Tag Archives: 2star

winter territory

Winter Territory (Get Jack Reacher #2) by Scott Blade

From Goodreads:

CARRYING REACHER DNA, CAMERON IS ON THE ROAD TO GET JACK REACHER.

Orphaned and alone, Cameron follows in his father’s footsteps until he is pitched neck-deep into a conspiracy that spans from Washington’s most secretive agency to the mountains of Wyoming.

Deep in Northern Wyoming, in the dead of winter, CIA Agent Alex Shepard is desperate. A few days ago, he sent an undercover agent to the Red Rain Indian Reservation. When his man was supposed to check-in, Shepard heard nothing. No report. No communication.

With a major snowstorm fast-approaching, Shepard’s secret mission is in peril. He thinks that his agent is dead. He has no time left. And lives are on the line.

Enter Cameron Reacher–Shepard’s one hope to recover his agent and stop an unthinkable terrorist plot.

Now Cameron will face the harsh, winter elements; a reluctant and beautiful tribal deputy; and a hidden enemy.

My Rating: ⭐⭐

This was a refreshing change for me as the last few books I’ve read have been quite complex in terms of both character and storyline. This certainly isn’t.

Saying that it’s quite poorly written with a weak and implausible storyline full of repetition and great leaps based on intuition more suited to an experienced adult than an 18 year old explained away as genetic memory from a father he never knew.

As with the first book in the series this was reissued a few years later with the adult Jack Widow character. I haven’t been able to get a download of that version but if my previous experience is carried through that may be a better read.

This is an easy read and reminds me of a cross between the 80s versions of The A Team and Magyver. Just forget about believability and quality and go with the flow and you will get the most out of it.

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

red rabbit

Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan #2) by Tom Clancy

From Goodreads:

Long before he was President or head of the CIA, before he fought terrorist attacks on the Super Bowl or the White House, even before a submarine named Red October made its perilous way across the Atlantic, Jack Ryan was an historian, teacher, and recent ex-Marine temporarily living in England while researching a book. A series of deadly encounters with an IRA splinter group had brought him to the attention of the CIA’s Deputy Director, Vice Admiral James Greer—as well as his counterpart with the British SIS, Sir Basil Charleston—and when Greer asked him if he wanted to come aboard as a freelance analyst, Jack was quick to accept. The opportunity was irresistible, and he was sure he could fit it in with the rest of his work.

And then Jack forgot all about the rest of his work, because one of his first assignments was to help debrief a high-level Soviet defector, and the defector told an amazing tale: Top Soviet officials, including Yuri Andropov, were planning to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II.

Could it be true? As the days and weeks go by, Ryan must battle, first to try to confirm the plot, and then to prevent it, but this is a brave new world, and nothing he has done up to now has prepared him for the lethal game of cat-and-mouse that is the Soviet Union versus the United States. In the end, it will be not just the Pope’s life but the stability of the Western world that is at stake. . . and it may already be too late for a novice CIA analyst to do anything about it.

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I really struggled with this. The writing is slow and ponderous. The storyline has so much potential for excitement and intrigue with the CIA v KGB to bring across a high level defector and based around an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. However, Clancy manages to make it dull and boring.

There is far too much boring detail, far too much to and fro on inconsequential details and far too many characters with minor roles that make it difficult to follow. The main characters are unlikeable. There is a consistent arrogance from everyone towards the culture and traditions of everyone else that gets wearisome very quickly. Ryan and his wife have a particularly condescending attitude towards British life and portray what appears to be a serious personal issue of Clancy’s towards the NHS that is jarring and doesn’t contribute to the story.

The only likeable character in the whole story is Oleg, the Russian defector with a developing conscience around the assassination of the Pope and his desire for a better life for his family.

I struggle to see why this book became a #1 bestseller. I wonder what the competition at the time was?

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

the hunt for red october

The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan #1) by Tom Clancy

From Goodreads:

Here is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy’s phenomenal career. A military thriller so gripping in its action and so convincing in its accuracy that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a top secret Russian missile sub. Lauded by the Washington Post as “breathlessly exciting.” The Hunt for Red October remains a masterpiece of military fiction by one of the world’s most popular authors, a man whose shockingly realistic scenarios continue to hold us in thrall.

