Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Sculptor

I've been holding off reading The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro for over a month now but felt compelled to give it a go, mainly because the author sent me a free autographed copy in return for a review on  So I owed it to him for one thing.  But that's not why I was avoiding it.  You see, I knew it was about a serial killer and I just didn't want to get bogged down in a novel that was, well, a downer.  I enjoyed the last book I read so much that I wanted to keep the roll going.

Well, let me tell you, this did the trick.  I very much enjoyed this novel, and not because the author gave me a free autographed copy.  In fact, I'm usually tougher on those than others.  This novel, did indeed revolve around a serial killer, but what a great character he turned out to be.  As I've said many times on this blog, I like my bad guys to be great characters.  The Sculptor, who uses his victims to re-create Michelangelo's greatest statues, is not only evil, twisted, etc. but he is also a fully formed character.  As the plot of the novel unfolds we get bits and pieces of his history that makes his complete story a compelling one and even a bit sympathetic.  The protagonists of the story, Dr Cathy Hildebrant and Special Agent Sam Markham of the FBI are also fully developed charcters but I think they end up taking a back seat to the Sculptor himself.

The plot moved along nicely, the pacing was spot on, and the settings were realistic.  I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the next development.  I also enjoyed learning about Michelangelo without feeling like I was being lectured.  My only criticism is a minor one...about the romantic subplot between the two protagonists.  This seemed quite predictable, right from the beginning, but I suppose we readers needed it to counter balance the action/suspense portions.  Frankly, it is hard to believe this is Mr Funaro's first published novel.  It reads as good as or better than many of the top mystery/thriller writers today.  I understand there is more coming from this author and I will look for them in the future.

"Rainbird" is a very cool time travel story, written by R.A. Lafferty, early in his career and published again in The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century.  He has a rather uniqie style which often ignores the typical "rules" of writing.  This story starts in the past, 1785 to be precise, and we get to watch the life of Higgston Rainbird, a small time inventor who, near the end of his life invents a "retrogressor."  He is chagrined to realize he has run out of time in his life before he could get to invent all the things he really wanted to get around to.  So he goes back in time, meets himself at a young age and gives himself all kinds of shortcuts for how to get more done during his life time.  No worries about time paradox here!  So now he lives a full life of amazing inventions including most everything we have today, even space travel to the Moon and Mars...all prior to 1850.  But once again, he goes back to speak to his younger self and tries to improve even more...only this time he doesn't listen to himself.  The result: he is now just a small time inventor once again...and no retrogressor.  Cool story.

Next up, James Nelson's Glory in the Name.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire