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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yet Another Mess in Afghanistan for John Wells to Clean Up

The Shadow Patrol (John Wells, #6)The Shadow Patrol by Alex Berenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another Good reads First reads giveaway--my second by Alex Berenson. Read them back to back but won't do that again--the war in Afghanistan, its futility and its damage to all the people involved, especially the young Americans is just too overwhelming in such large doses. I guess, that, having said that, the comment speaks to the realism of the stories. I liked Midnight House better than this one because I immediately had suspicions of one of the characters almost upon meeting with him. By page 259 with one sentence I knew who Stan was. That left 205 pages to go before the end and Wells tying up all the lose ends. Having figured it out, I almost didn't bother finishing the book, but I did, since I wanted to know, what if anything, would happen to the " bad" guys. That ended the way I expected, too, although the methods were disparate.

If you like Delta Forces, CIA etc and the war on Islam or maybe Islam's War on others, depending on your viewpoint, you'll like John Wells' escapades as a world weary CIA operative who has converted to Islam and is able to pass as a native while investigating crimes among the military. No one does it better than Berenson though others do it as well.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Fine Scottish Police Sergeant

Death of a Policeman (Hamish Macbeth, #30)Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Hamish MacBeth was a first reads giveaway on Goodreads. Although it is about the 30th installment in the series, it is the first one I've read. There was a BBC show based on the books which I liked and thought it would be fun to read one of the books on which it was based. As often happens the book is better. While I love Robert Carlyle he looks nothing like the flame-haired hero of the book nor does he seem to have the same approach to the work. These are easy books to read with wonderful characterization and interesting plots. Not great literature, perhaps, but enjoyable fast reading that helps to pass away an unseasonably cold Spring day or an early dark winter's evening. Think I'll start at the beginning and get to know Hamish and his town, Lochdubh, better. It seems Detective Chief Inspector Blair has been a thorn in his side for quite awhile now and in this installment he is attempting to have MacBeth spied upon by a young officer, Cyril Sessions, who gets himself killed. Blair has been directed to help determine which local police stations should be closed in a Scottish effort to cut costs. This murder causes his plan, that Lochdubh be high on the list, to back-fire and gives MacBeth yet another opportunity to prove his value to Scottish law enforcement.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Another Author of CounterTerrorist Activity

The Midnight House (John Wells, #4)The Midnight House by Alex Berenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a Goodreads giveaway and the first Alex Berenson I've read. One of the nice things about these giveaways is the chance to read authors that are new to the reader and, at times, an author becomes a favorite. That is the case with Berenson.

This particular book deals with the black ops carried out by the various intelligence agencies, and they are myriad, which operate world-wide under the aegis of the American government and the most recently passed laws that hold few accountable for their actions, so long as they can be justified, even vaguely,as performed on behalf of National security. So here is an interrogation center, located in Poland, using methods no longer acceptable on US soil. The squad who ran it are home again and are being murdered one by one in various locations around the country. John Wells,a burnt out CIA operative is recalled to find out who is killing them and why.

The action spans the globe and runs from the present to the past and back again. Wells and his pal and boss, Ellis Shafer follow the trails, confused and, at times, hindered by the government until they answer more questions than they were asked.

Moving on to the next Berenson now.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

As Usual, Big, Bad America Has Brought Terrorism on Itself by Its Arrogance--Oh, Please!

The Joshua EffectThe Joshua Effect by P.S. Meronek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a Goodreads first reads and while thoroughly enjoyable it was too preachy and wordy. The central theme of the development of a method to blow up buildings using a machine hooked into preplanted C-4 during the construction phase of the buildings was interesting and confusing at the same time. The effort to discover who had come up with the plan and to find a way to prevent the threatened destruction of two more buildings within a month kept me intrigued. I guess I should have caught on earlier with all the bemoaning the heavy handed attitude of America toward the rest of the world and the resulting resentment, if not hatred, directed our way as a result.

Though I never figured it out for myself the, I suspect, desired surprise on my part at the climatic resolution just wasn't there. Instead, it was oh, ho-hum, of course. Greed, ego, power seeking wins, or almost wins, again. Amusing to think the world will ever have totally free energy--when I was a kid TV and radio waves were free--hi, there, PBS, cable, satellite etc,etc. Not only not free, but also not free of irritating commercials. Free energy? Ah, well, this is, after all, fiction.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Fun Read on a Cold, Blustery Afternoon

Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane, #1)Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received as a Goodreads first reads giveaway. An excellent example of summertime or anytime chick lit. A heroine fending for herself by taking care of orphans and discarded newborns with the aid of her younger brother. A hero, mysterious, aristocratic, disreputable. An unusual meeting of the two in which a pact is made--she will guide him throughout the seedy neighborhood in which her home for Foundlings exists, as he searches for the murderer of his prostitute mistress; he will introduce her to his aristocratic friends so that she may find a patron to support her establishment and her work.
Needless to say, the excitement of the mystery leads to many revelations in the neighborhood of the St Giles alleys, as well as many revelations about the proclivities of Lord Caire and the secrets of Mrs Dews. Danger, romance, mystery, erotica, family relationships, emotion, true love, salvation--it's all there. Easily read and enjoyed in a single sitting of one day with breaks for tea and biscuits. All neatly solved and resolved but for the mystery of the identity of the Ghost of St Giles--several suspects eliminated but several still to be explored. In another installment, perhaps?

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