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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Behemoth review

Book Description:

 Jim Thompson, chief game warden of the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya, has a major problem. Three of his prized elephants have been gored to death in the past month. The only clues left are mysterious tracks reportedly belong to a creature long thought extinct. Thompson suddenly finds himself on a tumultuous adventure as he travels across the African continent, hoping to convince himself and the world that he is on the verge of an incredible discovery. He is not alone. On the other side of the world, Professor Stephen Gregory is embarking on an adventure of his own. Forced to resign over his unpopular scientific beliefs, this once-distinguished professor gets the chance of a lifetime when he is offered an expedition into the heart of Africa in search of a creature that could prove his theories true once and for all.

 My Review:

I have been fascinated by the thought of dinosaurs possibly still being alive in our rainforest areas since seeing the movie Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend WAAAYYYY back in the late 80's, so when I had a chance to review Behemoth how could I refuse?

There are two story lines in this book, two different ventures to discover/uncover proof that dinosaurs are still living and breathing on this planet.  Both ventures combine fact and creationist views.  Creatures that resemble our constructs of "ancient" dinosaurs have been described and identified via drawings by local dwellers, this is fact.  Creationists (of which I am) believe that this is another piece of evidence supporting God's accounting of the creation of the world in that dinosaurs and man could and did coexist. 

The book stumbles a bit at the beginning in the writing style, way to much name calling.  (Mike said....then John said......then Mike said......then John replied.... type of thing)  Once you get past the first chapter or so it picks up quite a bit, like Leicht found his stride.  There also is a lot of theology in the book.  I know several readers have commented that they felt like there was to much conversation about creationist beliefs but I really felt like it added to the story.  Why is the rich guy shelling out tons of money to find this possible dinosaur?  Why are these scientist entering an area where they feel a need to bring heavy duty weapons due to the hostile atmosphere in search of a dinosaur?  You need to understand their belief system to truly get it.  Leicht also does a good job of planting an "unbeliever" on the scientific journey, although he is portrayed as being very mule headed and that might turn some readers off I feel like he is a good representation of the population that is determined not to see God in creation even when evidence stares them in the face.

The story line does jump from group to group quite a bit, often without warning and you spend a few paragraphs trying to figure out what is going on before that "ah ha" moment when you realize that you are with the other group now.  Still, a great blend of science fiction, dinosaurs and creationism.  As of this writing it is available on Kindle for around $3, with a steep hike in price for the paper versions.  Well worth the money to purchase for an e-reader!

Buy it here for Kindle or paper books

Thanks for the review copy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Charlatan's Boy Review

Book Description:

 As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.

My Review:

This was another book I chose as being possibly interesting for my son to read (others included Crazy Dangerous, Crater, and Replication: the Jason Experiment).  The plot sounded interesting and to be honest I wanted to know what a "feechie" was.

Set in mythical Corenwald, a blend of Rogers imagination, old West America, and some British thrown in to the mix, the story focuses on Grady.  Grady is a decidedly ugly young man who assists Floyd in scamming the good folks in the country.  Grady thought for years that he truly was a feechie, an ugly race of people who were thought to live in the swamps and off the land, unable to really speak.  That is until the good country folk stopped believing in feechies and Floyd tried to make a few coins by promoting Grady as the ugliest boy in the world.

While I enjoyed the setting, the country dialogs, and the characters, this story seemed to just amble along with no real purpose.  Grady is searching for a place to belong, and he does eventually stumble upon it by accident, but when he does it feels like a let down.  I was disappointed in the ending, although glad that Grady did get some questions answered, many others were left unanswered for the reader.

Why did Floyd eventually turn on Grady?  Why did the innkeeper woman feel such an affinity for Grady and offer him a home?  Why were feechies looked down upon?  Why were they so separated from other folks?  What was the deal with Barbary, the beautiful daughter of another huckster?

In addition, since this was a Waterbrook Press publication I really expected something a bit more "religious" oriented.  There wasn't a Christian or religious tone to the book at all.  I don't think God (or any deity for that matter) was mentioned in the book at all other than as part of a scam (a praying machine) or that a persons ugliness was given by God.  

All in all when I finished the book I really felt like I had wasted my time.

You can read the first two chapters for yourself here

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ten Plagues

Book Description:

 Join the breakneck chase through Chicago for a murderous maniac. As the victims begin piling up, detective Keren Collins’s spiritual discernment is on high alert. Will she capture the killer before another body floats to the surface? Ex-cop, now mission pastor Paul Morris has seen his share of tragedy, but nothing prepared him to be a murderer’s messenger boy. Will his old ruthless cop personality take over, leading him to the brink of self-destruction? Can Keren and Paul catch the killer before the corpse count reaches a perfect ten?

 My Review:

If you enjoy crime novels you will LOVE this book. It opens with action and suspense and that carries through the entire book.  Well written plot, characters with depth, twists and turns make this an enjoyable read.

Pastor P., a former cop, is drawn into a new murderous crime wave when "Pravus" taunts him to deliver a message to "let my people go" before something horrible happens.  Despite a desperate attempt, the horrible happens leading Pastor P. to meet Keren Collins, a detective with the ability to sense demons in people.  Together they try to stop Pravus as he stalks and wreaks terror in the homeless community attempting to re-enact the 10 plagues in the Old Testament.

This book highlights the struggle Paul has trying to reconcile his worldly desires (his cop side in which he just wants to get the bad guy at any cost) and his convictions to let go of the anger and be a more peaceful, loving man.  It also touches on Keren's spiritual gift of discernment.  While she uses it to aid her in her job and to help others find God, she is afraid to let her gift be known for fear that others will find her freaky.  And finally, we are reminded of God's grace and his gift of love and freedom.

This book has it all, mystery, suspense, crime, love, action, and so much more.  I loved the message and I loved the delivery.

Get your own copy of Ten Plagues here