world's fate in his hands as he races to foil the Islamic master-terrorist known as the Madhi. When Deutsch learns that some plutonium has been smuggled over the U.S. border from Mexico, he begins to suspect that America's elaborate homeland security apparatus has been compromised. His valiant efforts, alas, aren't enough to prevent the destruction of Las Vegas. As U.S. president William Fitzgerald ponders whether to launch devastating counterattacks aimed at much of the Muslim world, the tension rises. It is a race to the end, will the terrorists be stopped before more cities are destroyed?

My Take:

An interesting idea that reads more like current events then a novel. You can almost sense something like this really happening. The book moves along at a rapid pace despite occasional very apparent blunders by the author. His word choice is questionable at times and his prose is a tad sloppy. He also is over descriptive in places. All of this slows the action down slightly, but not enough for you to put the book back on the shelf. Once you begin this book, and I recommend you do, you won't want to put it back down until you finish it despite the glaring inadequate writing style.

Though I enjoyed the U.S. Government running around trying to stop further destruction carried out by the terrorists, I would love to read a book from the perspective of the everyday Joe who wakes up one morning to the news that Las Vegas was destroyed over night by a nuclear bomb and that every major city around the world has been told a nuclear bomb is hidden in their borders waiting to go off unless they meet the terrorist's demands. What would the everyday Joe do to protect his family? What would you do? I think this book would be a great read. Hell, maybe I will write it myself.

Sorry for the tangent. Back to Critical Mass. If you like political thrillers, you will like this book.

I rate it a 7.5

Friday, February 5, 2010

Memorial Day by Vince Flynn

Hardcover 407 pages




CIA intelligence has pointed to a major terrorist attack on the United States, just as the nation's capital prepares for a grand Memorial Day tribute to the veterans of World War II. Racing to Afghanistan, Mitch Rapp leads a commando raid on an al Queda stronghold in a remote border village — and defuses plans for a nuclear strike on Washington. The crisis averted, the special ops work is done. But Rapp knows, in the face of a new kind of enemy, nothing is as it seems — and it's up to him alone to avert a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

My Take:

This is the best Vince Flynn novel I have read to date. Action from start to finish. This is fiction, but what makes this book even better is the fact that this could actually happen. I am sure terrorists want to set of a nuke in Washington DC. Maybe they have a plan to do so right at this moment and are looking for a way to do it. Though just a book, it reads like current events. When a terror group does get there hands on a nuclear weapon, I hope we have a Mitch Rapp to save the day.

I rate this book a 9.9

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Judas Strain by James Rollins

Paperback 560 pages




From the depths of the Indian Ocean, a horrific plague has arisen to devastate humankind - unknown, unstoppable...and merely a harbinger of the doom that is to follow.

Operatives of the shadowy covert organization Sigma Force, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis search for answers to the bizarre affliction aboard a cruise liner transformed into a makeshift hospital. But a sudden and savage attack by terrorist hijackers turns the mercy ship into a floating bio-weapons lab.

Time is an enemy as a worldwide pandemic grows rapidly out of control. As the seconds tickcloser to doomsday, Sigma's commander, Gray Pierce, must join forces with the beautiful assassin who tried to kill him - following the trail of the most fabled explorer in history into the terrifying heart of an astonishing mystery buried deep in antiquity and in humanity's genetic code.

My Take:

It would be a crime if you deny yourself the pleasure of reading a James Rollins novel. This book is amazing. The cast of characters seem real, not fictional cardboard cutouts. The novel stands alone, but to truly appreciate the amazing creation of Rollins, you should start at the beginning of the Sigma series. Great read, great action. You will find yourself rushing out to buy or borrow the next book when you finish reading the last few words of this one.

I give it a 9.8

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Collectors by David Baldacci

Hardcover 436 pages




In Washington DC, where power is everything and the few have too much of it, four eccentric men with mysterious pasts call themselves the Camel Club. Their mission is to find out what is really going on behind the Capitol's closed doors.

The assassination of the US Speaker of the House has shaken the nation. And the Camel Club have found a chilling connection with the death of the Library of Congress's rare books room, whose body was found in a locked vault where seemingly no one could have harmed him.

Oliver Stone, the unofficial leader of the Camel Club, drawing on his experience while working undercover for the government under a different name and his acute deductive powers, discovers that someone is selling highly classified secrets to America's enemies.

My Take:

The prose is something you'd expect to find in a high school creative writing class. It is good enough not to immediately put down, but not so great you rush to the phone to tell everybody to buy the book.

