Infernal Affairs (Saint Tommy, NYPD #3) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Infernal Affairs
Series: Saint Tommy, NYPD #3
Author: Declan Finn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 182
Words: 51K



Synopsis:

From Amazon.com & Me

Detective Tommy Nolan is having a bad day. Gunfights are no longer a rare occurrence in his life. Not since he caught a serial killer demon and destroyed a death cult. He’s already had to relocate his family once. If things don’t settle down soon, he might have to leave New York for good.

And the NYPD can’t keep ignoring all the chaos and slaughter around Tommy. Add a murdered priest, a SWAT team raid, an internal affairs investigation and a million-dollar bounty into the mix, and Tommy’s whole week is ruined.

Every demon, monster, and gangbanger in New York and New Jersey are crawling out of the pit to claim the reward on Tommy’s head. It’s hard enough to fight demons when they’re breaking the law. But what can you do when they’re hiding behind it?

Turns out the Mayor is the mysterious Warlock and he wants Tommy dead to pay off his spiritual debts, of which the mayor has run up a lot of. With enough power, the mayor can turn New York City into a living hell and pay for his powers with the misery until the end of time.

Tommy’s not about to let that happen! When the mayor takes a direct hand in attacking Saint Tommy, the bodies fly. But when the mayor’s debt comes due, Hell doesn’t care if he has Tommy in his grasp; the bill is due NOW and nothing is going to stop the demons from taking payment.

Tommy is saved to fight another day.

My Thoughts:

Another great action packed volume. And we get vampires. Well, to be honest, Tommy sees them and when they touch his blood they go up in smoke, so they disappear. I’m hoping we get more of them in later books. You get some demonic drones too.

It has been a couple of months since the previous book and life for Tommy and his family has settled down. Once the bounty goes out though, Tommy puts his family with D (the “good” criminal) and goes hell for leather with his partner. When he realizes he can’t single handedly take down the Warlock due to the scumbag hiding behind the law, Tommy brings in the Feds. This has the affect of bringing Tommy to the attention of a single individual who seems to be doing what Tommy does, but on a national or international scale. Definitely opens up the literary vistas for us to explore.

Another thing I like is how short these are. At under 200 pages, I can read them on a weekend afternoon or a snow day and still have time left over to start the next book in my rotation. Makes me feel like I’m A Powerful Book Lord (more than I already am I mean).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Transfer of Power (Mitch Rapp #1) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Transfer of Power
Series: Mitch Rapp #1
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 458
Words: 168K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.com

Rapp is introduced while he is performing a covert operation in Iran and he discovers a possible terrorist attack planned for the nation’s capital to happen in the near future. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Anna Reilly is starting her first day as a White House correspondent for NBC. It also happens to be the day where the terrorist, using a secret entrance, takes over the White House and holds it hostage. The president, who barely escaped the hostage situation, remains trapped in the unfinished bomb shelter. With the vice president using this opportunity as commander in chief to glorify his political career by being lenient towards the terrorist demands, Rapp must find a way to fight the terrorists from the inside of the White House. It is here where he saves Anna Reilly from being raped by one of the terrorists and their relationship, which will be seen throughout the later books, begins.

Several Navy SEALs sneak into the White House while Rapp eliminates the terrorists, and saves the hostages and the president. The leader of the terrorist group manages to escape the White House while detonating his strategically placed explosives. He is later found in South America only to be killed by Rapp

My Thoughts:

This was a thoroughly enjoyable macho man book without the macho-ness dragging along a boatload of jerkitis. I hate when testosterone turns to stupidity. That was my main issue with the Scott Harvath series (which I touched on in the Currently Reading & Quote post last week). I did go into this a bit gingerly because of that. Even 4 years later Harvath sticks in my mind as an icon of douchebaggery. Thankfully, Mitch Rapp doesn’t seem to be that way. While he’s not a smooth tongued political serpent, he doesn’t go out of his way to be a jerk either.

I am a little concerned with the romance angle. Most Operators aren’t the kind of people who can focus and do what needs to be done AND have a perfectly balanced family life. While I’m rooting for Rapp and Reilly to work out I’m not letting it become a big thing in my mind. That way if it doesn’t work out or she dies or becomes a terrorist or WAS a terrorist the entire time, I won’t be torn up about it.

