Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Quarantine Reads (Fiction)

A lot of us are finding ourselves with a little more time on our hands than normal. I thought I’d make a few suggestions on ways to fill it.

I’m starting today by recommending 10. Books that I feel are worth your time.
My thoughts in blue, synopsis in black.

In His Image by James Beauseignuer 

This is book one of the Christ Clone Trilogy.  I first came across this series in 2004 when I was looking up reviews for the Left Behind series.  I just kept coming across reviewers saying to forget the LB series and get these instead.  I bought the first book and ordered the second about two thirds of the way through. I ordered the third before the second even arrived.  This is my favorite series to date.  I have read it and reread it. The audio version is currently queued up in my phone to listen to as soon as I finish my current book.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

Two nuclear wars. Three asteroids. Demonic madness that kills one third of the world’s population. Into this, a savior will rise, cloned from Christ. It’s not fiction. It’s prophecy.

The Messiah of the New Age. His coming is prophesied by more than a dozen major religions. Cloned from live cells of Jesus Christ found on the Shroud of Turin, Christopher Goodman was born into the most turbulent time in human history. Mentored by former UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert Milner, Christopher rises in position and power, and displays remarkable wisdom and compassion. But through disjointed bits of dreams that sometimes haunt him, Christopher reveals significant troubling errors in the biblical record of Jesus’ life.

Soon the reason for Robert Milner’s interest in Christopher becomes clear: the world is about to undergo a time of destruction and chaos darker than any in history, with impending nuclear war merely a faint precursor. Milner explains that without Christopher, humanity will not long survive. Under Christopher’s leadership, however, mankind stands on the threshold of a final great evolutionary leap that will bestow on the human race god-like powers. This is the reason, Milner says, that Christopher was born.

In Israel, an unexpected threat to Christopher’s ascension is growing: two men, possessed of incredible supernatural powers, one claiming to be the 2000-year-old Apostle John, the other an apostate Hasidic rabbi named Saul Cohen. Together, the men lead an outlawed cult of 144,000 followers, each branded with the names Yahweh and Yeshua on their foreheads.

The Killing Floor - Lee Child
This is the very first Jack Reacher book. Jack reacher is my. Favorite ongoing series.  Reacher books are just fun action novels.  Always some mystery, a little romance and a smidge of humor you can’t go wrong with this one.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

The Coffin Dancer - Jeffery Deaver

This is the first Lincoln Rhyme novel I ever read.  I’ve read everyone since and went back to read the ones before.
Deaver is a mystery master. The twist in this book is so good, I stopped and started the book over because I couldn’t believe how well it had been hidden and revealed. 
As the Rhyme and Sach’s adventures continue this is my favorite.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

Three witnesses to a murder could put a millionaire arms dealer behind bars for good. When one of them, the co-owner of Hudson Air, is blown up in a plane bombing with the Dancer's fingerprints all over it, the FBI takes the other witnesses into protective custody. Only Rhyme can decipher a crime scene, read the residue of a bombing, or identify a handful of dirt well enough to keep up with the killer. Helped by Amelia Sachs, his brilliant and able-bodied assistant, Rhyme traces the Dancer through Manhattan streets, airports, and subways. The psychological tension builds rapidly from page one all the way to the stunning and unexpected denouement. At the same time, Jeffery Deaver slowly develops the against-all-odds love affair between Rhyme and Sachs. Fans of Patricia Cornwell and others in the growing subgenre of forensic thrillers will find a lot to enjoy in Deaver's latest.

The Thief of Always - Clive Barker

A friend loaned me this in high school and it continues to please anyone I can convince to read it.
The Thief of Always is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if Willy Wonka was an age old demon siphoning the childhood innocence from those who visit the factory 
It’s a really easy read, Remenisient of Goosebumps it shouldn’t take you more than a couple sittings but its just plain fun.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

When a 10-year-old boy wishes to be delivered from a boring afternoon, a creature takes him to the Holiday House. "Barker masterfully embroiders this fantasy world with a mounting number of grim, even gruesome details, in a tale that manages to be both cute and horrifying."

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
I’m 41, I am ensconced in pop culture and deeply in love with the 80’s so it is of no surprise that this is on my list.  Give it a read, and don’t let the movie from a few years ago scare you away,  they are quite a bit different.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

t's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune - and remarkable power - to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved - that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt - among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life - and love - in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

You - Caroline Kepnes

You will grab you by the brain and yank. If you aren’t familiar with the book or the series then pick this top and give it a read.  Im not even going to post the synopsis because I want you to go in cold. Just like I did.







Eight Perfect Murders - Peter Swanson

I bought this book because of the synopsis and it kept me on the hook for the 2 days it took me to finish it.  I couldn’t put it down and I will be seeking out more of Mr Swanson’s work.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne's Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox's Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald's The Drowner, and Donna Tartt's A Secret History.
But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.
To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects . . . and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.

A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell

I originally read this book because I knew they were making a movie out of it and the write up looked good.  I try to read the book before I see a movie when I can.  I enjoyed the book and have already pre-ordered Darcey Bell’s followup novel due out this month.

Here is the synopsis from amazon

She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.
But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.
Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

The Guardians - John Grisham

This book rekindled my appreciation of Grishams work.  I can’t recommend it enough if you have ever liked a Grisham book or a court room thriller.  
On par in my mind with the Firm and the Client this book is definitely one for the shelf.

Amazon has no synopsis of this book so here is the blurb from GoodReads

In the small north Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues behind. There were no witnesses, no real suspects, no one with a motive. The police soon settled on Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.
Quincy was framed, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison with no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. Then he wrote a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small innocence group founded by a lawyer/minister named Cullen Post.
Guardian handles only a few innocence cases at a time, and Post is its only investigator. He travels the South fighting wrongful convictions and taking cases no one else will touch. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy exonerated.
They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another one without a second thought.

Revival - Stephen King
Not a whole lot to say here.  Revival doesn’t in my mind suffer the curse of King, that is an unsatisfying conclusion.  It is a book I have read more than once and I am sure I will read it again…. Soon 

Here is the synopsis from amazon

The new minister came to Harlow, Maine, when Jamie Morton was a boy doing battle with his toy army men on the front lawn. The young Reverend Charles Jacobs and his beautiful wife brought new life to the local church and captivated their congregation. But with Jamie, he shares a secret obsession—a draw so powerful, it would have profound consequences five decades after the shattering tragedy that turned the preacher against God, and long after his final, scathing sermon. Now Jamie, a nomadic rock guitarist hooked on heroin, meets Charles Jacobs again. And when their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, Jamie discovers that the word revival has many meanings….

I'll be posting some non fiction tomorrow.
Thanks for reading

Alan




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