Tag: Action Adventure

Near Dark Book Review

Readers familiar with the work of Brad Thor are sure to love Near Dark, his latest novel featuring Scot Harvath, from the beginning. First time readers may need to have patience. The first hundred pages or so provide important back story on Harvath. As a new reader of Thor’s work, the novel reminded me of fire. A slow burn at the beginning results in the best of bonfires.

Near Dark Action

The action does begin right off the bat. But, unfamiliarity with the series, may take a reader a while to warm up to the protagonist. A drunk, seemingly washed out and broken spy stirs sympathy from the beginning. And little regard for potential ability. This is why I think previous fans of Brad Thor’s lead character have an advantage.

Fortunately, the action carries the novel in the beginning. The excellent writing takes over from there. Harvath’s personality seeps out past the hard liquor-again a tribute to the writer, while the action moves from locale to locale.

Revenge is not always served cold. Near Dark is a story of retribution. Pinpointing those responsible for life lost falls to Harvath and a stunning Norwegian counterpart, Sølvi Kolstad. Both are motivated to work together, tracking the killer of a mutual friend and mentor, even though they themselves had never met.

Kolstad is an equal to Harvath. The author does not fall into the trap of having the female agent more vulnerable. Indeed, she provides strength and not just from her willingness to take brutal action. Her character is intelligent and very likable. I hope she makes a re-appearance in future novels.

Scot Harvath

I grew to love the character of Harvath. Trained as a man who evens scores, he retains his own moral compass. The author has created a fully rounded character. Brains, brawn and psyche are well weaved into the story.

Perhaps the moment of truth for me came on Page 255 of Near Dark where Harvath muses on the fact “We all have our crosses to bear. What’s more, we wouldn’t trade ours for someone else’s.” How could this character not reach out to the reader on an inner level?

Brad Thor

Thor is a new writer to me but has been writing many years and is a best-selling author. The greatest thrill of reviewing books for the blog is finding a new series to devour. Thor is more than a prolific writer. While his message maybe akin to that of Helen MacInnes, what I appreciate the most is the willingness to insert thought provoking philosophy, as highlighted above, into an action packed spy thriller.

Brad Thor has a presence on social media as well as his own website, which you can access by clicking here. A quick search about the author revealed a few insights politically and professionally. Not much at all about his private life. Yet another reason to respect Brad Thor.

Whether you are a big fan or if you have never read one of Thor’s books, Near Dark will make you want to read another. Well done, Mr. Thor.

The River Book Review

The River is reminiscent of the Jack London books I read growing up. The author, Peter Heller weaves a spellbinding story of the harshness of nature and of life. Best friends Jack and Wynn set off paddling north towards the Hudson Bay. They face danger from Nature and Man.

Adventure on the River

The plot seems simple enough. Two young men out for adventure. Skipping the first quarter at Dartmouth to paddle north. Dreaming of days spent communing with nature. Fishing to supplement their packed provisions. And gorging off the ripe berries found everywhere along the river bank.

But then nature intervenes in the form of a far off wildfire. Albeit a giant one. So, as they come across two drunk Texans they warn them. Further down river they hear a couple arguing and paddle past. Only to turn back to warn them of the impending fire. No one is around.

Complex Personalities

Heller brilliantly unravels his characters’ personalities as he spins the prose. Both Jack and Wynn are able-bodied young men. Yet they also are kindred spirits with a shared love of words. Books of all kinds, poetry, and western ballads. However, their life experiences prove the difference.

Wynn sees the good in all. He is optimistic and altruistic. He wants to go back and warn the couple of the approaching fire. Jack is the opposite. He has first-hand knowledge of nature’s cruelty in general and specifically with regards to out of control fires. Furthermore, Jack is resigned to his belief that nature and mankind can be cruel. But Wynn is his best friend and he is persuaded.

