Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Couple of Book Reviews

Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni

One wonders if the second book in a series will be as good as the first. In Robert Dugoni’s Her Final Breath, he more than pulls it off. In fact, he nails it. Detective Tracy Crosswhite investigates the murders of exotic dancers in Seattle’s North District and can not find a clue as to who or why someone is brutally killing these girls. She is drawn in, with her partner Kinsington Rowe, to the seamy side of Seattle that tourists try to avoid – at least those tourists from Ohio and like places. Dugoni parades a cast of characters through the book that seem to be normal on one hand and absolutely bat sh#t crazy on the other. Her Final Breath also weaves past internal police ineptitude with current police politics. Crosswhite’s boss, Johnny Nolasco, would rather see the wrong guy convicted than find the right killer he missed years earlier.

Dugoni has created a dynamic, strong, and yet vulnerable character in Tracy Crosswhite worthy of many more stories. There are few strong women in thrillers these days, and Crosswhite is one of the few. His next book In The Clearing, is due out in May, 2016. I look forward to it.

I'm into serious research for my next World War Two thriller as a follow up to a manuscript under editing at the moment (more on this in a later blog). The new book will look at the post war changes that developed in an around the Mediterranean Sea - including the partition and eventual founding of the nation of Israel. This drew me again to a serious book I hadn't read for maybe fifty years, Exodus by Leon Uris.

Uris has always been one of my favorite writers who dealt not only with war and the impacts these conflicts have on his characters, but the real history behind the conflict and why things happened the way they happened. He does not sugar coat history or his characters.

Exodus by Leon Uris (1924-2003)

Published in 1958, Uris develops, in Exodus, the story of the people that formed Jewish Palestine and eventually the start of the state of Israel. There is far more in the book the the 1960 movie starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint could ever portray. Uris gives us the rich, and more often than not, brutal history of those that fled the Russian programs, survived the Nazis death camps, and had lived for three thousand years in the narrow strip of ancient lands that three major religions claims as theirs.

Exodus, written within ten years of the end of WWII and the partition United Nations portion of the lands of Palestine that became Israel, captures the realities of the region. A reality that in most ways has not changed in the last seventy years. We are fond of revisionist histories that make us feel good and paint scenes that are rosy - Uris paints no such picture.

This is the story of a people striving to create something new out of chaos and misfortune so hideous we can not imagine what they went through to reach Israel. It is also a story of a world that, even after the war's end, was still in the thrall of the oil companies, corrupt governments, bigotry, inept leaders, and opportunists.

His characters are richly developed, the story easy to follow, and the scene descriptions more than competent and imaginable. It stands as one of the best books of the twentieth century.

It is also a story of hope, salvation, and success. I highly recommend the book as well as Leon Uris's other books (go here)

More Later . . . . . .

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