Saturday, December 29, 2018

2 More by Lee Child Killing Floor and 61 Hours

Trying to catch up yet again on blog books, but my  stack gets ahead of me as this dreary winter at home in the "tundra" and  too early darkness of MN Winters leaves time to read. 
 Both are excellent Jack Reacher novels, both rate 5 *****, both were in the stack I bought at the La Crescent Friends of Library bookstore on sale. Killing Floor, published in 1997,  has Jack Reacher traveling through Georgia, but then he stumbles into a hornets nest, is arrested for murder and decides to stick around and solve what will be his brother's killing.  It opens, "I was arrested in Eno's Diner at 12
o'clock.  I was eating eggs and drinking coffee.  A late breakfast, not lunch.  I was wet and tired after a long walk in heavy rain.  Alll the way from the highway to the edge of town."Page 16 gives good background on the character, Jack Reacher, " ..I was a military kid...show me a list of military bases around the world and that's a list of where I lived...I did high school in two different countries and I did four years up at West Point....I stayed in the army....Military Police......I'm a 38 year old unemployed ex-military policeman getting called a vagrant by smug civilian bastards who wouldn't last five minutes in the world I survived," 

 This book has fascinating information on the world of
counterfeiting and money, composition of paper and how electronic money counters work.    Page 310 , Military philosophy, staff college taught him to know the war can only be won when, .."seek out their main force and take it on, destroy it."   Page 367, "He had crashed through the barrier.  He had stopped worrying and started relaxing.  He was up on that plateau where you just did whatever needed doing.  I knew that place. I lived there."  419 pages in this  paperback edition.  Page 62 has advice that anyone can apply to problem solving, "Evaluate.  Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess.  When the unexpected gets dumped on you don't waste time.  Don't figure out how or why it happened.  Don't  recriminate.  Don't figure out whose fault it is.  Don't work out how to avoid the same mistake next time.  All of that you do later.  If you survive.  First of all you evaluate.  Analyze the situation.  Identify the downside.  Assess the upside.  Plan accordingly.  Do all that and you give yourself a better chance of getting through to the other stuff later."

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.  61 Hours published in 2010 in the paperback edition is set in  frigid South Dakota in a winter storm where the bus Jack Reacher is riding on crashes. He had accepted a ride on a tour bus of senior citizens .   The novel opens, " Five minutes to three in the afternoon.  Exactly 61 hours before it happened.  The lawyer drove in and parked in the empty lot.....Prison was a binary world.  Either you were locked up or you weren't.  They weren't.  He wasn't." The prison provides the primary industry and employment for the town of Bolton and  becomes the center awaiting an assassin who will not come from within but from much farther away.  Stuck in a snowstorm Reacher is drawn into working with the local police who are manipulated as it turns from within by the same long distant assasin.   He volunteers with their shortage of manpower when the prison sirens sound to body guard the key witness in the state's case, Janet Salter a retired professor.     Page 41, " Nothing worthwhile was achieved without reflection and rumination.  With reflection and rumination, impulsive mistakes could be avoided and bold strokes could be formulated." .    

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The /Shadows We Hide by Allen Eskens

Front cover flap
I take this book personally, the fifth by Allen Eskens, I have read each one, but this was released on my November birthday!  A great present to me from me, I had preordered it on Amazon.  I read it  in November almost right after it arrived, all 339 pages,  and will be passing along my hardcopy to our local library. I think that one would be better off to have read the first novel, "The Life We Bury" to know something about the main character Joe Talbert.  This murder novel/ mystery centers on Joe's curiosity about his father, his namesake whom he has never met.  .  Joe is a successful AP reporter in this novel and still taking care of his brother Jeremy, living in Minneapolis with Lila who is studying for her bar exam and still without contact with his  errant mother.  But circumstances build and  Joe faces a crossroads of life, to give another yet second chance to his mother who  surely wore out her second chances in the last novel.  

The book opens with the lyrical writing that draws the
Back cover flap
reader in to turn page after page, "  I'm lying on the hood of my car, my back reclined against m,y windshield, knees bent, fingers laced together on my stomach and breathing relaxed to ease the throb of pain.  I'd like to say that having the tar beat out of me was the low point of my day, but that would be a lie......I feel like I'm in exile, a nomad of sorts, sharing my night with the stars and the trees and the occasional thistle seed that floats by on  the summer breeze."  He stumbles across a story about the murder of a man Joseph Talbert in a small town in southern MN.  And that sets the  turns and twists.  


Another excellent book by Allen Eskens.  A full 5 stars *****.   Buy it, read it.