The North Water – Ian McGuire

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it wasn’t just merely a sailing adventure but a murder mystery and conspiracy all wrapped into one bundle, up in the frozen north. I think the author really set the scene quite well and as such the story really drew me in. Just imagine setting sail for a journey lasting several months into the far north to hunt whales knowing there was a murderer on board with you. Yes there is a bit of violence in this book, and i’ve seen some reviews complain of it but it is about hunting whales and a murder so you cant expect it to be a tea party with everyone eating scones. I think the book is essentially making us ask ourselves which is more harsh the cruel and unforgiving frozen north or human nature at its instinctual basics.

I have read quite a few books that suffer from lulls in the drama between key scenes but this book just doesn’t stop, it just keeps the story going, there are no lulls and the fast pace keeps you from wanting to put the book down for a break. Such a great read!

Touch by Clair North

22314178I have read quite a few books (who hasn’t) probably a couple of hundred and I can count on one hand the number of books that made me lose sleep and hide from society. I’m not talking from fear or sadness, I’m talking about a book that hooks you in so bad that you lie awake at night wondering what happens next, you cancel social engagements to allow time to read. You call in sick to work to ensure you don’t run out of time and have to leave the book at a crucial point because it’s time to go to work.  This author has written two of these books.
Claire north is just a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, who in her teens wrote a lot of YA books, then when she hit 20 she started writing adult fantasy and so her publisher said its pseudonym time (kate Griffin) to ensure readers don’t get confused. Later on as she wrote books of a completely different style of writing and content it was time for a new name (Claire North) As someone who judges books by covers, and googles authors before picking up a new book this makes a lot of sense. If when I first saw 15 lives of harry august and then googled her name, if I saw she wrote YA I probably wouldn’t of grabbed the book. So kudos to her publishers I am the very type of person they thought of when saying its pseudonym time.
Touch is an amazing roller-coaster of a story, the plot is unique enough to pique my interest and her writing clever enough to keep me wanting more. It isn’t so much so the character I love but the story, I mean just wow. Kepler, is brutally murdered but in the last moments reaches out to the murderer, when suddenly the unthinkable happens, she switches. Kepler is now in the killers body. Kepler now has the ability to jump from one person to another and we are now drawn into a world where people are paid to allow someone to “reside” in their body. A secret society if you will, But when one such body is brutally murdered, Kepler soon finds out not everyone is happy with the idea of this ability

Claire delivers another knockout story, the level of depth she brings into the world is stunning. After I read her first book I went out and bought all the books by Clair, so I cant wait to dive into her next one

Home – Harlan Coben

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I’ve been waiting 5 years for this book, granted for most of that time it didn’t exist but i had hoped for another book in the Myron bolitar series. Then new years day this year Harlan posted on his twitter a picture of page one of this novel being typed into his word program. After 5 long years book 11 was on its way, while not the longest wait between books in this series that belongs to to book 8 being 6 years after book 7, it was the hardest.

Book 10 Live wire, really wrapped a lot of story lines up. Myron shut down his Sports Rep company, so his employees  Esperanza and Big Cindy go there own way, and his best friend Win goes into hiding. It really felt like the story was over.

Set only 1 year after the previous book in the series, we find Win still in hiding but on the trail of a kid who went missing 10 years ago and after a disastrous encounter with the kid, Win decides  to call his friend Myron in to help as this case is personal. The kid is one of two who went missing 10 years ago, once of which is Win’s cousins kid, which i guess makes it his second cousin.

After the reunion between these best friends,  Win explains very little to Myron about his time away, however in a change of pace there are a few chapters that are from Wins POV and has him explaining stuff to the reader, something quite different for Harlan. It was through these POV expositions that we find Win was a lot closer to home than we realized. In the intervening year when with the help of his nephew Mickey, Myron final finds his brother long thought dead and in a touching tribute to the strength of their bromance we find Win was close by just in case.

This story was one of Harlan’s best, i loved it! I’m sure part of that love is being reunited with these characters after all this time. So one must wonder if another book was released in this series would i still feel so positive about this book?

While this book does in a sense have closure with the gang back together again, i still feel like there is the potential for another story dealing with Win’s absence and what occurred while he was in hiding and in true Harlan style it could easily be something from his past coming back to grab him, a recurring theme in his books.

A careful reader will also notice the shock revelation about Em’s long elusive father at the wedding.

 

Meg – Steve Alten

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So somewhere on my news feed for various social media sites, i see a brief blurb about a new shark movie coming out in 2017, featuring none other than Mr Action, Jason Statham. Intrigued, off to google i go and i find out its based on a book about the Megalodon shark. i don’t know what it is about sharks but i love stories about them, scared shitless about them at the beach and can’t stop thinking of them but i love reading and watching Documentaries about them.

Meg is a rather interesting take on the shark story, a secret navy dive in the Mariana Trench runs into some Megalodons which are living down there near the warm hydro-thermal vents. An accident causes one shark to be dragged to the surface, and then the chaos ensues.

a 25 metre shark, is a fearsome predator. However the book solely wasn’t just about the shark eating people, there was a fair bit of dialogue given over to people debating do we kill it? or is it now an endangered species and should be preserved. Which to be fair is something i had not considered.

While i note that we know more about other planets than we do about the bottoms of the oceans, it was still a stretch to try and swallow the concept of the shark living down there, with some other surprises. That aside it was a well written book, with plenty of accurate facts about sharks in it. It is also the first in a series of 5 books, so my hope is that unlike the Jaws movies that just got worse with each sequel that this book series might do ok.

