POINT OF CONTACT/A JACK RYAN, JR. NOVEL/ MIKE MADEN

Author Mike Maden has stepped in to write the latest in the TOM  CLANCY series. Mark Greaney has written the majority of the books since Tom Clancy died in 2013. Greaney also co-wrote with Clancy LOCKED ON and THREAT VECTOR.

POINT OF CONTACT is right on target with the Clancy series timeliness. The story line incorporates North Korea and the illicit sale of technology and materials through the Chinese and other nefarious back alley characters including of course, Bulgarians!

As readers of this blog are well aware, I am a long time Clancy fan. However, POINT OF CONTACT is a little thin by comparison, but nonetheless, fans may wish to add it to their list. There is still plenty of action though you will find the gripping suspense a little lacking.

 

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW/ A MUST SUMMER READ

A friend recommended Amor Towles first novel Rules of Civility. I loved the book. (See gordonsgoodreads). She then alerted me to the release of Towle’s second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow.  To say I enjoyed the book would be a gross understatement of my enthusiasm for this author.

It  would be an  injustice to the reader if I even attempted to steal Towle’s story.  Let me simply  place a prominent Russian Count from the world of former privilege under house arrest in the elegant Metropol hotel in the center of Moscow. Now, a few lines of Towle’s prose:

For several days, in fact, he had been fending off a state of restlessness. On his regular descent to the lobby, he caught himself counting the steps. As he browsed the headlines in his favorite chair, he found that he was lifting his hands to twirl the tips of moustaches that were no longer there. He found that he was walking through the doors of the Piazza for a 12:01 lunch.  And at 1:35 he climbed the 110 steps to his room, calculating the minutes until he could come downstairs for a drink.

Then, the girl in the yellow dress appears and the Count’s world changes forever.

Enjoy. I promise you will to the fullest!

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TRAJECTORY/RICHARD RUSSO/SHORT FICTION

Trajectory, Richard Russo’s latest literary offering,  is not what the reader might expect after reading Empire Falls, Bridge of Sighs or Everybody’s Fool.  In Trajectory Russo offers four separate works of short fiction all with unique characters in disparate plots. Of the four, I liked  Intervention best, perhaps because it is set in Russo’s familiar home state, Maine.

Short Fiction is an open-ended read as compared with the short story. Nice for Russo to demonstrate his talent in this genre but if I were picking up Russo for the first time I would  choose from among his stack of wonderful novels. (see gordonsgoodreads.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRISHAM/THE WHISTLER/ANOTHER SUMMER THRILLER

This may be the strangest whistle-blower case ever!  No problem for John Grisham in plotting THE WHISTLER. Lawyers(of course), rogues, Indian Casinos, and Florida.

A most worthy heroine pitted against a female corrupt judge.  The Florida Panhandle becomes the perfect setting for crime and corruption with a whistle-blower protected by tiers of wannabes in on the action of a big, big payout.   That’s enough  from me.  No one tells this tale better than Grisham.  Pair up with Grisham’s Camino Island ( see gordonsgoodreads.com) and you  can cover half the state of Florida and be off with two great fun summer reads.

 

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON/DAVID GRANN/THE OSAGE TRAGEDY

David Grann’s extraordinarily researched work of non-fiction, Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, details  yet another contemptible and murderous abuse of  Native Americas.  The killing of many dozens of Osage Indians in Osage County, Oklahoma were conceived and carried out by the white establishment over a period of two murderous  decades.  The motive?  A common theme of greed, in this case stealing from the Osage the mineral rights to the booming oil field discovered on their reservation  in the early 1900s.

When J. Edgar  Hoover  was first named head of what was  later to become the Federal Bureau of Investigation he prioritized the solving of the Osage Indian murders and turned to Texas Ranger Tom White to lead the investigation. The details of this tragedy are shocking. It was a conspiracy the specific purpose of which was to kill Osage and their descendants in order to steal the valuable mineral rights that had made the Osage among the wealthiest per capita people in America.  Local law enforcement was major part of the conspiracy.

Grann spares no detail in uncovering the horror of this injustice.  The accolades he has received from the literary  community speak to the importance of this work. High praise from Jon Krakauer, Erik Larsen, John Grisham and S.C. Gwynne.

David Grann also authored The Lost City of Z and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

CAMINO ISLAND/ JOHN GRISHAM/AUTHORS REPLACE LAWYERS

Again, John Grisham proves himself among the great storytellers in American literature.  CAMINO ISLAND fits the bill for a wonderful summer read and Grisham leaves the lawyers  behind and writes of authors, writers and the theft of  the original  F. Scott Fitzgerald  manuscripts from their safekeeping at Princeton University.  He is so compelling in his prose,  of course, you believe it may have  actually happened.

And so the story begins  and the twists and turns roll through the pages. As is my custom, I will allow you to discover the conclusion. The good news is that the novel m,reads so well you will arrive at the finish in four sittings or less.

A refreshing good read,  An enjoyable break from some heavier selections on your summer list.

 

 

 

IN THE KINGDON OF ICE/ THE USS JEANNETTE

Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldier and Blood and Thunder has impeccably researched and brilliantly written the saga of the ill-fated  North Pole quest of the USS Jeannette. In The Kingdom of Ice is an adventure narrative that keeps the reader gripped to the pages throughout the journey.  If you have read the story of  Ernest Shackleton’s  expedition with the ship Endurance you will be astounded  by the incredible story of  George De Long and his ship the Jeannette.

Within these pages, author Sides unfolds the parallel story of James Gordon Bennett Jr , owner of the New York Herald, adding  historical dimension to this work of non-fiction. Publisher Bennett, always seeking ways to dramatically promote his newspaper’s  circulation , stepped forward to underwrite the entire cost of De Long’s quest for the North Pole. Bennett was the same publisher who sent Stanley to find Livingstone, thought to be lost in the depths of Africa. That story, as would coverage of the fate of the Jeannette, became a sensation as it unfolded in the pages of the Herald. 

I recommend this read with great enthusiasm.  You will be unable to leave these pages until the fate of every man who sailed aboard the Jeannette is known.