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The Testament of Mary
The Testament of Mary
by Colm Tóibín
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The grief of a mother, 28 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Testament of Mary (Hardcover)
The Testament of Mary is one of those books which leave a bittersweet taste in the reader's mouth at the end. This has nothing to do with religion; it has everything to do with the sadness that seems to prevail from beginning to end.

The author tells in a beautifully flowing first person narration the story of Mary, or at least some of its parts. Mary in this novella looks like a woman bathed in sorrow. As she recounts the events that lead to her son's death and their aftermath, she seems weak, secretly angry and quite bitter. And she doesn't seem to have a shred of sympathy for Jesus before he met his end and his followers. In her eyes they were all part of a conspiracy that she doesn't name but is quite clear for everyone to see.

Her memories are vivid, "I remember too much;" she says, "I am like the air on a calm day as it holds itself still, letting nothing escape. As the world holds its breath, I keep memory in."

Nothing escapes her but sleep. She cannot sleep because the recent events have shaken her world; her son's miracles, the fact that he publicly renounced her, his arrest, trial and crucifixion. But these are not the things upset her the most, it's her visitors; two of his disciples that come to her time and again, trying to shape her memories into their own liking, determined to convince her that their version of the events is the true one.

"No," she wants to cry out loud, "no, I wasn't there until the very end," but they pay no attention to her, they'll write the story the way they want it, no matter what. She's sick of men, and especially these ones: "...all my life when I have seen more than two men I have seen foolishness and I have seen cruelty..." In a way she's also disappointed of her son, who, she feels has wasted his life for no reason at all: "It was not worth it," she says, his death served no one.

Her words, her thoughts may sound heretic, but they simply come out of the bleeding heart of a grieving mother: "There are times in these days before death comes with my name in whispers, calling me towards darkness, lulling me towards rest, when I know that I want more from the world. Not much, but more. It is simple. If water can be changed into wine and the dead can be brought back, then I want time pushed back. I want to live again before my son's death happened, or before he left home, when he was a baby and his father was alive and there was ease in the world."

But these days are gone. Now even her own story doesn't belong to her, even her life depends on the charity of others. The only thing she's left with is her memories, and a bitterness that just doesn't let go of her tortured soul.

A tale beautifully told in exquisite prose by a master storyteller.


Standing in Another Man's Grave (A Rebus Novel)
Standing in Another Man's Grave (A Rebus Novel)
by Ian Rankin
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Rebus is back with a bang, 19 Dec. 2012
Joy to the world of crime fiction, Rebus is back with a bang. Standing in Another Man's Grave is one of the best crime novels of the year, and if you don't believe me that's your problem.

As Ian Rankin came to realize letting one of your favorite heroes go is not an easy thing to do and thank god for that. Rebus, after taking a short break, returns to the pages of his creator and lets him know that it won't be so easy to get rid of him. What if he works in cold cases as an outsider? What if the unit is about to close? Nothing really matters to Rebus, apart from solving crimes and punishing the perps one way or another.

At the beginning of the book he seems a bit lost as he enters a world where he's spend most of his life, but which now seems alien to him. His protégée Siobhan Clarke now holds a higher position than him and she seems to be going places, unlike him whose life never changes. As he realizes at some point he's an analog man in a digital world. However analog sometimes is better than digital.

Rebus is at his strongest when he's at his lowest. When everyone is against him he rises up to the challenge and gets things done. And when he's the target, he's the one who pulls the trigger first.

One of the most interesting things in this book is the co-existence in the same pages of Rebus and Rankin's latest cop hero, Malcolm Fox. Fox doesn't like Rebus and he shows it, he's determined to take him down as soon as possible; but no matter how hard he tries he's never able to pin anything specific on him. Yes, he does have drinks with a mob boss, whose life he's saved, every now and then; yes, he does frequent places which he shouldn't; and yes, he does tend to take the law into his own hands time and again; but he gets results. He may be old school, but he goes where nobody else can. He may drink a lot, but he works more than everyone, despite his age.

Fox and Rebus are similar in a way: committed, headstrong, restless, but they cannot see that. When they look at each other they only see yet another enemy, whereas if they were working together they could be friends, despite the fact that Fox doesn't drink.