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on…

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I’m sure I’ve read a few of Tom Clancy’s books before but a long time ago. I decided to come back to them off the back of watching the TV show from Amazon. I couldn’t remember any of the story lines so not sure what it’s based on. I’ve also seen the film version of this book a couple of times so had a pretty good idea of the main characters and the storyline.

Overall I was disappointed. There is a huge amount of military jargon used in the story. Some of it is explained but there is just so much of it and so many acrynoms that I couldn’t keep track. Added to that there are an awful lot of characters, most of them minor, which makes it difficult to follow. The story skips about quite a lot which adds to this. Another reviewer described it like “bring your kid to work day” and being dragged around her Dad’s workplace meeting loads of people she didn’t know and in jobs she didn’t understand. I totally understand where she’s coming from!

What saved the book for me (apart from having loads of isolation induced time to spend reading) was the last 30%. Once the US make contact with the sub commander the story really changes. The boring, technical sub chase and evade story is finished and it becomes much more of a standard thriller type story with a military influence. This last bit of the book was enough to make me want to read more of the author and hopefully find out what makes him so popular.

predator

Predator (Kay Scarpetta #14) by Patricia Cornwell

From Goodreads:

Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.

She and her team — Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy — track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects. As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact — or fantasy — the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply. Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man’s brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐

I can’t say I hated this book but I really did dislike a lot about it. Once again it feels badly written. The story has a lot of promise to it, the concept is really good and the killer’s true nature is a good reveal at the end but the author simply develops it badly.

The story starts with a big jump from where the last one left off and there’s no explanation how everyone got to where they did. Marino has turned back into a hateful arsehole and Lucy is off the rails. At least Lucy’s behaviour is explained but that just creates another melodramatic showdown between Kay and Benson that fizzles out before being ignored.

There’s a good buildup in the third quarter of the book that feels like it’s finally going to be a good story but then too much happens too quickly and too many reveals happen too easily with no explanation. With the way Basil’s story was chopped off at the end I’m really struggling to understand the point of his character at all. All the scenes between himself and Benton are simply a waste of the reader’s time.

Some of the investigative sections, particularly with Kay, are really well written and I wish the author would go back to that and forget all the other stuff that she doesn’t seem to be particularly good at.

In my review of Blow Fly #12 I said the following and it pretty much applies here too:

The ending though is terrible! Another reviewer described it as if the author had to go home early and asked her secretary to finish it off for her which is exactly what it feels like – rushed and incomplete and completely unfulfilling.

I have a feeling this may be the end of the road for me with this series.

a discovery of witches

All Souls Trilogy #1 by Deborah Harkness

From Goodreads:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

My Rating: 🌟🌟

Came across this author while browsing around Easons looking for inspiration for some new Science Fiction or Fantasy authors to read. The story looked sufficiently interesting to add to my list but I really wish I hadn’t bothered!

It’s a sloppy romantic novel with poor plot design and character creation, trying to be a fantasy novel with a gothic twist. I can only imagine that the author is a Twilight fan or is trying to cash in on the vampire genre.

There are a few good scenes scattered through the book that did give me hope that it would improve but barely enough to keep me there to the end and definitely not enough to make me want to read another one.

Disappointing as I think the author had a good and reasonably original idea, just very poorly executed.

downton abbey

From Wikipedia:

The film, set in 1927, depicts an official state visit by the King and Queen to the Crawley family’s English country house in the Yorkshire countryside. As the Royal staff descend on Downton an assassin has also arrived and attempts to kill the monarch. The family and servants are pitted against the royal entourage, including the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting who has fallen out with the Crawleys, especially the Dowager Countess, over an inheritance issue.

From the outside this is a pretty dull film with stilted, wooden acting and poor script. The storyline is full of holes and many of the plots make very little sense. For anyone that hasn’t seen the TV series it will probably be one of the worst films they’ve seen. However, if you are a fan of the TV series it will be a welcome return to the world of the Crawley family and the long gone age of British aristocracy. My description above stands but this is a kind of comfort food for the eyes with a surprising number of scenes of Edith in her underwear!

A TodayFM review described it as a full series that the writers weren’t able to air crammed into a two hour film. I think that’s a fair description.

My recommendation would be to wait until it comes to TV unless you have a particular desire to go to the cinema anyway and want something easy to watch.

My Rating: 🌟 🌟 (as a film) but 🌟 🌟 🌟 for giving us a chance to see the show one more time.