Blog Posts by jonf

Posted by jonf on 03/25/19
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The second August Snow mystery is a timely thriller that deals with the difficult times for illegal immigrants in America,  The story is set in the Mexicantown neighborhood in Detroit. August Snow is an ex-cop who has sued the city and collected millions, which he has used to help rehab Mexicantown homes and assist his neighbors. The area is being targeted by ICE and local cops, rousting illegal immigrants and spreading fear and anger. The trouble escalates when two teenage girls, who are illegals are found murdered.
Snow and his friends Tomas and Elena help tie the harassment and the murders to each other. They find that a group of rogue ICE agents and neo-nazis are engaged in human trafficking and murder. This a well written and thrilling mystery by Stephen Mack Jones, I look forward to more August Snow books.
Posted by jonf on 02/03/19
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This is the 18th book in the Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady series by J.A. Jance. Joanna is on maternity leave and in her absence Tom Hadlock has taken over her duties. Her leave is shortened when a local boy Jack find a skull in the desert along with a field of bones. After a body of another young woman is found in the same area it becomes clear there maybe a serial killer loose.
Sheriff Brady calls in help from an F.B.I. profiler and the manhunt is on. The killer, known as the Boss is a truly creepy antagonist. The book starts a little slower than some of her earlier works but picks up the pace for an exciting thriller.
This is a well written series, but if you have not read any it would be best to start with one of the earlier books in the series.
Field of Bones is filled with many good characters and a great feel for the Arizona desert.
 
 
 
Posted by jonf on 11/08/18
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The compelling story of the Apollo 8 mission told by Robert Kurson, the talented author of "Crashing Through" and "Shadow Divers". The author at a visit to the Museun of Science and Industry saw a small capsule from this mission and was moved to tell their story. In 1968 with America in turmoil, NASA sped up the launch of Apollo 8 to make sure Americans were the first to fly , orbit and return from the moon.
The mission was rushed and gave Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders only 4 months to prepare. It was a staggering challenge for a mission with little margin for error. Kurson does a great job telling not only the technological challenge, but the hardship for the astronauts and their families.
Rocket Men is a excellent, well written story of an overlooked mission, which was more dangerous  and impactful than the moon landing itself. A great book for fans of adventure and exploration, highly recommended.
Non-Fiction
Posted by jonf on 09/29/18
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The latest novel by Chicago author Marcus Sakey is a strange but original mix of police thriller, love story and the meaning of death. F.B.I. agents Will Brody and Claire McCoy are trying to stop a serial sniper who has killed 18 people, to complicate the matter, they are falling in love.  Will gets a phone tip which lures him to a church which is rigged and blows up killing all in the blast. Will awakens and is told by a stranger that he is dead and welcome to the afterlife.
 
The afterlife he is in is Chicago , same time but gray and lifeless. It is run by a group of the good people who band together to evade the eaters who kill to keep their strength. Soon Will is joine by Claire who is killed by the sniper.
 
Together Will, Claire and the group try to fight off the eaters and Will and Claire try to unravel the afterlife.
A truly original story, exciting and full of questions of our mortality.
Posted by jonf on 07/19/18
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In modern day Russia, led by Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika struggles to survive in the bureaucracy of the new Russian Federation. Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow", a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is ordered to operate against Nate Nash, a new CIA officer who handles the most sensetive penetration of Russian intelligence.
 
The two young officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in the charged art of tradecraft, deception and a forbidden spiral of mutual attraction that threatens their careers and an American asset in Moscow. Seeking revenge against  her masters, Dominika begins a double life, recruited by the CIA to find a traitor in Washington and return to Moscow as a new generation agent for Putin. Dominika and Nate's love affair and spy game lead to a deadly conclusion in this timely spy thriller.
 
