Odessa Sea – Clive Cussler

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Picking up a book by your favourite author is like sliding into a warm bed in winter or that first sip of beer on a hot Australian summer day, its just fantastic. Speaking of which it is 42 ° C   (or 107 F) to you crazy yanks.

Another solid entry into the Dirk Pitt series (its number 24 by the way) It ha been 2 years since out last adventure with these heroes and after the first few pages it feels like no time has passed at all. With the introduction of his long lost kids a few books back they pretty much are in all the books now and its sticks to the same formula, the kids have one plot and Pitt has another but by the end it turns out they are intertwined. This is normally done well but this time each plot for me just felt forced, like they each could have been their own book since the connection wasn’t that strong at all, each could function without the other.

It was however refreshing to see that the crew on the NUMA vessel’s which normally are treated like red shirts from star trek (ie canon fodder) were actually treated like people for once and not just killed off.

I do like how his books always seem to include some real life event in them kind of ties them down to a specific time frame. For this one we deal with the Russian invasion and take over of the Crimea Peninsula
With his multitude of series running and it is no surprise that sometimes things feel “familiar” but that doesn’t deter you from enjoying the ride. Bring on book #25

Touch by Clair North

22314178I have read quite a few books (who hasn’t) probably a couple of hundred and I can count on one hand the number of books that made me lose sleep and hide from society. I’m not talking from fear or sadness, I’m talking about a book that hooks you in so bad that you lie awake at night wondering what happens next, you cancel social engagements to allow time to read. You call in sick to work to ensure you don’t run out of time and have to leave the book at a crucial point because it’s time to go to work.  This author has written two of these books.
Claire north is just a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, who in her teens wrote a lot of YA books, then when she hit 20 she started writing adult fantasy and so her publisher said its pseudonym time (kate Griffin) to ensure readers don’t get confused. Later on as she wrote books of a completely different style of writing and content it was time for a new name (Claire North) As someone who judges books by covers, and googles authors before picking up a new book this makes a lot of sense. If when I first saw 15 lives of harry august and then googled her name, if I saw she wrote YA I probably wouldn’t of grabbed the book. So kudos to her publishers I am the very type of person they thought of when saying its pseudonym time.
Touch is an amazing roller-coaster of a story, the plot is unique enough to pique my interest and her writing clever enough to keep me wanting more. It isn’t so much so the character I love but the story, I mean just wow. Kepler, is brutally murdered but in the last moments reaches out to the murderer, when suddenly the unthinkable happens, she switches. Kepler is now in the killers body. Kepler now has the ability to jump from one person to another and we are now drawn into a world where people are paid to allow someone to “reside” in their body. A secret society if you will, But when one such body is brutally murdered, Kepler soon finds out not everyone is happy with the idea of this ability

Claire delivers another knockout story, the level of depth she brings into the world is stunning. After I read her first book I went out and bought all the books by Clair, so I cant wait to dive into her next one

Vostok – By Steve Alten

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Vostok is the sequel to the loch, which in turn was a spin off from the Meg series. This book is a crossover story with the characters from the Loch returning but also involving the main characters from the Meg series as well. This book is also a prequel to the 5th book in the Meg series.

The sad reality is this book was so bad I think i’ll be breaking my mantra of always finishing a series I start. It was so bad I cant even bring myself to keep it on my bookshelf. The book starts off not too bad and based on the real world. Follows on from the discovery of a lake underneath Antarctica (lake Vostok is actually real) The main character from the Loch is called in to go down and explore this lake and see what is down there. Everything continues on much like any adventure novel but then halfway its like the author had a stroke and everything changes.

We go from exploring a underground lake to dealing with aliens and time travel abilities, like what?  I can only image the author went on an acid trip halfway through writing this. Nothing can explain the so sudden and abrupt change in story, the pace, theme and concept is just thrown out the window so the author can go on a conspiracy nut job wet dream exposition of secret governments and aliens in collusion with them.  Even now as I sit here writing this I cant even understand how his publisher agreed to print this. Its was so bad, and not like a “B” grade movie, where they are so bad its good, this was so bad its bad. If there could be a surgery where I can remove the memories of me reading this book I would do it in a heart beat. I just cant explain enough just how crazy and messed up this book was. If anyone out there even considers buying this book all i can suggest is rip it in half, the first half is good,  The second half can be used as toilet paper.
All I wanted was a nice “scary sea monster” read. I most certainly did not in any way want the acid trip of  gobbledegook that this book turned into

Steve Alten you are now barred from my bookshelves, please don’t write any more books until you get checked out by a doctor

The Loch by Steve Alten

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A bad book is like a band aid, sometimes its best to just rip it off quickly and be done with it. Likewise a bad book series must be completed in its entirety so one can move on with life never to return. The Meg series which has spiraled down into the trash ever since its first sequel stepped into crazy land. Well that series spawned a spin off, The loch.

The Loch takes place after book 4 in the Meg series and as its title suggests, deals with the Loch nest monster. This book was a surprise unlike the meg sequels this book was grounded in reality had a lot of marine science in it and no far off outlandish stuff.

The story of what the Loch Ness monster is was believable and easy to swallow. I enjoyed the new characters but really found the way the story was written, with the rough Scottish wording difficult and at times hard to keep pace with. Definitely something that is easier to listen too rather than read.

