Friday, September 18, 2015

The Nature of the Beast, by Louise Penny

Again a book I highly recommend, and another one that I paid money for, it was not free, so that should tell you how much I like Louise Penny's writing.  Enjoy

Inspector Armand Gamache has retired to the little village of Three Pines. He and his wife are there to recover, regain strength and just enjoy the quiet comfort of a small village, good friends and quiet solitude.

One of the villages is a nine year old boy who loves to pretend that he is fighting off alien invaders, enemy combatants or criminals of all stripes to save and protect the village. He can be a nuisance some times running into town and yelling about an invasion, kind of like the boy who cries wolf so many times that people quit listening. But Armand loves the little guy and usually listens to him. But this time Laurent Lepage is trying to tell everyone about a gigantic gun hidden in the forest along with a monster. No one believes him, not even Armand.

The next day the boy goes missing. The following day he is found dead. Was it an accident or murder? Armand thinks it was murder but the police think accident. He calls his old friends up and asks them to take another look and convinces them that it was murder.

That sets the stage for the strangest of all discoveries and a case that is not just police jurisdiction but also has implications for National Security. They find Laurent's large gun and it is the biggest "Super Gun" anyone has ever seen. But what is it doing in the forest under camouflage that has been in place for most likely decades?

Then a second murder takes place and everyone is scrambling to determine who, what, why and how these murders are happening. So much for retirement. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is back on the case and helping and watching his associates (his disciples) do their job and bring to justice the criminals involved, or do they?

Louise Penny takes a small village with little in the way of value and turns it into a scene of international importance. Her writing is first rate and has an edge to it that keeps you involved, keeps you guessing and makes you sit down and "Think," which is what Armand Gamache would do.

I love this series and this is just another great book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Target Utopia, by Dale Brown

For those of you who think all I read are "free" advance copy books that I get I want to let you know that I purchased this book. Why you ask? Because I have grown to appreciate Dale Brown's writing.

Dale Brown gives us another good military novel. This time he tackles the art of fighting via drones, but not just the slow drones that fly high and drop ordinance from the sky to take out terrorist. This time it is drones that are fast, highly maneuverable and capable of fighting in pairs or groups in air to air combat that will drive most pilots to land and never go up again.

The artificial intelligence capability of a drone in comparison to the human brain seems to be no contest. The AI can process faster, deliver more options and well, learn. Then put into place a drone without a pilot that can pull an enormous amount of G-Forces in sudden turns, dives, flips, etc. and you have a weapon that can't be beat. A human pilot would black out from the G-force of the turns of the drone. Thus while blacked out he is shot out of the sky.

Brown brings his own flying with the military to bear on this novel and knows what he is talking about. With a rogue agent doing his best to build and fly his own drone air force we have an enemy that may be beyond our ability to take out. Thus the President of the United States must turn to it's clandestine group of elite technicians, computer developers and military personnel to find and destroy this rogue operation.

All the while they are having to do this while not starting a war with China who is not happy with the USA for being in their backyard and flying what appears to be military operations that could endanger the Chinese.

The book is well written, the technology is well documented, the air to air fighting tactics are fabulous. All in all if you love Military Novels you will find this most enjoyable.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Cardinal's Sin, by Robert Lane

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the morals of a man who has been trained to kill by his government? Does he have thoughts about it being right or wrong? Does the right of ending the life of a terrorist trump the thoughts of the wrong of ending another humans life?

So, now imagine that the professional killer is given a task to kill a man and discovers that he has actually ended the life of the wrong person. How would he feel about his action? How will he come to terms with his action? Especially how will he respond when he discovers that the man he killed is a Cardinal of the Catholic Church? Even though the Cardinal was not an innocent person, he did have sin in his life (don't we all?) was it still right or wrong for this man to end the Cardinal's life?

The quest for truth and the quest to end the life of the true target will take Jake Travis on a wild adventure of discovering hidden truths and hidden lies that will effect the lives of many people. The most important person, to Jake Travis, that this will effect is the love of his life, Kathleen. That is because he has lied to her about what he does, he has driven her away by belittling her and the profession that she has chosen. He has made her feel small.

Will he win her love back? Will he find the answers to why the Cardinal had to die? Will he learn the truth of the Cardinal's sin? Will he eventually find the true target and fulfill his task?

All these questions are woven into a story that is intriguing and filled with genuine life issues. Robert Lane does a good job of developing his characters, developing his plot and keeping the secrets hidden just below the surface for the length of the book. I'm sure you will fully enjoy the novel as you run toward the finish line waiting to find out the answers to all the questions.