Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Michael Koryta's Newest Book

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kiss Her Good-Bye by Mickey Spillane

I forgot how violent Mickey Spillane Books are.  Mike Hammer has retired due to battle wounds.  The damage to his spirit is far worse than that to his body. 

There is something timeless about Mickey Spillane's work.  Morality is based on personal philosophy rather than legal precedent.   The settings may be dated but the emotions are truly timeless.  Loyalty to friends and just retribution characterized Mike Hammer stories.  A manly sublimation of a personal desire for commitment also characterizes Mike Hammer.   
You can depend to find colorful figures, moderate sex, gratuitous violence and thoughtless action in Mickey Spillane novels.   They are consistently entertaining and a genre which is generally underrated.   If you are looking for education or illumination Spillane won’t be your choice but if you just want relaxing entertainment, run out and introduce yourself to Mickey Spillane and Mike Hammer just make sure you bring a body bag.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Mickey Spillane </a>

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Internet Is A Playground by David Thorne

David Thorne is impossible to critique.   I suspect you will either love him or hate him as I don’t see a lot of middle ground.   This is a collection of his musings on his website noted below.

This book reads like the diary of a bi-polar satirist.   Thorne appears to do all the things that we often wish we had to courage to do.   He responds to inanity with insanity.   I suspect that hospitalization may have been necessary for some of the recipients of his brand of humor.

The most widely distributed example of his humor is the series of emails in which he attempted to pay his chiropractor with a picture he drew of a spider.   Writing this on Easter, I found his revelations to the school chaplain regarding his son’s attendance at an Easter program most amusing.  

This is not a book for the faint of heart.  If you don’t have a satirical sense of humor you may be put off by David Thorne.   I found him hysterical.  

I recommend the book.

Body of work of David Thorne

Web site:

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Night Night Book by Marianne Richmond

This is an adorable little book for bed timing reading with toddlers.

The illustrations are colorful and appealing and should entrance the young reader.   Ms. Richmond covers her bases on making sure no one is forgotten in the good night ritual.   I think she missed John Boy though! 

This is a cute book and we plan on giving one at a shower and one to my youngest grandson.  

I recommend the book.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Ark by Boyd Morrison

Is Noah’s Ark  a bible parable or a true story?  A misanthrope, an archeologist and a MacGyverish engineer are ingredients in a tasty action adventure.

Morrison provided good strong characterizations.  He gave a good background story on all of the major players.   I enjoyed the interaction between Tyler and Grant who certainly were different in personality.   I also enjoyed the corporate ethics of Gordian, Grant and Tyler’s employer.   People with disabilities were show cased in responsible positions and demonstrated that a disability is not necessarily a handicap.   I like a dose of moral values in an action adventure.  

Dilara Kenner’s portrayal was a bit hard to believe.   She responded astoundingly well being thrust into dangerous situations, more so than I could easily swallow.   I do enjoy strong female protagonists and this lady was nobodies victim.  

Ulric the messianic billionaire’s obsession with godhood was sadly reflected by some current event figures.   He was thoroughly dislikable.  I saw some positive comparisons to Clive Cussler, whose books I also enjoy.    

I recommend the book.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

This is an outstanding mystery that will hold your attention to the very last word.  This is fictional investigative journalism at its very best.

This is the third review I have started with that sentence.

Reading the afterword in this book, Larsson appears to have infused a great deal of his own past in the character of the  journalist Mikael Blomkvist.  This book is the wrap up of the previous two books and ties up all the loose ends of Lisbeth Salander bad girl par excellent.

Lisbeth’s character is believable in spite of her astounding range of talents.   The government corruption and deceit is sadly also believable.   There are too many clear cut examples in current events where government agencies go to illegal extents to protect their own precious fanny’s.   As much as there is a public outcry for accepting responsibility for one’s actions there seems to be some misconception that it is only other people who need to accept responsibility.   It was reassuring to see that, at least in the book, sanity prevailed and good people rallied to correct injustices. 

The characterizations in this book made it extraordinarily difficult to put down.   I really enjoyed it and was totally captivated by it.   It is a darn shame that there will be no more books from the late Stieg Larsson.  I have seldom seen such a variety of people express strong positive feelings about a series of books.   It seemed to appeal to readers across age, gender and income gaps.   

I strongly recommend the book!

Body of work of Stieg Larsson

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder

 A computer consultant becomes involved with a cult promoting immortality but is it?

Scott Waverly is a security consultant with a focus on computers.   He is asked to help Soul Identity to plug security holes.   Scott’s assumptions regarding the soul and Soul Identity change as he becomes embroiled in an investigation that is beyond his norm.  

Having been and possibly still am a computer geek, I enjoyed the Scott Waverly character.  His skeptical nature was very familiar.   The plot of the book was both entertaining and thought provoking.

The emotions and psychology of the villain were reasonable and understandable within the parameters of the book’s plot.   It isn’t a book that will keep you up nights to finish but it is one that you will enjoy reading.

I recommend it.

BTW I read it on my Droid X using the free Kindle ap.  I find having a book with me wherever I go has significantly reduced my frustration levels when I am kept waiting in Dr. offices and other places that have little regard for the value of the “customer’s” time. 