As for the story, it all begins with a murder that Rebus cannot investigate, and the reopening of an old case which he can. A woman shows up at the unit claiming that her daughter's disappearance many years ago is connected with those of some other young women. Rebus decides to take a look at the file and he sooner rather than later realizes that the woman had a point. All the women disappeared in the same area and they've never been seen ever since. So he starts investigating. And the more he investigates, the more clues he brings to light, and the more enemies he makes. He's no angel, everyone knows that, but when he's on the hunt he'll do anything to get his man. He doesn't care about department politics, public relations, and keeping up pretenses with colleagues, and that's his curse, and that's his blessing.

Siobhan knows that where everyone else fails Rebus succeeds, so despite the fact that working with him could put her career in jeopardy at the end she decides to give him a helping hand. He'll do all the leg work, and she'll be there when the need arises. If not for any reason because she likes him; she likes the fact that he wants to bring justice to the victims no matter what; and he does make her smile.

Well, all in all I'd say that this is one of the best Rebus novels yet. The good detective came back from his break stronger and hungry for action. What a character! Really, what a character! Thumbs up, Mr. Rankin.


A MAN NAMED HAWKEN TP
A MAN NAMED HAWKEN TP
by Timothy Truman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A killer unlike any other, 6 Dec. 2012
This review is from: A MAN NAMED HAWKEN TP (Paperback)
Hawken by Benjamin and Timothy Truman is a graphic novel that tells the story of a killer unlike any other, a man that seems to be a force of nature.

This is one of those special creations that keep the reader constantly at the edge of his sit. There's too much action in it, great characters, some hints of dry humor here and there, and a plot that drives the narrative from peak to peak.

An old man is riding a blind mule, in 1881, on a trail called The Road of Death that goes through the Sonoran Desert. He has done many bad things in his life. And his name is Hawken. And that's just about how the story begins; a story full of villains, and in which bloodsheds are never too many pages apart.

Hawken is a man with a mission, and he's determined to accomplish it no matter what. As it's already established he's no angel, but there are worst human beings out there; beings that need to die and thus follow him every step of the way as he heads for his final destination.

The journey will prove long but the old man rode because he was not yet finished. His enemies are plenty, and they all belong to the Ring, a gang or an order of sorts, unlike any other.

Hatred seems to be the keyword in this story. The hatred he feels for his enemies; the hatred they feel for him. In fact everybody seems to hate everyone else, yet: It is rare for a man to kindle a hatred that burns so brightly that it has the power to touch the unliving. Well, Hawken does. And that's what keeps him going; from town to town, from massacre to massacre.

The strange thing is that the most of the humor here is provided by his victims, his ghosts. They argue with him, they have a laugh at his back, and they urge him to move forward until he reaches his goal. So it comes as no surprise that when some philosophy finds its way into the text, it has to do with them:

"All men are haunted, whether by ghosts or by memories."
Though, "sometimes it is the living who are the ghosts."

This team of father and son do a great job in delivering to the reader a story that is not only gripping but also hard to forget. Hawken is a character that plants himself into your memory and makes you think of his persona and his mission again and again. I guess in the hands of a capable and imaginable director this could make a beautifully dark and slightly funny movie.


The Strain Volume 1
The Strain Volume 1
by David Lapham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 6 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Strain Volume 1 (Paperback)
The Strain Volume 1 is a graphic novel that combines the genres of traditional vampire literature and ancient folklore in order to deliver a modern day tale of horror and nonstop action.

This is an adaptation of the first novel in the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, or maybe not exactly so, as the authors point out in their introduction.

"This is not an illustrated version of our novels. This is a graphic retelling: a visual translation and a definitive one. As such, we asked only for the application of fresh energy and bold thinking. Other than that, we granted David Lapham and Mike Huddleston free reign and embraced them as true partners in this enterprise."

It all begins with a flashback. We visit a rural scene in the country of Romania in 1927. An old woman tells a boy that goes by the name of Abraham the story of Jusef Sardu, an eccentric nobleman, in order to make him eat his foot. According to her, and local legend, Sardu was a man unlike any other. He was so tall that he looked down on everyone, yet looked down on no one. And the children loved him. He was sick though, but what his illness really was nobody knew.