This is Jason Matthews first book in the "Red Sparrow" trilogy. Matthews had a 30 year career in the CIA and the book is proof of his past experience. Great read for lovers of the spy genre.
Spy Suspence
Posted by jonf on 05/01/18
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The new John Wells thriller by Alex Berenson is a timely look at Russia's attempt to influence U.S politics. A large explosion at the American Airlines arena in Dallas kills 398 people. President Vinny Duto calls in Wells to investigate. The Islamic State has taken credit, but Wells finds aspects that suggest a larger plot. Later, after a famous evangelical minister and the Cardinal of Chicago are killed by a sniper, Wells finds evidence leading to Moscow.
The Kremlin is behind the terror attacks and is trying to help the rise of a radical right-wing senator from Tennessee. Wells and his marine partner Coyle, track a trail of money to South America which leads back to Dallas. This is the 12th in the series and is another intelligent and fast paced tale.
 
Posted by jonf on 03/13/18
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 Scott Kelly's account of his life as an astronaut and his ultimate adventure, his one year in space on the International Space Station is an exciting and educational story of life in space. Kelly recounts his time in zero gravity spent with two Russian cosmonauts and an array of European astronauts. He tells of the hardship of zero gravity on the human body and the stress of living in confined quarters for long periods of time.
Kelly also explains the trials of being isolated from family and friends. He was  on a different mission when his twin brother's wife Gabby Giffords was shot and he felt helpless. There was also fascinating research done on him and his identical twin Mark. This book is filled with adventure, hardship and human resilience, and how much humans can endure.
Kelly took an amazing path to becoming an astronaut. After being a less than stellar high school student, his life changed when he read the book The Right Stuff. From then on his dream was to become a test pilot and astronaut. This is a tale of dreams come true.
Non-Fiction
Posted by jonf on 02/03/18
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Walter Mosley's newest Easy Rawlins mystery set in 1968 Los Angeles is another fun, well-written tale with the charm and skills of the mellow private eye. Easy is asked by his best friend the dangerous killer Ray "mouse" Alexander to do a favor for his mysterious friend Charcoal Joe. A friend of Joe's son is accused of murdering two men, but he know's it's a frame and Easy is on the case.

Easy with the help of his pal Fearless Jones set off to find the true killer, the job takes Easy and Fearless from Watts to Beverly Hills to fix the set up and gain Charcoal Joe's trust. This is another great ride with Easy, great characters, colorful locales and good story,

Mystery
Posted by jonf on 12/07/17
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 Mary Doria Russell follows up on her novel Doc, telling the story of when Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil first move to Tombstone in 1881. The well researched historical novel is told through the voice of Josie Marcus. Josie was the daughter of immigrants from Russia who lived in Brooklyn and San Francisco where Josie followed her dream of becoming an actress and on a tour ended up in Tombstone where after an affair with Sheriff John Behan she fell in love with Wyatt Earp.
 
The book explains how America in 1881 was a deeply divided nation, with an unpopular president, partisan media and a dangerous border with Mexico. The town was also divided by the "Cowboys" who ran rough over the town with the Earps providing the so-called law. The faction led by the Earp, though no angels were the balance against the lawless cowboys lead by the Clanton family, Curly Bill Brocious and Johnny Ringo which culminated with the at the Gunfight the O.K. Corral
 
A very well written American epic brought to life with the authors fleshing out of legendary characters and the lifelong love affair of Wyatt and Josie.
Posted by jonf on 10/19/17
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The second book in Colin Cotterill's mystery series featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun. Siri is the chief coroner of 1970's communist run Laos. Siri and his assistants the spinster Dtui and the challenged Gueng start with the strange bicycle death of two men in the streets of Vientiane. The progress on the crime is slowed by the killings of two woman who appeared to be mauled by a large animal.
 
Dr. Siri is then sent to the old Royal capitol of Luang Prabang to investigate the charred body's of two men in a helicopter crash. Dr. Siri summon's the help of his spirit world as he is connected to the spirit world by a dead shaman, Yeh Ming.
The mystery is filled with the powerful connection the Laotian people have to the unseen and presence of spirits in all living things.
 
This book is filled with strange and colorful characters and the exotic and mystical world of Laos. The dialogue is crisp and filled with humour, Siri is memorable and charming, well written and a fun series.
 
Mystery
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
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