Walter J. (reading-is-bliss) - , - Reviews

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The 13-Minute Murder
The 13-Minute Murder
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/23/2019


Since this turned out to be not just one novel, but 3 novelettes (James Patterson calls them "Bookspots"), the first of which (entitled Dead Man Running) I kind of liked, the 2nd (entitled 113 Minutes) I found something less than "ok", and the 3rd by the title that appears on the front cover, an OMG-I-Can't-Believe-James Patterson-Admits-He-Co-authored-A-Book-This-Bad, a composite 2-Star rating is probably more than the book deserves. James Patterson, who has been referred to as "the gold standard by which all others are judged", is an author for which I have always regarded with some considerable ambivalence. Unquestionably he is capable of writing some outstanding page-turner bestsellers, as he has proven again and again. For one who has had a record-setting 19 consecutive #1 New York Times best-selling novels, that fact is indisputable. Yet somewhere along the line (my guess is it happened sometime in Patterson's mid-forties, though it could have been earlier), he apparently set his sights on becoming the world's all-time best-selling hardcover fiction author. To do this he had to invent a formula for turning out new books at a more phenomenal rate than any other professional hardcover fiction writer. And so he obviously did. One part of this and perhaps the most important part was an apparent decision to begin collaborating with others as co-authors of many of his books. Prior to 2000, he experimented with this only once, but subsequently, he began doing so more and more frequently. And in fact, in recent years it is difficult to find any book authored by Patterson alone. Is there any? I am sure I am not the only one who wonders just how much of a part his chosen co-authors actually play in the writing of his books. No question in as much as Patterson holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction best-selling titles by a single author, which is also a Guinness World Record, his co-author strategy can only have helped him. However, from my own personal perspective, while it has hardly affected his popularity (as reflected in book sales) the quality of his writing has definitely suffered. He's clearly written some pretty meh stuff, case-in-point The 13-Minute Murder. I only hope it is not a trend.


The 17th Suspect (Women's Murder Club, Bk 17)
The 17th Suspect (Women's Murder Club, Bk 17)
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 9/16/2019


From my point of view, of all the Woman's Murder Club novels written by Patterson with the collaboration of Maxine Paetro, and I have read them all with the exception of their most recent, The 17th Suspect is definitely their best. Both of the mystery plots that kept the story moving at a blistering pace I found most intriguing, so much so that even when I ought to have put the book down and get some much-needed sleep, I could not do it. Wait. Let me amend that statement. On one occasion I did. I turned off the lights, got all covered up in a comfortable sleeping position, closed my eyes and laid there wide awake thinking about Assistant DA Yuki's trial in progress and the fascinating predicament of which Seargent Lindsay Boxer found herself squarely in the middle. Finally, after some five or ten minutes, I gave up the notion of sleeping, threw my bed cover aside, turned on the lights, grabbed the half-read book from my nightstand and continued reading until the wee hours of this morning when it was finished. Now that's what I call a 5-star read!


77 Shadow Street
77 Shadow Street
Author: Dean Koontz
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 88
Review Date: 1/24/2013


Koontz used to be my favorite author. I had read most everything he'd written and enjoyed most everyone of them, some more than others. There is no question he is a true artist. His ability to paint pictures with words has always amazed me and in so far as this talent is concerned I continue to believe there is no one who does it better. Yet as for his latest, 77 Shadow Street, the problem (at least for me) is the picture he has chosen to paint is a hideous one, not at all to my liking. I managed to read through it but did not enjoy it at all.


The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception
The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception
Author: Emmanuel Carrere
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 8/13/2009


A very fascinating, extremely well written story which proves once again that truth is far stranger than fiction. Unquestionably, if this were a mere fictional account, critics would say it is far too unbelievable. It is a very easy read and a journey worth taking.


