Book Review: Map of Bones by James Rollins

Map Of BonesMap Of Bones by James Rollins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Picking up a James Rollins thriller is a guaranteed good read. He has the knack of providing a solid thriller that moves along at a fast pace.

Now, we aren’t talking Matthew Reilly pace, and not Andy McDermott either. Rollins is in that pacey category with (his good friend) Steve Berry and Clive Cussler. So this is “does my side have air-bags” as opposed to “my parachute isn’t opening”.

Map of Bones is part of Rollins’ Sigma Force series. I like that the heroes are highly intelligent military operatives; it is a nerd’s wet dream. This is the second book in the series and the first to feature Seichan, the nemesis of protagonist Gray Pierce. You know you have a good series when the bad guy is this interesting.

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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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Book Review: Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly

Scarecrow and the Army of ThievesScarecrow and the Army of Thieves by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is a small quote at the start of this book that sums up this fantastic new installment in the Scarecrow series:

The President looked at a wall clock. I was now 5 pm, or 6 am at Dragon. ‘Are you telling me that in five hours an unknown force is going to set off some kind of superweapon that will ignite the atmosphere or the northern hemisphere?’
‘That’s correct sir,’ Gordon said. ‘We have five hours to save the world.’

I was looking for a fast paced adventure/thriller novel a few years ago, I was recommended James Rollins. His books are fast. Then I discovered Andy McDermott; his books are Rollins on caffeine. Matthew Reilly books are what you get from the amphetamine addicted, ADD offspring of both authors. Simply, Matt is in a class of his own in terms of intense and fast paced thrillers.

Sure these are a big budget action movie on the page, a veritable Michael Bay blockbuster on speed, but that is exactly what makes these books so great. Unlike a Bay movie, however, you don’t feel cheap and dirty afterwards.

Scarecrow is my favourite of Matt’s series of books. The Jack West Jnr books have become steadily better adventure novels, but Scarecrow is a straight up thriller, and only becoming more intense with each outing. Fans have had a long wait for this latest adventure. The Army of Thieves book was an eight year wait, but the 10 hour non-stop thrill-fest was worth the wait.

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