I enjoyed seeing hope bloom from what starts out as a seemingly hopeless situation in “The Third Wind”.
The story begins in the not so distant future after the U.S. economic infrastructure has more or less collapsed. Tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, which caused emergency and social services to be critically under funded, have made coping with the multiple natural disasters resulting from climate change impossible to deal with for both state and federal government agencies. As a result, shortages, famine and plagues have started breaking out all across the nation without much chance of being remedied. Resources like gas, power and the internet have nearly evaporated.
This book makes you think. How would you make a strategy for survival in a modern world where power, gas and communication were slowly being completely wiped out? Mr. Gloss does a great job showing us how one man's plan unfolds and that, in those circumstances, the best option for survival might be to develop self-sufficient communities that are protected from an increasingly desperate and dangerous world.
The book is told entirely from the first person perspective of the main character, Martin. He is a level headed, modest, soft-spoken engineer who gives the reader a trustworthy perspective from which to see the new reality take shape. Twists and turns unfold as we discover the relationship between the characters and they realize they can’t make the same assumptions as they did before about each other in the face of a crumbling United States.
I enjoyed learning about the technology of wind turbines and seeing into Mr. Gloss’ imagination of how a small community might build and operate one to provide power for their own use. It was interesting to see how the characters bonded under the strenuous circumstances. It certainly makes you appreciate the little things in life like hot coffee and a cold beer – and music, too! There is a touching scene where some people bring music back to the community in an effort to bring more joy into all their lives. It was one of my favorite sentiments in the book that even when focused on survival, a happy community is a strong community.
I would recommend this book for anyone who has some flexibility in their ideological viewpoints, as well as lovers of adventure stories about survival in the modern age.
In “Killing the Kordovas”, struggling romance writer turned reluctant stand-up comedian, Danni Hewitt, spends a lot of her energy being jealous of those who get book deals less because of their writing skills and more because of their popularity or knack for stealing material. It especially sticks in Danni’s craw when star of “Kordova (Not So) Konfidential” Krystal Kordova gets a book deal from a well-known publisher.
Danni’s friend, Joe Collins, has two short lived comedies under his belt and is coaching Danni in her new found stand-up career after hearing her funny rant to a friend. The book then follows the tale of Danni and Joe’s successful pursuit of the Kordovas.
“Killing the Kordovas” is a very funny book. I laughed out loud several times. My favorite character is Krystal Kordova. She starts out as an unlikable character, but then is made into a real person with real problems. I liked the way that Danni grows from hating the Kordovas for their undeserved success, to getting to know them and realizing that they are real people with difficulties just like hers. The story kept me interested in finding out what happens next throughout.
One part that kept me guessing was wondering whether Danni and Joe were really thinking of killing anyone. The tension was realistic and humorous at the same time. The part of the book I liked best was when Danni pretends that she has been selected as the ghostwriter for Krystal Kordova, and then finds out that they are all really grateful that she has taken the job. She receives this 3AM call from Krystal’s literary agent who had never heard of her prior to Krystal telling her Danni had taken the job:
“Thank Gawd you signed on for this. Do you know we’ve been through all of our contact lists looking for a writer to take on this project? I don’t even get past saying Krystal’s name and it’s like everybody knows what’s coming next, and they hang up or suddenly book a sabbatical to some gawd-damn yurt in Tibet for meditation. I tell you, I’d hitch a ride there myself, the longer I have to deal with that nitwit.”
Danni heard a sharp inhaling hiss. Either Holly had begun her umpteenth cigarette of the early morning, or she’d graduated to something that might send her mentally to Tibet, or the moon.
“Well, what can I say? Glad to be on team.” No sense in asking Reyes why she bothered to take Krystal on as a client if she foresaw problems. Ka-ching.
The ending has a super surprising twist and I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys pop culture humor.
“The Pastor and the Private Eye” is definitely a twisted tale that keeps you guessing to the end. Mr. Pine is able to show us the crime in progress even without giving us a clue as to who the real killer is.
My favorite character was Vint, the single pastor who makes unfortunate dating choices among his clergy. He is religious but not preachy and seems much more real than one might expect a pastor to be. His banter with the newbie private eye helping him with his case, and latest crush, Cilla, made me laugh.
They are an unlikely pair of opposites:
“Tell me about it! That’s why I took the correspondence course to be a private investigator in my spare time. I—“
“Correspondence course?” Vint blurted out.
“You bet!” Cilla said, taking no offense at the implication, “In some ways, it’s a lot harder than a classroom environment. You’re completely on your own…. I know I’m good with the details and I have patience for surveillance to boot. I’ll be a great investigator someday”
“No offense, but perhaps that’s why you’re finding cases hard to come by?”
“What, you think I put it in my ads, correspondence school trained private investigator, seeking employment?
I also really enjoyed Mr. Pine’s way of revealing the crime in progress without giving away the criminal at all. He keeps the reader guessing right up to the end about who the killer is. We also get insight into each victim and what their thoughts were in the moments that lead up to the unfortunate end of each of their lives. Mr. Pine does a great job with these tense scenes and seamlessly integrates them with the unfolding story of Pastor Vint.
I believe any fans of mystery or drama or anyone who likes a surprise twist ending would enjoy this book.
Cara Cassidy is a tough as nails Dublin tree surgeon. She is challenged by the grisly scene she finds when her police officer friend, Ricky Norton, asks her to use a tree to enter a high window of a home to check on the resident. Cara becomesthe glue that leads the reader through a tangled web of all those who were involved in the shady lives of the two insurance workers found dead inside the house.
This book was a great trip behind the scenes in Ireland. It highlights several slices of life and many different groups of people there. We get to see inside the lives of an office worker, police officer, porno actress, artist, small business owner, and drug dealer just to name a few. We even get to see a group of Dubliner's take a trip to a Mexican restaurant. As an American who would certainly focus on traditional Irish food if I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland, seeing the Dubliner’s reaction to their own local Mexican food is something thoroughly enjoyed!
My favorite characters were the victims whose post mortems become personalities in the story equally important as any others. I enjoyed how Ms. O’Beara slowly introduces us to Nicola Marr and William Fleming and the details of their lives unfold through the dialogue of other characters. We learn that Nicola is a calculating flirt and that she chose the wrong moment to use her womanly wiles to woo her way to a better position within the insurance company by spending an evening with the pot-bellied, unattractive and much older William Fleming. It is interesting to see how Cara uses her own network in Dublin to uncover the true facts about the case.
Cara’s connection with each individual made the story come to life as each conversation with a new person helped her to piece together the mystery and locate the killer. There are also fun educational facts scattered throughout the book. For example, when Cara’s friend, Police Officer Ricky Norton, tells Cara and Mike the correct order to sample cheese:
“You start with the hard or strong cheeses, like the Stilton, and continue to the medium cheeses, like Leicester, and finish with the soft and sweet cheeses, like Brie.”
I would highly recommend this book to mystery lovers, food lovers and anyone who is interested in traveling to or learning about another country and how different groups of people live, work and interact there.