Friday, December 27, 2013

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

I just finished my first James Patterson book, Worst Case, and I can see why he is so popular. The fast pace and immediately likable characters take the reader from start to finish on a wild ride to conclusion. The characters are likable and the plot takes small changes in direction to give a peek into the main characters life. While the characters are superficial at best they are fun and work well for the pace and story telling style. The main hero, Michael Bennett, is the proud foster father of 10 children and a widower. He is joined by FBI kidnapping expert Emily Parker and sparks are immediately evident. While the two work to chase a kidnapper of wealthy teenagers throughout New York City Michael's nanny, Mary Catherine, becomes jealous of Emily Parker. All the while Michael racks his brain to understand why two kidnapped teens were killed, one was let go, and one was never found. Adding to the story telling is his grandfather, Seamus Bennett, a Catholic Priest who is always available to advise on matters from forgotten birthdays to biblical text interpretation. The villain certainly drives the story and the book being split between the villain and Michael's perspective assist in keeping the action moving. The culmination of the action happens inside the New York Stock Exchange, the epicenter of finance in the United States. I recommend Worst Case for a vacation, a flight, or any spare time and a readers desire for a fast and fun read.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Final Sacrament by James Forrester

Final Sacrament lived up to every possible expectation that the previous two books of the trilogy set the reader up for, Sacred Treason and The Roots of Betrayal. Although not everything the reader hopes for may happen the story brings closure and vindication for the hero, Clarenceux. Mr. Forrester, or Ian Mortimer, breathes such wonderful life in telling the story set in 16th century England that you nearly feel there. His descriptions of people, architecture, the weather, and common life give the reader a sense of living the story. While the tale revolves around Lady Percy's schemes to extract revenge on William Harley, or Clarenceux, the plot involves several characters that add depth and deliver small side stories bringing color and texture to what could have been a very one dimensional story. Providing real human emotions, reasons, and interactions that drive people to commit murder or worse provide deep and gray characters. No single person is the "bad guy" and no single person is the "good guy," yet every character's shade of gray does stray close to one end or the other at times. James Forrester delivers in another incredible story that is worth every minute.

The King's Deception by Steve Berry

Steve Berry provides another wonderful piece of action, intrigue, and risk set against a historical backdrop. Cotton Malone is once again pulled into a high stakes game of intrigue only this time his son, Gary, is directly in the line of fire. While doing a favor for the CIA under the assumption that it fits with his travel with his son Cotton is asked to deliver a teenage boy to British authorities. From the moment he is greeted by the officials Cotton knows something is up. The fast pace, historical mystery surrounding Elizabeth I, and the wonderful immersion into London all thread together to weave a great story. Although this isn't the normal Cotton Malone adventure where he and perhaps Cassiopeia Vitt face insurmountable odds and solve centuries old mysteries this book brings together father and son and addresses the more personal side of Cotton. Cotton and the CIA agent, Blake Antrim, resolve some past issues while Cotton renews contact with an old MI6 acquaintance. The book also introduces the reader to a new heroine with a mixed past, Kathleen Richards. Perhaps Mr. Berry has more up his sleeve for Cotton, or a spin-off entirely. Either way she is a great addition as a protagonist and the book is a solid piece of fun and action!

Another layoff from Blogging

It seems life always keeps getting in the way of hobbies! In any case I've finally completed so many house projects that I may have time to write more on the books I read. I have read three books recently; The King's Deception by Steve Berry, Final Sacrament by James Forrester, and an academic book for school, Paul Argenti's Corporate Communication. I will go into the two works of fiction separately however I will say that Mr. Argenti's book was one of the better resources I've while working towards a degree in Management and Leadership from Liberty University. The case studies were real, tangible, and clear. Despite the obvious need for effective business communication and all the self-evident communication practices Mr. Argenti is able to educate on finer points of corporate communication. He provides insight and education on corporate communications departments, integration of corporate communications planning with the mission and business plan of a given organization, and how to build and plan for various corporate communication events. Additionally, he brings to focus how to synthesize the message required for an action via the corporate channels and display the difference between general communication, business communications to consumers externally, and internal corporate campaigns. The book is not too long or wordy and delivers interesting cases and anecdotal messages to support the messages being delivered.