Monday, August 20, 2018

The Worst President Ever...Hint It Isn't Trump

The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama - Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan (Bombadier Books)

The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama by Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan probably won't set the literary world on fire for it's writing. Where this book scores in a huge way is the utter completeness of this compendium in recapping the staggering number of issues, malfeasance, ineptitude, lies and outright crimes committed by Barack Obama and his administration.

Early on, I labeled Obama's first term as nothing more than Jimmy Carter's missing second term. It didn't take Obama very long to make the Georgia peanut farmer President look like a piker when it came to ineptitude and cluelessness.

Margolis and Noonan literally lay out chapter and verse, running down 200 separate entries, spread over a broad range of categories detailing a litany of examples to illustrate their thesis, all backed up with 124 pages of endnotes citing source materials. One of the striking things as you read through this book is the amount of things the mainstream media never bothered to cover, gave passing coverage to or made excuses for during Obama's White House tenure.

Then add to that a comparison to how utterly apoplectic these same media clowns have been about Donald Trump's Presidency and any hint of alleged wrongdoing, has these clowns shouting impeachment, indictment, treason or worse. When compared to the actual, verifiable things that Obama got away with, make the media outrage laughable at best. While the media asshat brigade deep ends about former CIA head John Brennan being stripped of his top secret clearance as a mythical assault on the First Amendment, Obama's cry real attain on the media barely rated a passing footnote from the elite media. Brennan, a stupid, liberal gas bag is still free to spout his ridiculous bullshit, with or without his security clearance; so the silly story isn't worth the air time it has garnered or the ink spilled.

The frustrating thing about this hefty volume is the unanswered question - why - hen actual crimes have been committed, like the vast list of Hillary Clinton crimes, hasn't there been any prosecutions, pep walks or jailings? Hopefully this handy guide will serve as a clear reminder for DOJ prosecutors. Given that the swamp still is far from drained, I can't any that I am hopeful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Brilliant What If

The Other Women - Daniel Silva - (Harper)

What started out as a one off, one book only affair, featuring Gabriel Allon a grieving man and art restorer, turned avenging assassin, master international spy and later the head of the Israeli Mossad; as turned into one of the most reliably entertaining franchises is all of thriller fiction, spanning 18 books. One of the reasons for the sets ongoing success is the slavish, almost to the point of obsession, eye for detail that author Daniel Silva brings to the stories; he truly seats the details.

Silva's latest Allon outing, The Other Women, offers up a truly inspired "what if" scenario; what if infamous British spy, Kim Philby, who betrayed his country for Russia, had an illegitimate offspring that grew up in the hands of Russian spymasters and was groomed to follow in their father's nefarious footsteps? Silva does a masterful job of immersing the reader in the full Philby story without capsizing the pace of the story he is telling.

Silva knows the right levers to throw, to keep the story headsratchingly plausible to the point where you may starting to think this might be fact rather than fiction. The detail of the geography of the jet setting international locales is spot on as long time Silva readers would come to expect.

The comfortable cast of usual suspects is on hand to aide and abet Allon as he unravels the story by pulling on ever-present threads. As with the best of Silva's outings, betrayal is always on the menu and served up right until the final pages and by some unexpected cooks. Another great read that will leave you just the right mix of satisfied and yearning for more.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Beach Reads - Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Call me a sucker for the beach read thriller; that perfect mix of plot, breakneck pacing and twisting turns. As we roll into August and summer’s home stretch I couldn’t help but notice that a trio of perfect summer reads had taken on, with apologies to Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy, the theme of planes, trains and automobiles.

The Banker’s Wife – Christina Alger – (G. P. Putnam)

First the plane…

Combining a great mix of locales, high finance, high power and a high flying private plane that crashes to set the stage for the globetrotting thrills to come. Christina Alger’s, The Banker’s Wife is set in the world of international banking and leans heavily on today’s headlines kind of feel.

There are seemingly familiar characters sprinkled throughout the story; some may see Bernie Madoff in the high-profile scam artist banker who is alleged to be deceased, but who leaves a trail of cash in off shore banks. The better analogy might be financier Marc Rich who took it on the lam to avoid prosecution right up until his pardon by Bill Clinton. Add to the mix a billionaire New Yorker who is pondering a run for the White House and who has groomed his son to take on the family business, which sounds strikingly familiar.

Strong, smart characters populate both sides of this story as both insiders and truth crusading reporters try to unravel the high stakes tale of offshore billions and a life or death race to the finish. While Alger telegraphs the not so surprising ending, The Banker’s Wife, is a terrific escape for the beach, the patio or under a favorite tree.

The Real Michael Swann – Bryan Reardon – (Dutton)

Now the train…

It’s one of those moments that will leave you wondering if technology has really improved our lives and it’s oh so relatible. You’re on the phone with your husband, wife, child and in mid-sentence their cell phone cuts out. Did the call just drop? Did their phone charge die? Or did something awful happen? Your mind works overtime and you’re left fearing the worst. You frantically dial to call them back, but the call goes straight to voicemail. No matter how you try to reassure yourself, you just know that something is not right, something awful has happened.

That is how Bryan Reardon sets the stage for his new outing, The Real Michael Swann, then he quickly ratchets things up by confirming the worst possible fears; something awful has happened at Penn Station, an explosion has left Julia Swann frantically searching for her husband and answers. While most of us end up with a simple explanation for the dropped call, everyone can relate to the tension you have self-inflicted when fearing the worst.

Reardon masterfully sculpts The Real Michael Swann, deftly mixing the backstory of the Swann’s relationship and the drama the currents events as they play out, injecting the right amount of suspense and twists to propel the story forward. The concept that this one is built upon really sets the hook early and soon you’re along for the ride.

Half Moon Bay – Alice LaPlante – (Scribner)

And the automobile…

A tragic and senseless car accident has taken Jane’s teenage daughter, leaving her life in shambles and sowing confusion and devastation in it’s wake. Her marriage destroyed by the accident Jane hobbles forward into a small coastal town and tries to reassemble what passes for a life, but her new “normal” is anything but.

In Half Moon Bay, Alice LaPlante has pieced together a psychological thriller that delivers great bursts of intensity. The writing style here is at time frenetic, driving you forward with great intensity and then seemingly easing off on the throttle, not so much slowing things down, but actually just letting you catch your breath. Just when you think you know where LaPlante is leading you, she shifts gears and drops a twist in the story.

While the town is small and seemingly idyllic, children are suddenly disappearing and while Jane can certainly relate to the parents loss when the girls are found, made up and placed in an morbid tableau, no one can come up with answers as to who is doing these evil acts and fingers can seemingly be pointed in any direction. The affect is chilling and the plot will have you guessing until the end. Maybe not your typical beach read, but certainly a great one for the inevitable rainy weekend.