Monday, February 22, 2016

The Guilty by David Baldacci

Will Robie - the CIA operative with a heart.  He stands for right and justice. And he is one messed up dude!  His last job was more than he expected - a single shot took out a dictator in a foreign land and his daughter hidden behind him.  It messed him up just like Jason Bourne at his last assassination attempt.

So what is Robie to do?  The Blue Man sends him home to deal with his family problems - his father has been accused of murder.  In typical Baldacci fashion he begins to unfurl the murder mystery.

I was hooked - sort of.  This all felt more contrived than other Baldacci Robie books.  I am tired of him almost finding his way out of the dark of the CIA and being pulled back in.  This did it again.

I really didn't like the end of the book.  The pulled and broken father/son relationship is stretched and messed with throughout this book.  And then it is miraculously mended.  I don't really like that. It pushes the edges of Robie in a way that I don't appreciate.  And makes me even sadder when I think about it in relationship to friends with father issues  - neatly tied solutions just don't ring true!

So - did I like it?  It kept my interest and my focus on the beach in Mexico. But - i wouldn't recommend it.

Vacation Book #3

The Verdict by Nick Stone

My wonderful younger sister gave me a 3-month subscription to the Book Of The Month club - and this is the first installment from that club.  It was a great vacation reading book!!

Terry Flynt is a great everyman - the guy who is trying to improve his life after messing up at the bottom of a bottle of booze.  So to start over he is working as a law clerk in a pushy and semi-questionable law firm.

All that changes when his old best friend is accused of murder.  Now that sentence may make you think that he is also a down-on-his-look Londoner.  But - you would be wrong.  Instead, Vernon James is someone - REALLY someone! He is rich and powerful and a little shady and an accused murderer.

So - it seems like Terry Flynt is in the best place to defend his friend. Which would be true if they were still friends, which they aren't.

This is a cat and mouse game of lies and hidden agenda and Londoners and foreigners is intriguing and involved. I enjoyed all of it -didn't quite have it figured out - which always makes me happy!

Vacation Book #2
Book of the Month Book #1

The Martian by Andy Weir

image from librarything
I am not a fan of survivor stories.
I don't really need to know all the details of the heroic main character's stress and pain as they look for the one way to keep on living.
I also have an incredible case of claustrophobia - and space travel, ship travel, canoe travel, all of that just isn't something that I would voluntarily choose to do.
And I know that I wouldn't be able to exist in these stories - I would have given up long before the end of the story - so there wouldn't be a story - right!

All of that was going through my mind as I started to read this book club book.  I was ready to not really like the story.  I was also very wrong!

There is just the right amount of 'in your face' humor that made me really like Mark Watney -  mean really why would this guy even try to survive?  Why oh why?? He was stranded on a completely uninhabitable planet with no way to exist until rescue. And rescue was the only option. It wasn't like he was going to be able to create his own escape. Oh wait - he does.

I had decided I wasn't going to like this book - but I actually did.   What I didn't like was the callous view on life that NASA demonstrated - they were often much more concerned with their reputation and their future than with a single human life.   It felt often like the 'MACHINE' was much more important than a single man.  But that was balanced with the quirky nobodies who just did their job and solved the most impossible problems!

I enjoyed Watney and his ingenuity and humanity.  I liked the impossibility of this idea.  And I liked all the possibilities.

And the movie.  I really liked that. I watched it as we flew to Mexico and unfortunately the flight was shorter than the movie. So I saw it in pieces.  It was definitely worth it.  I was a little sad about the end of the movie. When Watney was getting closer to the Hermes - I didn't like the added problems. I just didn't think they were necessary. I did like the very end of the movie!  I liked to see the lives of the people continue on... that has always been a secret dream of mine - to see what happens to the characters of a book after the story ends. The movie allowed me a little glimpse.

Book 1 of my vacation reading.
January Book Club Book