The Road to Omaha – A review

The Road To Omaha

Robert Ludlum

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126227.jpgRobert Ludlum’s wayward hero, the outrageous General MacKenzie Hawkins, returns with a diabolical scheme to right a very old wrong—and wreak vengeance on the [redacted] who drummed him out of the military. Discovering a long-buried 1878 treaty with an obscure Indian tribe, the Hawk, a.k.a. Chief Thunder Head, hatches a brilliant plot that will ultimately bring him and his reluctant legal eagle, Sam Devereaux, before the Supreme Court. Their goal is to reclaim a choice piece of American real estate: the state of Nebraska, which just so happens to be the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Air Command. Their outraged opposition will be no less than the CIA, the Pentagon, and the White House. And only one thing is certain: Ludlum will keep us in nonstop suspense—and side-splitting laughter—through the very last page.


The return of Mackenzie Hawkins and Sam Devereaux is very welcome because the book is as good as the first. The plot is more outrageous, if that’s possible, and more complicated, but every aspect of the book is so well-written you can’t complain about it. The characters, all of them, are brilliantly done, and the interactions between them waver frequently between humorous and clever; no matter what the situation, they are believable and that’s important.

While not quite as dated as the first book, it does show it’s age, and that keeps it from getting more than 4*, nonetheless I really enjoy the book and would love to see it on the big screen. I can only wonder who would get the job of playing Mackenzie Hawkins, it would have to be someone who can project a very big personality – Johnny Depp playing Jack Sparrow springs to mind, although Depp would not be good as Hawkins.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

JK Rowling

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51NzsNx1JNL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg“‘Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.'”

When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves … But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss …


JK Rowling continues with her fabulous series and doesn’t let anything slip. There are so any good characters in this series, and a couple of new ones get introduced in this book, both good, though I prefer Lupin to Sirius. It’s not just the characters that make this book and the series great, it’s the plot, with Harry’s life becoming both better and worse as he learns more about his parents and how they died, and the writing; there is a good level of descriptiveness to every aspect of this book, but nothing that overwhelms the story, allowing you to access what’s going on without anything getting in the way.

The best thing about this book, compared to the first two, is that the plot doesn’t revolve around Voldemort, there is a different focus, and I believe that keeps the series from becoming boring. If I have one real complaint about any part of this book, it’s that there seems to be a contradiction between one part of this book and something that was mentioned in The Chamber of Secrets: in this book a character says there’s no cure for being a werewolf, but in COS Professor Lockhart mentions performing a spell that gets rid of a werewolf curse.

I’m not sure if Rowling forgot what she had written in the previous book, or if she needed to change that in order to use a plot thread she had come up with.

Regardless of that one niggle, this is a very good book in a very good series.

A review of Red Rabbit

Red Rabbit

T0m Clancy

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Red_Rabbit_cover.jpgJack Ryan. The early CIA days . . .

When young Jack Ryan joins the CIA as an analyst he is thrust into a world of political intrigue and conspiracy. Stationed in England, he quickly finds himself debriefing a Soviet defector with an extraordinary story to tell: senior Russian officials are plotting to assassinate Pope John Paul II. The CIA novice must forget his inexperience and rely on all his wits to firstly discover the details of the plot – and then prevent its execution. For it is not just the Pope’s life that is at stake, but also the stability of the Western World.

Red Rabbit is the thrilling eighth novel featuring Jack Ryan, following The Sum of All Fears and Debt of Honour. Published after Executive Orders, the novel charts Jack Ryan’s earliest mission for the CIA, and is the stunning prequel to The Hunt For Red October.


This was written many years after Patriot Games and The Hunt For Red October, though it fits between those two books in the timeline of Jack Ryan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite match up to those earlier books.

The plot is reasonable, being based around a real event that took place in 1981, and the writing is accessible, if more simplistic than is the norm for an author who often writes in a very easy to access way. Somehow, though, there is something lacking from the book, it’s almost as if the book was written by someone other than Tom Clancy, someone who is familiar with the Jack Ryan universe, but whose writing style is more basic.

Having read a number of the reviews on Amazon for this book I think I have identified one of the things that is lacking from this book; the strongest aspect of Tom Clancy’s has always been his descriptions of combat and weapons, neither of which feature in this particular story.

I read this book because it’s part of the series, and I will re-read it the next time I go through the Jack Ryan series, simply because it is a part of the series, but if it was a standalone novel, I wouldn’t be bothering.

An extreme zombie and a kick-ass zombie hunter

Today, after what seems like an incredibly long time, I am able to get around to posting a new review, of a book I read for relaxation no less. I managed to sink my teeth into book 2 of the Anita Blake series, and here’s what I thought of it.

The Laughing Corpse

Laurell K Hamilton

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‘The older the zombie, the bigger the death needed to raise it.’

After a few centuries, the only death ‘big enough’ is a human sacrifice.

I know because I’m an animator. My name is Anita Blake. Working for Animators, Inc. is just a job – like selling insurance. But all the money in the world wasn’t enough for me to take on the particular job Harold Gaynor was offering. Somebody else did, though – a rogue animator.

Now he’s not just raising the dead… he’s raising Hell. And it’s up to me to stop it.


The plot of this book is different from the first, but there isn’t much else that is. Anita Blake continues to get into a number of scrapes fighting paranormal creatures and helping the police, all of which she survives through a combination of luck, her growing powers/experience in dealing with the monsters, and help from friends; occasionally it gets a little too much and you can’t help thinking that she should be dead many times over.