I’m also currently reading the Delta Force novels by Dalton Fury and that has given me a lot of background into certain terms and processes used by teams like Delta, that while not necessary to completely understand here, certainly make for a fuller reading. In the final assault on the White House Flynn talks about small helicopters loaded up with 4 Delta members on the skids. It’s a 2 sentence description that by itself you just kind of read over. But Dalton references the practice in much fuller detail in his books and so I was able to transpose the knowledge from that to this. Not a big thing but reading books like these are all about the experience and that made for a fuller experience. I’m happy about that.

One word of warning. There is a scene where Anna is going to be raped by one of the terrorists. She isn’t because Rapp steps in. However, if reading about attempted rape is something that bothers you, you should be aware of that. I’m not a fan of reading about that situation and should it be used again I’ll have to think hard about the series. But it made sense for the situation (ie, it wasn’t thrown in as titillation), wasn’t graphic and in the end, doesn’t happen because a good man puts a stop to it.

The title refers to the Transfer of Power from an incapacitated President to the Vice President. Said VP is a real scumsucking politician being advised by an even worse scumsucking politician and they both get their just desserts by the end of the book. Too bad real life can’t follow certain parts of this book.

I’ve got 17 more Mitch Rapp books to read by Flynn. Flynn died and another author stepped in at book 13 or so, so we’ll see how the series goes. Sometimes a series is long because it is good and sometimes it is long because it is pablum for an undiscerning audience. I am pulling for the Good option here!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Full Assault Mode (Delta Force #3) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Full Assault Mode
Series: Delta Force #3
Author: Dalton Fury
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 335
Words: 121.5K



Synopsis:

From Kobo.com

When SEAL Team Six killed Osama bin Laden, they pulled a treasure trove of intelligence on planned attacks on U.S. soil. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new leader, is activating his most trusted (and deadliest) terrorists to carry out his newest plot: to detonate a bomb inside one of the sixty-four commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. in an attack ten times worse than 9/11, causing radiological fallout that would kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans.

The President wants answers quickly, and after Kolt Raynor saved his life a few months earlier, he knows Delta Force is fully capable. But Kolt is on the verge of getting forced out of JSOC for disobeying orders in Pakistan—and when he’s offered a slot in Tungsten, an ultra-secret deep-cover organization, he jumps at the chance. Now his task is to infiltrate al Qaeda and prevent this deep-cover terror cell from making their plot a reality before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

The above synopsis isn’t that full because I didn’t care enough to write out any more and what Kobo included was good enough. Needless to say, there was a lot more involved than what was described. In fact, by the time I was done with this book I was exhausted myself and beginning to think that maybe Superman needed to take a few lessons from Kolt Raynor.

The book starts out with Raynor locking horns with his new boss and disobeying direct orders so that Raynor can rescue a fellow Delta Operator. This also allows him to bag a big time terrorist and get some much needed info to Agencies like the CIA, etc. It has the bad effect of putting him into direct conflict with his superiors which leads to him being “re-evaluated”. We all know what that means.

That opens up Raynor to be recruited into Tungsten though. If Delta Force is a black ops, then Tungsten is blacker than black AND they can operate on American soil. Think Treadstone without the brainwashing from the Jason Bourne franchise. Raynor gets involved with helping terrorists and I have to admit, I was wondering if he was going to cross a line. Thankfully he didn’t but that was because he really played Superman.

In the final attack on a Nuclear Power Plant, Raynor figures out that the terrorists are actually planning three levels of attacks, so as to distract and confuse anyone responding. Not only does he figure it out, he singlehandedly deals with them all, WHILE being fired upon by the security forces at the Power Plant. I was expecting a Dagwood sandwich in terms of heroics and this book felt like my order was Supersized without me wanting that.

That “too much action” (which if I’m being honest I wouldn’t have believed possible to be a problem for me in a bleeding Delta Force Military Action/Adventure book!) was one of the reasons this didn’t get a higher rating. The other reason was the inclusion of Miss Delta Force, codename Hawk. Mainly because there were some small but not subtle “romance vibes” between her and Raynor. I don’t care if it’s realistic or not, keep your filthy romance out of my action books please.

