Sunday, October 25, 2015

Collector Of Secrets

 conspiracies, historical fiction, Japanese

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A riveting debut thriller with the twists and turns of “North by Northwest” and The Firm about an American in Japan who comes upon a mysterious decades-old diary, and ends up caught in a web of global espionage he cannot possibly fathom.
Max Travers is an English teacher in Japan. When his manipulative boss begins swindling the unsuspecting parents of his students, Max must retrieve his passport to return home. Max sneaks into her office only to stumble upon a burglary-in-progress. Max barely escapes, but accidentally takes a strange diary bound in leather and embossed with a strange seal. Little does Max know that this diary has been hidden for over half a century, and its secrets could topple some of Japan’s most powerful people and rewrite the history of the royal family.
Max soon finds himself on the run from everyone from tattooed Yakuza to the Japanese police and a mysterious American who has ties in the highest places, all willing to kill for the diary’s secrets. With his and girlfriend's lives in the balance, Max must decipher the diary's secrets in a richly detailed and ambitious thriller that covers everything from World War II to Watergate.
A lot of new authors think they could write a good story and they get encouragement from and get published by Amazon. Unfortunately, IMHO, only a few were good and worth reading. I have nothing against wannabe authors. In fact three of my top 10 favorite novels were debut novels: The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco, The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt published in 2000, and The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker published in 2013.

Collector Of Secrets, however, just like the others I rated very low or no stars, suffers from the syndrome called "allergy to professional editor". This book is one of the worst I have read this year. 

I should have stopped reading right at the first page because I had a gut feeling it might be about that darn Yamashita's treasure yet again! And it is. &*@^!!! Still, I wanted to know what it's all about and hoped it will be better than the awful The Dragon's Triangle. The author lifted the conspiracy theory nonsense from the same book the author of The Dragon's Triangle lifted her characters and story from. What the heck is wrong with these so-called "authors"? *sigh*


Wednesday, October 7, 2015


25052867 Kinsey Millhone, mystery, private detective

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X:  The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.
 The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone.
The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.

Sue Grafton’s X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.
Kinsey seems a little bit different in this 24th installment of her alphabet series. She says sh*t more frequently and she's grumpier than ever before which is IMHO a good thing because eventually it worked well for her and her landlord Henry. She also is funnier, showing a lot of her sense of humor. I'll miss Kinsey when the series comes to an end. Yes, only 2 more to go, Y and Z.

Spoilers ahead

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Mentor

The Mentor mystery, police procedural, revenge

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As Scotland Yard chief forensics detective Eric Shaw works a case with some resemblance to a crime he investigated twenty years earlier, he is convinced it is just a coincidence. But when more deaths occur in a style similar to those killings from the past, Shaw suspects that he has a serial killer on his hands—one who is pursuing a personal, cold-blooded vendetta.

Working closely with his protégée, Detective Miriam Leroux, Shaw analyzes the crimes down to the finest detail. He finds himself increasingly drawn to the lab, where criminologist Adele Pennington, a beautiful, enigmatic woman more than two decades his junior, proves distracting. Determined to maintain his professionalism despite the attraction, Shaw struggles to keep her at arm’s length. Yet Pennington’s unique insight proves critical, and as the investigation develops, so does their personal connection. With a killer on the loose, Shaw must follow a winding, blood-soaked trail that will take him in an unexpected and terrifying direction.
The short mystery novel is one of six Amazon Kindle First choices for October 2015. The book will be officially issued on November 2015. It is originally written in Italian and may have lost something in translation into English. It has a very high average rating (mostly by Italians and the author herself???) on GoodReads and once again, I'm in the minority.

The reasons for my 1-star rating
>main character is not believable as a Scotland Yard chief forensics detective; he's too emotional and weak; he acts more like a new recruit instead of a seasoned tough detective who has seen many crime scenes
  • Eric couldn't stop staring at the corpse. He found it magnetic...He realized he was hyperventilating.
  • He (Eric) forced himself to breathe, in and out, in and out. He struggled to calm himself down. Losing control now wouldn't help him.
>serial killer is obvious: "hey, I'm the one you're looking for" is tattooed on forehead
>amateurish writing - meanders and reads like a movie script...oh no, not again...*SMH*
>murder-mystery and romance never go together well...ever...specially between a 49 year-old super and his 27 year-old subordinate. It's just icky.

I do not recommend the book.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Make Me

23968559 mystery, thriller

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“Why is this town called Mother’s Rest?” That’s all Reacher wants to know. But no one will tell him. It’s a tiny place hidden in a thousand square miles of wheat fields, with a railroad stop, and sullen and watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes him for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have started small and then turned lethal.
Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, and there’s something about Chang . . . so he teams up with her and starts to ask around. He thinks: How bad can this thing be? But before long he’s plunged into a desperate race through LA, Chicago, Phoenix, and San Francisco, and through the hidden parts of the internet, up against thugs and assassins every step of the way—right back to where he started, in Mother’s Rest, where he must confront the worst nightmare he could imagine. Walking away would have been easier.
But as always, Reacher’s rule is: If you want me to stop, you’re going to have to make me.
This is the 20th Jack Reacher book in the series. I didn't like it as much for several reasons. For one, it reads like a movie script. What is going on with these novelists, wrting a book with a movie in their mind? Although it is a tad better than The Revenge of Adam Defoe, it's almost as tedious to read, too wordy, describing each character's build, clothing, hair, head/footwear, etc., and repetitious too. It reads as though it was written by another author. I have enjoyed several of the earlier books in the series but the last 2 books are not as thrilling and IMHO, this latest is the worst yet.

Another reason I didn't like is Jack sort of becomes a softie and acquires a girlfriend, the character Michelle Chang. Lee Child did not make this character an interesting person. She's too bland, dry, and obscure, almost like a cardboard cutout. I can't explain why I read her that way.

In past books, Reacher eliminates the bad guys without having to "converse" with them as he does in this one. But why? It is so out of character, I was waiting and waiting for the real Jack Reacher to emerge.

Ultimately, I didn't like the dark storyline itself. Jack Reacher does not deserve to fight brutal, subhuman, and degenerate antagonists.

Not recommended.