Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE ENGLISH SPY by Daniel Silva






Outside of being the most totally engrossing, entertaining book I’ve read in many a calendar turn what more can I say about Daniel Silva who has been called a master of the modern espionage novel,  and an author who delivers “consistent excellence and cool brilliance”?  For this reader he also has the ability to transport us throughout the world, describing each locale as knowingly as if it were his own backyard.  And the characters he creates do more than leap from the page - they own it whether they come to us via a glance, a clenched fist or a whiff of Turkish tobacco.

Not to worry if you have not read the previous novels starring Gabriel Allon, an empathetic, fascinating protagonist, a gifted art restorer and formidable operative, Silva subtly inserts his background into the story and before you’re aware of it you know Allon quite well.  Of course, if The English Spy is your first Allon adventure you’ll want to rush out and read the earlier ones.

With this tale Silva grabbed me early on.   A not to be forgotten member of the British Royal Family celebrated for her beauty and charitable works who was spurned by her former husband is introduced while boarding a luxury yacht soon to leave Saint Barthelemy for a Caribbean cruise.  The world is shocked when a bomb explodes aboard ship and a Princess dies.

British intelligence knows there is but one person who can track down her killer and that man is Gabriel Allon.  His quary is Eamon Quinn, a former Real IRA master bomb maker who is now a mercenary selling his services to the highest bidder. However, we soon discover that the assassination of the Princess was what is known as “collateral damage,” her death merely a ruse to bring Allon and his partner, Christopher Keller, out into the open.  Quinn has been hired by the Russians to kill Allon, and thus the thrilling adventure begins.

You won’t want to miss The English Spy - it has no peer.  I’d lend you my book, but I may just want to read it again.

- Gail Cooke

Sunday, June 28, 2015

THE FIXER by Joseph Finder Audio Edition






Caveat first: I’m a huge fan of Joseph Finder’s books, for me his titles are always crisp, fast-paced, timely and totally absorbing.  That experience is enhanced by a terrific narration by Steven Kearney (who also read Finder’s Suspicion).

What grabbed me in the beginning was a protagonist, Rick Hoffman, a fellow with whom many of us can identify.  He’s not a sharp, muscled private eye but an every day guy who was just laid off from work.  Now, it wasn’t work that he particularly enjoyed, but he did need the paycheck.  He was writing pieces for a Boston city magazine - articles glorifying the rich and famous.  What to do?

His elderly father has been left speechless after a stroke and is now confined to a nursing home.  Well, his dad’s house is now empty and Rick needs a roof so he decides to move in.  He sees that the house could use a little help, minor renovations.  What he finds while improving the space is anything but minor - it’s major, $3 million in cash in a crawl space.

Of course, Rick needs a bit of cash so he spends some of it and begins trying to find out where it came from.  His father, of course, is unable to tell him anything.  Rick does know that his dad had once been a pretty powerful attorney with some big time clients.  But even for a first-rate lawyer 3 million is a bit much in attorney’s fees.

It’s not too long before some pretty shady folks come looking for the cash and Rick.

Never a dull moment in a Finder suspense tale - enjoy!

- Gail Cooke

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

POST, TEXAS





"THERE ONCE WAS A FELLOW IN POST

  WHO SWORE HE'D JUST SEEN A GHOST,

  FOLKS THOUGHT THE APPARITION

  WAS DUE TO HIS CONDITION,

                                                                       WHICH WAS DEEMED BONKERS BY MOST."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WAXAHACHIE, TEXAS



               "THERE WAS A COMPOSER IN WAXAHACHIE

                 WHO WROTE TUNES THAT HE THOUGHT VERY CATCHY,

                 THOUGH NONE WERE RECORDED

                 HE FELT REWARDED

                 WHEN ONE TOPPED THE CHARTS IN APACHE."

Friday, June 12, 2015

THE ENEMY INSIDE by Steve Martini





    Every once in a while an author will create a lead character so real, so likable, so charismatic that readers are prone to forget he or she is a fictional character.  Such is the case for Steve Martini’s creation of Paul Madriani.  I find myself eagerly awaiting Madriani’s next adventure and then while reading become so immersed in the story that I stay up late pulling for him as though he were a favorite uncle rather than a product of Martini’s abundant imagination.  Such was certainly the case with The Enemy Inside in which defense attorney Madriani discovers layers of corruption that lead to the highest levels of power.

    A friend, Alex Ives, is implicated in a fatal traffic accident on a remote Southern California highway.  To begin with Alex cannot remember any of that evening save for the fact that he is sure he had only one drink and had gone to meet an irresistible young woman at an A-List house party.  He has awakened hospitalized in police custody charged with drunk driving and manslaughter.

    Madriani believes Alex and determines to defend him unaware of the personal dangers involved.  The deceased in the traffic accident was Olinda Serna, one of our country’s most successful lawyers and adept at managing money as well as discovering the secrets of her numerous influential clients.  When these powerful folk learn of her death they’re concerned that their closely guarded secrets may be found out.

    How far will they go to protect themselves, their position, their careers?

    The Enemy Inside is loaded with carefully drawn fascinating characters, high adventure, and mounting suspense.

    Enjoy!

   

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BANDERA, TEXAS



          "THERE ONCE FLEW IN TO BANDERA

           AN AVIS WHO WAS REALLY RARA,

           SHE HAD WEE WINGS,

           RARELY SINGS,

           BUT YODELS THE HABANERA."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

PONDER, TEXAS






"THERE ONCE WAS A FELLOW IN PONDER
  
  WHOSE RIGHT EYE TENDED TO WANDER

  SO A PERSON NEVER KNEW

  IF HE WAS TALKING TO YOU

  OR TO SOMEONE OVER YONDER" - GC