After writing all that I had to sit back and make sure this was actually a 3 star read. It was. While I might have complained about Action Fatigue, that is 1000% better than complaining about a LACK of action in a book like this. For example, Hawk, the female operative, gets captured in her civvies and ends up putting 2inches of her high heel through one of the terrorist’s skull. How awesome is that?!? That is what I expect from a series called Delta Force.

Another thing that I realized that I liked, was the whole Group Dynamics. Usually, I’m a single hero kind of guy, none of this group stuff for me. But when Raynor went on his own in Tungsten, I realized I really liked how the Delta Force Operators worked together. They weren’t a group of single heroes, but a real unit. Personally, I hope Raynor goes back to Delta Force in the next book. We’ll see though.

And holy tabascoman, did I write a lot more than I intended! See you tomorrow.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Death Cult (Saint Tommy, NYPD #2) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Death Cult
Series: Saint Tommy, NYPD #2
Author: Declan Finn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 184
Words: 50.5K





Synopsis:

Even though Tommy defeated the demon in the previous book, the cultists who raised it are still at large and very unhappy that Tommy stopped them in their tracks.

Tommy is in the process of moving out from his old house with his family when they are attacked one night by what can only be described as zombies. Tommy realizes the cult is after him and his family and begins investigating.

Once again his investigating brings him into contact with the “Medical Facilities” where abortions are performed, whether the patient wants it or not. Tommy tracks down truck loads of discarded baby bodies which the cultists are using in their satanic rituals, which include eating said babies.

With pressure from the Mayor, Tommy is unsanctioned and has to go after the cult without police backup. Once the cult kidnaps his son, Tommy realizes he can’t wait either. With help from a gang, Tommy and those who believe in his Wonder Worker powers go up against the cult.

Tommy and Co take down the Cult, destroy an idol of Moloch and think they destroy the man who has been creating and controlling the zombies. The book ends with Tommy having a face off with the Mayor and one of the Mayor’s more powerful appointees turns out to be the voodoo man, still very much alive and well.

My Thoughts:

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Part of my enjoyment stems from the fact that the author seems to really consider just how things would play out in these scenarios. If you stopped a cult, do you think they’d be “Oh, we lost. Good game. Ta ta.” Yeah, I don’t think that either. Finn also shows what an uphill battle Tommy has because of people in power. He also shows that Tommy isn’t living in a vacuum and that his choices affect those around him.

But at the same time, Tommy is never overcome. He trust that God gave him the powers he has for a reason and he’s willing to use them to the fullest extent possible. When his son is kidnapped, Tommy is fully cognizant that to save his son he’s probably going to have to sacrifice his own. Not once does Tommy whine or complain or act like a self-entitled wimp. When things go wrong, he doesn’t blame God nor does he blame those around him. In short, Tommy is the kind of character I like to read about.

The introduction of zombies and the bokor (the person controlling the zombies) being a man of power in the city certainly made sense and also created some future battles. Having destroyed the idol of Moloch, the bokor’s totem of power, you know he’s going to continue going after Tommy and his family. And that is something else that I liked and want to talk about. Tommy never snivels about how he needs to be alone and cut off from his family to protect them. He realizes that he is stronger for being with them AND that part of his duty as a husband and a father is protect them. His wife has several guns, knows how to use them and does so. Tommy’s son has a pistol, is learning krav maga and knows what to do when certain scenarios happen. Tommy and his family have thought through scenarios from each place in their house and have what the proper response is and they practice that. The man is enabling his family instead of crippling them with fear and a “hide and hope for the best” attitude. Oh, I am loving this series just for that. Tommy is a hero and one that I am enjoying reading about.

The action, while not quite as intense as the previous book, is still high and tight. Gun battles are great to read about, that is for sure.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Tier One Wild (Delta Force #2) ★★★✬☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Bookhype by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Tier One Wild
Series: Delta Force #2
Author: Dalton Fury
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 344
Words: 124K



Synopsis:

From Devilreads & Me

Former disgraced Delta Force commander Kolt “Racer” Raynor has earned his way back into The Unit after redeeming himself during an explosive operation at a black site in Pakistan. But he is about to face his deadliest challenge yet.

