Saturday, January 17, 2015

empty chair

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are back in the thick of it, this time out of their familiar New York, and away in a small town in North Carolina. Rhyme is in the city nearby for treatment when the  sheriff from said small town arrives asking for help with a kidnapping/murder case. In one of the unnecessary twist that aggravate me in serials, the sheriff happens to be the cousin of a cop in New York, who also is a close friend of Rhyme and Sachs.

As if the one time this small town has a kidnapping and murder, which is also too difficult for them to solve alone, is also the time that the world renown Lincoln Rhyme AND his assistant happen to be 20 minutes away, with 2 or 3 days to kill before treatment, isn't coincident enough; the sheriff is the crap town is also the first cousin of a New York cop that drinks coffee with Sachs and Rhyme every day.


Aside from that, this was a good story. There were some interesting twists and turns that I didn't see coming, along with a few I did. There was little bit of a double meaning of the title, The Empty Chair, but I don't recall the details. Jeffrey Deaver has these characters pretty well down at this point and like a lot of recurring characters in serial novels, they are like old acquaintances at this point. The relationship between Sachs and Rhyme is a little tortured, and I don't read enough of the books in this series (never mind, in any kind of order) to really understand it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

fallen angel

Gabriel Allon of Israeli intelligence is working at the Vatican, restoring one of Caravaggio’s paintings, when tragedy strikes. Guys like Allon tend to be in the right place at the wrong time.

Daniel Silva takes another whack with his Israeli super-spy, and this one doesn't disappoint either. I haven't paid much attention to order in which these stories were written but I noticed that this story did include some things that were alluded to in another story I read, so I assume this one comes later in the overall story arc. If you're concerned about that kind of thing, there is a great site out there to help you stay up to date called FictFact. yer welcome

Silva may have gotten a dreamy about the possibilities for Israel with this one. Maybe hopeful is a better word. But when you're writing a novel about a fictionalized version of Israel, why not realize your dreams, if only a little. Don't worry, Silva doesn't erase the reality of what Israel is and what it has to deal with, but some of the events that occur, if they ever did in reality, would be game-changers indeed.

I just read another Gabriel Allon book, and I said in that that Allon has to walk a line between becoming too personally involved and maintaining his distance so that he can do his job without becoming emotionally trapped. What I realized reading this one, is that he already is trapped. What he does for a living is restore paintings. The reason he restores paintings is because he can't find it in himself to create new works because of what he has to do to protect his country. His duty has taken nearly everything from him. He knows that. He has tried to retire countless times, but he is still compelled to help. That drive is the engine that moves this series forward.

The Fallen Angel in this case, is only the beginning. But the title could just as well be about Allon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

pagan babies

I'm going to miss Elmore Leonard.

I did a little web search as part of this review and came across a list of 10 essential Elmore Leonard books, and surprise, I haven't read any of them. So as a consolation prize for those of us saddened by his loss, Leonard has left a huge pile of work for us to read. He may be gone, but he's left a huge part of himself in the written word.

I've said it before; Leonard tells a story like he's telling a story. That is, the way he would tell a story verbally. Leaning against your kitchen counter, having a drink while you cook. Just shooting the breeze. That's what makes his technique so immediate, easy to read, easy to absorb. He's confiding in his readers, telling them a story that he knows the details of. Sharing it.

Pagan Babies refers to the orphans of Rwanda, where Terry Dunn serves as a priest, ministering to the converts in a small village. Fr. Dunn doesn't appear to take his duties too seriously, but that may be because of the atrocities he has witnessed during the Hutu on Tutsi genocide. But the mission is out of money, and Fr. Dunn makes a trip back to America to raise some additional funds, but his murky past is also waiting for him. A past that does care if he is a priest.