Masterful Writing from Peter Heller

The River is classic literature in so many ways. Heller’s writing brings the sights, sounds and smells of the river into the reader’s brain. His foreshadowing keeps the reader on edge worried about the characters. Wondering about the race to safety.

I recommend this novel for high school and above because of the intense drama. Any contemporary literature class would benefit by including The River. Symbolism, foreshadowing and character depth are ripe for discovery. Book clubs will also find the novel excellent material for discussion.

 

The Deception Book Review

Mixing romance, action, and social awareness is a difficult task. But Kat Martin attempts this cocktail with The Deception, her latest in the Maximum Security series. For the most part, the novel is a success.

Action-Packed Plot

The Deception begins at a Dallas honky-tonk where bounty hunter Hawk Maddox is meeting with a snitch. On his way out of the bar he is attracted by Kate Gallagher. She is dancing the night away while trying to drown out her sorrows. Kate comes to her senses before hooking up with Hawk.

Then fate intervenes. Kate is determined to find the person responsible for her younger sister’s death. Research leads her to Maximum Security. And back into the arms of Mr. Maddox. The bounty hunter is also a private investigator and goes by Jason in the office.

The two begin working together. Their investigation winds across Texas and the seedy sides of Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. Martin is accurate with her geography, capturing the rougher areas of these large cities.

Social Awareness

The underlying story is one of human trafficking. In addition to Kate’s younger sister, the pair discover a number of victims killed in their attempts to escape the organization that has turned them into sex slaves.

One of the best parts of the novel occurs over half way through. A virginal thirteen year old is introduced to the readers. She is given her own point of view. As a reader, I became very involved. This plot development created urgency. Would the trafficking ring be exposed in time?

Problems with The Deception

For this reader, there were a few problems with the novel. The juxtaposition between the romance and the action was difficult for me. The Deception is not a sweet romance. So, I found it difficult to go from the consensual bedroom scenes to the action scenes of both brothel and street walkers.

Additionally, I found the chemistry not quite right. Also, I felt the author did not quite succeed in her character of Kate. No way would I hit the dance floor following a trip to the morgue. Furthermore, her friends were more like afterthoughts. Lastly, I found it hard to believe she had never met her stepmother nor her half-siblings.

This is the first Kat Martin Book I have read. The Deception held my interest long enough to finish. But I am glad it was a library check-out.

The Third Gate Book Review

I am a big fan of Lincoln Child so I checked out The Third Gate for reading on a snowy weekend. Even though I find mummies super scary, I gave The Third Gate a try. I am glad I did. Child once again delivers.

The protagonist of The Third Gate is Jeremy Logan. In addition to teaching classes at Yale, Logan is an enigmalogist. Logan has been contacted by an old classmate, Ethan Rush. Dr. Rush runs a clinic which studies near death experiences. But he is also involved on an archaeological site in Egypt. So Rush acts as the intermediary between Porter Stone, the financier of the search for an ancient burial-place, and Logan.

Logan’s job is to determine if the series of incidents at the archaeological site are human driven or other worldly. Both are possibilities since the burial site has its own curse. Indeed both scenarios come into play.

The Third Gate Setting

The setting of The Third Gate is the Sudd. Child does a great job in describing this moving swamp of the Nile. (But if you need a visual click here for a short You Tube look.) This particular pharaoh’s tomb is underneath the murky water. Of course, this adds to the novel’s suspense.

Curse

As an enigmalogist, Logan is on hand for key parts of the dig. He is expected to solve the puzzle of the numerous accidents. But he is also on hand to aid Dr. Rush’s oversight of a near death survivor’s communication with the other world.

Another key character is Dr. Christina Romero an Egyptologist. She is a scientist skeptical of Logan’s talents and beliefs. The two clash but form a friendship over common values.

Lincoln Child has written a book that explores both human and otherworldly good and evil. The pace of the book keeps the reader turning pages. Those of you that seek out scary mummy stories will love The Third Gate.