The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

September 29, 2010

A pair of reviews

In VELOCITY, this third in Alan Jacobson's Karen Vail series, the FBI profiler is looking for her missing boyfriend, possibly the victim of foul play at the hands of a serial killer who has been shot and is in a coma. And yet, new victims of the killer keep cropping up in public places. Is this copycat / student of the original killer playing games with the cops? Does he/they have anything to do with the missing boyfriend? And what does of any of this have to do with Mexican drug cartels?

The pace of the book certainly matches the title, but the story seems to pick up in the middle of things, without ever providing a clearly defined backstory. To add to my confusion, there are more characters than at a family reunion, none of whom are well-defined. I couldn't even keep track of who was a local cop, who was FBI, ATF, or DEA. And sometimes I couldn't figure out why all those alphabet soup organizations were involved. And that much, I suspect, is realistic, in that anytime the Feds get involved to that degree, mass confusion is the one certain result. I felt like I had arrived 45 minutes late to a movie, not knowing who the characters are or able to relate to any of them. However, the prose clips right along, and I suspect this story will have mass appeal for fans of James Patterson's Murder Club series. Those interested would benefit by reading the series in order.

SAMURAI CODE is the fourth in Don Easton's Jack Taggart series. Taggart is a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, an undercover agent extraordinare, and in this story he is following the trail of illegal gun dealers, from the streets up. This leads him and his partner to a powerful Asian organized-crime mob. The author uses this story to highlight the difficulties covert agents face in trying to infiltrate organized crime, but never sacrifices action for the sake of argument. Some of the action scenes had the feel of being scripted with a movie in mind, and in the early parts of the book, there were a few instances of the "had I but known" school of crime writing. Again, I would recommend this book to fans of James Patterson, but in this case the book did stand on its own without requiring that the reader tackle the series in order.


  1. Thanks for the sneak peak at Velocity. I've been looking forward to it, and have read the first two, but based on your review I don't know that it'll rocket to the top of the TBR stack now.

  2. Sneak "peak." Really? And I've not even been into the wine yet tonight. ;-)

  3. I confuse words like that all the time. I'm happy to share the tendency.

    If you've already read the others then you will probably enjoy the book more than I did. It really does seem like this one starts right where the last one must have left off.

  4. Thanks! for sharing.

  5. There is a problem with series. As we get older, we don't want to come in in the middle. But starting at the beginning does not often result it the best book. I have steered away from a lot of good writers because of this. Willam Kent Kruger is one.

  6. Too true, Patti. I probably would never have read past Parker's GODWULF MANUSCRIPT if he had not already sold a gazillion other books in the series.