Saturday, November 19, 2016

Memory Man and The Last Mile by David Baldacci

image from LibraryThing
 David Baldacci does not let me down!  His books are the perfect travel books - short chapters and lots of action.  These two were the perfect ones to take us from Iowa to California and back again this past August!!

Amos Decker is a man with a twisted past - pro football player for one play and then BOOM and his memory turns into a permanent file - nothing ever disappears from it.  That made him a great cop.  But when his family is murdered that never-ending memory also brought to life all his darkness.  He couldn't unsee the murders - they replayed again and again until it caused him to fall off the face of the earth.

Image from LibraryThing

He is drawn back into solving crimes when there is a death much like his family's.  There is a school shooting and a truly twisted villian!!

So at the end he joins the FBI as a sort of quasi-cop.  And that starts the next book - where he is drawn to another ex-football player's story.  Melvin Mars is about to be executed for the murders of his parents.  Melvin was a college ball player soon to go pro with amazing talent.  When he murdered his parents and that was that - until his execution is stopped due to a confession by another soon to be executed convict.  That draws Amos' team to the site and the discrepancies start to add up - especially when the confession falls apart.

I really liked both of these books. Baldacci does a great job creating characters that I root for and I like that!  There are twists that I don't always see coming - but enough that you do see that keep you involved in solving the mystery. I REALLY like Amos. He is the anti-hero that I gravitate towards.  He is in this situation not by his own will and he would rather not be here - but there is a goodness in him that keeps him involved for those he might be able to help in spite of himself. And yes, I know that is a crazy run-on sentence - but that is exactly how I see him!!

I would highly recommend these books.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

image from LibraryThing
It's been a long time since I've read a science fiction/time travel book. This one is not like anything I've read before.  It's the future in England and time travel is a thing.  But - it's not what I expect of traveling to an unknown and interesting place - instead the reader is dropped into the midst of an already moving story.

You are in England of the future and all the time traveling of the day is to learn the details of Coventry Cathedral - because it is being completely rebuilt and refurnished to the moment before it was destroyed by Nazi bombers in WWII.

And poor Ned, the main character, has been shuttling around the late 1800s trying to figure out what has happened to "The Bishop's Bird Stump." The reader doesn't even find out what in the world the bird stump is until well in to the book - a hideous vase - and that really doesn't even matter.  Because Ned pulls us in to the world of Muchings End where he is to rest up and recover from his time-lagged state.  But that isn't a Muchings End of current time, but one of the the past where men wear boater hats and float down the Thames and quote poetry to Victorian women.  Into this world the befuddled Ned falls and his quest to find the bird stump slowly begins to make sense.

I enjoyed this book - I sort of liked the off-kilter feel I had as a reader.  I felt like I had come into the middle of a movie and didn't have the energy to ask my neighbor what was going I just stayed with it until it began to make sense. It's also a love story - in a very English Victorian way - and the story of a spoiled cat and a great bulldog named Cyril. By the way, there are no cats in the future.  So, Ned's first contact with a purring feline is rather funny!!

This is a good one.