Posted in Books

Book Review: A Vision of Angels, by Timothy Jay Smith

About the author:
Timothy Jay Smith is an American author. His ceaseless wanderlust that took him around the world many times brought him unparalleled experiences, which in turn affected the breadth and sensibility of his work. He continues to collect short stories while splitting his time between Paris, Greece and Miami Beach. The same energy that makes him travel, he brings to his writing.

Cover and blurb:
Not sure what attracted me in the cover, which is a simple one, but there is something in it. The description promised a war thriller and lots of interesting, diverse characters. I felt that was a genre I could read on Kindle, given my slow reading speed.

My thoughts:
War books are something I think before I take. A war thriller, and a Kindle copy at that, I did think a moment more before I agreed. In retrospect now, I feel that extra moment was unnecessary. The book was quite a wonderful read, and I take something out of it. I think any book, if it brings you something more than a story, is a good one.

We start in Jerusalem, the people headed for prayers, and the security a little more tight than it usually would be. We are taken through the Old City first through the eyes of David Kessler, a journalist, who is stopped by a soldier, then through Issa, a shopkeeper and his father-in-law Azzedine. We’re taken to the mosque, and we hear the mullah’s speech before soldiers enter and shots are fired. A bomb explodes. We’re back to David’s eyes as he captures the carnage. We can almost walk with him, see what he sees, feel the beats of his heart. It’s quite visual.

We then look at the scene through the eyes of Major Jakob Levy, who closes the border after the bomb. The closing affects Amin Mousa, who learns even his pass, signed by the Major himself has been revoked because of that incident. We are introduced to Katya, David’s neighbor and her son Joshua, Efrahim who is an old painter and storyteller and then the family of the Major, who is reputed in the country and is dubbed the Saint of Sinai.

If you notice, I’m not telling you of the plot or its movements, but some of the various characters that we come across in the book. I’m doing so because I feel, in this instance, the book is more than the plot, it is not only how that moves that makes this a good book, but it is how the characters move you. It’s the energy of David, the journalist, to do what he has to do to get his shot that captured my attention, then his bravery when a young boy falls victim, and of course, his fondness for his neighbour Joshua. It’s the adamancy of the Major that attracts, and the same for his courageous son Mishe who opposes his father’s decisions vehemantly. It’s the dialogues between Issa and David, between Mishe and his father, the interaction between various characters that captures a depth in this novel. It’s a thriller, and I read it like I would any fiction. But it still makes me ponder more about characters, and their actions. I don’t feel it’s easy to write in the given setting either, so that’s another thing I liked.

In this case, the positive also becomes a negative. When we’re taken through the viewpoints of many characters, the narration becomes a tad confusing, a tad slow. It works to the most part, but not completely. It’s a heavy read though it’s a thriller. And that heaviness isn’t changed by the ending, which feels hopeful but doesn’t carry through after the read ends.

Did I love it? Yes. I did. If there was a paperback of the same, it’d be on the bookshelf with some of my favorites.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: A Vision of Angels
Author: Timothy Jay Smith
ASIN: B00DONHZZI
Genre: Thriller
Publishers: Owl Canyon Press via Amazon
Price on Amazon: INR 295

 


This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book, but no other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws


(Oct 2nd, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher #17), by Lee Child

About the author:
Lee Child is an English author, best known for his series of thriller novels, starring Jack Reacher, the ex-cop from the US Army.

Cover and blurb:
A hitchhiker on a mostly empty and dusty road is on the cover. The blurb indicates the hitchhiker, Reacher, gets into the wrong car. And the car’s occupants are possibly the bad guys. That forms the base for the thrill.

My thoughts:
Does trouble follow Reacher, or Reacher follow trouble? Eighteen books into the series, I still don’t know. It is part of the thrill in the thriller I guess. Even when he tries to get a ride out of trouble, he finds himself getting into it. What are the odds on that? With Reacher, it’s definitely likely to happen. He’s a wanderer, with no luggage and an old passport, going where he wants to go. Sometimes he takes a bus, sometimes he hitches rides.

Maybe it’s the way a Reacher plot goes, but you could know the car that stops would be the car with the bad guys in it. The bad guys who have been reported to have executed a yet-to-be-identified victim, the professional hit style escalating it from local police to FBI territory and even bringing the CIA into play. FBI special agent Julia Sorenson is assigned to the case. She later becomes Reacher’s ally. To escape the roadblocks the authorities place to stop them, the bad guys pick up Reacher as a smoke screen, and also, as we later find out, a woman. However, Reacher does find out soon, and after that, it’s the usual Reacher v/s the Villains plotline that’s been tried and tested over the series.

Call it the aftereffect of reading a lot of the series, but I could think along with the actions and the predictability was a little more than I wanted at first. I could guess what’s going to happen, or what has happened. But Lee Child, the writer that he is, does bring in an unexpected turn or two as the story progresses. The lusty one-night stand is missing in this novel, though indications to one was there. The Reacher character has his usual quirks, the obsession with having one set of clothes, or number riddles (this one was a good one though), and smart mouthing but it lacked zest a little. Again, possibly it was the predictability after going through a lot of the series. I liked the character of the little girl, brought in to confuse and to keep the thrill going, and also the woman in the car, but the villains, portrayed from the eyes of the cops and law upholders as terrorists or such, their characters in the end didn’t live up to the billing.

Overall, an interesting story. The thrill is there, yet not there. It waxes and wanes, but still, being a fan of Jack Reacher, I think to the most extent it works. Not the best, but not the worst either.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book Details:
Title: A Wanted Man
Author: Lee Child
ISBN: 9780593065723
Genre: Thriller
Publishers: Bantam Press
Price: INR 650

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


(2nd Oct 2013)