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text 2017-12-03 00:38
Reading progress update: I've read 197 out of 316 pages.
Get Wallace! (Wallace of the Secret Service) - Alexander Wilson

still amazing. saving the rest until tomorrow morning. will pick out another Espionage novel after that...or, I have to say, there may be a one-book break from the spy games, because this thing I picked up today, The Last One by Alexandra Oliva, sounds pretty darn tempting. I would even say the synopsis on the back cover suggests that there's the teeniest teeny-weeny chance that there will be a weird espionage angle. or I'm just rationalizing.

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text 2017-12-02 20:52
Reading progress update: I've read 166 out of 316 pages.
Get Wallace! (Wallace of the Secret Service) - Alexander Wilson

this book is fabulous! I'm caught a little by surprise, as the first one in the series--The Mystery of Tunnel 51--was fun, but did not force me to commit to any more follow-ups. but then I thought "I did like it; it's not like I had a bad reaction, it's just a question of whether they all sort of operate at the same level...or did the author, like most, get better as he went along...?". there are also those gorgeous covers, which made me want to try at least one more.


so, eventually, when I was at a bookstore that had this one, Book 4--as opposed to several other stores, including my main, local book source, which would have bits and pieces of the series, but never Book 4--I took it as a sign that it was meant to be, and got the one with my fave cover. I braced for "average", and instead I'm getting all-out fun and excitement! fast pace--and get this: the book is from 1934, and we get a car with some gadgets, plus one of the best female villains I've encountered in Spy fiction in a long while! 


now I am feeling forced to commit to more follow-ups!

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text 2017-12-02 02:07
Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 316 pages.
Get Wallace! (Wallace of the Secret Service) - Alexander Wilson

I think I'm mainly going to read Spy books this December (fiction and nonfiction), though don't hold me to that. some books on the fringes of Spy fiction may also be allowed in...Wicked Leaks has a chance to make the cut (Conspiracy Theory elements to the plot); Quarry has a shot (assassins not prohibited); Pursuit may get read (sounds like a Spy novel, but if it's not, I won't know till it's too late and hopefully won't care). Count of Monte Christo is on the table! Foreign and Domestic sounds more like a "Special Forces Mission" thingy, but it may tempt me. plus, all full-blooded Spy books I own should get lots of love and attention. way out on the fringes, but still clinging to "maybe, Tigus?": The Fatal Touch, and Operation Alcestis (if anything is not a Spy novel, but should have been, it's anything with a title like Operation Alcestis!). 


first--a second go-round with Wallace of the Secret Service. this Spy adventure is from 1934.

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review 2017-11-22 18:45
Podcast #78 is up!
Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 - Mike Wallace

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview historian Mike Wallace about the second volume of his monumental history of New York City (which I reviewed here). Enjoy!

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review 2017-11-14 16:56
All Good Deeds
All Good Deeds (A Lucy Kendall Thriller) (Lucy Kendall #1) (The Lucy Kendall Series) - Stacy Green
The Four Just Men - Edgar Wallace

Quite by chance, I started on All Good Deeds   while in the middle of re-reading Edgar Wallace's The Four Just Men, so I had a couple of days of vigilante justice delivered in two very different styles, one set in Edwardian London in 1914, the other in present-day Pennsylvania. And while the heroes of the London story are cultured middle-aged males (there are only three of them, actually) the protagonist of the modern story is a pushy, opinionated young woman who goes rushing in where "just men" would – no, not fear to tread, but certainly think very, very carefully before they trod.


Lucy's one concern – and It's become an obsession – is abused children. Years ago when she was working for the Child Protection Services, she was responsible for monitoring a boy of eleven who had been allowed to go on living with his family against her advice and had then murdered his nine-year-old sister. The boy, Justin, subsequently spent several years in juvenile prison but was later released back into society without being tagged as a child-molester. Lucy fought against his release because she considered him a danger but she was overuled by the judge.


Now a nine-year-old girl called Kailey has disappeared, been kidnapped, and Justin not only lives right there in the immediate neighbourhood but turns out to have been in direct contact with the girl prior to her disappearance.


So far as Lucy is concerned, she was right all along and this is an open-and-shut case. When she learns that the Detective in charge of the investigation is Justin's half-brother and that he insists there is no evidence against Justin, she starts taking things into her own hands. Not for the first time. Several pedophiles who had evaded official justice have already met their maker after a brief encounter with her.


But further developments sow doubts in the reader's mind about Justin being in any real sense a pedophile, or dangerous. And a young man approaches Lucy in a bar and informs her that he knows her secret: a word from him to the police would result in Lucy being arrested and charged with a whole series of murders.


The reader is torn in two.


Great writing.


But the moral of the story? All Good Deeds is described as "a psychological thriller". I'm not sure what that means. That the bad guys have psychological problems? Well, yes, but so does Lucy, when judged by normal standards of behaviour in any civilised society.


I wonder where this will go in the second book in the series ...


And The Four Just Men? It is a classic. A little slow perhaps (life then was slower) but essential reading. If you haven't read it, read it. You can download it almost free from Amazon and completely free here.

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