Laurell K Hamilton overcomes that by ensuring that her heroine gets injured and is affected by those injuries, leaving her with an ever increasing collection of scars, and a changing attitude about what is and isn’t a monster.

I like these books, but only because I like Anita Blade and Jean-Claude. If it wasn’t for the dynamic between the two of them I don’t think I would enjoy the books half as much.

On the up side, the writing is decent and the mythology/creature lore is well-researched, that counts for a lot because I’m a big fan of vampires/zombies and all manner of mythological creatures.

The Clerk – An honest review

The Clerk

Matt Cowper

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I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

61VV+IzDQ8L.jpgThomas Copeland has just turned forty years old, but unlike some men his age, he’s not going to have a midlife crisis. Sure, he works at a small grocery store on the North Carolina coast, he doesn’t have many friends, and he’s unmarried and childless, but he’s content with his simple life.

Others, however, are not so content, and they want to make sure Thomas knows it. Between a family curse, wanderlust-filled (and lust-filled) co-workers, a dangerously unhappy sister, and a vindictive ex-friend-with-benefits, Thomas finds himself in an exhausting battle to maintain his idyllic lifestyle.

Will Thomas be able to resolve – or at least survive – these dramas? Will he find love, or just tepid one-night stands? Will his boss ever notice he’s cleaned the bathroom? What will he get his Secret Santa giftee? And what will be the ultimate fate of the grocery store where he works?

“The Clerk” is both satirical and poignant, a riveting exploration of the choices people make in the pursuit of freedom and success. You’ll never look at a grocery store the same way again.


I don’t read literary fiction very often, I usually prefer books with a little more action, but when it’s done well, as it is here, it can be very enjoyable. Thomas Copeland is a very good character whom I was interested in following as he made his way through life, dealing with his family, friends and co-workers.

In the grand scheme of things, little happens to Thomas Copeland, he simply lives a life, but it’s a life (okay so only a part of a life) that’s worth reading about, filled with the kind of people many of us can relate to, I know I certainly could. As each character, whether it be family, friend, or co-worker, entered the scene, I wanted to know what drama they were going to put in the way of Thomas’ efforts to simply live his life, and how he was going to deal with it.

Matt Cowper has done a great job of writing not only an interesting and well fleshed-out main character, but a whole cast of characters who bring plenty to the story, without overwhelming the person you’re supposed to care about.

While the whole book is good, and written in a style that makes it easy to get into and and enjoy (I went through it in next to know time) there are some standout moments/scenes, which I won’t spoil by revealing them here.

All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who is after someone more than chase scenes/fight scenes/heavy romance or action.

Shall We Gather At The River? – An Honest Review

Shall We Gather At The River?

Jane Jago

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*Disclaimer*

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

51a-kjwc-ll…for a moment the silence was blissful. Then the screaming started…

The body of a young woman is found floating in a Devon river; she has been beaten and tortured, then strangled and discarded.

Finding out who she was, and why she died, is only the beginning of an increasingly violent and disturbing trip into a world of vicious sadism and routine abuse.

Writing team Leo and Mike Johnson will be lucky to get out of this one with all their fingers and toes.


This is a book with more twists and turns than the most winding of rivers; just when you think things are settling down and becoming more understandable, new surprises crop up to keep you on your toes, and I like that.

Nothing makes me happier in a book than a lack of certainty, I want to stand a chance of figuring out what is going on, but I like it when I’m wrong.

The pacing of this book is not what I prefer, it was too fast, I’m generally more in favour of a slower pace and some more description in the scenes, but I know there are plenty of people out there who like fast-paced action, and the pace in Shall we gather at the river moves at the speed of sound, if not faster.

Ignoring the pace, and the occasional use of more complex words than I felt was necessary, the book has a great and wonderfully complex plot that reaches beyond sunny Devon where it begins. It also features an eclectic array of characters, about whom you’re constantly learning, and who drive the story forward well; there was only one character who I felt was unnecessary, all others fitted into the story and suited their roles well.

If I could make one suggestion to Jane, it would be that a different cover might attract more readers

Funny, flippin’ good and free

You all like things are funny, good and free, don’t you? Of course you do, who doesn’t, nobody I want to know, that’s who.

Well if funny, flippin’ good and free and three things you look for in a book, then look no further because I have what you’re after, Mirth Defects by Clint Forgy.

I read and reviewed this book a while ago (the review is currently my most popular post, by a long margin and can be read here) and consider it the best indie book I’ve read all year; it’s filled with the funniest anecdotes you’ll find.

It’s not on sale yet, but if you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy, just nip on over to http://clintforgy.com/books/ where the author is very kindly offering up free copies to visitors.

mirthdefects7 corrected.jpgA newborn boy begins the search for his soul mate.

From the day he was born, JD Ferguson knew what was missing: his soul mate. Mirth Defects, the prequel to The Seduction of Granny, is a fiction novel about the early years of JD Ferguson, his brother Bob, their buddies Gasser Jameson and Tiny Steele, and the adventures they experience growing up in the fictional town of Roadapple Ridge, Iowa.


I heartily recommend you pop on over to http://clintforgy.com/books/ and take advantage of Clint’s generosity, especially if you like reading about tales of childhood and growing up, trains, and boys with more interest in having fun than behaving.