December 04, 2005

On Books: November

Yep, time to do that book thang again. But before I do, have you noticed that I've added some hot categorization action to the menu over there on the right? Should you, for instance, want to find all the book reviews evah, all you have to do is choose "On Books" and you're there. Money!

Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston
Huston's debut, Caught Stealing, was one of the more brutal and unique thrillers I'd read in a long time. When I reviewed it a while back, I believe I strongly recommended picking it up. And I still do. Six Bad Things, its sequel, is almost - but not quite - as strong as its predecessor. While it does get slightly bogged down as the story progresses, it is a brilliant followup. Regardless, it's still far more unique with more style and substance than the majority of the thrillers and mysteries on the market. Huston will be releasing the third in the trilogy shortly and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Vixen by Ken Bruen
The Guards, the only other novel by Bruen I've read, was excellent. I was thoroughly impressed. His voice is unique and the structure of the novel was so contrary to so much of the crime fiction out there. His focus isn't on the crime but the people involved in the crime. His stories at once present unique crime fiction and pay hommage to the authors and works that came before him. Bruen has written a lot and, sadly, most of it is hard to come by in the States. So, I was pleased to find Vixen in a local bookstore. Sadly, it wasn't all that strong. Only a couple hundred pages in length, it seemed to drag. It was often directionless, its characters two dimensional. It was, overall, disheartening because I know Bruen can do better.

Easy Prey by John Sandford
I applauded Sandford last month for keeping me entertained. After a long absence, I returned to the Prey series and I was pleased that I had. Easy Prey was no exception. While not the strongest novel in the series it was nevertheless fun and fast-paced. If you want entertainment, you really can't go wrong with Sandford.

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
When I read Fight Club, just after it hit shelves, I wasn't prepared for Chuck's style. That might explain why I didn't appreciate it. His writing is frantic, his plots twisted, and his characters unlovable. Yet, for some reason I keep picking them up and, for the most part - now that I'm prepared - I enjoy each one. I've read all but one of Chuck's novels and I have to say that, while strong, I wouldn't rank Survivor among the best. Invisible Monsters still holds that title in my opinion. Survivor is a good read but he's written better.

Whiteout by Ken Follett
I'd never read anything by Follett before, primarily because the subject matter had never before appealed to me. I enjoy mysteries but never really paid any particular attention to espionage novels (about half of Follett's output) nor have I been interested in historical World War II fiction (the other half of his output). When I ran across Whiteout - focused on the hijaking of a lethal strain of virus from a high-security lab - I decided to give Follett a shot. I'm thrilled that I did. The novel was compelling and thoroughly engrossing. I read a lot and find it harder and harder to be taken in by a plot but Whiteout grabbed me. Whiteout is a quick, gripping winter read perfect for one of those days when there's a little too much snow on the ground to go anywhere.

There you have it - some potential winter reading. Enjoy. And if you have any recommendations, just let me know!

Posted by Chris at December 4, 2005 03:54 PM

I'm nervous as hell telling you this but I do have a recommendation. My blog. Yes it's true. Finally. I am fulfilled. Mail me for the addy. I haven't officially "come out" yet, don't know if I'm ready to deal with the masses ;-)

Posted by: JuJu's Mom at December 4, 2005 04:01 PM

The speed in which you move through books never ceases to amaze me.

In other news, I love the Prey series. I heard at one point that they were going to turn it into a movie, with Samuel Jackson (I think?? I could be remembering wrong) as the lead but I don't know what ever became of the project.

Posted by: patricia at December 4, 2005 04:12 PM

I am reading "Life Expectancy" by Dean Koontz. The last time I read one of his novels was about fifteen years ago and it was even scarier than the Stephen King books I so loved.

Well, this is not the Dean Koontz I know. This book is not in the scary genre, although scary things happen in it.

I don't know how to describe it. It's a narrative, and the descriptions are just wonderful, and the analogies are funny, and the language is modern, and food is involved, and...

