Invasion of Privacy: Christopher Reich


There is nothing egregiously “bad” about this book; it’s just that there’s nothing “good. Everything here is pedestrian, the author choosing the first readily available cultural and social tropes that come to mind.

If this were an audio book, it’d come with the blurb, “Now available in stereo(type).



Home: Harlan Coben

Coben is an amazing writer, one of our best contemporary scribes.

His stand-alone books are always good, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Myron Bolitar series, which he got away from for a while.

Many mystery/thriller series often get increasingly convoluted and unbelievable as the author tries to keep up the pace and suspense and there is a tad more of that than I liked here, but man oh man did I miss Myron and Win and Esperanza and Big Cyndi and El Al and all the rest of them.

Wecome HOME.

Wormwood: Micah Ackerman

Bland, dry writing; pedestrian, cardboard cut-out characters; an understanding of technical, military and geopolitical affairs that make the cartoon character KATHY seem like Zbigniew Brezhinski or Henry Kissinger.

As poorly as ONE SECOND AFTER was written, this is much, much worse.

Much. Better read it now before Ackerman is snapped up by the Trump Abomination as the next Secretary of Defence or State.

Jia: Hyejin Kim

The author states her book is a novel based on an “amalgam” of actual people she met during her academic studies and work involving North Korea.

The facts paint a stark picture of the “Hermit Nation,” but it’s not much of a novel, really just a series of poorly connected anecdotes that don’t even evince sympathy for the characters described. The writing is bland and uninspiring, and the plot doesn’t leave us wanting to know what happens next.

This fails abysmally as fiction; try James Church’s INSPECTOR O’s series instead.

Canto for a Gypsy: Martin Cruz Smith


It’s hard to believe the same author that wrote the Arkady Renko and December 6 masterpieces provided us with this (yes, it’s an early novel, before MCS found his ‘feet,’ but still…).

I am a sucker for fiction about Hungary, a nation that went from superpower to irrelevancy in a few mere years and it sits far outside our general sphere of recognition today.
Unfortunately, you won’t find much to keep you here.
Try David Downing’s “Station” novels instead.

One Second After: William Forstchen

An extremely poorly written book on what may the most important topic we should be worried about today.

An Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is a matter of when, not if, whether it be from the detonation in the atmosphere of a low-tech nuclear blast or a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun (the 1859 Carrington Event was so powerful that it burnt out the latest technology of the day — the telegraph — setting fires as it sparked down the wires. When it next hits earth (we missed an even more powerful CME in 2012 by nine days), our entire modern infrastructure will be destroyed in a matter of seconds, shorting out every single electronic device not protected in hardened Faraday Cages.

In a world dependent on electricity and digitization, that means no electricity, no computers, no cars, no factories, no transportation, no refrigeration, no medications: in short, no modern infrastructure left at all. This is no conspiracy theory. No less an authority than a US Congressional Committee has concluded 90% of the US population would be dead within ten years, the estimated time it would take to restore some semblance of an electrical grid.