The story saves the day. Actually, there are two stories. One is a very interesting, though somewhat unbelievable con perpetrated against a New Jersey casino owner, the other involves the Speaker's death and the selling of top secret information. The two story lines never connect directly. The con artist becomes involved with the Camel Club after meeting them at the funeral of the Library of Congress librarian. Only one of the story lines is resolved, the other is left as a cliffhanger for what I'm sure will be the next novel in The Camel Club series. Or so I hope it will be.

I rate it a 5.0.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Black Order by James Rollins

Paperback 541 pages




In Copenhagen...a suspicious bookstore fire propels Commander Gray Pierce on a relentless hunt across four continents - and into a terrifying mystery surrounding horrific experiments once performed in a now-abandoned laboratory buried in a hollowed-out mountain in Poland.

In the mountains of a remote monastery, Buddhist monks inexplicably turn to cannibalism and torture - while Painter Crowe, director of Sigma Force, begins to show signs of the same baffling, mind-destroying malady...and Lisa Cummings, a dedicated American doctor, becomes the target of a brutal, clandestine assassin.

Now only Gray Pierce and Sigma Force can save a world suddenly in terrible jeopardy. Because a new order is on the rise - an annihilating nightmare growing at the heart of the greatest mystery of all: the origin of life.

My Take:

Another great book in the Sigma Force series. This is a first class roller coaster ride reaching from one end of the globe to the other. You will wish some of these characters were real so you could meet them at the local bar for a beer or a beverage of your chose. James Rollins doesn't disappoint in this amazing book. As long as he continues turning out gems like this one, I will always be a fan.

I rate this book a 9.6

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Map of Bones by James Rollins

Paperback 560 pages




The crime is inhumanly cruel with horrific consequences both unthinkable and inevitable. During a service at a cathedral in Cologne, Germany, a band of armed intruders dressed in monk's robes unleashes a nightmare of blood and terror, ruthlessly gunning down worshippers and clergy alike. The killers haven't come for the church's gold and valuable artwork, but for a priceless treasure secreted within: the preserved bones of the Three Magi who once came to pay homage to a newborn savior. As they flee the carnage they have wrought, they carry a prize that could reshape the world.

The Vatican is in turmoil, and Lieutenant Rachel Verona of Rome's carabinieri is assigned to lead the investigation. But no ordinary police organization alone can deal with the bizarre theft and massacre. Sigma Force - an elite covert arm of the U.S. Defense Department - is called in under the command of Grayson Pierce. New to Sigma, Pierce assembles a crack team of scientific and Special Forces operatives to unravel the mystery of the stolen bones, and together they set out on a twisting trail through a labyrinth of clues and dark revelations that carry them to the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World - and to the doorstep of the mystical and terrifying Dragon Court.

An ancient, secret fraternity of alchemists and assassins, the master-adepts of the Dragon Court have plans for the sacred remains that will alter the future of humankind in devastating ways that only the maddest of zealots could desire - and they will let nothing and no one stand in their way. Suddenly Pierce, Verona, and the Sigma team are the hunted as well as the hunters, forced to use every skill they possess to survive as they follow the bones to the ultimate confrontation between darkness and light - in a lost place of history where science and religion will unite to unleash a horror not seen since the beginning of time.

My Take:

Put down what ever you are reading at this moment, buy this book, and read it. It will grab you right from the horrific beginning (what is more horrific than an entire church congregation being gunned down in cold blood?). The book is a wild roller coaster ride from beginning to end. The writing is top notch. Word of warning, reading this book will cause you to lose track of time. You will forget you are reading as you turn page after page late into the night. If you like Tom Clancy, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler, you will love James Rollins.

I rate this book a 9.8.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jake's Wake by John Skipp

Paperback 317




Pastor Jake promised his followers everlasting life, he just didn't say what kind. So when the small town televangelist and con man climbs out of his coffin at his own wake, it becomes Judgment Day for everyone gathered to mourn or celebrate his death. Jake is back in rotting flesh filled with anger and vengeance. And accompanied by demons even more frightening then himself. What follows is a long night of endless terror, a blood drenched rampage by the man not even death could stop.

My Take:

A very simple, fast read. I would have loved this book as a young teen-aged boy, as an adult, it loses some of its lore, but it is still a good read. It is meant to be a horror novel, but I couldn't help but chuckle at parts. It isn't scary, it is more like a slasher flick so full of blood and guts it becomes mundane. You are not shocked by all the bloodshed, but expect it.

If you are looking for the classic horror novel you don't dare to read alone at night, this book isn't for you. If you just want a fun read, you will like it.

I rate it a 6.7