Sardu used to live a peaceful life, until one day his noble father, decided to take him with him for a wolf hunt that would lead to a disaster and which would change, in unimaginable ways, his life forever.

Young Abraham believed the story, even though at the time he didn't exactly know what had happened to the man. In the years to come he would come to find out, and thus find in a mysterious way his life's true purpose.

And back to the future, which is today, we go. Though we live in an era in which a terrorist attack is always the most frightening thing that could possibly happen, a yet more unusual and terrifying event takes place; an event that will bring the then boy and now elder man Abraham back to action. When an airplane lands in New York and rumors start spreading around about the fate of its passengers, he knows who's behind the whole thing. But how can he help the authorities cope with the threat? And how can he convince them that he, a frail old man, knows more about it than they do?

He has no choice but to risk his freedom in order to save innocent lives. So he comes in contact with the authorities. He tells them his thoughts, he yells at them that they have to do as he says before it's too late, but to no avail.

In the meantime the flashbacks continue and during them we get to know Abraham better, as well as his nemesis, Jusef Sardu, the man he's determined to stop no matter what. But how can one kill the undead? He knows how, but the stubborn young men won't listen to him. They've even thrown him in jail.

Now it's up to Dr. Ephraim Goodweather to save the day. But will he make it? It seems unlikely, since he doesn't really know what he's up against to. However his job is not the only thing in his mind right now; he also thinks about his son Zack and his ex-wife Kelly, whom he still loves, and he secretly mourns about the life that he dreamed about but that wasn't meant to be. He's a brave man, willing to admit his mistakes and do anything to right his wrongs, but at the same time he's just a human being, who's simply trying to make it through another day, and who at moments also seems weak and lost for hope.

This is a story with a good plot, great character built-up and beautifully dark illustrations which bring to life the bleak subject matter. I haven't read the Strain trilogy, but if this graphic novel is any indication about how good the books are, I think that maybe I should at least give them a try.


Mind Maps: Quicker Notes, Better Memory, and Improved Learning 3.0
Mind Maps: Quicker Notes, Better Memory, and Improved Learning 3.0
Price: £2.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to train your brain, 4 Dec. 2012
This book could easily carry another subtitle: How to Train Your Brain! According to the author there's a simple way to do that: Mind Mapping.

If someone ever told me that there was a way for me to start reading faster than I already do, I'd say that he was crazy. And if I'd never read this book I'd insist he was. However in the book at hand I've discovered a simple example, which I'll call for the purposes of this review 'Reading by the Dot,' that left me speechless. Thanks to it I did not only read a paragraph in great speed, but I've also memorized almost every word of it.

It is widely known that every person uses only a limited amount of his mind's capabilities. This book offers the reader a chance to enhance his reading and learning experiences, and improve his memory as well.

As we read in the introduction: "A Mind Map is a diagram you create to organize your thoughts. In conventional note-taking, you write information down line by line or perhaps column by column. Mind Mapping differs from such note-taking in that you present the information more in the form of a diagram."

And how does that help me? one would ask. Well, for starters, I'd answer, it helps with your memory since it is easier to remember images than words. Visualization is the key word here. Kids, just as much as the adults, do not have many difficulties in remembering images but when it comes to words it's a different story.

One of the examples that the author uses to prove his point is the diagrams he uses to create an overview of the popular novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Through these diagrams we follow the book from point one all the way to the end, taking a good look at the characters and their interactions, and thus get a brief yet detailed view of the story. "One idea is interconnected with many other ideas," we read, and, as we well know, one person is interconnected with many other persons, which helps prove the point.

Mind Mapping has many advantages; it balances the brain, simplifies life, helps with creativity, and speeds up the learning processes. It also has some disadvantages though since it asks of you to change your habits, to spend time to get to know how it works, and maybe creates some minor problems when it comes to speaking since language is an auditory process. The former though overrule the latter, since learning how to operate with Mind Maps can help you change your life for the better in many ways.

"...essentially, there's no limit to how vast your Mind Map can become. A subtopic in the first Mind Map you create may become the central idea in the next one you draw. Each subtopic in a map is in effect a center of another map. This is the beauty of the technique--relationships may go on as extensively as they exist in your mind." Now, how interesting is that!

