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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Destroyer #3: Chinese Puzzle by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir

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I never saw the big screen adaptation of the Destroyer. From what I've heard, that's no big loss. In any event, I'm a late arrival to this action-comedy series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir. But after reading just this one installment, I understand why the series is so popular.

The plot is rife with Cold War intrigue, with a few twists to keep you guessing. It concerns a kidnapped general from the People's Army, and his attractive concubine. Remo and Chiu are dispatched to resolve this international incident.

Remo Williams is a regular guy. No, make that an exceptional guy. He's an old-school adventurer who happens to be learning a deadly martial art from a wizened master. Chiu isn't just exceptional--he's pretty much superhuman. We get some background on him in this book, concerning his native village in Korea, and the art he has mastered. He's also a hilarious smartass, who kept me snickering periodically.

There is an affection between these two heroes--that of a teacher for his gifted student, and the student for his incomparable master. And yet, we learn Chiu is prepared to kill Remo if ordered to by those they work for. Lucky for both Remo and the reader, this doesn't happen.

So whether you like action or humor, but especially if you like both, this book gets a strong recommendation from me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Military Intrigue With Hints of the Supernatural: Ghosts of Babylon


Yet another veteran-turned-author has joined our ranks. With Ghosts of Babylon, R. A. Mathis has not just earned a place for himself, he’s carved out a rather unique niche as well.

The novel takes place during the occupation of Iraq. Stuart Knight, a professor of archaeology, has volunteered to be a translator for American forces (since he speaks some Arabic) with an ulterior motive: he wants access to the priceless archaeological finds he is sure are waiting to be discovered in the Sandbox. He is attached to a battalion-level command which includes Regular Army soldiers and National Guard, so there’s conflict to be found everywhere—not just between Kurds and Iraqis.

It doesn’t take that conflict long to heat up, either. A local terrorist known as Al-Khayal is developing more and more sophisticated improvised munitions to use against occupation troops. Captain Allen, an intelligence officer (not an oxymoronic title in this case) has an old score to settle with the phantom killer, so finding Al-Khayal is a personal obsession for him. Fellow captain Crumm and their C.O., Colonel Thorne, have their own agenda in-country, and it doesn’t line up with Allen’s.

Then there’s Hadi, the young Kurdish boy who likes to explore. He finds just the sort of archaeological treasure that Stuart Knight is looking for, and that puts his and his family’s lives in jeopardy. There are some adults willing to kill for the artifact, and Hadi eventually runs afoul of Al-Khayal himself.

To read the rest of this review, follow the link to Hot Extract.