Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the tag “Adventure”

Book review: King Solomon’s Curse by Andy McDermott

King Solomon's Curse (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase #13)King Solomon’s Curse by Andy McDermott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do lost cities get social media pages when they are discovered so archaeologists can check-in?

Nina and Eddie are again inexplicably searching for the lost relics of myth and legend. This time King Solomon’s lost treasures – which have previously not turned up, because reasons – are the McGuffins that could fall into the wrong hands. What could possibly go wrong with a post-Brexit rogue MI6 (SIS) spy and a Congolese warlord hot on your tail?

It has been a while since I’ve read a Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase adventure. The last Andy McDermott novel I read was the excellent Persona Protocol. Slipping back into the cozy comfort of a Nina and Eddie novel wasn’t just welcoming but reminded me I’ve missed this. Implausible and over-the-top is something very few authors manage to keep interesting, but Andy does it with ease. I hope Andy doesn’t start phoning these Artefact McGuffin Adventures in, I’m looking forward to reading more.

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Book Review: The Executioner – War Against The Mafia by Don Pendleton

War Against the Mafia (The Executioner, #1)War Against the Mafia by Don Pendleton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you go to war with the Mafia do you have to use Tommy Guns?

Mac Bolan is a one man army and he has the Mafia in his sights because reasons. And he gets the girl. I think that sums up the plot. Change Mafia for some other antagonist and you have the plot for the entire series of the long running young-men’s action novels.

When I was young Indiana Jones was the prototype for action-adventure movies. They were amazing. It took a long time for them to be released on DVD, but when they finally did I grabbed them for a movie marathon. I was a little disappointed. They were cheesy. It was hard to tell if they were always cheesy or if they had aged badly because Indiana Jones was the prototype for a genre that had evolved and now looked lame in comparison. NB: don’t take that as a diss on Indiana Jones…. except Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was terrible.

The Executioner is similar to Indiana Jones in that it was the prototype – well, one of many – for a genre that has evolved. It’s hard to call this cookie cutter stuff since this was the prototype cutter. It is easy to see the appeal and how this influenced so many people, including my friend Matt Hilton (shameless plug). But so much time has passed since these were new. In that time a generation of authors, TV shows (watch Banshee), and movies have been influenced and created works. The genre has grown, matured, and taken on other elements, such that this feels kinda cheesy. Was it always cheesy? Maybe that was what made this series fun in the first place.

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Book Review: The Valhalla Prophecy by Andy McDermott

The Valhalla Prophecy
The Valhalla Prophecy by Andy McDermott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At the rate Andy McDermott is going there aren’t going to be any ancient historical mysteries left to blow up. In this one, Nina and Eddie destroy Valhalla.

This is the ninth Nina and Eddie adventure, so at this stage there isn’t much need to describe the plot…. Oh okay. Ancient myth turns out to be real, there is a race to get to the archeological site first, things get blown up, people get shot at, world crisis averted. Or as my friend Iain summed it up: “Stupid, overblown, ridiculous, unbelievable, and utterly fucking brilliant.”

I always enjoy Andy’s adventure series, and his Persona Protocol was also good fun. You can’t help but enjoy his stories.

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Book Review: Sign of the Cross by Chris Kuzneski

Sign Of The Cross (Jonathon Payne & David Jones, #2)Sign Of The Cross by Chris Kuzneski

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sometimes when I’m reading a book I’m not sure if I’m meant to be excited, enrapt, or cringing. It’s taken me a few days to arrive at a decision and I’ve decided to cringe.

Sign of the Cross is a fast paced action adventure novel in the vein of Steve Berry, James Rollins, or that guy who wrote the book that annoyed the Pope; what was his name? In the second instalment of Payne and Jones’ adventures, the mercenaries are hired to hunt down two archaeologists who have uncovered a secret that could bring down the Catholic Church. Meanwhile a team of killers are reenacting the crucifixion, because, you know, that’s what Jesus would have wanted. With everyone hunting for Payne, Jones and their pet archaeologists, and a few murderers running around, who at the Vatican knows and who wants the secret, and do they want it for power or payback?

This is the first Chris Kuzneski book I’ve read, and it will be my last. Now that I’ve had time to reflect upon the story and writing, I’m actually surprised I finished the novel. Kuzneski came up in my recommendations because he writes fast paced adventure novels like two of my favourite authors, the previously mentioned Berry and Rollins. Unlike those two, however, Kuzneski takes all of the same ingredients for a novel, mixes them in an overly large bowl (the book is over 400 pages), and manages to make gruel.

