Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review -- The Kill Switch by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood

The Kill SwitchThe Kill Switch by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Kill Switch is the first in a new series starring Tucker Wayne and Kane whom we saw first in the novella "Tracker" and subsequently as a part of the Sigma Force team in Bloodline. Rightfully getting their own marquee, the odd pair of man and dog head up into their first solo missing for Sigma.

Tucker and Kane are best buddies, the know each other well and are living extensions of the other. They don't need nobody else in their lives. In Russia on a protection gig for a Russian business oligarch, Tucker is drafted by the wily Sigma boss Painter Crowe for a side mission to escort and protect a pharmaceutical tycoon out of Russia who is being chased by a Russian General who used to run Soviet Unions bio labs.

The hullabaloo is all about a ancient pest in the form of fungus or plant which has the capacity to either revolutionize the world or wipe it out depending on which way you use the pest. The discovery is too significant for it to fall in the hands of the Russians (who knows what havoc they may wreck with it) and since there is no counter agent or "kill switch" in military parlance, it becomes a issue of utmost importance that the Sigma Force protect it at all costs. The only fly in the ointment is that the path to the pest is known only to the Russian tycoon who is being chased by the Russian secret service.

Enter Tucker and Kane, the delta and the MWD. What I liked about this book is that Rollins and Blackwood spend time on the level of bonding between Tucker and Kane and how they are essentially so tightly coupled that they really are extensions of each other. Kane understands what Tucker wants from him and is trained enough to override his basic responses.

The book uniquely also contains a POV from Kane's perspective as he dives into the various caves and tight spaces based on Tuckers command. The reader is taken into Kane's mind, his senses and essentially made to feel what he feels in such scenes. It is a refreshing concept and the authors rightly using it sparingly to retain the effect of the POV switch.

Overall the book is a good read, nothing too outstanding, Rollins's background as a veterinarian comes through in scenes involving Kane and though process behind it. The plot twists are a bit too convenient and at some places the situation appears to be contrived to generate more difficulties for the lead pair. I would rate this book 3.5 stars rounded off 4. The blurb for the next book in the series appears interesting, but so many more interesting things available to read, I would say the next book will be spending some extra time on my waiting list unless it is mind boggling in its own right.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reading List - April Update

Hey All,

April is with us and there is a lot of reading to get through before the month is out.

First up is my Good Read - A Good Thriller group Book Pals book The Martian by Andy Weir which my book pal for the month Mallory Heart has selected for me to read.

Next up are my various books requested from Net Galley which are essentially ARCs for which I have to provide feedback. Currently making my way through the Consortium series by French author David Khara.

Finally we come to the books that I have taken out from my local library. Me being a glutton for reading I just can't resist myself. I have 4 books,, FOUR from the library to be read. I am currently making head way through one of my favorite authors in thrillers James Rollins's The Kill Switch

I still have 3 Simon Kernick books that I picked up on strong recommendation from my Good Reads friend Sean.

I am hoping to make my way through these books in the month of April, wish me luck and I am going to keep my fingers, toes crossed and hope like hell that my eyes don't cross out on me...

Happy Reading folks,


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Review -- The Bleiberg Project by David Khara

The Bleiberg Project: A Consortium ThrillerThe Bleiberg Project: A Consortium Thriller by David S. Khara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to Net Galley, the publishers Le French Book and the author David Khara to have provided me with this free edition of the book in exchange for an unbiased and an honest review.

This book is the first of a series about something called as The Consortium and another one of those gems which has been translated from French to make its debut in the English market. With the sheer number of languages spoken and being printed in the world, what we may be missing boggles the mind. But then that is a story for another day as they say…

The novel opens in 1942 Poland with an SS soldier reminiscing of about a Germany free from Hitler's paranoia and ambition all the while awaiting the arrival of Heinrich Himmler himself to the camp that he is guarding. All his reminiscing is for nothing as he is soon dead… an official victim of an assassination attempt against Himmler.

Fast forward to the present day, we are presented with Jeremy Corbain or Jay Novachek as he calls himself a high flying, self pitying Wall Street broker who is greeted with the news that his estranged father is dead. Suddenly thrust into a shadowy world where he no longer knows the good from the bad, Jeremy seeks to make sense of what's happening around him.

The Bleiberg Project takes to the times of writers like Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy who could spin a mean conspiracy thriller of shadowy organizations, secret cabals. The Bleiberg project gives us a shadowy group going by the name of Consortium which wants to redesign the world in its shape. The storyline moves back and forth in the past and present and is tied together effectively with various POVs from the main characters in the stories - Jeremy, his father, Eytan Morg.. The pace is frentic and the story holds your interest in the premise that is monstrous to consider but somehow looks implementable given the state that the world is in right now - genetic mutation on humans.

The quintessential Nazi quest for the perfect Übermensch and the Consortiums quest for creating a new World finds perfect partners in each other and years on clinical trials on humans give them a perfect specimen a child - number 302. When the child escapes from the its captors and with fall of the Reich, the Consortiums returns to the background continuing with its research and pulling the strings from behind.

The novel has its moments of humor with the interaction between the various characters and the dialogues which are alternatively funny, cynical and sarcastic in turns. All kudos to the translator for retaining the humor and the integrity of the dialogs in the process of translation.