The most wanted man in the world, American al Qaeda commander Daoud al Amriki, and his handpicked team of terrorist operatives, have acquired stores of Russian-built, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (SAM’s) from ex-Libyan spies in Cairo. Their mission: infiltrate the United States and take down American aircraft. The country’s best are tasked with stopping them. But when a SEAL Team Six mission to take down al Amriki goes wrong, Major Raynor and his Delta Force team find themselves front and center as Amriki and his terrorists work their way closer to America. And time is running out.

Amriki and his group make it into American and bring down several planes. One cell is caught, which was Amriki’s plan to distract everyone from his real plan to shoot down the President of the United States who is going to be traveling by helicopter. With the laws of the land forbidding them to act, Delta Force is left on the sidelines as an official agency. But when Raynor and his friend TJ (who was captured by Amriki in the previous book and knows him like a second brother) strike out on their own, they know they are doing the right thing.

TJ gives his life to stop Amriki and Raynor kills the son of a monkey, thus saving the President.

My Thoughts:

While I’m giving this the same rating as the previous book, I enjoyed my time reading this more. Raynor isn’t so much of a jerkface due to his returning officially to Delta Force, but he doesn’t let the reader forget for one instance that he’s the new and improved version of Kolt Raynor. I think most of my enjoyment sprang from the fact that Raynor isn’t as much a solo character as in the first book. Usually, I’m a big fan of the Lone Cowboy (in whatever setting) against the world, but Raynor just works better as part of a team and Delta Force is ALL about the Team.

The action starts out hot and heavy with Delta Force taking down a hijacked 747 WHILE IT IS TAKING OFF! That was just cool. It felt like the author started out with a sprint and then we eased into a long, loping run to go the distance. The rest of the book was us getting to the scene where Raynor and Amriki face off and the President of the United States is in danger.

The one issue I did have was with there being a female in Delta Force. Given, she’s not supposed to be on the Action Team but she’s part of an initiative to broaden the scope of what Delta can do (ie, married couple’s are a lot less suspicious than a group of four men). I’ve google’d women in the special forces and most of the articles are by publications that I don’t trust, not one iota. So while they report that there are women in the various branches of the Special Forces, nothing has been said/written if the regulations for entering have changed (ie, the physical side of things). Aside from that, I am not in favor of women serving in combat positions in the military anyway. I realize that is yesterday’s fight though and have pretty much moved on.

That does bring me to something that I did like about a modern military, the psychology of the people who can operate as Special Forces. The author shows how the various teams are rotated so that they can not only get some R&R but also be examined by Shrinks. People can’t go around killing people (even ones who really do deserve to die) without there being consequences to the mind and emotions. While Fury doesn’t do a full on “Headology 101”, he does acknowledge it is a real factor and needs to be addressed. I talked about this briefly in my Whose Body? review earlier this month but it feels like this generation of soldiers is the first where their mental space is as of much concern as the physical side of things. I for one find that encouraging.

To end, this was much more enjoyable than book one and I’m looking forward to what Kolt Raynor and his team has to deal with in the next book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Hell Spawn (Saint Tommy, NYPD #1) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Hell Spawn
Series: Saint Tommy, NYPD #1
Author: Declan Finn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 206
Words: 59K



Synopsis:

Tommy Nolan is a detective in New York City. With his wife and young son, Tommy lives within walking distance of his precinct offices. One day Tommy begins to experience some strange things, things he can’t really explain. But that all is washed away when a little girl is murdered right in Tommy’s neighborhood and the killer leaves a personal message for Tommy written in the girl’s blood. Then one of Tommy’s neighbors is murdered in the same fashion. The problem is, Tommy had talked to her on the phone, long after it was possible for her to be alive.

Turn’s out there’s a demon loose in New York City and it has teamed up with a psycho killer who is a discredited medical doctor. Discredited because he experimented on live victims without their consent. Tommy manages to put the perp in jail but the demon’s name is Legion and takes over many of the inmates and causes a riot that even the SWAT can’t put down. Possessed men aren’t too worried about a few paltry bullets or tear gas after all.

