Tour’s Books Blog

February 23, 2011

Two New Suspense Mysteries From Old Hands

Two of the most reliable authors in the mystery/suspense genre are the late William G Tapply and William Kent Krueger.  Their styles are profoundly different, Tapply writing lean, tightly plotted, short books and Krueger penning longer books with an almost lyrical quality to his prose that reminds me of Tony Hillerman.  What they have in common is a high standard.  From the late Tapply, who died in 2009, this last book is a complete departure – we have a stand alone suspense novel that is surprising in so many ways.  Krueger offers the 10th outing for Cork O’Connor in a bleak tale of old crimes coming back to haunt another generation with painful remembrance and new deaths.   The two very different books have that common theme – old sins come back and causing new ones that in turn uncover the past.

  • Title: The Nomination
  • Author:  William G Tapply
  • Type:  Suspense
  • Genre: Politics and cover-ups
  • Sub-genre:  Supreme Court nominee wants his past buried – literally
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.5*)
  • Rating:  PG-17
  • Length and price:  Full novel – about 80,000 hardcover $15-$17 on sale; list $24.95
  • Where Available:  Available at most bookstores
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased from online bookstore (more…)
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July 10, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner

  • Title: The Dirty Secrets Club
  • Author: Meg Gardiner
  • Type: Suspense
  • Genre: Murder mystery
  • Sub-genre: Secret club
  • My Grade: C+ to B- (3.7*)
  • Rating: PG-17
  • Warning: Graphic violence

“Compulsively Readable” is a phase that gets overused these days for books of all types, but especially thrillers and suspense novels, but that’s what The Dirty Secrets Club is, ‘compulsively readable’. It’s like potato chips, once you start eating them, you just can’t stop, even though they aren’t really great and you certainly don’t need them. There is a difference between ‘compulsively readable’ and a great book.  The plot is not original, but the added twists make it interesting and the ending makes it worth the trip – even through the duller bits in the middle.

The Dirty Secrets Club opens with a minor quake causing an office building where sports superstar was at a meeting.  He calls a woman nicknamed ‘Hardgirl’ to the building and dares her to pull a stunt with him before the building gets locked down. As they exit, he steals a Willie Mays baseball from the lawyer’s office and on the street outside dares her to return it without getting prosecuted. (more…)

May 30, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

That blissful, satisfied sigh you hear is me.  I devoured Gone Tomorrow in less than a day, all 421 pages.  No, it isn’t deathless prose, not even for an action thriller, but it is what Lee Child and his protagonist Jack Reacher do best – slam into you at full tilt from the opening lines and leave you hanging on for a wild thrill  ride.

“Suicide bombers are easy to spot.  They give out all kinds of telltale signs.  Mostly because they’re nervous.  By definition they’re all first timers.”

Jack Reacher is on the Lexington Avenue local at 2AM and remembering all the training he had by Israeli counterintelligence while watching a woman that fits the suicide bomber profile perfectly.  She’s wearing a bulky oversized parka on a hot fall day and it’s zipped to the neck.  She keeps muttering, as if reciting a prayer, her hands hidden in a small backpack on her lap wrapped around something hard – like the battery and detonator switch.  But surely it’s the wrong time – not enough people, but it was impossible for Reacher to ignore.  He figures he’s as dead where he sits as he will be closer, so he approaches.  Trying to calm her, he says he’s a cop.  Instead, she pulls out a gun and kills herself with a .357 Magnum through her head. (more…)

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