Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fall Into the Action

Assassin’s Game - Ward Larsen (Forge Books)

The assassin thought he had left his former life behind; the goal was simple, a quite life with his wife, a doctor, in suburban Washington, DC. Then a simple, one word text message changed everything…”Help.”

The former Mossad kidon is thrust back into his former life; the spymasters who used to run his life now have his wife on the run and are back in firm control of his life. David Slaton’s task is simple, prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear tipped ballistic missile by killing their elusive, top nuclear scientist and in the process save his wife. That’s the straight forward setup to Ward Larsen’s latest outing, Assassin’s Game, the follow up to his first David Slaton book, The Perfect Assassin.

While Slaton is perfectly armed to tackle the task, it could be the toughest target is ever faced and the action is on full charge and the clock is ticking. While Slaton walked away from his former life, can he ever really turn his back on his country? Larsen keeps getting better and knocks it out of the park with this thriller.

Seven Wonders – Ben Mezrich (Ratpac/Running Press)

I knew author Ben Mezrich from his books Bringing Down the House, The Accidental Billionaires, and Busting Vegas; insider accounts of things like MIT students who scored millions in Las Vegas and the founding of Facebook that read like fiction and transitioned well to the big screen when Hollywood made them into movies.

So I was surprised to learn that Mezrich actually got his start writing fiction. He returns to those roots with his new book Seven Wonders a globetrotting adventure tail that is drawing comparisons to the Indiana Jones epics. One small problem…while Mezrich’s non-fiction works have played well in theaters Seven Wonders leaves behind action and tends to the plodding.

Clearly Mezrich has done his research and delivers meticulous detail, but his eye towards explanation all too often buries the action and the adventure. The concept his great however the delivery comes off as an attempt to make a deeply researched science text exciting.

Fatal Conceit – Robert K. Tanenbaum (Gallery Books)

One thing I can state with absolute certainty; veteran author Robert K. Tanenbaum’s latest effort Fatal Conceit will piss off any flaming liberal who picks it up. That being said; this is a great read that clearly has a ripped from today’s headlines feel to it.

Tanenbaum utilizes a gauze thin veil to deliver a story centered on a group of CIA operatives who are on the hunt of a terror mastermind Chechnya who cross paths with a state department diplomat and end up caught up in the crossfire that sounds oddly familiar; cough, cough, Bengazhi, cough, cough.

Familiar Tanenbaum characters like DA Butch Karp deliver a dependably good story and the deceitful Washington administration sounds oddly familiar as well. Those who are politically and historically astute may find some humor in the fact that Tanenbaum borrowed his title from conservative economist F. A. Hayek; whose book was fully titled The Fatal Conceit – The Errors of Socialism.  

No Safe House – Linwood Barclay (NAL Books)

Canadian author Linwood Barclay made a notable splash in fiction circles with his 2008 effort No Time for Goodbye, which won him a boatload of critical acclaim. Barclay’s new effort, No Safe House, a sequel in which he re-visits the characters Cynthia Bigge and Terry Archer and plunges them headlong into a new desperate situation.

Clearly Barclay spends a lot of time developing his plotline and characters, but his use of setting sets these stories apart from the pack; clearly there is something a whole lot more sinister going on behind the white picket fences of upscale Milford. It’s easy to draw comparisons to the suburban confines of a Breaking Bad episode.  

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