Rather surprised to find myself enjoying the book enough to actually look forward to its sequel

The Woods – Harlan Coben

The Woods – Harlan Coben
An oldie yet still a goodie from Harlan. Well only 9 years old but when an author releases a book or 2 a year 9 years is a long time and many books ago. Fortunately Harlan really hit his stride many years ago so this book really holds its own.
Paul’s sister was murdered along with 3 others years ago at a summer camp and his mother ran off not long after. For years his father would go into the woods and dig looking for his daughter, When Paul’s father dies he feels its time to let it all go and move on that. That is until he gets called in to ID a body that body turns out to be that of one of the kids murdered at that camp years ago, but how can that be,  could his sister also be alive. Paul’s attempts to get to the bottom of this really show just how far a family will go to protect its own.
This is another of Harlan’s stand alone novels but it has a recurring character loren muse who appears in several stand alones. A great character that i love reading and i love the fact that it implies all this stories occur in the same literary world. This book has the usual roller coaster of twists and turns before the shocking end.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

Who needs to describe the plot when the massively long title does it for you. But for those of you who hadn’t already figured it out, the story is about a 100 year old man who yes climbed out a window but its a bit more complicated that. Alan (the 100 year old man) is in an old folks home, not really by choice, he was sent there for blowing up his home, but that is a long story. He has a nasty nurse who keeps taking his hidden booze off him, so when he finds out that the old folks home intend to throw a surprise 100th party for him he has had enough and wants out. Being limited in his options and mobility, he decides to climb out the window and run away albeit very slowly since he is 100.

First stop after a sloth like crawl out the window is the nearby bus station, a short walk away for most but for him it was tiring, he approaches the sales person and asks how far he can get for 500 crowns, well its set in Sweden so all the currency is theirs too. Google converter tells me its about 20 bucks. Which seems a far more reasonable amount for a senior to have on them.The money wont get him too far, guess bus travel is expensive over there. So while he waits a few minutes for the bus arrive he sits down. Then a stranger approaches him and asks if he could hold his suitcase while he goes to the bathroom, before Alan can respond the man is off running for the toilet, just as Alan’s bus arrives.

Here is where the story takes an interesting turn, Alan looks at the bus, then looks at the suitcase and pretty much thinks ahh screw it, and takes the suitcase. At the end of the bus journey Alan with the help of a new friend opens the suitcase and discovers it is filled with millions of crowns, not actual crowns of course but the currency used in Sweden, what follows is an hilarious adventure and accidental heroism that would put the Pink Panther or Mr Bean to shame.

A hilarious adventure of Alan avoiding the police looking for him (our of concern) and of the gangsters looking for their money, Along the way Alan gathers new friends including an Elephant. We find out all about Alan’s past including meeting Presidents, Dictators, Secret police. We learn of his albeit almost unbelievable good luck and Alan finds out once again what it means to feel truly alive.

A fantastic read full of laughs

 

 

 

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury
Picked up the first book in this series along time ago but never read it. Didn’t even know it was part of series back then, i just saw it involved the Templars and thought it might be in a similar vane to Da Vinci code.
The Last Templar
The story in the is broken into 2 plot lines. The first set in the modern day world follows on from a heist at The Metropolitan Museum, where men on horseback dressed as Templars steal an artifact and the second plot line is set in the past first starting in 1291 and follows the Templars as they try and hide the artifact, as the city of Acre falls to invaders. Both lines do not initially discuss the nature of the artifact we find that out later.
What follows is very Da Vinci Code style hunt for treasure with Archaeologist Tess Chaykin(who was in the museum when it was robbed) and FBI Sean Reilly which leads them to a shocking discovery about the artifact. Which then leads us to the most disappointing part of the book. Tess talks about her job as an Archaeologist as uncovering the truth and how it is important to let the people decide etc, but then when she discovers what the artifact was she lets it be destroyed because it could upset some religious people, what a joke, a betrayal of her character. I just couldn’t believe this hogwash ending it just felt so wrong it almost turned me off the whole series luckily i persevered
The Templar Salvation
This book follows a similar vane with the same duo from the first book hunting down another Templar artifact. This time with a crazed Iranian hit man after them and the treasure. I never thought i would hope for a terrorist to win but after the bullshit ending in the first book i wanted the terrorist to find the artifact and reveal it to the world which was his intent.  Fortunately when the duo uncover it they too decide to share it and luckily it includes a copy of the artifact lost in the first book so their idiocy was undone
The Devil’s Elixir
I was disappointed to find that  this book goes on a different path and has nothing to do with the Templars. This one deals with figures from Sean’s past coming back to take him down and also to dispense a knew drug to the world with crazy hallucinations properties. I liked this one a lot, i thought it was going to go a bit too crazy with some of its mumbo jumbo but turned out there was a very logical basis for it. Very creative writing by the author.
Rasputin’s Shadow
My favorite book so far, the first book was the authors debut and now 8 years later with this book you can really feel how much the author has come into his own writing style and groove. This is much more structured and has the characters behaving in logical ways. Far better writing to be honest. The plot follows A Russian who is the son of a man very close to Rasputan, as he discovers a shocking secret behind Rasputan’s powers and builds a weapon following designs left by his dad. Realizing its power could be used by the wrong people he destroys it and flees to the US. Now in his last years of life he has been found and begins a race between the US n Russia to capture him and this deadly weapon before it is used
While originally i thought this was a series about Templar knights, its actually about Tess and Sean, which works since they are very like-able people and aside from some stupidity in the first book are quite fun to read. There are some issues from Seans past that are being slowly pieced together over these 4 books and looks like coming to a forefront in the next book. I’m really looking forward to it as i feel the author has come into his stride the characters make logical choices now and the plots and intrigue are just sucking me in each time. This series is very Da Vinci Code like for the first two books and then delves into a more thriller/adventure story as the themes move away from the Templars and focus more on Sean than Tess’s vocation.