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review 2017-07-26 00:47
The Fallen Angel
The Fallen Angel - Daniel Silva

The Fallen Angel is a mid-series entry (#12) in Daniel Silva’s long-running series about Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon. At the beginning of The Fallen Angel, Gabriel is retired from the intrigue business and at the Vatican to restore a painting by Caravaggio. He is drawn into an investigation of the death of a female curator who was investigating malfeasance in the Vatican collection by his friend and occasional ally, private secretary to his Holiness Pope Paul VII, Monsignor Luigi Donati. Of course, Donati knows more than he initially reveals and soon Gabriel is off to the Italian countryside followed by St. Moritz to investigate. It being a Gabriel Allon story, there can’t be just one villain, just one plot, and soon enough the story circles back to events in Israel and the clock is ticking as Gabriel races to save the world in the nick of time.

 

Read by iconic narrator George Guidall, The Fallen Angel, like many thrillers made an excellent audiobook. While The Fallen Angel can stand alone, I would have benefitted from a more recent memory of the previous volume in the series (which I somehow appear to have missed). Gabriel has been aging in real time and would be in his late 50s at the time of The Fallen Angel. He is still, barely, young enough for the high jinx to be plausible. While Daniel Silva continues to turn out one well researched Gabriel story a year (#17 was published earlier in July 2017), the stories since The Fallen Angel just haven’t been quite as compelling.

 

Read for  Fantasyland 6: Read a book set in a Western European Country or with a wintry scene on the cover

 

 

  

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review 2017-07-22 02:59
A fun little mystery that's just this side of a must-read
One by One (A Daniel Hayes Mystery Book 2) - Robert Germaux

Daniel Hays and his Special Assignment Squad -- a Major Crimes squad set up to help smaller cities in the county around Pittsburgh -- haven't had a lot to do since being formed. That changes when the chief him Hampton Township has a strange homicide show up. He doesn't need the help necessarily, but is concerned that the strangeness of the murder indicates that there could be something "big" coming. Another few homicides (at least) with the same strange element.

 

There's a note left on the corpse, it reads "Blue is Better" and has a big, red check mark underneath. Daniel and his partner agree, they probably don't need to be involved, but should be familiar with the investigation, just in case.

 

Good thing, too -- because one week later in a very different part of the county, here's another murder. With another note. Now things are getting serious and the SAS has to jump into action.

 

There's no connection between the victims that they can find, no clues, no anything for them to go on. Just the notes, and repeated homicides on Fridays.

 

From there, we get an interesting twist or two there, some wrong turns, until after a lucky stroke, all the pieces fall together.

 

The characters are nice to spend time with, professionals who get along and work for the common good. They could possibly be a little more interesting if they were a little less professional, if there were a glitch or two in the teamwork. <b>One by One</b> falls into something like a "blue-sky" drama on TV -- like <b>NCIS</b>, <b>Burn Notice</b> or <b>White Collar</b>, not the grittier <b>Homicide</b>, <b>The Wire</b>, or <b>Bosch</b>. This is not a dig at <b>One by One</b> to compare it to those shows -- people love them, I've watched every episode of <b>NCIS</b> and enjoyed over 87% of them. But readers should go into this with eyes open -- just because it's a detective squad working multiple homicides, don't go in expecting Michael Connelly, Owen Laukkanen, or Ian Rankin -- expect Chris Grabenstein, David Rosenfelt, Aaron J. Elkins (check my archives, you'll see that I've really enjoyed all those authors -- again, this isn't a knock, this is me describing where this belongs on a spectrum).

 

That said, Germaux could've given us a little more sense of urgency, had the characters seem less casual in their approach to this work. They did a lot of run of the mill, interviews with people that didn't get them anywhere -- even just showing more of that, would've been something. Maybe all of the smaller departments weren't as cooperative with the task force. It wouldn't have to be much, the book could've used a little something to intensify the drama. This was a good read, a light and enjoyable mystery; it's <i>thiiis</i> close to me saying it's a must read, but instead, I'll leave it as a good read. You will enjoy it.This is a quick, easy story with a nice puzzle and some charming characters. I planned on reading the previous novel in the series, <b>Small Talk</b>, I just hadn't got around to it -- I'm going to work a little harder on that now.

 

If nothing else, read it for the recommendation on your new favorite version of "Over the Rainbow." Wow.