To be honest before reading this book I knew next to nothing about how Mind Mapping works. I've read things about it here and there, but I'd never thought to give it a try. Well, all that has changed. I now find this subject as intriguing as they come. As someone who reads dozens of books every year, and always wishes to read even more, I believe that adopting the technique of Mind Mapping will help me achieve my goals. I think that if I should come to master it the results could be, if nothing else, highly satisfying.

Mind Mapping can help one in many walks of life: from organizing vacations to creating business plans, from generating presentations to solving everyday problems, and the list goes on and on.

A lot of people say that everything is in our head; the book at hand proves them right. And then it highlights the way one has to follow to reach his own high point, to widen his horizons.

If you'd ask me to put this book in a category I wouldn't know which one to choose. Is it a self-help manual? In a way it is, but it's much more than that. To use a metaphor I'd say that this is a guide of how to use the GPS of your brain to find the destinations you desperately seek, and need.


The Forgotten
The Forgotten
by David Baldacci
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Puller pulls it off, 27 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Forgotten (Paperback)
If you asked me a year ago I'd tell you that David Baldacci somehow looked like he had lost his touch; this year though I say: he's back with a bang.

The Forgotten is one of his best books and it is no exaggeration to say that John Puller pulled it off. When he first appeared in Zero Day I did think that he was here to stay. What I didn't believe was that his next adventure would be better than the first one.

It all begins with a letter. Betsy Puller Simon writes to her brother John Puller Senior to let him know that there's something rotten in Paradise, Florida. Strange things seem to happen during the night, she says in an understatement, and she asks for the help of Puller Junior to investigate.

Puller who works for the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army knows that Aunt Betsy is a down to earth person who wouldn't try to create something big out of nothing at all, so he decides to use the remaining days of his holiday time to head down to Florida to see what's going on.

However he arrives there too late. By that time Betsy is already dead. According to the local police she'd accidentally drowned, but somehow Puller doesn't buy it. If it wasn't for the letter maybe he'd accept the coroner's verdict but he's certain that there's something fishy going on.

And there is, as soon the bodies of an elderly couple will wash up at the beach, with bullet wounds in their heads, and lots of mysterious things will start to happen. In the end Paradise is everything but what its name suggests, as in that small community there is a really high crime rate, there's corruption in the police force and elsewhere, and secrets and lies rule the day.

Puller is bound to create more enemies than friends while there, since his arrival seems to stir things up. He doesn't know who to trust and he sure as hell doesn't expect any help from the police. Only a young and beautiful officer seems competent and honest enough in the Police Force, and it is with her that he collaborates at first.

As the plot thickens though he comes to realize that he'll need all the help he can get. He may be fast, and strong, and smart but he cannot out the bad guys all by himself. Much welcomed help will arrive from a female General of the U.S. Army who has a history with him, a giant of a man who's after a rich guy who wronged him badly, a kid who's trying to lead a better, non gang-affiliated life, and a mysterious woman with a mission.

In here we have lots of mystery, amazing action scenes, some sentiment every now and then, the inevitable twists and turns and a hero who's bound to make life difficult for his literary arch-rival, Lee Child's Jack Reacher.

Well done Mr. Baldacci; well done indeed!


Fox Tracks
Fox Tracks
by Rita Mae Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and funny, 20 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Fox Tracks (Hardcover)
Fox Tracks by Rita Mae Brown is the 8th novel in a series featuring foxhunter and fox lover, and amateur detective, Sister Jane.

It all begins with the murder of a tobacconist but it's not the crime that sets the pace and makes this such an interesting book to read, but the characters. First we have Sister Jane, a woman as unconventional as they come. Then there's Gray Lorillard, her boyfriend and an opium smoker. Before too long in comes Crawford Howard, Sister's enemy and a man so rich that can buy his way into and out of everything. And then there's "Tootie", a young woman who decides to give up Princeton, forget about her planned career and her family's fortune and become a veterinarian.

However it's not only the characters that make this novel interesting; it's also the hunting scenes. The author's descriptions of the action as it takes place are in most parts really great:

On and on they flew, the sound of hoofbeats thrilling. Shaker rode well with his hounds. Betty, feeling that water in her boots, on the right and Sybil, a swift-moving speck on the left, charged over undulating pasture... Hounds disappeared over a swale. An old tobacco barn hove into view as Sister galloped down that incline, then up the other side. The hounds surrounded the old curing shed, some eagerly wiggling through spaces, logs deliberately built that way a century and a half ago...