The novel started well, but I noticed myself cringing at the end of the chapters with the ham-fisted foreshadowing. This continued until I would start preemptively cringing as I reached the end of each chapter. Seriously, it felt like the end of every scene or chapter Kuzneski would have a line like “Little did they know that only two of them would return.” But wait, there is more. There is an underlying casual sexism and racism to the novel that is unintentional, but jarring. An early scene has one of the characters, Nick Dial, surprised to see a woman Interpol agent. Not that Nick was sexist, women could be just as good as men……. No, Nick explained that he wasn’t sexist, but some of his bosses weren’t as open minded. Yeah. I’m not sexist, but….

These two points are just the major problems I had with the writing of this novel. And it is mainly the writing that lets this book down. In the example I just mentioned, there are many ways authors could discuss Nick’s surprise at seeing a woman on the job. But the way the scene was written it sounded like the author was desperately trying to sound progressive and PC. This poor writing happened throughout the book, which actually has a reasonable plot, a bit of humour, and great pacing. Some readers may not notice these issues, although I note many reviews complain about the foreshadowing, and it was entertaining enough for me to finish reading, so others may find this enjoyable. But I would recommend reading anything by Steve Berry or James Rollins instead.

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Book Review: Temple by Matthew Reilly

TempleTemple by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a little sad. Not because of this book, this book was great. I’m sad because I’ve now read all of Matthew Reilly’s books at least once. I have to wait for his next book to be published. Wait!!

If anything, Temple is probably one of Matt’s best books. In typical Reilly style it redefines fast paced and action packed, but this also feels more complete than the Jack West Jnr series. It is also one of his longer books, so plenty of entertainment in this novel to keep you going.

In short, read it.

For those Matthew Reilly fans like me who are awaiting Matt’s next release, it seems he is back writing again after the tragedy last year. Hopefully he is on the mend emotionally as well and can continue to entertain us. Apparently his fans have been out in force to see him at the Supanova events, including the Doc.

A harem of Leias?

Guess this makes Matt the taller version of Marty McFly.

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Book Review: McGrave by Lee Goldberg

Mcgrave Mcgrave by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are some books that you read and feel enlightened about the world around you. There are some books that are fascinating and insightful, making you think. Then there are some that are just unashamedly fun.

McGrave is a straight up actioneer, pure fun, and revels in what some would call cheesy cliches. Instead these cliches are actually part of the humour Less has used to make this story fun.

This story was originally written as a pilot for TV and reminds me greatly of the 80s cop shows. In fact, if you ever saw the hilarious Sledge Hammer, then you could imagine a similar take on action and cop adventure played straight. This McGrave adventure is certainly an escapist pleasure and it had me laughing and entertained throughout.

Treat yourself, unless your idea of a treat is Tolstoy.

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Book review: Sahara – Clive Cussler

SaharaSahara by Clive Cussler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure of what to think with this book. I’ve read a few Clive Cussler novels, most recently The Chase, but this was my first Dirk Pitt adventure. Before I go any further I should say I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

I had just finished The Chase when I was in a bookstore that was having a receivership sale. For e-book fans, a bookstore is a place where the good trees go to die. I was browsing the remaining stock and picked up Sahara, knowing I would enjoy it. Even the movie was able to rise above Matthew McConaughey’s terrible acting – thanks in large part to Steve Zahn’s terrific turn as Giordino.

Reasonably fast paced (remembering that the last few books I’ve read were by Matthew Reilly and Andy McDermott) and with a couple of plots, Sahara is an entertaining read. The doubts I have are two fold: pushing the envelope of human endurance and the generational gap. The first point is that Dirk and Al are dragged through hell and back, most of the time running on fumes. For anyone who has really pushed themselves you know how long it takes to recover from that sort of ordeal. The second point is that Cussler’s take on the world is ‘old school’. He has some quaint things to say about women, despite their strength and indomitable presence in the story. Oh, and I can’t be an Aussie without mentioning the fact that no-one in Australia drinks Fosters beer. The only time I have seen it on sale is when I have been overseas.

Either way, Cussler’s novels are always entertaining.

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Book Review: The Sacred Vault – Andy McDermott

The Sacred Vault (Nina Wilde & Eddie Chase, #6)The Sacred Vault by Andy McDermott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Australia has Matthew Reilly. The US has Clive Cussler and James Rollins. The UK has Andy McDermott.

The Sacred Vault is Andy’s sixth Nina and Eddie adventure and he just keeps the adrenalin pumping as much as ever. I’ve met archaeologists, they make soil scientists seem exciting by comparison. Yet the world has more archaeologist adventurers than any other science: Indiana Jones, Jack West Jnr, Dirk Pitt, Nina and Eddie, the list goes on. But who can blame writers for picking archaeologists over the other sciences, ancient stuff doesn’t go in the sci-fi section.

Andy has served up another thriller that doesn’t let up. Much like Reilly, he knows how to keep you glued to the page and blow things up. What I also like is the humour he manages to weave into the dialogue, making for a fun and exciting read. Something I noticed with this book in the series was that as the action peaked, so did the amount of witty banter.

This is definitely a book (and series) for thriller and adventure fans.

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