The Woods – Harlan Coben

The Woods – Harlan Coben
An oldie yet still a goodie from Harlan. Well only 9 years old but when an author releases a book or 2 a year 9 years is a long time and many books ago. Fortunately Harlan really hit his stride many years ago so this book really holds its own.
Paul’s sister was murdered along with 3 others years ago at a summer camp and his mother ran off not long after. For years his father would go into the woods and dig looking for his daughter, When Paul’s father dies he feels its time to let it all go and move on that. That is until he gets called in to ID a body that body turns out to be that of one of the kids murdered at that camp years ago, but how can that be,  could his sister also be alive. Paul’s attempts to get to the bottom of this really show just how far a family will go to protect its own.
This is another of Harlan’s stand alone novels but it has a recurring character loren muse who appears in several stand alones. A great character that i love reading and i love the fact that it implies all this stories occur in the same literary world. This book has the usual roller coaster of twists and turns before the shocking end.

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury

Templar Series – Raymond Khoury
Picked up the first book in this series along time ago but never read it. Didn’t even know it was part of series back then, i just saw it involved the Templars and thought it might be in a similar vane to Da Vinci code.
The Last Templar
The story in the is broken into 2 plot lines. The first set in the modern day world follows on from a heist at The Metropolitan Museum, where men on horseback dressed as Templars steal an artifact and the second plot line is set in the past first starting in 1291 and follows the Templars as they try and hide the artifact, as the city of Acre falls to invaders. Both lines do not initially discuss the nature of the artifact we find that out later.
What follows is very Da Vinci Code style hunt for treasure with Archaeologist Tess Chaykin(who was in the museum when it was robbed) and FBI Sean Reilly which leads them to a shocking discovery about the artifact. Which then leads us to the most disappointing part of the book. Tess talks about her job as an Archaeologist as uncovering the truth and how it is important to let the people decide etc, but then when she discovers what the artifact was she lets it be destroyed because it could upset some religious people, what a joke, a betrayal of her character. I just couldn’t believe this hogwash ending it just felt so wrong it almost turned me off the whole series luckily i persevered
The Templar Salvation
This book follows a similar vane with the same duo from the first book hunting down another Templar artifact. This time with a crazed Iranian hit man after them and the treasure. I never thought i would hope for a terrorist to win but after the bullshit ending in the first book i wanted the terrorist to find the artifact and reveal it to the world which was his intent.  Fortunately when the duo uncover it they too decide to share it and luckily it includes a copy of the artifact lost in the first book so their idiocy was undone
The Devil’s Elixir
I was disappointed to find that  this book goes on a different path and has nothing to do with the Templars. This one deals with figures from Sean’s past coming back to take him down and also to dispense a knew drug to the world with crazy hallucinations properties. I liked this one a lot, i thought it was going to go a bit too crazy with some of its mumbo jumbo but turned out there was a very logical basis for it. Very creative writing by the author.
Rasputin’s Shadow
My favorite book so far, the first book was the authors debut and now 8 years later with this book you can really feel how much the author has come into his own writing style and groove. This is much more structured and has the characters behaving in logical ways. Far better writing to be honest. The plot follows A Russian who is the son of a man very close to Rasputan, as he discovers a shocking secret behind Rasputan’s powers and builds a weapon following designs left by his dad. Realizing its power could be used by the wrong people he destroys it and flees to the US. Now in his last years of life he has been found and begins a race between the US n Russia to capture him and this deadly weapon before it is used
While originally i thought this was a series about Templar knights, its actually about Tess and Sean, which works since they are very like-able people and aside from some stupidity in the first book are quite fun to read. There are some issues from Seans past that are being slowly pieced together over these 4 books and looks like coming to a forefront in the next book. I’m really looking forward to it as i feel the author has come into his stride the characters make logical choices now and the plots and intrigue are just sucking me in each time. This series is very Da Vinci Code like for the first two books and then delves into a more thriller/adventure story as the themes move away from the Templars and focus more on Sean than Tess’s vocation.

The Terror – Dan Simmons

The Terror – Dan Simmons
Found this book while filling in time at a book store. I recognized the authors name and picked it up to check it out. It’s the authors take on what happened to the lost Franklin Expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. The blurb on the back caught my attention with the whole the crew are pursued across the ice by The Terror.
It got me thinking back to his previous book i had read The Abominable, that books blurb gave the impression the climbers were stalked by a Yeti, but the truth was far from it. So i anticipated a similar deception here. I assumed instead of a monster, “The Terror” that the author described was death. chasing them across the ice as each man succumbed to starvation.  Since all the men died i felt this would probably be the case.
To test this i decided to get the book not from there of course, pfft Dymocks is a rip off. I scanned the book on my app and when i got home bought a copy from Bookdepository.com. $4 cheaper than Dymocks and free shipping.
Once the book arrived i dove straight in. Well unlike his previous book it wasn’t a metaphor, something is actually pursuing the men. This increased my interest ten fold. Man this book was good, the level of suspense, you really feel on edge like the men would be, ever wary of the nearby threat.
Was loving it till about halfway when a local native to the region started displaying some magic spiritual mumbo jumbo crap, when i first read that part i thought i had daydreamed it, it was so out of the blue. I went back and read the preceding pages to check, nope the author did indeed throw in some strange mumbo jumbo. I thought i can deal with it ill just ignore it and revel in the suspense side of things but as it drew to the end that spiritual mumbo jumbo just went down right crazy and for me it ruined a solid book. It was just over the top unbelievable stuff. like seriously a native who kisses polar bears and when the bear kisses her it blows into her mouth and plays her vocal cords like a flute?? what crack was this author on.
Loved the suspense and setting of this book but the ending just killed it for me, With the ridiculous mumbo jumbo. That aside if you read 3/4 of the book and skip the polar bear symphony and then finish there by saying then they all died its brilliant.
 Tongueless people who make music by kissing polar bears and all that other spiritual voodoo stuff, like really?? Try harder and be a little more creative  next time Mr Author