Speaking of tobacco, it does have an important part to play in this novel as well. It's not only that the murder of the tobacconist will spark a series of events that will put many lives into danger, it also has to do with the rights of smokers. Sister is really angry with the politicians that pass one law to protect the health of the public, but when it suits them just forget, or avoid, to pass another one, for the very same reason.

Another interesting fact here is that the animals talk between them, something that inputs lots of humor into the narrative. I especially like the hate and hate relationship between the Sister's dogs and cat. The cat is just like a spoiled and sly princess. She always gives the dogs a hard time and is the unofficial ruler of the domestic kingdom, and thus creates lots and lots of problems.

In an unconventional household like Sister's one could expect nothing less. These minor domestic troubles just seem to add spice to her life, and the fact that at her age she has a boyfriend she doesn't want to marry, does nothing but prove that she's true to her words: An unmarried woman is incomplete. When she's married, she's finished.

Crime, mystery, foxhunts and lots and lots of laughs; what more could one ask for in a novel? Rita Mae Brown makes sure that the reader has fun while reading her book, and she does so in a splendid way.


The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine: 1
The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine: 1
by Geof Darrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A cowboy unlike any other, 19 Nov. 2012
The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine No 1 by Andrew Vachss, Geof Barrow and Michael A. Black includes two novelettes that remind the reader of Pulp Fiction (the movie and the genre) and science fiction stories.

I'll say it right from the start; this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year so far. It's action-packed, it's funny and it doesn't take itself seriously. The two stories in this volume are quite different from each other, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the reader can't enjoy them just the same.

The first story tells what the Way of "No Way" is all about. It is here that we for the first time set eyes on the Shaolin Cowboy, a mercenary of sorts that wanders around an almost deserted land, where the only law is that of the outlaw. The Cowboy is not your usual mercenary though; he does have his own code of ethics, he always wears a Chicago Cubs baseball cap, and he travels on a mule that's too strong and in its own right has quite an attitude. The two of them definitely complement each other in more than one ways. They are not only partners in crime but they also have a silent understanding that never allows one to get into the other's way.

As we get to know the Cowboy better we come to realize that he's not only lethal but also kind. When the need arises he helps the weak and even goes out of his way to find them refuge. The villains though are a different story. They are evil, simple as that, but their characters and the way the author describes their looks is one of the reasons that I really enjoyed this story.

The boss, the big boss of the land actually, is a fat man that goes by the initials T.A. These mean Totally Awesome according to his followers, but what they really stand for is Toxic Amoeba. It is exactly this man that the Cowboy is traveling to meet through the desert, the Terror-tories, a journey that offers the reader a lot of action and some laughs. For instance at a point our hero sees a sign that says: You are now leaving the endless desert, and not before too long he finds another one that suggests: What, you didn't bring a dictionary? Look up "Endless," stupid.

Well, Cowboy is about to live the adventure of his life, an adventure that reminds the reader of the movies of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez, and during which anything can happen.

The second story in this volume Time Factor is written by Michael A. Black, and it more than less belongs to the Sci Fi genre. This is the story of Dr. Riley and another couple of men who are assigned a mission into the jungles of New Mexico. They have to find the members of an expeditionary force that went missing. However, in order to accomplish that, they first have to travel back in time, and the Cretaceus period, where the scenery is to say the least imposing.

What happens to them while there gives birth to too many questions into the mind of Dr. Riley, but the truth is that the answers he will not like; answers I will not provide, because when it comes to spoilers this is as good, or as bad, as it gets.

In this story too there's plenty of action and some great characters that are not so easy to forget. It is violent, but it's also funny in a way, especially when one of the heroes insists on doing his own thing, putting everyone else into trouble.

I really look forward to the second edition of The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine.


Crashed (Junior Bender Mysteries)
Crashed (Junior Bender Mysteries)
by Timothy Hallinan
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Junior Bender Rocks, 19 Nov. 2012
Crashed by Timothy Hallinan is the first novel in a series featuring Junior Bender, a famous burglar, who in this story doesn't only have to steal but also investigate a crime in the making.