The Affair (Jack Reacher, Bk 16) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 11/8/2011


This is a review of this audio CD version of the novel, not the novel itself. I am one of Lee Childs biggest fans. I love every book he has written and couldn't wait to get into this, his latest. Unfortunately, this time I made the decision to try an audio version rather than to read the book. Big mistake!! Dick Hill, the reader (recipient of all kinds of awards for his "golden voice") totally destroys it. As most professional readers he changes voices with each character, using his own voice for Reacher. That was bad enough, since no body talks that slow, certainly not Reacher. But when he gets to the beautiful woman sheriff Reacher meets, OMG! He makes her sound like a cackly old lady. I simply couldn't take it and had to quit listening before completing the 2nd of the 14 CD's. If you have a choice, buy the book and forego the convenience of listening. I wonder if Lee Child ever listened to this. If he had, I can't imagine he would have authorized its release!


Arigo: Surgeon of the Rusty Knife
Arigo: Surgeon of the Rusty Knife
Author: John G. Fuller
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 9/8/2009


This is probably the most mind-blowing book I have ever read. As New York Review of Books commented in it's original review of this book, "More mind-blowing than extraterrestrial spacecraft." If there was ever a book one would want to go back and re-read, not just once but even a second re-read, this has got to be the one. "This immaculately objective report will un-nerve even the most stalwart skeptic", wrote The Kirkus Reviews, and my own reading certainly confirmed the truth of this statement.


The Associate
The Associate
Author: John Grisham
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 361
Review Date: 10/3/2009


Another marvelous book from my all-time favorite author. Like most of his others, I just could not put this book down. Now I can't wait until he writes another!!


Barney Plays Piano Play-a-Song Large Interactive Book!
Barney Plays Piano Play-a-Song Large Interactive Book!
Author: Various
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/10/2011


What a marvelous item. It is much more than a book. It is working keyboard (batteries required)with keys that light up as they play that is built right into the book. Even used in very good condition, this interactive book retails for over $50. Every one of my children (I have 4), when between the ages of 4 and 8, have played and loved it. It even plays songs by itself.


Black Horizon (Jack Swyteck, Bk 11)
Black Horizon (Jack Swyteck, Bk 11)
Author: James Grippando
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 7/15/2019


The best I can say is the story held my attention throughout. All things considered, for me, it was just Okay. I originally rated this on Goodreads and according to the Goodreads rating system, OK is just 2 stars. And for a writer as talented as James Grippando, anything less than 3 stars just does not seem right. Beyond 3, would mean I "really liked it", and that would be a lie. Apart from Theo and Jack (how could anyone not like Jack?), I could not seem to develop anything more than some remotely positive feelings, certainly not for any of the female characters, and I couldn't seem to escape the feeling as the story progressed like I hope this ends soon, yet it continued to drag on. As for Theo, well for me he is to Jack kind of like Abbott is to Costello (do I have that backward?), you know, always the jokester, which is almost a trademark of Gippando's Jack Swyzack series novels. So, all things considered, I gave it 3 stars. One thing is certain, for Jack Swyzack fans you won't be disappointed.


Blood Game (Eve Duncan, Bk 9)
Blood Game (Eve Duncan, Bk 9)
Author: Iris Johansen
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 127
Review Date: 6/5/2010


This was my first Iris Johansen novel and, to say the least, I was extremely disappointed. The only thing I liked about it is her photo; she is a very beautiful woman. I can only assume her earlier books were substantially better. I doubt I'll be finding out any time soon, howeever.


The Chalk Man: A Novel
The Chalk Man: A Novel
Author: C. J. Tudor
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 26
Review Date: 5/19/2019


I had purchased this book because of the many great reviews I had read, and after doing so I posted it on Goodreads. Before starting it, naturally, I browsed through member reviews and was concerned to see a significant number who expressed disappointment. Well, now I have read it and I must say I liked it a lot. The author's writing style I found quite enjoyable. Her switching between the present (2016) and thirty years earlier (1986) at first I found somewhat perplexing but soon came to feel it provided a most interesting perspective. Indeed, in real life, I believe all of us cycle in our perspective as we proceed through each day sometimes (hopefully most times) thinking in our "adult" state of mind, sometimes in our "child" and (yes, Thomas Harris, thank you) sometimes in our "parent". So what Tudor does here, by actually making the switch physically as well as mentally (which, of course, can only be done in fiction) makes a great deal of sense to me. The plot itself, I found quite plausible, even if it was a bit morbid, and the story-telling certainly held my attention throughout. Overall I easily gave it a 4-star rating.


