Sunday, January 16, 2011

That's All Folks

This is the last blog entry I will be posting here. I have mixed feelings about this blogging experience but at least I feel I have given it a good try for two complete years. I never really intended to attract a following, but I had hoped the follower list would gradually increase. It seems there is very little interest in the blogosphere for what I offer. I do very much appreciate the occasional comment I have received, most especially from "Captain D" my friend from across the sea. I will continue to follow his blogs with interest.

The New Year has brought a new full-time job for me. Coupling that with increased responsibilities at home leaves me with fewer hours than seem to be available. Something had to give and since I would rather read than write about reading, I've decided to relegate this blog to the virtual dust piles of history. I plan to maintain my current minimal presence on "Goodreads" but that will have to suffice.

Thanks for your support,

Ben Thomas

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Target

In the interest of full disclosure, the author of this book sent me a free signed copy in return for a review.

The Target, written by first time author Bill Bowen offers a unique perspective on the modern day terrorist/thriller novel.  Whereas MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) worked fairly well during the Cold War in keeping the superpowers from attacking each other, could that same idea work with today's terrorism?

The plot of this novel surrounds Mike Curran, an ex-soldier now living in Chicago working in financial markets.  When a terrorist dirty bomb attack on Union Station injures and ultimately kills his wife, Mike comes up with an idea to turn the tide on the terrorists by making a similar attack, or at least demonstrating the possibility of such an attack on that which is most sacred to them: Mecca. Mike hopes when they see how terrorism can work both ways, it will be an effective detterent.

The concept of the novel is unique, at least in my experience.  The author is very knowledgeable about current events and, indeed, wields an impressive resume that lends credence to what he is talking about.  The plot is pretty well constructed but I felt the characters need a bit more work.  Mr Bowen falls into the rookie trap of having a lot to say, so much so that several scenes of dialogue turn into lectures...valuable information for the reader to have but not presented realistically.  Some of this information could have been handled a little better and could have served to flesh out the characters more at the same time.  He does a great job of showing just how easily such a terrorist attack could occur though.  Very believable, even disturbingly so.

Overall, this is a solid first novel; very readable and offering some thought provoking concepts, especially when it comes to deterrence, or the lack thereof when it comes to dealing with terrorism and nuclear weapons.

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