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T. King (Brooklyn, N.Y. United States)
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Vanishing Act
Vanishing Act
by Thomas Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
69 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars An "A" for originality, May 31 2004
Jane Whitefield has to be one of the most original and interesting characters I have yet to come across. Though she did seem a little lacking in the personality department, I'm hoping that will change as the series progresses.
While in college, Jane helps a fellow Native American, of questionable integrity, escape some bad guys with even less and stumbles on a career. After performing a string of successful disappearances, Jane is duped into compromising a client's identity. It takes her quite a long time for her to figure out who the bad guy is, most readers of this genre will figure it out right away, but once she does, she gets right on the trail. While the methods she employs to do this all make logical sense, they do require gigantic leaps of faith on the part of the reader. Still, one can't help but to admire her tenacity. The showdown is exciting and suspenseful.
The pacing of the story is a little uneven in places. This is a flaw I've found in every Perry novel I've read, this is my third. In spite of this, I do find him to be an original and entertaining storyteller and will continue to seek out other titles.

Warrior in the Shadows
Warrior in the Shadows
by Marcus Wynne
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.35

3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a slip, this time, May 31 2004
This review is from: Warrior in the Shadows (Hardcover)
After reading NO OTHER OPTION, I could not wait to get my hands on Marcus Wynne's next thriller, WARRIOR IN THE SHADOWS. Perhaps because I thoroughly enjoyed NOO, I found this one to be a disappointment.
Like the former, MW gives the reader some background about the antagonist, which I enjoyed, however, this time around I feel he leaned way too heavily on the mystical journey stuff. While I do read fantasy/sci-fi where this is often featured, I didn't see it as necessary for this kind of story. Maybe it took me by surprise as the previous book had none of this.
MW writes men in action very well. Charley Payne is an interesting character. The one time CIA shooter tires of a life of violence and becomes a shooter of a different sort, a photographer who occasionally takes crime scene pix for the local police to help pay the rent.
Alfie Woodard is an excellent villian. Abused as a youth because of his Aboriginal heritage, he finds a home in the SAS where he learns the killing arts. Later he hangs out in the Outback where he studies the dark arts with a witch doctor of sorts. He combines these skills to become an enforcer for an international drug dealer.
The story has several large holes which are difficult to ignore. While I'm sure drug dealers will sometimes order someone killed in a particularly brutal fashion to send a message to others, I doubt they would approve of their hitman using such a distinctive M.O. time after time. The killing ritual, which includes cannabilism and wall painting with the victims bodily fluids seems excessively high profile and bound to draw some unwanted attention, which it does. Charley's current girlfriend just happens to know someone who is an expert in Aboriginal art and folklore. With little argument, she drops everything and flies halfway around the world with a man she just met to catch a killer with magical psychic powers.
The climatic showdown, gets too entangled in the black magic stuff. Still, for it's flaws, Marcus Wynne knows how to tell a story. I never once considered not finishing this book. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if it was my first MW book. I look forward to BROTHERS IN ARMS, which I understand teams Charley Payne with the hero of No Other Option.

The White House Connection
The White House Connection
by Jack Higgins
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
77 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars It Pains Me..., March 28 2004
...to rate this book so low. I am a long time fan of Jack Higgins having enjoyed his books since I was a teen. I don't know if the writing has deteriorated or maybe my tastes have matured, but I could not finish this book. The plot was stale, the dialouge staged and it just failed to generate any suspense at all. Maybe it's time for the Sean Dillon series to end, I know there are several more after this. Whatever happened to the Martin Brosnan character? He and Dillon have an old score to settle. Now that would make an interesting book.

Death Benefits
Death Benefits
by Thomas Perry
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars My first Perry, Jan. 17 2004
I enjoy discovering new authors. After reading many positive reviews for his work, I picked up a copy of Death Benefits at my local library. This tale of insurance fraud and murder was refreshingly original. I must say, however, that the pace of the story seemed awkward and uneven at times.
Walker, the young insurance analyst who is pressed into sevice by the grizzled veteran investigator, seems to take getting attacked in alleys by thugs and shot at right in stride. He follows Stillman, the investigator, around like a puppy,taking everything he says as gospel. The ending was reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, not in the Sci-Fi sense. You'll understand when you read it.
Overall, I wasn't blown away by Mr. Perry but he has sparked my interest and I will check out other titles by him.

Tripwire
Tripwire
by Lee Child
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 25.91

2.0 out of 5 stars Child missed on this one., Dec 6 2003
This review is from: Tripwire (Hardcover)
Having read KILLING FLOOR and DIE TRYING, I eagerly picked up a copy of TRIPWIRE. It is easily the weakest of the three. The villian, Hook Hobie, is like something out of a Marvel Comic book. Every time a character meets him, Child describes him all over again in the same terms, from the half burned face, to the J shaped hook where his hand should be.
Reacher's relationship with Jodie seems rather strange. Especially when Reacher admits to being attracted to her when she was a child, it sounds downright creepy. I was,however, glad to see him ready to give up his paranoid, wandering lifestyle.
The plot was barely interesting and any avid reader of mystery thrillers will figure it out long before Child tells us. I was glad that I picked this book up from the library. I would have felt cheated if I actually paid for it. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end for Mr. Child.

