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Book Review: Wicked Prey

Summary

Wicked Prey is another book in John Sanford’s “Prey” series.

Set in Minnesota, the “Prey” series is a set of serial killer novels that revolve around detective Lucas Davenport.  Davenport is the type of “classic” hero that many of us want to read about — smart (millionaire game designer), tough (former college hockey player), cold eye killer ( he kills someone in every book), sexy (until his marriage, he always got the girl), and yet with problems ( he’s afraid of airplane flights and has sufferred from nearly fatal depression — a special gun in his basement that kept calling his name).

Wicked Prey carries two plots through to completion as do all of the Prey series books.  The main plot is a gang that has come to Minneapolis to rip off the large sums of cash that Republican movers and shakers bring into town for walking around money during the Republican convention.  Lucas must locate, isolate, and (of course shoot it out) with the gang. 

The second plot, as Sanford usually does, draws on a past plot — in this case, a low level criminal who was crippled in a shootout with Davenport and his co-workers starts stalking Davenport’s adopted twelve year old daughter and she starts stalking him in return.

Genre: Suspense / Cop / Series

New or Old: New (2010)

What I Liked About It

I love the series.  Davenport is an amazing character.  It’s one of the few series where I am always ready to read the newest one.

Davenport has grown in many ways throughout the series and that continues in this book as his relationship with his adopted daughter changes as she is headed into puberty and having to deal with some of the fallout of Davenport’s previous choices.

Sanford’s writing is very straightforward.  He introduces his minor characters with a succinct couple of paragraphs, but manages to give some life to them even if they only live a page or two in the novel.

Read This If

Read this if you like a good, fairly raw police detective book / series.  You will do yourself a favor if you get the Wicked Prey and copy down the Prey books and read them in order.

This is a series that I wouldn’t mind owning front to back at some point in life.

Don’t Read This If

Almost all of the books contain violence, swearing, and at least some innuendo if not a bedroom scene or two.

In other words, don’t read these books if you don’t watch “R” rated movies.  Think something equivilant to Heat or History of Violence.

Book Review: The Associate

The Associate by John Grisham

Summary

Kyle McAvoy is fresh out of law school lawyer who was part of a wild party that got out of control when he was an undergrad.  A woman was raped while Kyle was in the room although he may have been passed out at the time.

The problem is that a videotape of the incident has surfaced and it’s in the hands of some powerful people who want Kyle to steal some information from his firm.

That probably sounds a lot like Grisham’s earlier book, The Firm, and it is from the point of view that it’s “new lawyer” versus “crooked blackmailers.”

However, it’s significantly different than The Firm both in the aspects of the story that most of the pages cover, the character’s motivations, and the ultimate resolution.

Genre: Action / Adventure

New or Old: New (2009)

What I liked about it

The book had more of the feel of the “old” Grisham books where the plot moved along at a steady pace. 

Seeing a lawyer’s path into a new law firm and the pressure that it creates was also interesting to see worked out in the details.

The bit characters were more interesting to me in this book than in some past Grisham books.  One character tells the others that she is just fine working at the firm while looking for work outside.  Another character sits up front and tries to stump the teacher so he looks smart but struggles with things that others are easy to finish.  Those are real people who we run into and it’s nice that even the minor characters have time for a minor crisis while the hero is doing his thing.

Start to finish, I wasn’t sure how the plot would work out and the way it ended was not what I expected.  Along the way, several of Kyle’s plans don’t work out the way he would like which is also refreshing.

I had three scenarios in my head for how it would end and none of the three came to pass.

Read this book if

Read this book if you like the “old” Grisham feel, if you never got tired of Grisham, or if you’re looking for something entertaining for the weekend.

It’s also a good one for puzzlers to try to figure out the ending.  It is guessable,  just not obvious.

Dont read this book if

Dont read this book if you have completely written off Grisham.  If  you have had some doubts but haven’t tossed him on the heep, I’d still read it.

Sometimes we just run out of steam for certain authors and if you’ve done that with Grisham then go find something else to read.

Overall

I needed a mental break over the past three days and this provided it.  Definitely something I would recommend if you need an escape in your life.

Book Review: Eaters of the Dead

This is my first book review in what I expect will be an ongoing feature of my website.

There is no significance to me starting with Eaters of the Dead other than it is the most recent book that I have read.   Should have started with a more significant book than a 34 year old slim jim novel that is as much memoir as it is novel?

Probably, but that is what I’m reading right now so it will have to do.

Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton

Summary

Eaters of the Dead is a novelization of the Beowulf legend told from the point of view of an unwilling muslim traveler named Ahmad ibn Fadlan.  Fadlan existed and traveled to to the north where he met Vikings but Crichton introduces and forces Fadlan into a hero’s quest that Beowulf and eleven of his companions are undertaking.

The book became the basis for a movie and then was re-released as The 13th Warrior.

Genre: Historic Fiction

New or Old: Old

What I liked about it

I liked that it was a fresh, well done,  new (well, old now) take on an old tale.  

The characters grow and all of that important book stuff, but more importantly I enjoyed the cameraderie between the characters.  A small group of man facing undaunting odds and “succeeding” is always a fountain of energy for me personally and most men in general.

Another aspect I like was the medical diagnosis of wounds.  Depending on the type of wound they might give you onion soup, for instance.  Then they would smell your wounds around your belly after giving the soup time to move through your system.  If they smelled onion from the wound then they would know that you would die and so forth.  Quite an ingenious method, I thought.

My favorite line is a quote in the book attributed as an old Viking saying — A dead man does noone any good.

This is a good reminder that life is precious and so is each day.

What I do today will effect both my life and the lives around me for good, bad, or just plain uselessness.  Everyone can be a life changing person even if your own life is the only one you change.

Read this book if

If you like wooden historical fiction or just liked the movie but never read the book.  A friend who I discussed this with noted that “it’s a little different take” than the movie and that is true.  There is less glamour and more snot in the book than in the movie.

Don’t read this book if

If the notion or any type of sexual comments offends you, then don’t read the book.

The book has some sexual refrences in commenting on the habits of the Vikings although for the most part this is a reference to the activity without any graphic details.

Also, don’t read this book if you can’t handle a slow start or at least just skip to where he meets the Vikings.  The first twenty pages are background and while they are helpful in getting the character on his way, you can live without reading them.

Overall

 This was a book I liked.  If I saw it sitting on your bookshelf, I’d pick it up and leaf through and find my favorite parts.

I review adventure and mainstream novels as well as non-fiction books related to goals / life lessons / productivity. If you’re interested in having a specific book  reviewed, please contact me at kmoreview@gmail.com.