A solid 4.5 stars. I would love to read the follow to this ASAP. Ohh… Wait I do have the follow up novel courtesy Net Galley. Well I must get started...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Review -- The Resurrection Maker by Glenn Cooper

The Resurrection Maker: A ThrillerThe Resurrection Maker: A Thriller by Glenn Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The very first book that I requested from Net Galley. My many thanks to Net Galley, the publisher Lascaux Media and the author Glenn Cooper for providing me with the ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Resurrection Maker is a curious mixture of science, spirituality, religion and quest. The book manages to mix all these aforementioned scenarios while keeping the tempo high enough to sustain interest. Arthur Malory is a grail aficionado. In company of the Grail Loons they meet and debate the various theories of where the Grail might be found.

When Loon founder finds a trail which may lead back to the enigmatic times of King Arthur and his quest for the Grail, Arthur gets involved in the quest when he finds out that he is indeed from nobility carrying the blood and an extra rib right from the time of King Arthur.

The book is plotted very intelligently. The novel movies between the various POVs like Sir Thomas Malory, King Arthur while it is being told in a third person narrative when referencing the current time lines. Cooper plots a tale that makes Jesus's resurrection a scientific fact rather than a religious miracle.

As in all tales you have good questors and you have bad questors… In this game the bad men are the Khem an ancient society of over 2000 years who have been on a quest for the Grail for their own purposes. To study and achieve immortality by using it. The Khem are all brilliant scientists who have come through ages by trying to find the Grail and study it scientifically. They have been alchemists, chemists and finally they are physicists.

The quest for the Grail takes Mallory to a variety of places while trying to be one step ahead of the Khem. I loved the way Cooper introduced the Cathedral of Sangrada Familia in the book and I was thrilled that I learnt about a new place and person from this book. The architectural genius of Antoni Guidi is marvelous and the book is a brilliant tribute to the great man.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Book Review -- I Am Pilgrim by Terry Haynes

I Am Pilgrim: A ThrillerI Am Pilgrim: A Thriller by Terry Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where do I start? This book blew me away. In fact it just torpedoed me out of my slow, mundane and painfully normal existence. Terry Haynes is a screenwriter so the inspiration for the layout of the book is definitely inspired from his screenwriting background. What can I say about this book that has not been said before? It was rated as the Thriller you should not miss for 2014.

Shamefully I missed it, but I am glad I made up for that by reading this sooner than later. The Pilgrim is the story of investigation. It is the story of what happens when you put into mind to chase a ghost and you do chase that ghost successfully. I Am Pilgrim is the story of succeeding when there are no odds in your favor, when you know the last dice has been rolled and you have lost.

Simply put Pilgrim is an audacious read. Once you finish reading the book, it will take you at least an hour to come down to the mundane. The book starts slow with seeming very loose threads, a perfect murder in NY city, a disturbing revelation in the Afghan mountains and a seemingly bizarre death in Turkey.  All unconnected and in no way linked to each other --- or that is what you feel.

Each of this separate incidents are just pieces of a bigger jigsaw puzzle. One that needs to be put together fast, but nobody knows if they have all the pieces of the puzzle. The Pilgrim asks a lot of questions, uncomfortable questions: does a single life outweigh multiple lives? Who decides right and wrong? Hate or Love which is more powerful?

It may look like I am rambling in this post, but the Pilgrim is essentially the story of one person the "Rider Of the Blue" who strives to find the balance between the right and wrong, going till the edge of his sanity but not snapping. In short the Pilgrim is a must read.

There are some drawbacks in the plot as well known well by my Book Pal Freda, which has lead to me to dock half a star, but it is the perfect debut. Good Reads does not let me give .5 stars.. So in a spirit of generosity I rounded it up to 5 instead of rounding it down to 4. A rare few books deserve this honor. I would still ask my friends to read this book, coz this is a book on which hours and hours of discussion can be had. It is a sure shot…

Book Review -- Pandora's Grave by Stephen England

Pandora's Grave (Shadow Warriors #1)Pandora's Grave by Stephen England
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book that I read in February 2015. But I have gotten time to pen down my review only now...

Stephen England's debut novel Pandora's Grave is a speedy read. The action in the book pretty realistic and the suspense keeps the reader guessing to an extent. If you keep in mind the concept of expecting the unexpected then the suspense in this book is guessable but if you are newbie to the thriller genre the book is bound to surprise you.

I will not go much into the plot premise, that can be found from the book blurb anyways. Harry Nichols is a team man, he lives and breathes and trusts his team, he knows that he has been in some tough spots with his team but with them backing each other to the hilt they have always come up on tops. He trusts his team implicitly. But things are starting to go wrong with the planned mission, there are slip ups and there are mishaps, nothing very serious but they are setting back the tempo of the mission and are causing problems that need to be dealt with.

But the problem is that there is a leak in the team. Somebody is leaking information and Nichols trusts his team, he knows it cannot be one of his people, it has to be someone new who has come into the team. But the stakes are high and failure is not an option. The final show down is in Jerusalem. A place where three major religions have a huge stake and any slip up here can cause a religious war of disastrous consequences.

Major players like Israel, Iran are involved in this and the potential to offend the sensibilities is tremendous. It is a tripwire of humongous proportions and England comes up in spades in managing the taunt storyline while maintaining the suspense for as long as possible without letting up on the action.

This is the first that I have seen on Harvey Nichols and based on what I have seen I would like to see more and happily for me there is more coming up in the form of other novels in the series. A great start and really worth the 4 stars for the high octane action… Action Thrillers have a new star and Stephen England is thy name.

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