Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been jonesin for a visit with Nelson DeMille's John Cory. Unfortunately that visit is several months away. Junkie that I am I picked an older story by Demille called Word of Honor.

The novel was first published in 1987,a former decorated Army Lieutenant Ben Tyson is now a corporate executive,an honest, handsome family man admired by men and desired by women. He's charged with having overseen a massacre of innocent civilians in Vietnam. Now the press, army justice, and the events he tried to forget have caught up with him. His family, his career, and his personal sense of honor hang in the balance.

DeMille does well describing the huge moral conflict of the Vietnam war. He probes those conflicting concepts of honor, duty and loyalty as they apply to one soldier and the war. To ratchet up the emotional turmoil further all the hostile witnesses are called up while friendly witnesses are lost or silent. Tyson's own sense of honor lets him give only tiny scraps of information even to his attorney. As with most DeMille novels the dialogue is witty,irreveret and sarcastic. Although it wasn't John Cory, I had a nice visit with Tyson.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I love to be frightened. My husband and I have taken great delight in scaring the be-jesus out of each other over the last twenty-five years. I'm so proud when I catch him off guard and make him jump. Believe me it's hard to startle someone whose been a cop for thirty plus years. However most of the time I'm left living gratuitously through mystery and thriller novels, and suspenseful movies for those moments of astonishment.

Alfred Hitchcock stated a thriller is the difference between suspense and surprise. His example was two characters sitting and talking in a cafe, then a bomb goes off under the table. The audience experiences surprise. But Hitchcock says if the audience sees the villain place the bomb, sees him set the timer for one o'clock and the audience can see a clock in the scene, the conversation of the two actors goes from mundane to suspense. The audience now has ten minutes of suspense instead of a ten second surprise. I love Alfred Hitchcocks' movies. Watch them all the time.

Recently I read two thrillers,the first passed the Hitchcock rule. What do you get when you cross Steve Berry with Dan Brown and a healthy dollop of Steven King?... Graham Brown's debut thriller Black Rain. Goverment Operative Danielle Laidlaw, takes her search party into the Amazon searching for a Mayan City, and an elusive new fuel source. The plotting is complex as well as fast paced. The rain forest, the indigenous people, the animals, plus the ruthless billionaire doesn't leave you wanting for foes or obstacles that hinder their ability to obtain their prize.

My one quibble with the book is that Danielle's character isn't as well fleshed out as her friend, pilot Hawker. Brown does a nice job of sprinkling in the back story for Hawker throughout the book, which is what he needed to do more with the character of Danielle.

Once you start it is difficult to put down. Well done on his debut, leaves you wanting to read more. It hit the bookstores the end of January. Thanks to Good Reads for having the contest for the ARC.

Dan Brown is back again with another plot driven thriller, Lost Symbol, that really didn't pass the test. Robert Langdon is trying to save his mentor Peter Soloman from the vicious psychopath Malakh who wants the ultimate Masonic prize. When reading Dan Brown you need to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride and ask no critical thinking questions. Yes, he spins a good tale but the threads are just barely held together. The CIA investigating inside of the US? Well it shouldn't occur and that alone put a big rut in the road which I had trouble believing. He could of easily made it the FBI and the threads of the story would have held together better. I'm sure his "new age" definitions of the bible's meaning didn't pleased the church with this novel either, although his writings weren't as critical as the DaVinci Code.
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