 

<i><b>Disclaimer</b>: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the Book Tour.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/07/20/one-by-one-by-robert-germaux
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text 2017-07-18 03:46
Erster Satz | Daniel Silva: Der englische Spion
Der englische Spion (Gabriel Allon) - Daniel Silva,Wulf Bergner

Nichts von alledem wäre passiert, hätte Spider Barnes sich nicht zwei Abende vor dem Auslaufen der Aurora im Eddy's betrunken. 

 

Spider galt als der beste Schiffskoch der gesamten Karibik, cholerisch, aber unersetzlich, ein verrücktes Genie in weißer Jacke und Schürze. Spider, müssen Sie wissen, hatte eine klassische Ausbildung. Spider hatte einige Zeit in Paris gearbeitet. Spider war in London gewesen. Spider hatte New York, San Francisco und einen unglücklichen Zwischenstopp in Miami absolviert, bevor er endgültig aus dem Restaurantgeschäft ausgestiegen war, um die Freiheit der Meere zu genießen. Jetzt arbeitete er auf den großen Charterjachten, wie sie Filmstars, Rapper, Moguln und Angeber charterten, wenn sie imponieren wollten. Und wenn Spider nich an seinem Herd stand, war er unweigerlich auf einem der besseren Barhocker an Land anzutreffen. 

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review 2017-07-06 16:04
Measuring the World
Measuring the World - Daniel Kehlmann

"It was both odd and injust, said Gauss, a real example of the pitiful arbitrariness of existence, that you were born into a particular time and held prisoner there whether you wanted it or not. It gave you an indecent advantage over the past and made you a clown vis-a-vis the future."

I'm not sure what to make of this one: I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. It certainly was not what I expected.

 

I do admire Kehlmann for trying a different angle on a historical novel about two eminent characters in their own time. The novel style and focus on what basically is a sequence of vignettes work well to bring out the character in Kehlmann's two subjects - Humboldt and Gauss. 

 

However, this is at the expense of any historical facts (other than that the two people existed):

 

There is one (or maybe two) references to dates in this book, and I felt this was only to give the reader a timeframe to anchor the story in. 

Other than this, there are very few facts in this story that could be referenced back to anything. Yet, this is not due to a lack of research on the part of the author. To draw a picture of both characters in as much detail as he does would have required a lot of research. The book just does not bring this across which makes this more a novel that featured two characters with the names of actual people and some enterprises these people may have set out to, but little else makes this book feel like a historical novel.

 

And this is where my problem is again: If I want to read about actual people, I want facts, I want references, I want to be able to go away and read more about something they did.

 

I do not want speculation about what they have thought or felt, or whether their brother tried to kill them when they were little. Unless I can go away and find other supporting material about any of this, I am simply not interested.

 

The upside to the book was that there was no love triangle, which so often spoils historical fiction books.   

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review 2017-07-06 09:06
25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment by Daniel B. Botkin
25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong - Daniel B. Botkin,Alfred Runte

TITLE:   25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong

 

AUTHOR:  Daniel B. Botkin

 

DATE PUBLISHED:  2017

 

FORMAT:  Paperback

 

ISBN-13:  978-1-4422-4492-4

 

 

25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment is a book about ecology, the environment, nature and misleading information (myths) about these topics that circulate in both ecological and political discussions.  These myths often drive policy and opinion, and thus funding.  What may seem to be an environmentally conscious action on the one hand may very well be bringing about the unnatural destruction of habitats and ecosystems.  Daniel B. Botkin takes a look at these myths and explains why they are incorrect or misleading.  


The author takes a look at what has gone wrong with the environmental sciences.  He states that "much valuable and helpful research has been and continues to be done in the environmental sciences, but citizens need to be able to distinguish the good (and important) from the bad".  Botkin shows that the myths are alive, active and dominant in determining laws, policies, and action, and that they still form the basis of many major research projects.

The author's stated goal is to share with the reader what be believes we need to do, how we should think about the environment with people in it, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that plague attempts to solve environmental problems.  I believe that the author has achieved most of his stated goals with this book.  The book certainly provides food for thought and all politicians, policy makers, students (i.e. future policy makers and environmentalists) and the general public should read it.

Each chapter is dedicated to one myth, with a section at the end of each chapter that summaries what difference it make if we believe that particular myth.  The introductory chapter discusses why people are so attached to these myths.  This interesting book is easy to read and has numerous coloured photographs or diagrams for each chapter.

 

 


"Nature isn't just something out there that you visit in a park or zoo; it is what we live within.  We are not separate from nature; we are within it, and would not survive if we weren't."
-Daniel B.Botkin  [25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment, 2017, pg 4].

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