No Other Option
No Other Option
by Marcus Wynne
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
35 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wynne is a winner., Oct. 2 2003
I've read truckloads of thrillers. Most of them are pretty standard fare and follow a basic formula. The end is almost never in doubt. But it's not about the destination, it's about the journey and Marcus Wynne takes the reader on a very suspenseful and exciting one with No Other Option.
Some may say that the characters lack significant depth and they would be right. But let's face it, this isn't Pulitzer winning material. If that's what your looking for look elsewhere. For me, the characters are as fleshed out as they need to be.
I rank Mr. Wynne right up there with my favorites in this genre, most notably Stephen Hunter. I can't wait to read Warrior in the Shadows.

Up Country: A Novel
Up Country: A Novel
by Nelson Demille
Edition: Hardcover
86 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

3.0 out of 5 stars A sequel in the loosest sense of the word., Sept. 11 2003
This review is from: Up Country: A Novel (Hardcover)
Nelson DeMille has written some of the best novels I have ever read: Word of Honor, Charm School, Gold Coast. Up Country, I'm sorry to say, doesn't stand up there with my favorites. The only connection this book has to The General's Daughter is it's hero, Paul Brenner. Paul is coaxed out of retirement to investigate the murder of an Army officer by another during the Tet Offensive of 1968. No one, including the reader, believes that this is a simple murder investigation and we have to wait almost 600 pages to have that fact confirmed in what is by then a weak climax.
The most interesting moments come when Paul revisits the sites of his former battles when he served with the First Cavalry during the Viet Nam War. I think that veterans will especially find much of interest in these segments. I know for me, they gave me a renewed appreciation of what combat conditions were like for the young men who were sent into the maelstrom. It was facinating to see through Paul's eyes, the irony of these places where he had fought for his very life turned into tourist attractions.
The book is least interesting when it delves into the romantic connection between Paul and the beautiful (of course) woman who is assigned to be his guide and interpreter. Too much time is spent developing this romance that we all know is going to happen the minute she makes her first appearance. Paul is only mildly conflicted about blowing off his girlfriend from The General's Daughter. The very same plotline was followed in DeMille's other sequel, The Lion's Game. Doesn't anyone live happily ever after in DeMille's world? I'm no hopeless romantic myself but it stretches credibility a little to see the hero who is crazy in love with one woman simply toss her aside in the sequel to repeat the process again with another.
If you have never read a DeMille book before fear not. It is not necessary to read The General's Daughter or any of DeMille's previous books before starting Up Country. In fact, I think it will work in your favor as you will not have a frame of reference to compare it to. After reading Up Country however, I strongly urge you to read the above mentioned titles.

Neuromancer
Neuromancer
by William Gibson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The longest 271 pages I have ever read., June 9 2003
Neuromancer was to be my initial foray into the cyberpunk genre. Being a fan of the film THE MATRIX and the short-lived TV series HARSH REALM I thought I might find it interesting. I saw a very entertaining episode of THE X-FILES that was penned by William Gibson, so I figured this would be as good a place to start as any.
The core of the story is good and some of the central characters are very interesting but what interesting plot points there are become lost amid pages of pretentious, overly technical, poorly written, Zen-like techobabble. Gibson does a poor job of creating setting or suspense. It took me several pages to realize that the principal characters were on a space station in Earth's orbit. I flipped back to see if I missed something only to find that I hadn't. The overall mission was unclear making it difficult for me to care if they succeeded or not.
I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but I know good writing when I see it. Neuromancer will be both my entrance and my exit to the world of cyberspace fiction.

The Tomb
The Tomb
by F. Paul Wilson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn, June 1 2003
This review is from: The Tomb (Mass Market Paperback)
After hearing a great deal of hype about this author I decided to try THE KEEP. What a letdown that was. I decided to try this Repairman Jack character out. Letdown #2. I think it's safe to say I won't be picking up another F. Paul Wilson book anytime soon.

Replay
Replay
by Ken Grimwood
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.26
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, May 29 2003
This review is from: Replay (Paperback)
Go back and do it all again knowing the mistakes to avoid and the opportunities to take advantage of, sounds great right? Jeff Winston thinks so and uses his knowledge of future events to greatly improve on his former life. But, despite all his precautions, he dies again on the same day at the same time as before...only to awaken in his 18 year old body again. All his gains, financial and personal, erased. A blessing or a curse?
Who hasn't entertained the fantasy of reliving their life? "If I knew then what I know now...". REPLAY tells you to be careful what you wish for. Grimwood's tale is very original and thought provoking. Yes some story lines seem to go nowhere but it didn't stop me from enjoying this story nor it will it stop me from reccommending it to others.

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