Scott Richards and Chuck Stokes, Easy Radio Book Club Reviewers...
The Relaxation Station
The Easy Radio Book Club
"Stella Bain" is the name of a woman suffering from Amnesia (shell shock) during World War One, searching for a memory of more than the past four months. At times this is a novel both dark and gritty, full of the horrors and unimaginable sufferings of a terrible time in history. Yet Anita Shreve has crafted a story with hope and love. She is a fine writer, fully immersed in the time and war torn atmosphere of France, England, and America. Eventually Stella does find her true identity, a person with a troubled past. Thoroughly engaging and evocative, "Stella Bain" is a gem.
"Critical Mass" by Sara Paretskyis the latest in the V.I. Warshawski series, and it just keeps getting better and better. This time, V.I. is caught up in a missing persons case involving the grandson of a WWII Survivor with a possible connection to a Noble Prize winning scientist. Switching between 1930's Germany and present day, this complicated and propelling mystery is engaging, enlightening, and well written.
Jeffrey Deaver has constructed this thriller in reverse. The first chapter is the end of the story while the final chapter is the beginning. In between, it's easy to assume we know everything. We don't, of course. It is a surprisingly suspenseful technique, and a surprisingly surprising story. It's a relatively short book that is both intense and unique. (sr Oct 2013)
Nelson DeMille originally wrote this book 40 years ago. Now he has re-written, added, edited, and enhanced "The Quest". The search for the Holy Grail is at the heart of the book, as two writers, a photographer, and a British mercenary travel to Ethiopia where it is supposedly kept inside a monastery hidden deep in the jungle. DeMille's characters are always full of cynicism, and dry wit. This book is absolutely loaded with history, all based on fact. From Ethiopia to the Vatican, from Rome to Sicily, from The Crusades to civil strife, "The Quest" is a thrilling adventure from page one. (sr 9/13)
Lyndsay Faye has become one of my favorite writers. She's a great author, but she's a favorite writer. In a beautifully constructed novel, Faye writes of mid 19th century New York City. It's the very beginnings of the Police Department, and Detective Timothy Wilde is trying hard to solve crimes and maintain the minimal reputation of the department. The era is dirty, corrupted, colorful, and tantalizingly appealing. Colored people are snatched off the street and sold as runaway slaves, and there's not much anyone can do, legally or otherwise. Civil War is still years away but the tension is building. Lyndsay Faye has created a worthwhile second in the series novel, and we look forward to the concluding book in the trilogy. (sr 9/13)
"Never Go Back" is the latest in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. It's amazing how consistent these books are, never disappointing, and always delivering exactly what we expect. Jack Reacher is drawn to Washington, DC to meet a voice on the phone, maybe take her out to dinner. Instead he is drawn into a complicated mystery and drafted back into the military. Sort of. What follows is a cross country adventure as only Reacher can do it. Keep them coming Mr. Child! (sr 9/13)
Jason Matthews is Ex-CIA. And it shows in his first novel. Wow. This is Spy vs. Spy in modern day Russian, and my first impression was of a well crafted book. No thuds or clunks in the writing, beautifully crafted sentences, thoughtfully developed and slowly unfurled. In Matthews' Spy world, things take a long time to happen, but it doesn't come across as tedious. Rather it is fascinating to see how an operative might take three hours to walk ten blocks for a meeting, just to be sure no one is following. There is intrigue of course, and more than enough paranoia in the upper (and lower) levels of Russian intelligence, but the book is driven by character. Strong characters both American and Russian make this a near perfect debut. (SR 6/13)
Jeffrey Deaver is a prolific Mystery Thriller writer, but he is also that rare novelist that does not rely on a super hero capable of defeating the bad guys with a karate chop to the neck. Thoughtful and centered on science and forensics, this Lincoln Rhyme story focuses on Government sanctioned killing. The wheelchair bound Lincoln Rhymes solves crimes methodically, but the pacing is always forward moving and enthralling. A United States Citizen is killed in The Bahamas. Is it a crime? Who will prosecute? Who is responsible? Who should be responsible? Thoroughly captivated by this one....(SR June 2013)
Odd Thomas (the "T" was left off his birth certificate) is back in this second to the last in the series. Always with a sense of humor, Odd Thomas tackles the dark side, yet finds those moments of perfect clarity and reality so easily dismissed as "one too many glasses of wine." There is as deeply spiritual aspect to Odd Thomas, and ultimately an optimistic view of the world by Dean Koontz. In "Deeply Odd" a strange fancily attired Cowboy driving a tricked out 18 wheeler seems to be on a mission to commit horrible torture and murder on at least three children. Odd Thomas is determined to stop him. A very thoughtful and well written series. The next novel will be the final in the installment says Dean Koontz. (SR - May 2013)
By the Author of "The Kite Runner" comes a beautiful family drama. Set in many different places, the book's primary focus is a brother and sister separated at a young age. There are surprises, sadness, disappointments, all weaved together in a rich and full tapestry of family. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Interview with the author on 5/24 was a delight. (SR 5/25/13)
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