Friday, April 12, 2013

Books of January 2013

I thought this year instead of writing a recap or review for every book I've read I would just make a monthy posting of books read for each specific month. 

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk - Only the second book I've read by Palahniuk, the other being "Fight Club."  It's basically a collection of stories told from the point of view from varying artists on a writing retreat that turns into a horrifying hostage situation.  Often funny but mostly very dark, some of the stories aren't for the faint of heart.  The first story in the collection, "Guts" is especially grim.  Read at your own risk.  4 out of 5 stars.

Lunar Park by Brent Easton Ellis - With this entry I've offically read everything by Ellis now.  While the story has a lot of the trademark Ellis snark and shock value I've come to expect, it just felt like more of the same from the the author of "Less Than Zero" and "American Psycho."  I did find the fictional autobiographical bits hilarious near the beginning but the story slowly declines from there.  As my mom would say, it ain't love but it ain't bad.  3 out of 5 stars.

Voodoo River by Robert Crais - The fifth entry into Crais' Elvis Cole series about a L.A. private detective.  Elvis Cole is a funny guy and I read probably as much for his sense of humor as I do for his detective skills.  This novel seemed a little fresher than the previous entries as much of the story shifts from L.A. to Louisiana near the Baton Rouge area.  Still, the story is a little dated having been written in the 1990s.  3 out of 5 stars.

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly - The second entry into Connelly's Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch series.  Vietnam veteran and L.A. police detective Bosch has a knack for getting himself in trouble, mostly for doing the right thing when others are unwilling or unable to do so.  Laced with humor and great police procedural storys, the Harry Bosch series are generally very good reads.  Though, like some of Robert Crais' older works, this one is a little outdated as well, having been written in the 1990s.  Each installment in the series through the years become a lot stronger in my opinion. 3 out of 5 stars.

Die Trying by Lee Child - I've just about caught up with Child's series about Jack Reacher, a loner ex-military policeman, who travels from place to place and always finds himself in trouble.  I believe this is the third in his series of around twenty novels based on the Reacher character.  Though entertaining, I've found myself growing a little weary with the series, probably from reading so many of the novels in such a short time.  I've found Child's older works to be on the whole better so "Die Trying" doesn't disappoint too much. Did anyone see the movie "Jack Reacher" based on Child's book "One Shot?"  I've yet to catch it but it was one of the stronger novels in the series.  3 out of 5 stars.

Indigo Slam by Robert Crais - Another Elive Cole dective novel, the seventh in the series I believe.  While the writing continues to get stronger with each book that Crais releases, this particular story is a bit lacking, dealing primarily with counterfeiting.  Not the sexiest of subjects. 3 out of 5 stars.

A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane - What's this?  Yet another mystery series?  I can thank my mom for getting me into Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series, as with most of the mysteries I read. I enjoyed the origin tale of Kenzie and Gennaro and especially the setting in and around the Boston area and the politics involved.  I'm looking forward to reading more of the series once I get my hands on them, particularly "Gone Baby Gone."  3 out of 5 stars.

The Passage by Justin Cronin - I became aware of this series from browsing about books on Reddit.  In a nutshell the novel is mostly a post-apocalyptic story with a vampire twist.  Intriqued?  Yeah, so was I.  It was refreshing to find a story in this genre that didn't revolve around angst-filled teenage hipsters.  A nice story in what is supposed to be a trilogy (great, another series I'll have to hunt down!).  The only element that kept me from giving this novel a five star rating was some problems with pacing throughout the story.  Though, when the book takes off and gets going it really is quite fantastic.  4 out of 5 stars.

Firestarter by Stephen King - I have to give props to my friend Che for loaning me this novel, a book I probably wouldn't have otherwise purchased or read.  I'm sure I saw the movie a million years ago but I didn't remember much about it.  I found the story interesting, with quick pacing, and finishing strong (one of King's problems with his novels) despite the fact that the book was written and took place in the very early 1980s.   4 out of 5 stars.

The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy - This book was the bane of my existance my Junior year in High School.  Hate isn't too strong a word in describing how I felt about Hardy's abortion at the time.  I thought:  piss on Egdon Heath!  During my Senior year in High School I was an aide for Mrs. Millard, the school libarian.  I ranted and raved the entire year to her about "The Return of the Native" being required reading the previous year.  As a joke she gave me an old copy of the book that they were throwing out right around graduation time.  Sadly, I destroyed the book in my anti Hardy rage at the time, something I truly regret looking back all these years later.  Fast forward 22 years later, I decided to give Hardy's work another chance.  I actually enjoyed the novel!   The story, though tragic, had some very moden themes for the late 1800s and I can understand now why it's consider to be a "classic."  It is definitely an interesting look at morals and community in Victorian Britain.  4 out of 5 stars.

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