Tommy, after getting some backup from his local priest and all the surrounding priests, heads into the prison to confront the demon and exorcise it. He’s a man on a mission from God and begins to experience the powers that Saints throughout history have been recorded as having.

Exorcising the demon gets the prison under control, but Tommy’s life is forever changed as the demon reveals that Tommy has been chosen to be the Patron Saint of Detectives. While this situation has been dealt with, Tommy knows that a righteous man’s work isn’t finished while he has breath in his body.

My Thoughts:

First things first. On Amazon, right in the title, this bills itself as “A Catholic Action Horror Novel”. It certainly is. Considering how other urban fantasy series shove paganism down their readers’ throats without a second thought, I don’t see that being a problem though. Unless you’re a religious bigot that is.

Now, was that a great opening paragraph or what? I was aiming for abrasive and since I bristled at myself when I read it out loud to see how it sounded, I knew I had succeeded. But seriously folks, if you can deal with Dresden or the Iron Druid Chronicles or Jayne Yellowrock or that author Jim Hines, well, you should have zero problems with the views put forth here. Especially if you espouse tolerance as the mainstay of your beliefs.

I enjoyed this a lot. While I have my issues with specific doctrines of Catholicism and even with the whole “Saints” thing, thinking of this as a supernaturally powered cop worked just fine. And it helped that Tommy had to obey some really strict rules that had 1000’s of years of history behind them. Every ability exhibited was one that previous saints had shown, so Tommy isn’t simply pulling power out of his butt. The internal consistency was refreshing. Too many times the rules of urban fantasy seem to get made up as the author goes along, or to not really have any rules beyond “it’s supernatural, we just don’t understand”. While the rules are being revealed to us as readers, they have a deep and abiding history backing them up.

One word of caution however. This is graphic in terms of violence. Finn doesn’t shy away from describing in detail just how the demon possessed man kills his victims. It is really horrific. What is even more horrific is when it is revealed what those killings are based on in real life.

Another thing I did like was the whole family dynamic. Tommy and his wife aren’t having drama to ratchet up the tension. She’s the wife of a cop and knows what that entails. Tommy is teaching his son krav maga so he can defend himself and to help others who are being bullied. His son isn’t a psycho emo goth whatever who Tommy is trying to “connect” with. Tommy is being the dad that every dad should be. It was just great to see a main character being in a stable family. They helped each other instead of draining each other.

Overall, I was very pleased with this read and am looking forward to more in the series. I believe there are currently 7. I know that Finn has also authored several other series. One of them falls squarely into the paranormal romance category though, so even if it too gets the “A Catholic Action Horror Novel” I’ll be avoiding it like the plague.

★★★★☆

Black Site (Delta Force #1) ★★★☆☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission


Title: Black Site
Series: Delta Force #1
Author: Dalton Fury
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 347
Words: 122K




Synopsis:

Kolt Raynor, code name Racer, was at the top of his game as a Delta Force Commander when one bad decision on a covert operation plunged him into the abyss. After being kicked out of Delta Force and the military completely, for three years he took odd jobs to get by and drank his life away. Then one day there was a knock at his crappy trailer door and he was offered the chance to get back into the game, but as a civilian. The job was very risky, as in not-come-back-alive risky, but it was worth it for Kolt to do it and do it well. He had three weeks to train and it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. If he survived the training then he would be able to start the job.

After dropping in, making contact with his local guide, Raynor begins surveillance of the compound where a group of American soldiers are being held captive. They’re in captivity because they tried to rescue Raynor during his disastrous mission 3 years ago. Raynor breaks orders, infiltrates the compound, learns there is a huge operation underway by Al-Queda and exfiltrates with the vague info. His bosses refuse to act on the info and Raynor has to rely on a former Intel Spook gone native and the local guide to figure out what’s going on.

Turns out Al-Queda has found a Black Site where high value prisoners are being held. They wish to rescue the prisoners, destroy America’s credibility in the region and use it all as propaganda to demoralize the general American populace (with the help of the damnable propaganda machines known as the news outlets). Raynor warns the site, helps them survive the various attacks and makes his own way out of the country.

