Friday, May 26, 2017

Bad Choices, Bad Usage: A Review of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am

Presence is the theme of Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel Here I Am. It is the story of a family’s journey through birth, growth, school, marriage, divorce, war, and death. It is a more or less complete life of the Bloch family, saturated with their Jewish culture and their self-obsession, and dominated by particularly self-obsessed son, father, cousin, and husband Jacob Bloch, whose journey in this story is from nowhere to nowhere.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Janet Evanovich’s New Quirky Master Detective: A Review of Janet Evanovich’s Curious Minds

A detective, especially a master detective, should be full of personality. Such is the case with Emerson Knight, a sort of geeky, less refined version of Sherlock Holmes. And such an 
extraordinary intellect is bound to need a foil to keep his feet on the earth. Thus Riley Moon, an eager young banker from Texas who gets herself tangled in Emerson’s world and cannot seem to get out.

Curious Minds (Bantam, 2016, 336 pages, $28.00 hardback) is the first in a new series of detective novels co-written with Phoef Sutton. It chronicles the adventures of eccentric billionaire Emerson Knight and his young banker sidekick Riley Moon. Evanovich is the best-selling author of over thirty novels including the Lizzie and Diesel series, also co-written with Sutton.

Emerson Knight has some papers to sign and does not care a whit. He has inherited more money than he can ever imagine spending, and a little more or less matters far less than whatever intriguing experiment or adventure he is obsessed with at any one time. It matters to Riley Moon, however, a not-so-rich fresh graduate of scholarship-funded law and business schools trying to stake her claim in the prestigious investment bank of Blane-Grunwald, which “made Goldman Sachs look like a mom-and-pop savings and loan.”  She has been assigned to their strange client since her boss, Günter Grunwald, has gone missing. Knight is suspicious, and takes Riley on a wild ride to find Günter. Along the way they team up with UFO hunters, Mauritian gold guards, and an archbishop, to track down a conspiracy of theft and murder that could reach to the highest levels in the U.S. government and affect the entire world.

It takes real artistic skill to create and bring to life characters like the quirky Emerson, the sensible Riley, Emerson’s homey Aunt Myra and Cousin Vernon, and the other characters that look to become the familiar framework for this new series. The sexual energy between Riley and Emerson add a 
spicy tension without being vulgar or titillating. I for one was pleasantly surprised that Evanovich, a confirmed yankee born in New Jersey, and Phoef Sutton, from Washington, D.C., were able to weave an authentic Southern flavor into the story. The humor from minor characters as well as the banter between the main characters keeps the story moving swiftly along. This is an enjoyable light adult read.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Direct Hit: A Review of James Patterson's Bullseye

More laced with intrigue than blood and gore is the new Michael Bennett thriller from James Patterson, Bullseye. Bennett, blue-collar police detective, gets involved in the hunt for the world’s best assassin, who is somehow tied in with several brilliantly-executed murders, and apparently determined to assassinate the president of the United States.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Worth the Time: A Review of the John Connolly Novel A Time of Torment

If you like dark, violent novels with a touch of the supernatural and the flavor of a classic detective story, this book is definitely worth your time. The hardened and haunted Charlie Parker, aided by his single-minded associates, follows a New England missing persons case to the heart of Appalachia. He also encounters a strange people while tracking rumors of their god.