Tag Archive | books

Do you Solemnly Swear?

by Lin Wilder

It’s always interesting to read sequels featuring characters you loved in previous novels.  Lin Wilder successfully follows up her first novel “The Fragrance Shed by a Violet” with this legal thriller “Do you Solemnly Swear.”  blog

Having recently completed book one, the returning cast was very familiar to me and I enjoyed the immediate jump in time detailing their growth and changes.  “Solemnly Swear” features: Dr. Lindsey McCall, newly VERY rich, who has graduated from prison inmate to medical director to the prison system; intrepid reporter Kate Townsend who has attained the highest praise of a writer and is now exploring developing her personal life and Lindsey’s new husband Rich Jansen who once again makes a career change from prison administrator back to attorney-at-law.

Wilder also smartly introduces new, intriguing characters in the form of private investigators, lawyers and, most compelling, a returning US soldier and current Texas State Trooper who becomes the catalyst for the plot.  Gabe McAllister battles the trauma of war and through a series of unfortunate events becomes involved with a dicey single mom.  His decision to leave this unstable woman prompts a charge of rape against McAllister; the victim being the 6-year old daughter of the ex-girlfriend.

The subject matter is uncomfortable, but Wilder is careful to not make the novel so graphic as to be unreadable.  As much as the author spent time in her “Fragrance” book educating the reader on the inner workings of drug development, this novel provides a great deal of information about the legal system and the incidences of false charges regarding sexual crimes.  Having no knowledge of these things, I found this background interesting. Wilder is proving herself quite deft at writing novels which serve both to entertain as well as educate.

Sometimes it is necessary to read all the books in a series in order to understand the long term developing plot, “Lord of the Rings” comes to mind.  Wilder’s books could stand alone, but if you’re like me and very orderly and systematic when it comes to character development, please do start with book one.  And, bonus! Book three is in the works so if you care to binge over a winter’s snowy evening……

I enjoyed the “Fragrance” novel (see my earlier review here: https://eyesandearsbooks.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/the-fragrance-shed-by-a-violet/ ) and I think this sequel is even better.  I imagine at this rate, the third book in the series is likely to be the best yet.

For the US State Challenge – Texas – fast becoming my biggest source of fiction.

 

 

Advertisements

The Shrinkage Situation

by Warren Pete

When selecting “The Shrinkage Situation” by Warren Pete, I only knew one sentence about the book: an evil business conglomerate takes over a small town grocery store.

With that in mind, I assumed it would be akin to a Bentley Little or Dean Koontz.  So, I began reading, waiting for the chills to set in.  After all, “evil” was written in the descriptor.  I spent the first five chapters thinking this author is terrible; these characters are so over-written.  And then I realized, it wasn’t the author who erred, it was me, the reader. This is about evil, but not Vincent Price evil; Pete wrote a story about modern day evil in an ever changing society dependent on technology and replacing human interaction with data and processes.  blog

So, I began the book again and it was much better reading it understanding this isn’t bad writing, it’s comedic writing.  A small town store which had been part of a community for ages, where employees were valued and personal service to the customers was the number one goal, is suddenly acquired by the world’s largest technology company.  Pete sets the tone immediately by not naming this company something fun like Google, or comfortable like Apple, but instead he puts it out there and names it NEW (Not Evil Worldwide).

The protagonist and long-time receipt store checker (not a cashier but a guy who actually stands at the exit and looks at your receipt) is skeptical from the get-go that things aren’t right.  To any person on the planet, standing for decades at an exit looking at receipts sounds like the worst job in the world. To Grant, this is his whole world and he excels at his job. He is also content.  This is a man who doesn’t tweet, would think instagram must be another form of a telegram and who’s phone is attached to the wall.  IN his house.

NEW wants to change things and doesn’t spend any time at all before good employees like Grant are fired, and hipster, social media mavens are the new game in town.  For the first time in his life, Grant sees the new world outside the walls of his beloved Mesford Mart and realizes it is no longer the same.  Technology is everywhere and controls the process.  Without it, man is easily left behind and left out.

I am so glad I made the effort to understand this novel and begin again.  Pete’s style of over-the-top characters, and extreme situations, perfectly personify the world in which we live now.  And the fact I found this author via facebook, tweeted the book’s arrival, tracked my progress on Goodreads and wrote this review on my blog really highlights the change in the world compared to when, as a high school student, I wasn’t allowed to use the brand new computer lab because the computers were meant for the advanced math students.

 

 

The Rembrandt Affair

by Daniel Silva

My book selections are starting to feel like gold found at the end of a treasure hunt. The last few I have read were sent to me from authors or bloggers found on Twitter, and I have been very happy to discover new (to me) authors in genres I never otherwise would have chosen for myself.  Today’s gold comes from one of the nicest perks of buying a retirement home which had previously been a vacation rental and was left fully furnished.  I don’t know how you walk away from bookcases of old friends, but my bounty of choices is a win for me.  I selected “The Rembrandt Affair” and began reading without knowing anything of the plot or author.  Turns out this is book 10 in a series of 15 featuring protagonist Gabriel Allon, but as a stand-alone it worked and I didn’t feel I missed out by not knowing the character’s previous adventures.  twitter

Allon is a retired spy, also trained as an art restorer as part of the cover used in his former life. This novel starts with Allon coming out of retirement to help locate a stolen masterpiece as #art apparently has value.  That art hashtag may tell you my lack of connection to that side of the brain.  I am not a lover of fine art; I took my reluctant kids to museums as part of homeschooling because it was expected.  I initially groaned when I started this novel because it had so much more detail about a subject that I didn’t care about. But this is where the talent of Silva shines.  He made me interested. “The Rembrandt Affair” really read like two novels to me – first the introduction to the stolen painting and its history from the time of the Holocaust, the people affected by that time and the evil which prospered because of the Nazi regime.  I was hooked.

The second half of the novel concentrates on the agencies which fight crime behind the scenes, training, planning and the politics of current day power hungry men and countries.  It really did feel like a new book when Silva turned to that side of the crime, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Again, I wasn’t immediately drawn to the espionage part of the novel, but that’s on me.  My brain is still healing from an injury, and details can be hard for me to keep track of – add to that the addition of many characters and places with unusual names, and I had to work harder to finish the book.  But, I did finish it and I did enjoy it.  I would recommend this to any fan of spy novels.

The best compliment I can give to the author is that once I closed the pages of the book, I was still thinking about the story.  I’m not Jewish and I don’t typically think about the Holocaust.  I recall decades ago reading Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank because every American high school student back in the day read those as part of history class.  Mr. Silva’s writing about individuals in that time period (even though fictionalized) sparked my interest in the subject matter and makes me want to go spend some time reading and learning.  That’s an amazing accomplishment for a work of fiction.