It's not easy even to try to describe who or what Junior Bender exactly is. He's a burglar, he's a thief, but he's also someone with a good heart, who cares for people in need, who's willing to kill a bad person in order to save the life of a good one. And he is, like this book, quite funny.

Wattles is his arch nemesis, a man with a great sense of humor who may sound funny but at the same time is quite clever indeed; and, as such, he makes a fool out of Junior when he hires him to break into a house and steal a painting. He does not only not pay him his fare share but he also blackmails him into working for Trey Annuziato, a mob boss who's trying to clean the family's act and go legit, but in order to do so she first has to shoot an adult movie starring a famous actor whose glory days had come to pass. Someone is trying to sabotage the project and it's up to Junior to find who and why.

This job will not be an easy ride for him though. He is smart, he is well-connected and he's willing to do anything to get out of the dead end he found himself into. But things never seem to go his way, while not only criminals but also the cops seem to follow his every move. He knows what he has to do, he knows the way to do it, but in order to accomplish that he has to overcome many obstacles, and even work under the nose of the police.

During this long and exhausting investigation Junior will have to come face to face with packs of dogs, thugs, corrupted cops, mobsters and even a couple of kids who were street-smart and sly enough to make his life difficult.

But this story is not only about some burglar, a mystery, and bits and pieces of almost choreographed action; it's also about the showbiz.

Everybody in show business loves everybody else so much, it's darling this and darling that, people fall in love and drink together and swear eternal friendship and then the shoot ends and we all lose each other's phone numbers.

Hollywood is the land of fantasy and people just love to make stories about each other, and spread the rumors around and thus create out of them a reality. Most of the stories are just that, stories, and sometimes it's not that difficult to crash one of those tales into pieces.

Crashed is a book that has it all: mystery, humor, action, a great plot and some unforgettable characters. It also talks about the way some situations can bring the best or the worst out of people and how money and glory destroy lives. Finally it seems to highlight the fact that people who are not loved are bound to fail in their lives. Here we have a great novel, by a great writer.


Motorcycle High: The Adventures of Rock Pounder
Motorcycle High: The Adventures of Rock Pounder
by Dave Harrold
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.02

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment High, 16 Nov. 2012
Motorcycle High by Dave Harrold is a high-octane and fun-loving adventure that takes the reader on a long and dangerous journey, full of action and betrayals, femme fatales, mobsters and spies.

This is one of those books that are simply way too fun not to like. And Rock Pounder, the main protagonist, is one of those heroes that no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot forget; not only for his character, but also because he's quite a character. He's cool, he's fearless, he loves his bikes and his women and he has a past that still haunts and entertains him. I will let him speak for himself.

I'm really a pacifist most of the time. I don't carry a gun, and I don't like to hurt people. But there are some things I won't put up with, and beating up a defenseless priest is one of them.

Whether he likes it or not though, Rock will have to resort to violence more than once during this journey, this adventure; an adventure that will really start, not in the US, but when he reaches and travels through Siberia, and then moves on to Russia, Ukraine and Poland, sleeps in luxury hotels and out in the open, faces betrayal and finds a true friend, and then thinks, constantly thinks about his life.

Rock feels like he's blessed and cursed at the same time. He really enjoyed his ride through life, but he cannot help but think that maybe it's time for him to call it a day. What started his wanderlust was a book, Around the World in 80 Days, but if things keep going the way they do now, it's doubtful that he'll have, in the end, 80 days to live.

What do they want from him? Why can't they just let him be? he keeps wondering. Who are they? His boss, "Fat Man" Manfred, and the CIA. They are interested in a package that contains a computer program that could change the world. And so is the Russian government, and so is the Mafia who's after him. The problem is that he doesn't have the package. The problem is that, even though he doesn't know it yet, he's going to get it.

Oh well, when you think about it it's all business as usual for Rock. He'll just do what he has to do, while trying to avoid his silicon-made ex-wife, his pursuers, a woman who lusts after him and... and...

What I liked the most about this novel is not so much the action, but the interactions; the interactions between some of the main characters; the love and hate relationships, the lack of trust between them. I've also enjoyed Rock's sense of humor, his stubbornness and his lust for travel and adventure. To put it simply, Rock is here to entertain, and entertain he does.


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