Sigh. Yeah. I recommend this book.

Posted by: Alison at December 4, 2005 04:41 PM

You have read 5 books in one month with a baby and minimal sleep and a ful time job. You are not Rude Cactus, you are Amazing Rude Cactus

Posted by: Michelle at December 4, 2005 05:06 PM

Wow... finally a post I can comment on (the rest had waaaay too many posts to even think about! Suffice it to say, I'm glad Mia is sleeping and I love your descriptions of your life with her. Brings back sooo many memories.) I, too, am an avid reader. I love the John Sanford "Prey" series as much for their plots as I do the fact they take place in Minnesota and I live in Iowa and have actually seen some of the places he describes. That's new for me, as most novels take place on the coasts or more exotic places.
I did see a TV movie they did on one of these books and I can't remember who starred in it, but they were black and that totally flipped me out as I never thought of the lead character as black. Ever.

I also like the obvious ones - Harlan Coben, Dean Kootz, Jonathan Kellerman, David Baldacci, James Patterson, Stuart Woods, Ed McBain, for a few. Some of the lady authors I like are Kathy Reichs (her tv show is NOT like the books), Patricia Cornwell, Iris Johannson, Tess Gerritsen, and Lisa Scottoline - for a few. Enjoy!

Posted by: sue at December 4, 2005 05:32 PM

Koontz's vocabulary is stimulating and vast. I have read everything he has ever written and still find myself shaking my head at the number of words per page that momentarily stop me.
I have an excellent education, yet whenever I read Koontz I am reminded of how much I have yet to learn.
He always has a dog in the novel. The dog becomes the most lovable character and adds charm in the midst of terror and chaos.

Posted by: Rebecca at December 4, 2005 05:46 PM

I tried reading fight club, but I knew the ending so it was spoiled for me. :-P i read diary and i liked that. i'm trying to read choke and just can't get through it.

Posted by: Denise at December 4, 2005 06:30 PM

I was always amazed at how many books you could run through in a month. I'm even more stunned with the amount in a month, with a baby. But then I remember, The Traffic. You must have something to do while sitting in The Traffic. (It's so bad, it needs a formal name!)

I finished one yesterday that still has me thinking about it. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I don't usually go for the Oprah Book Club type reading, but so many people have told me how profoundly disturbing, touching, and interesting this book is, all at the same time. So, I picked it up. I could not put it down. The style of writing is a bit unusual, but quite necessary for the topic at hand. (Drug abuse recovery). I'd recommend it. And have already given my copy away.

Hope you get some sleep again tonight. Seems to do you well.


Posted by: Kellie at December 4, 2005 06:35 PM

i just finished reading invisible monsters last week (or the one before) - definitely great stuff. i tried to read haunted directly after, but there is only so much chaos, bitterness, and depravity i can take in a short time. so, it's the secret life of bees for now. :)

crossing my fingers for sleep for you as well!

Posted by: zalary at December 4, 2005 08:09 PM

for starters... how do you find time to read? between, Beth, Mia and work i'm surprised you can actually keep your eyes open.

secondly... i just picked up Survivor as my yearly Chuck P. book. have you read Haunted? it's good. though Lullaby is still a favorite.

Posted by: monique at December 4, 2005 08:41 PM

Thanks for the input. Have NO clue what the get the hubby for x-mas but at least now I have some ideas.

Posted by: Lisa B at December 4, 2005 08:49 PM

So have you read "Choke" by Palahniuk?

I also recommend, "Diceman" by Luke Rhinehart and an interesting, quick read is "Sock - A Novel" by Penn Jillette.

Posted by: ::c:: at December 4, 2005 11:20 PM

I find Follett to be great at times and suck at others, but if you have not read Pillars of the Earth than you have really missed out.

Posted by: That Girl at December 5, 2005 07:20 AM

good ok bad...

Posted by: meh at December 12, 2005 05:27 PM

this is very crusty

Posted by: this sucks at December 12, 2005 05:29 PM