Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Mid-Summer Night’s Read

Whether you take to the beach, the patio or any comfortable chair, there’s plenty of entertaining mid-summer reading to choose from.

Silken Prey – John Sanford (Putnam)
John Sanford is back with Silken Prey, the 23rd installment in the Minnesota-based investigator, Lucas Davenport, Prey series. In a day and age of politicians sending out Weiner Tweets, ending up better known as “Client #9” than as a state’s governor and plenty of dirty political tricks, is so had to believe that an ambitious political newcomer would stoop to planting child porn on an opponent’s campaign computer and then spiral to murder to not only get ahead, but to maintain that advantage?

The simple answer is yes! That’s the set up and Sandford delivers just the right mix of familiar characters and jackknife twists and turns to keep you on your toes. It’s a nice twist to have Sanford’s other familiar lead Kidd make an appearance to lend expertise with computers. Sanford delivers a winner that’s as comfortable as a pair of old, broken in sandals.
Slingshot: A Spycatcher Novel – Matthew Dunn (William Morrow)
Former MI 6 field officer Matthew Dunn checks in with the third novel in his Spycatcher series; Slingshot featuring master spy Will Cochrane. Dunn’s style has a decidedly British air ala John le Carre and like the spy thriller master, Dunn infuses Cochrane with a realistic, been there, done that edge.

Slingshot serves up the requisite amounts of far flung locales, murky damp settings and fast paced action to keep the story moving. You may find yourself having to suspend your firm grip on reality on occasion, but isn’t that what a summer read is all about?

The Caretaker – A X Ahmad (Macmillan Audiobooks – Unabridged Edition)

A native of India, A X Ahmad stated his writing career by author literary pieces but transitioned to the thriller realm for his first full length effort The Caretaker. The first in a planned trilogy featuring the adventures disgraced former Indian Army Major, turned illegal alien, Ranjit Singh.

Singh and his family overstay their tourist visas as he works menial landscaping jobs for the rich and powerful on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s not surprising that the MIT educated Ahmad would choose the Vineyard and Boston as the setting for the story. Singh ends up taking the task of winter caretaker for a Massacusetts U.S. Senator who has ambitions for higher office.

Somewhat predictably, the Senator turns out to be of less than the highest character and is willing to do anything to get ahead (gee sounds oddly familiar) and Singh’s family’s illegal status soon lands him in hot water. The story propels along nicely and the audio book performance by Mumbai-born, British actor Sam Dastor has an authentic feel.
The Warriors – Tom Young (Putnam)

As a confirmed fan of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Stephen Coonts and Tom Clancy, I am not certain how Tom young has escaped my reading list up until now. A retired U. S. Air National Guard master sergeant who logged time in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Far East and over the Horn of Africa.  His fourth fiction book, The Warriors harkens back to Young’s time serving in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Young captures flying sequences with accuracy and realism. The realism extends to all of the military action, where the heroes aren’t possessed with super-human powers and not every sequence resolves itself with the cleanest of outcomes. Ethnic cleansing isn’t pretty and Young delivers a gritty dose of reality.


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