Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Report

  • Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston - I'm pretty sure this is the second part of the story that was told in a previous novel, but frankly there is enough action, psychology, blood and gore that it stands alone. Told in Huston's eccentric first-person narrative style, the reader is quickly sold on the basic humanity of the central character, even when the reader learns he has a slew of dead people in his back pocket. And about four million dollars, as well. Under an assumed name, he now lives on a Mexican beach, but is tumbled by a Russian backpacker and pursued by a psychopathic fan. He's got to shake these people off and then return the money before his parents pay the price he owes. Gripping, lively, different.
  • The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith - I'm pretty sure it's impossible NOT to fall in love with the Botswana of Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and with the people that populate it--Mma Precious Ramotswe, her long-time betrothed, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni of Ttlokweng Poad Speedy Motors, her assistant who scored 97% on the final exam at Btswana Secretarial College, Mma Makutsi. When Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is asked to sky-dive as a fundraiser for the Orphan Farm by Mma Potokwani, Mma Ramtoswe is spurred into action lest her marriage end before it has even begun. Do, oh, do read these books.
  • True Fires by Susan Carol McCarthy - Based on a true story (quite possibly my hometown, but certainly its environs in central Florida), a typical southern town's bigotry is confronted by a transplanted Virginia clan, the Dares, who claim to be related to first generation settlers. Sheriff Kyle deLuth, who I visualized as Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo) thinks the quiet little girl has the pug nose of a "nigger" and decides to kick them out of the white school system. This has the making of a good story, but the characters are all drawn in black-and-white, the best action is relayed second-hand, and the final tragic moment was so telegraphed I thought there would be a twist--but there wasn't. Skip it.
  • Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre - Thoroughly-researched, well-documented story of how the Normandy assault of WWII would have failed were it not for the misinformation campaign of double agents who fed the German intelligence apparatus a pack of lies. Lies that they bought at retail, never aware that the Enigma code had been broken, and just as importantly, unaware that every single German agent in Britain had been "turned", and was working for the Allies. This is the fascinating story of how these double agents fed piecemeal misinformation to the Abwehr to cause the Nazis to misallocate forces to the wrong parts of the Channel defenses in advance of D-Day.

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