Book review: The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Scam (Fox and O'Hare, #4)The Scam by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When someone launders your money do they also iron and starch it? Why yes, I am a dad, why do you ask?

Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare are once again using Nick’s talents as a conman to take down criminals on the FBI’s list of bad guys. This time they are after a casino owner who is helping launder money for anyone from mobsters to terrorists. Given the company he keeps, is it any surprise he has a tank of piranha in his office for ‘negotiations’.

After being disappointed in the second instalment in this series, The Chase, I was unsure if I would read any more of the Evanovich and Goldberg series. I already had The Scam on loan from the library, so I decided to chance it. This was a rewarding decision as The Scam delivers an entertaining read.

I was disappointed with The Chase because it felt like an episode from one of those will-they-won’t-they crime shows – such as Castle or Bones – during their declining years. You know, just as they are lining up the ramp over the shark cage. But The Scam felt like an early episode at the beginning of the series when Castle or Bones are still awesome, even though there are plot elements here that set this firmly later in the series (can’t say more without major spoilers).

So skip The Chase and read The Scam.

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Book review: The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Chase (Fox and O'Hare, #2)The Chase by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is no con you can pull on a politician, given that they invented them all.

Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare are once again teamed up as the will-they-won’t-they odd couple. This time their mission is to recover a stolen artefact of national significance to the Chinese government. They have to steal it from the people who stole it before someone realises it was stol….. You get the idea.

I’ve read many Lee Goldberg and Janet Evanovich novels and have always found them humorous and entertaining. But The Chase felt like a by-the-numbers follow up to The Heist, a book that established a potentially good series. This was like an episode from a TV crime show like Castle, or Bones, or any of the dozens of those similarly constructed dramedies. And not an episode from the start of the series when it was good, but in those later episodes when they are lining up the ramp over the shark tank.

That isn’t to say that The Chase fails to entertain, quite the contrary. This is a fun novel and series, but could feel a bit too formulaic.

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Book review: The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

The Heist: A Novel (O'Hare and Fox #1)The Heist: A Novel by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I haven’t read a Janet Evanovich book in years, despite my wife having most of them on our shelf. I haven’t read a Lee Goldberg book in a least a couple of months. So when I picked up this collaboration between two witty and highly entertaining authors I was playing “try to figure out who wrote which bits” without any success. Unlike some author collaborations, this was an actual collaboration.

I will now try to write a paragraph without using the word ‘collaboration’…… Dammit!

Lee and Janet have written a very entertaining novel and I think this will make for a cool series of adventures. The setup is the standard odd couple device we’ve seen done to death. Fortunately Lee and Janet have the charged paddles of ‘interesting take’ on the odd couple romp. I think it was the stock moments that kept this good novel from being great. Then again, they did manage to include a conman, FBI agent, thief, corrupt lawyer, embezzler, fake drug lord, and real pirates in the same heist novel. Add in ninjas for the next one and it could be perfect.

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Top Suspense Hangout video

Today was the start of the Perth Writers’ Festival, the local festival for my fellow pale, short-sighted, readers and writers. Once a year we gather together to fulfil our in-person social interaction requirements for the year.

Before I left the house, Libby Hellmann, Lee Goldberg, and Paul Levine had a Top Suspense Google+ Hangout. They discussed a number of issues around writing suspense stories. Funny how the title of the group and hangout gives away the topic. It was a good session and I highly recommend my fellow writing friends to have a watch of the embedded video below.

Tyson Adams’ 2012 Book Awards: The Awesomes

Last year I instituted my best reads of the year, The Awesomes. I’ve read a few books this year (+90) and have decided that I needed to talk about my favourites of 2012 and award this year’s Awesome™.

As you will have noticed, my reviews of books are more about my impressions of the book and talking about how much I liked the book, rather than a recap of the plot, etc. My reasoning behind this is simple, I want to say “read this book” to people rather than fall into my bad habit of spoiling the ending, or being a bitch about books I didn’t enjoy. My list is based upon what I have read this year, so obviously some great books have missed out due to lack of reading hours in the year. Also my read list does include some books that were published prior to 2012. There were some categories that were sadly under-represented and some that had some very intense competition.Also, the fact that I finished a book shows that it was worth reading. I have my reading rules that stop me wasting valuable reading time on books I’m not enjoying. This means that any books on my read list are entertaining (well, unless I was particularly disgusted with the crappiness of the book in question).

Awesome of 2012

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Temple – Matthew Reilly

McGrave – Lee Goldberg

And the winner? Blasphemy by Douglas Preston.

Awesome Literary Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Mystery & Thriller

Temple – Matthew Reilly

King City and McGrave- Lee Goldberg

First Drop – Zoe Sharp

Blasphemy – Douglas Preston

Temple of the Gods – Andy McDermott

Relic – Preston and Child

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

Tough category, but always hard to go past Matthew Reilly.

Awesome Crime

Assassin – Tara Moss

Vodka Doesn’t Freeze – Leah Giarrantano

Black Echo – Michael Connelly

Sunset Express – Robert Crais

Thirteen Hours – Deon Meyer

Another tough category this year. I’m going to have to give this one to Leah, with Tara, Michael and Robert close seconds.

Awesome Fantasy

Night Angel Trilogy – Brent Weeks

Awesome Paranormal Fantasy

Nathaniel Case series – Christopher Farnsworth

Awesome Science Fiction

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Horror

Nathaniel Cade series – Christopher Farnsworth

The Kult – Shaun Jeffery

And the winner? Nathaniel Cade kicked arse!

Awesome Romance

There were no nominees in this category this year. Better luck next year.

Awesome Humor

Right What You No – Tyson Adams’ blog

I’m allowed to be self-congratulatory. Plus I didn’t read any funny books this year.

Awesome Nonfiction

This is an oxymoron, so it is invalidated as a category.

Awesome Graphic Novels & Comics

I didn’t read any 5 star graphic novels this year, but two series came to an end that were worth a mention: The Boys by Garth Ennis and Irredeemable/Incorruptible by Mark Waid. Both series were very strong and explored interesting aspects of the superhero genre.

Awesome Indie

King City – Lee Goldberg

Awesome Poetry

I still try to avoid poetry as much as possible, mainly because of ee cummings.

Book Review: King City by Lee Goldberg

King CityKing City by Lee Goldberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another fantastic Lee Goldberg book. It was a hard call of whether this was a four or five star book, so 4.5 stars it is.

There is a lot to enjoy about this book. It moves at a reasonably fast pace, it has some interesting characters, there is a bit of humour thrown in for good measure and it harkens back to the westerns and Dirty Harry. You really do get the image of the tough guy pulling up his collar against the cold as he strides across the street.

I think the easiest thing to say about this book is buy it. Anyone who is a fan of the crime thriller genre will enjoy this, and I’m going to keep an eye out for more Tom Wade adventures in King City.

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