Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Reading Stampede…Part 2

The annual stampede of great summer reading is upon us; here is round two of my look at what to expect from both the tried and true veterans of the form to up and some up and coming new talents.

Target America – A Sniper Elite Novel – Scott McEwen with Thomas Kolonair (Touchstone Books)

With the untimely passing of Vince Flynn we lost not only a great person, he remains one of my all-time favorite author interviews, but a fantastic writer and more adventures with Mitch Rapp. The authenticity of Rapp’s character and actions made the stories even better.

It is that been there done that authenticity that makes the second installment in Scott McEwen’s Sniper Elite series, Target America – A Sniper Elite Novel and the lead character Gill Shannon such a solid potential candidate to fill the Rapp void.

Chechan terrorists smuggle a pair of Cold War era leftover Russian “suitcase nukes” into the United States; when one gets detonated in a drug tunnel on the U.S., Mexican border, the race is on to track down the second nuke. Shannon and his band of highly trained Seal Team 6 Black operatives are on the hunt and the ripped from today’s headlines story line about the rights of U.S. Citizens who want to do us harm is just one of the sub-storylines.

McEwen, the bestselling, co-author of late, Seal Sniper Chris Kyle’s American Sniper, clearly taps into some insider sources to craft this entertaining read.

Don’ Ever Look Back – Daniel Friedman (Minotaur Books)

Retired long-time Memphis detective Buck Schatz is a cantankerous, cranky, 88 year old resident of an assisted living facility; the latter of which he is clearly not happy about. Author Daniel Friedman, who scored an arm load of award nominations and won the Macavity for best first novel, for Shatz debut in Don’t Ever Get Old, is back with  the second installment in the series; Don’ Ever Look Back.

When Buck is confronted by an old nemesis, Elijah, over some bad scrambled eggs and with an odd request for help. Buck must wrestle with old demons as well as new maladies. While Friedman is clearly skilled with mystery, it is his ability to interject Buck’s biting humor into the mix that makes the character stand out. The intertwining of current events and those of the past bring an interesting contrast that help to drive the story.

Unlucky 13 – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little Brown Books)

The 13th entry in James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series, Unlucky 13 weaves an intriguing set of mysteries for the four lead characters to unravel and solve; a seemingly straightforward auto accident takes an unexpected turn when it turns out the wreck was caused by ingestible belly bomb and then the FBI sends Detective Lindsay Boxer a recent photo of one of the Club’s most dangerous killers, Mackie Morales.
While the belly bomb angle is certainly had the potential to carry the book, but seems to get lost in the mix of tracking down the elusive Mackie, and ends up being left unresolved. The Women’s Murder Club is a winning franchise based largely on the characters who drive the story and they continue front and center here. With the return of Mackie, I am hoping the plans call for bringing the belly bomb angle to conclusion at a later date.


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