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review 2018-06-16 01:49
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley

Several colleagues and I started an IRL book club at work four months ago.  We met at lunchtime on Thursday to discuss Before the Fall.  Marketed as a thriller with the hook “On a foggy summer night, eleven people—ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter—depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.” The book follows Scott in the days immediately following the crash with flashbacks to the lives of the now-deceased passengers and crew.


Surprisingly, our opinion of the book was unanimous.  Pretty much everybody was intrigued by the concept of the book and hated the execution. The general feeling was that Before the Fall wasn’t suspenseful enough for the thriller designation and that the story stopped living up to the promise of the opening sequence as soon as Scott left the hospital.


As one of my colleagues said, this book is awash in red herrings, but rather than them being fat meaty fish that we could believe in, there’s this swarm of pink minnows darting around pallid characters. 


While you can’t really say anything about how the book ends, or “whodunit” without spoilers, we were dissatisfied with how the book ended and had some significant questions about the timing of certain things.


As an aside, while the consensus is that we are unlikely to read anything else by Mr. Hawley, we wish that Gil the security guard had survived the crash so that he could be the protagonist of his own book.

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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 2016-02-02 03:09
Cotton Candy
Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover - Ally Carter

These Gallagher Girl books are a bit like cotton candy.  They can be a enjoyable bit of mindless fluff, but quickly go cloyingly sweet and then become stale.  I've been spacing the books in the series out, but partway through Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover, I started wondering if I was really reading a new book, or just a twist on the same plot as the last one.  I guess it will be a while before I return to this series.


I listened to I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You as an audiobook, which might have increased my enjoyment, but my local library doesn't appear to have access to the others in the series as in the audiobook format. Ah well.

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review 2015-05-23 02:29
I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You - Ally Carter

Take one part Boarding School for exceptional youngsters (in this case girl geniuses), one part young teen romance (so sweet) , and one part spy (in training) - mix them all together and you get the delightful yarn by Ally Carter titled I'd Tell You That I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You.


I'd seen favorable reviews of the later books in the Gallagher Girls series a bit ago, and was excited when the first of this series was offered through the 2014 Audiobook Sync program, but somehow I'd not gotten around to listening.


After several false starts on other audiobooks that didn't hold my interest, I romped through the first semester of Sophmore year along with Cammie Morgan and her friends,  tough-Brit Bex, and Southern-belle Liz over two days on a multi-hour car-trip for work.  The personalities and accents were brilliantly brought to life by Narrator Renée Raudman.  I am disappointed that my local library only carries the series in print, but will definitely  be working the rest of the series into my reading rotation.

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review 2015-05-04 02:45
Split Second
Split Second - Scott Brick,David Baldacci

1st in series.  Lots of time spent wondering how the 2 main characters will meet.  Will be interesting to see if it goes up from here.

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