Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Dry

Wow. What a well-written, page-turning mystery. I really, really liked this book and am looking forward to reading more from Jane Harper.

The story revolves around what looks to be a murder-suicide in a small Australian ravaged by drought. Aaron Faulk returns to Kiewarra for the funeral of his friend Luke Hadler, his wife, Karen, and their son, Billy. It looks like Luke has killed Karen and Billy and then himself. Aaron doesn’t really want to be there because when he was a teenager, his friend, Ellie Deacon, committed suicide and there was a question of whether it was murder – and whether Aaron did it. Luke and Aaron made up an alibi and lied – they said they were together and they weren’t. The town thinks Aaron did it and there is still resentment toward him.

The book looks at the two happenings – Ellie’s suicide and Luke’s death – and whether they may be related. Was it really murder? Did Luke kill Ellie and then kill his family? Was it because of the drought? Money? Guilt? Aaron agrees to stay in Kiewarra and look into the murders with the local cop at the behest of Luke’s parents, whom Aaron was close to. Their investigation leads to the resolution of both cases, but not necessarily with neat and tidy bows wrapped around them.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Jane Harper brings Southern Australia alive. It is a fantastic tale and it is masterfully told. I highly recommend this book.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no other compensation for this review. This review contained my opinions and they are mine alone.

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The Terror Years

I read The Looming Tower shortly after it was published and i consider it to be one of the best books about the road to 9/11. The Terror Years is Wright’s latest book about the war on terror. It is a collection of his writings from The New Yorker. And it is well worth the read, if not sometimes repetitive.

Each chapter is about a different person or subject. There are eleven chapters and an Epilogue and I learned something new in each one. The hardest chapter for me to read was “Five Hostages”. This chapter dealt with the American hostages taken by ISIS: James Foley, Theo Padnos; Steven Sotloff; Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller. This chapter was heartbreaking. It focuses on David Bradley, publisher of the Atlantic, who tried, in vain, mostly, to get them freed despite the U.S. Government’s admonition against negotiating with ISIS. I felt for the parents, friends and family of these men and woman who were being held.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of this chapter was the U.S. Government’s seeming inability to do anything to get them back. I voted for and supported President Obama. But I am frustrated and saddened by his lack of ability to act when it comes to the middle east. Never was this more apparent than in this chapter. Such futility and lack of coordinated effort hastened the hostages’ deaths. It angers me that these people lost their lives trying to do some good in the world.

In the Epilogue, Wright talks about Audrey Kurth Cronin’s book How Terrorism Ends, which is high on my to be read list. He discusses terrorists and terror groups and talks about why they are not successful. It’s a really interesting discussion. I look forward to reading more in her book.

Overall, I recommend this book as it was insightful and informative. Some of the chapters repeat themselves, but for those unfamiliar with the middle east or terrorism, it will not be annoying. If you are interested in a more specific look at 9/11, I highly recommend The Looming Tower. Either way, you really can’t go wrong with Lawrence Wright.

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Rogue Heroes

I like Ben Macintyre’s books. He writes non-fiction with the flair of a spy novelist. In Rogue Heroes, he writes of the formation of the SAS, the granddaddy of all special warfare groups. Mr. Macintyre had unprecedented access to the SAS’ own files and writes a compelling story of the men who flew in the face of convention and danger to forever change modern warfare.

It used to be considered in bad taste to do the types of things the SAS men were recruited to do. Sabotage, etc. was considered wrong. You fought facing one another and picking each other off until the last man standing was declared the winner. The British knew in World War II they did not have the men or resources to fight Hitler like that. So they tried something new. They recruited men who were rebels, who thought outside the box. And they were encouraged to do so.

The SAS was the foot print for President Kennedy when he created the Green Berets. The SAS has fought all over the world and changed the face of modern warfare. I will save the individual stories in the book for Mr. Macintyre to tell as he tells them so well. If you are interested in history and warfare, you will not be disappointed by this book.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books. I have received no other compensation for this review and the opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

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