My Thoughts:

This was enjoyable but in a very ambivalent way. Raynor gets his team killed, regresses to an alcoholic, takes on a rescue mission and cleans himself up. There are no surprises as far as I was concerned and while the final goal of the Al-Queda terrorists remained a mystery up until it happened, I simply didn’t care to try to figure it out. I just rolled with it.

Honestly, this is just another military action/adventure story among a whole host of them. I haven’t read a lot in that particular genre so I can’t tell if this was better or worse, but in general, this was ok. I’ve got 3 more books by Dalton and nothing here persuaded me to not read them.

★★★☆☆

The Most Dangerous Game (Short Story) ★★★★☆


This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Most Dangerous Game
Series: ———-
Author: Richard Connell
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 21
Words: 8K



Synopsis:

Rainsford is a big game hunter on yacht heading to his next destination. He falls off the boat one night but manages to swim to a nearby island. He is introduced to General Zaroff, a former General to the Russian Czar now living in exile because of the Red Revolution. Zaroff claims to be a hunter from birth and founded his life’s purpose on the thrill of the hunt. Sadly, the hunt against animals paled and Zaroff didn’t know what to do. Until he began hunting men. Now he rescues shipwrecked sailors or kidnaps them and then lets them loose on his island to hunt at his leisure.

When Rainsford refuses to join, Zaroff decides to hunt him. Armed only with a knife,Rainsford must not only overcome Zaroff, but also his killer servant Ivan and the General’s trained pack of hunting dogs.

Rainsford turns the tables and kills Zaroff.

My Thoughts:

A couple of months ago, The Film Authority reviewed the 1932 movie The Most Dangerous Game. It sounded extremely familiar and it turned out it was based on a short story that I had read “some time, some where, some how”. The original title was The Hounds of Zaroff written in 1924.

This was a fascinating little story and sure does pack a wallop for a mere 21 pages. I read a gutenberg “illustrated” edition, which just threw in random pictures of objects being talked about in the text, so I suspect the real page count is closer to the teens.

There isn’t much to actually talk about. The twist is well known, very well used. Using humans as hunting prey has been around since, well, there has been enough leisure time for hunting culture to develop. Humanity gets bored easily enough and it’s creative enough and broken enough to do something like this. There was an Outer Limits episode where some humans use humanoid androids as hunting targets and the twist there was that the androids turned the tables. Just like Rainsford does to Zaroff here.

Even knowing the story, I recommend reading this if you want a little Action/Adventure to tide you over some afternoon.

★★★★☆

Harrigan ★★★☆☆

harrigan (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Harrigan
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 225
Words: 65K

 

Synopsis:

Harrigan, a red irishman, is in Hawaii, looking for something to keep him moving. He joins in a fight and backs up a black irishman and finds out he’s a captain of a vessel. They go their separate ways until Harrigan’s wanderings bring him to the docks. He sees the captain’s ship taking off and jumps aboard. The Captain takes him aboard as a common sailor but promises that he’s going to break Harrigan.

A woman sees Harrigan being broken and tries to intervene, thus making things even worse. This brings her to the Captain’s attention however and suddenly there is even more bad blood between Harrigan and him. A hurrican destroys the ship and the woman, the Captain and Harrigan all end up on a deserted island. The woman uses deception to keep a fragile peace and both men abide by it until they are rescued.

They are rescued by a crony of the Captain who is even more powerful and even worse than the Captain. The breaking of Harrigan begins all over again. The new Captain is a cruel hard man and his crew eventually mutinies. Harrigan gets dragged in to protect the woman and the old Captain gets involved to try to take her away from Harrigan. Things go badly for everyone, the ship is destroyed and our trio make their way to some homestead in South America. There they find out that The Great War has started and they all, unbeknownst to each other, join up.

 

My Thoughts:

Love triangle. And yet I never once considered putting this book down. If you want two testosterone laden Irishmen trying to beat the living daylights out of each other and break the other’s spirit, all the time, this is the book for you!

And for anyone who doesn’t know (cause I didn’t for years and years) red irish and black irish refer to the hair color, not their skin.

This was a story about men being stupid and yet glorious all at the same time. I laughed, I groaned, I sympathized, I shook my head and rolled my eyes. Why I didn’t abandon this? Because the action between them was so intense it was like the words jumped off the page and grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go. While their hands were around each other’s throat, they were just as much around mine. But even with that, it still only gets 3 stars because of love triangles and stupidity.

