Sunday, May 25, 2014

Start the Summer Reading Stampede

With the Memorial Day holiday comes the annual stampede of great summer reading; here a small sample of what to expect from tried and true veterans of the form to up and coming new talents.

Bird Box – Josh Malerman (ECCO/Harper Collins)

It’s out there. Something is lurking, just off the edges of your reality and if you see it, it’s all over. Imagine trying to live an existence of sensory deprivation; blindfolded against a force that to identify will cause you to go off in a murderous rage.

Josh Malerman delivers a strikingly good debut novel, Bird Box that delivers the best kind of horror and chills; the ones where your own mind creates a thrilling tension. A young women, Malorie, and her two children are set to depart the relative safety of their run down home by the river, to board a row boat and head off in search of something resembling new existence.

It is a terrifying journey, shrouded in darkness and aided by the children’s well developed sense of hearing. Can they find their way to a group of survivors and in the end will that reality be any better? It takes reckoning with an unseen force to a whole new level.

The Target – David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

Recalibration. The game is once again afoot and following the mis-adventures of The Hit, Will Robie and Jessica Reel have the potential of being loose cannons so they are subjected to the CIA’s version of a recall. It’s off to the so-called “Burner Box” a physical and psychological test/torture designed to be grueling and a measure of their worthiness for trust.

David Baldacci picks up right where he left off with the latest installment in the Will Robie series, The Target. Baldacci keeps the pace hopping, the locales on a global scale and the plots on the edge. Think another day in the life of 24 and be sure to send your sense disbelief on vacation.

Seal Team Six – Hunt The Jackyl – Don Mann (Mulholland Books/Little Brown)

Elite SEALS are off to track down a missing drone when everything goes off the rails, a Mexican drug cartel kidnaps a Senator’s wife and daughter and the adventure is off to the races. Former SEAL Don Mann’s latest installment in the Seal Team Six series, Seal Team Six – Hunt The Jackyl has a ripped from the headlines feel to it.

Mann is clearly a guy who has been there and done that and he convincingly delivers that battle hardened detail to this series. Mann paints a picture perfect description of the power crazed El Chacal – The Jackyl, a controlling murderous villain who lives up to the headlines and dirty deeds south of our southern border. Seal Team Six – Hunt The Jackyl delivers high entertainment value.

The Zodiac Deception – Gary Kriss (Forge Books)

It is the Summer of 1942 and “Wild Bill” Donovan the real life founder of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), what would become the modern CIA is looking for a way to bring World War II to an expeditious conclusion by eliminating Adolf Hitler. Who would the spymaster turn to? A German insider? A highly trained operative who could infiltrate the inner ranks of the Nazis? A skilled soldier or group of soldiers who could take part in daring raid?

All good answers, but the choice in The Zodiac Deception, the debut novel by former New York Times reporter Gary Kriss is not that obvious. Donovan, hoping to play off the Nazis penchant for astrology selects a mysterious con man known as “David Walker” to play the part of astrologer Peter Kepler, to gain the trust of Heinrich Himmler and use his highly honed skills to convince him to assassinate Hitler.

Historically accurate and with thrills on steroids, Kriss weaves and entertaining debut with the only minor complaint being the sheer volume of story in this 496 page epic.

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