Body of work of Dennis Batchelder

Web site:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is an outstanding mystery that will hold your attention to the very last word.  This is without a doubt fictional investigative journalism at its very best.   What is interesting is that the very foundation of the book is investigative journalism and the protagonist, Mikael, is grossly dissatisfied with his own media and their morals.

I started my recommendation of The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo using the same sentence as above two posts back on the 4th.  This book may be even  more so.

Lisbeth Salander is back with a vengeance.   This book gives us even more insight as to how she became who she is.  The plot is illustrative of governmental and bureaucracy that has run amuck and is eminently believable.

Once again, Mikael Blomkvist character demonstrates ethics and tenacity that is seldom seen in real life.   If only the main stream media would take a page from Mikael’s fictional portfolio of ethics.   His tenacity in the face of daunting adversity was a joy to read and made it extraordinarily difficult to put the darn book down. 

I will repeat my caution from the last book recommendation, you are a flaming idiot if you underestimate a woman due to her size, demeanor or gender. 

The character development and depth of detail makes this book.  It is impossible not to become immersed in the story.  I am currently reading the third and last book and so far it is as stressful to put down as the first two.

I strongly recommend the book!

Body of work of Stieg Larsson

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hot Mahogeny by Stuart Woods

One of the joys of reading Stuart Woods is the reoccurring characters. This novel is focused on the renowned Stone Barrington and his fascinating and complicated life.

Holly Barker the small town sheriff is back in a cameo role in her new CIA persona as is Lance Cabot who is now a deputy director at the CIA. Dino and Elaine, stalwart friends and side kicks are also in the book. There is reference to Will Lee who was the main stay of several of Wood’s books. You have the feel of history or camaraderie and feel as if you are running into old friends.

Stone Barrington is a likeable character regardless of the fact that he has remarkable success in bedding an enormous assortment of gorgeous and somewhat amoral women.

No jealousy is implied as I am cognizant that he is a character in a book but even so most guys would have a modicum of envy for Stone’s successes.

This is not a book to teach or moralize. It isn’t a missive of monumental impact. As you read it is like someone you know and you are just catching up. Perhaps an apt description is it is a perfect beach book, not demanding, it doesn’t tax your faculties but it is eminently enjoyable.

I recommend it.

Body of work of Stuart Woods
Web site:

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This is an outstanding mystery that will hold your attention to the very last word. Fictional investigative journalism at its very best.

I mentioned in my review on Three Seconds  that there seems to be a wealth of good stories coming out of Sweden. Well this is definitely one of them.

As a journalist Mikael Blomkvist demonstrates ethics and tenacity that is seldom seen in real life. If only the main stream media would take a page from Mikael’s fictional portfolio of ethics. His tenacity in the face of daunting adversity was a joy to read.

Lisbeth Salander might be a character that is hard to believe for some readers. I have been privileged to know a young woman who could have been the role model for this character sans the dragon tattoo. A word of caution, do not ever underestimate a woman due to her size, demeanor or gender.

Having been a computer professional for 25 years, I felt that Larsson did a good job on explaining hacking without getting technical.

It was a bit of a struggle to get into this book but much like my favorite California Screaming coaster, once you get going there is no going back and it is a heck of a ride.

I strongly recommend the book!

Body of work of Stieg Larsson

Web site:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Field Gray by Phillip Kerr

This is apparently the 7th Bernie Gunther novel.  I haven’t read any of the others.  This one deals with a pre-WWII vintage ex-policeman who is tangled in a web of duplicity that permeates Europe after WWII.

Bernie is awash in a sea of trouble that is primarily not of his making.   He seems helpless to chart his own course in a world that was changed so dramatically before, after and during World War II.   One of the more interesting things about this book is that it forces you to concede that as United States citizens, we are not always right or in the right.   I clearly recall doing a paper on the Vietnam war back in 1965 time frame.   We were told to have at least 10 sources and only two could be books authored by Americans.   That was rather eye opening for a committed ROTC participant in 1965.   I discovered that historically, Vietnam had been a quagmire for invaders for centuries.   I also discovered that we were totally committed to repeating many of the same mistakes that were made by prior invaders.   Invaders is used intentionally for that is apparently how the common people in Vietnam saw Americans.  

This book re-ignites some of that skepticism.   Bernie does not perceive the British, French or Americans as radically different than the Russians.   This forces you to ponder your history.   I’m reasonably well read and sadly much of what Bernie Gunther felt in this book could be substantiated.   

Kerr writes a very thought provoking novel that is not overly entertaining.   It is a good story, rather dark and overtly political.  Political in that Kerr seems to have nothing good to say about any government.   It does seem that all governments lie to both the world and to their own people.   You just have to pick up the paper or log on to the web to be bombarded with deceit.   I found the book depressing, not terribly enlightening but well worth reading.   I also found that the book made me feel somewhat reassured that, at least, I live in a country whose government lies less to us than most.  I am comfortable that is true in that no one in the government seems to be able to keep a secret so that has to inhibit rampant lying that has no consequences or at least I hope so.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Phillip Kerr

Web site:  couldn’t find one