Also, this isn’t a western. It is a Men’s Adventure Story.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

Death Wish ★★★★★

deathwish (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Death Wish
Series: ———-
Author: Brian Garfield
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Paul Benjamin is a successful accountant in New York City. One afternoon his wife and married daughter are attacked in Paul’s apartment and savagely beaten. His wife dies and his daughter ends up in a sanitarium, insane for all intents and purposes.

Paul has always been a good guy. He’s done charity work for prison reform, contributes to causes left and right and thinks that if he obeys the rules that Society will protect him. With the attack on his family this delusion is ripped away and Paul must confront what living in a big city really means.

As he mulls these thoughts over, he begins to change. He realizes he has been afraid and he is now going to stop being afraid. But how does one stop being afraid? By taking responsibility for ones self is the conclusion Paul comes to.

On a business trip to the Mid-West Paul has a one night stand with some stranger at his hotel. When she leaves he realizes how empty his life is. How empty those hoodlums have made his life. He buys a small calibre pistol at a fishing shop and takes it back to New York with him hidden in his carry on baggage.

Paul begins roaming the city at night, exposing himself to danger so as to kill the perpetrators of violence and crime. After several kills the papers pick up on the fact that there is a vigilante on the loose. The book ends with Paul having just shot 4 teenagers who were throwing 50lb rocks onto a train to kill people inside and a cop seeing him. The cop raises his hat and deliberately turns his back and Paul walks home.

 

My Thoughts:

My goodness, another fantastic book for this year. Definitely gets the “Best Book of the Year” tag.

So, this review might be long and rambly, please bear with me or just skip it. Either way, it’s all good.

I had heard about this through the 1974 film starring Charles Bronson. Knowing the type of movie Bronson usually starred in, I never got around to watching it. Then in 2018 a remake with Bruce Willis was made and it eventually came to Amazon Prime. I watched the reboot, as I really like Willis. That led me to watching the original with Bronson and then to hunting down the book. I plan on talking about the movies in a Versus post later this month. Death Wish vs Death Wish vs Death Wish!

Based on the synopsis and the movies, I was expecting a book about a vigilante getting his revenge. A soft, pasty, weakminded fool seeing reality for the first time in his life and going all gung-ho to the other extreme. What I got was a psychological book that impressed me over and over and over. Paul never finds the hoodlums who killed his wife and he never expects to. What I read was the mind of a man pushed beyond its self-imposed limits. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t always easy to read about but it was good.

I’ve always considered Crime & Punishment to be THE book on what a criminal mind goes through after a murder. Death Wish is entering the same territory in my mind but from the other end. What does a man go through when he truly realizes how broken, destructive and unsafe his world is? This book shows the answer to that.

Given the fact that I already agree with most of the statements made in this book (see my Quote post from the other day) it is no surprise that I liked this. The only part I struggled with was Paul taking the role of Executioner into his own hands, not lightly, but so determinedly. I believe that every human has the God given right to defend themselves. I believe that laws like the Stand Your Ground laws are essential to a free society. However, when defense of Self moves into the defense of Society then I cannot blindly accept or promote it. But neither do I blindly negate it. Evil, and people who commit acts of Evil ARE evil, must be resisted not only by the dutifully elected officials of Law and Order but by every conscientious citizen as well. The flip side of the Right to Self-defense is the Responsibility of Self-defense. This book was written in 1972 and is pretty dated but the battle that Paul goes through in his mind is as relevant today as it was then.

I don’t know what someone who is in staunch opposition to the right of self-defense would make of this book. I don’t think it would change their mind. It is not meant to however. This was a book written to all of those people who sit on the fence and think they are safe because “of the police” or that “it couldn’t happen here in Safe Safe Happy Funland.” Brian Garfield also NEVER ridicules those who think like Paul at the beginning of the book. I really appreciated that.

I would love to unreservedly recommend this book but honestly, I can’t. For me, it was the right book at the right time. People can have their minds changed and responsibility can grow from even the stinkiest compost heap.

To end, this was not an action/adventure novel of revenge and over the top violence. This was the story of a man finally growing up.

★★★★★

 

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