The Christmas Train
The Christmas Train
Author: David Baldacci
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 1/31/2015


This is the first book by Baldacci that I did not like. I found it terribly boring, so much so that I gave up reading it after only about 5 chapters,


The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look At the Federal Reserve
Review Date: 1/11/2011


Unquestionably this is among the most, if not the most, extraordinary books I have ever read. If you never read another book, you owe it to yourself to read this one!


A  Darkness More Than Night (Harry Bosch, Bk 7)
A Darkness More Than Night (Harry Bosch, Bk 7)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 311
Review Date: 1/17/2010


If the mark of a great book is one you cannot put down, then this one deserves an A+.


Deliver Us From Evil (Shaw and Katie James, Bk 2)
Deliver Us From Evil (Shaw and Katie James, Bk 2)
Author: David Baldacci
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 92
Review Date: 2/18/2011
Helpful Score: 2


I have read a substantial number of the nineteen books Baldacci has written (up to and including this one), and I must say, in the category of thrillers, this is his best one yet. I loved it. Although not essential, it helps a great deal (in order to have a full understanding of the characters, Shaw and Katie Jones, to first read Baldacci's The Whole Truth.


The Deming Management Method
The Deming Management Method
Author: Mary Walton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/13/2009


"W. Edwards Deming is to management what Benjamin Franklin was to the Republic -- a conscience, a guide, a prophet, an instigator. Here in one book is an incisive summary of his wisdom".-- Robert B. Reich, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, author of the Next American Frontier
"I'm proud to say I'm a disciple, and we at Ford are committed to his operating principles, particularly to the ethic of continuous improvement and the involvement of all employees", Donald E Petersen, former Chairman of the Board, Ford Motor Company was quoted as stating.


The Doubleman
The Doubleman
Author: William S. Cohen, Gary Hart
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/14/2011


This is certainly one of the best spy novels I've ever read. Although written in 1985 when circumstances, particularly as regards the relationship between the U.S. and Russia, were quite different, the reader can easily draw many parallels to current times.


The Fifth Witness (Lincoln Lawyer, Bk 4)
The Fifth Witness (Lincoln Lawyer, Bk 4)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 100
Review Date: 12/21/2011


Connelly is a remarkable storyteller and I have never read a novel written by this author (and I've read a substantial number of them) that I didn't thouroughly enjoy. His Mickey Haller books are my favorite, speaking of which from my point of veiw this one is clearly his very best! I truly loved it.


The First Lady
The First Lady
Author: James Patterson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 7/2/2019


Right out of the starting block like a horserace, the action begins when the U.S. President is confronted by a flock of newspaper reporters, cameras in hand, as he and the woman with whom we learn he's been having a secret affair are leaving a hotel trying their best to be discreet. And from there it continues and never lets up until the very last page. After the diabolical plot is revealed in the first 7 chapters, Sally Grissom, leader of the Presidential Protective Division and a lead character throughout the remaining chapters, ninety-one in all, enters on the scene. She then becomes the narrator in the first person in each of those chapters where she is a participant in the action which moves like a locomotive. What a great read, with lots of twists and turns, as James Patterson lives up to his well-established reputation (this time with the help of co-author Brendon Dubois) for giving his readers a book they will not want to put down until the final page is read.


First Strike (Dewey Andreas, Bk 6)
First Strike (Dewey Andreas, Bk 6)
Author: Ben Coes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 9/11/2019


After reading Independence Day, in which Dewey Andreas performed the ultimate feat of his career in spite of himself, I was expecting a let-down in First Strike but was I surprised. One again Ben Cotes out-did himself! While this story contains several episodes that make me shiver every time I imagine myself in the same situation as Dewey suddenly found himself, there is one in particular that literally sends shivers through my whole body just thinking about. You'll have to read the book to see if you experience it the same way. Just a small hint: it involves crawling through narrow spaces in the pitch black. As with most Ben Cotes' novels, if explicit violence is a major turn-off for you, then this book is certainly not your forte. Indeed this one has more than it's share. But with that warning in mind, I highly recommend First Strike as at least a four-star read.


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