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Reviews Written by
Gerald Swimmer "manursing" (HIlton Head South Carolina)
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Just One Look
Just One Look
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Hardcover
119 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Start--Wonderful Insights-Poor Finish, June 21 2004
This review is from: Just One Look (Hardcover)
The book starts with a wonderful idea that other reviewers have commented upon. Harlan has the ability to move his story along so one can not put it down. AS itdevelops one begins to focus upon different characters. The problem is that there are too many coincidences and also the end is too pat. I thought the end was just not satisfying.
Harlan has so many insights in living in the suburbs. He does a wonderful job on the socialization of the car pool line and raising children.

The Last Goodbye
The Last Goodbye
by Reed Arvin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.02
31 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Cure, April 18 2004
This review is from: The Last Goodbye (Hardcover)
I read most of this book while I was up most of the night with the a bit of a flu. If you want to help get through a long night it was a good companion.
I will not review the plot as many others have done so. I measure a mystery by the characters that one meets, the excitement the plot generates and the ending. This effort gets 2 out of 3.
There are wonderful characters such as Blu the beautiful secretary and Sammy Liston( a wonderful name) who move the story along. Also the portrait of Pope and his role in the housing development was terrific.
Arvin also makes an effort to have some serious thoughts. There are several pages of wonderful writing in this effort.
The two criticisms were a little too much foreshadowing and the ending just was not up to the rest of the story. I would go on about that but would not want to ruin the book for others. My only comment it reminded me of one of my favorite movies but not done as well.

Deception Point
Deception Point
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
244 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Long Day, March 21 2004
This review is from: Deception Point (Paperback)
AS in the DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons the action takes place in one long day. The good news about this is there really is little time to develop characters. The books are a wild ride in every available method of transportation.
It is natural to compare this effort to the two mentioned above. It is a weak third. The style is the same, a long day with the unknown person until the end driving the action. The problem with this book is the escapes were even more hard to believe, the scenarion was less believable, the escapes were outlandish and the ending was more contrived. Having said all of that I must admit it was fun to read.

Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
by Roy Jr. Morris
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.56

5.0 out of 5 stars HIstory Well Told, March 21 2004
1876 election was corrupt and ended an era and prepared for the beginning of another. It clearly marked the end of Reconstruction and influenced the subsequent 90 years. Essentially, in the election of Hayes who is portrayed as a decent individual and Republican party giving up its commitment to Black rights we see the end of the battle for equality.
The story is told well by Mr. Morris. It is impossible to read this without drawing comparisons to 2000. Some of the reviewers have argued that there were differences but some of the similarities are striking. Tilden like Gore made fundamental errors immediately after the votes were cast. IN each case there was faith in a legal strategy that did not work while their opponents out manuevered them on the ground. Also Florida was the place where the work was decided.
I suggest that anyone reading this book also read 1876 by Gore Vidal to understand how different society was at that time.

The Last Juror
The Last Juror
by John Grisham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.04
184 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Character Study, March 21 2004
This review is from: The Last Juror (Hardcover)
The Last Juror seems to show Grisham's change as an author. In his early works he wrote suspense stories. In The Last Juror the suspense which is secondary to the development of wonderful characters. Miss Callie is a wonderful woman who shows how a powerful force for good can make her whole family better. It is worth reading this book just to meet her.
The rest of the small town characters such as Harry Rex and Baggy as well as Will himself and his grandmother are wonderfully drawn.
Some reviewers have commented that the book lacked suspense. It seems that Grisham is moving in his work. Rather than a fast moving book such as Angels and Demons with little character development, Grisham is now writing slower moving books with wonderful characters. The Testament and the King of Torts are examples. I think that the new Grisham is every bit as enjoyable as the early Grisham but just a little different.

Split Second
Split Second
by David Baldacci
Edition: Hardcover
80 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Winner, Jan. 4 2004
This review is from: Split Second (Hardcover)
I relied upon the reviews posted after I started the book. By the way the reviews on Amazon written by readers are better in my view than most one reads by professionals. I agree that the book is a great page turner in the beginning because the premise is terrific. The problem is that there is not a satisfying or believable resolution. The other disappointment is that Baldacci at his best develops memorable characters such as in Absolute Control or the Winner. In this book none of the characters grew or surprised.
If you have not read Baldacci before do not start with this one. If you have read his others prepare for having fun but the book will not measure up.

Avenger
Avenger
by Frederick Forsyth
Edition: Hardcover
80 used & new from CDN$ 0.25

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost But Not Quite, Nov. 30 2003
This review is from: Avenger (Hardcover)
Cal Dexter started as a fascinating character. He is a Vietnam hero, a lawyer but his major occupation is as an avenger of wrongs. Other reviewers describe the story.
My comments are that he seemed just a bit too hard to believe. Also the 9/11 angle just was too far fetched.
In summary the book was fun to read but thinking about it afterward it did not hang together.

Dark Horse
Dark Horse
by Kenneth D Ackerman
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from CDN$ 8.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten President, Nov. 30 2003
This review is from: Dark Horse (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book. It is a compelling story of James Garfield who was an accidental president. Garfield was only in office in 6 months and most of that was spent battling to have offices filled.
The background of life in the White House. The lack of security and the open atmosphere of the White House is so interesting when compared with what we know have.
Also the story of the Nominating Convention is compelling. The studies of Chester Arthur, Blaine and Senator Conklin are wonderful. Meeting these individuals is a bonus in this story.
This is a wonderful book.

The Dante Club: A Novel
The Dante Club: A Novel
by Matthew Pearl
Edition: Hardcover
45 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner, March 1 2003
This is a remarkable book. Other reviews have repeated the story so it is not worth going into the details. The mystery portion of this historical thriller, is well paced and continues to unravel.
The wonderful part of the book is the character development. I especially enjoyed HOlmes, Longfellow and Lowell. We began to understand them as the extraordinary people they were as they dealt with the crisis of the murders in Boston. Also I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Oliver Wendell Holmes and his son. At times coincidence was stretched somewhat, but that is normal for a good mystery. Even the minor characters were fascinating.
Lastly the historical color added to overall impression. There were touching scenes of post Civil War Boston.
All in all a wonderful effort. I can not wait for Mr. Pearl's next effort.

Hornet Flight A Novel
Hornet Flight A Novel
by Ken Follett
Edition: Hardcover
76 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Not Up to Standards, Jan. 5 2003
This review is from: Hornet Flight A Novel (Hardcover)
Follett has written a number of wonderful books including Jackdaws. Hornet Flight like Jackdaws deals with penetration into occupied Europe, but unlike his past efforts the characters were not believable. Harald the hero and his girl friend Kathy are totally dependent on unreal coincidences to move the plot along. There were opportunities of character development especially with Kathy's and Harald's parents but instead they were made comic book, as a prior reviewer said, figures.
In short I would rather invest my time in reading some wonderful prior Follett's than this effort.

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