Book review: Priority Target by Ethan Jones

Priority Target by Ethan Jones

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I don’t generally post reviews of books that I didn’t particularly like (mostly because books are a deeply personal thing, and authors work hard at their craft, regardless of whether I liked the book or not), but this book irked me in ways that I felt the need to express.
I started reading it because I like action/adventure/thriller books, but the main protagonist in these types of books is almost always male. In this case, the author made a deliberate choice to have a female protagonist, and I was intrigued.
Unfortunately, the book was a disappointment. The plot was quite interesting and was well-paced, so that was a plus. But if you are going to write a female protagonist, you’re going to have to do better at differentiating the protagonist than throwaway lines like “I put on mascara and lipstick” or “I brushed my hair and put it in a ponytail.” There are differences between a male and a female protagonist that go beyond hair, makeup, and clothing. Not exploring those differences shows a lamentable lack of imagination by the author.
So I’m passing on this series. If you are interested in female protagonists in thrillers, I highly recommend Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country series. At least the female protagonist in his books is not messing with her lipstick.



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Book review: Keeper by Greg Rucka

KeeperKeeper by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am reading the work of Greg Rucka backwards, having started with his Queen and Country series, “Alpha” (the first book in his new Jad Bell series) and now back to his initial series with Atticus Kodiak in “Keeper.” As I’ve mentioned in a previous review, the author is rapidly becoming my favorite thriller genre author, with his fast-paced and interesting plots and low amounts of graphic violence. “Keeper” is the debut of Atticus Kodiak, who is a private bodyguard, and his attempts to keep safe an abortion doctor who is the target of death threats by radical pro-life proponents. The topic is incendiary, but Rucka keeps the politicizing to a minimum and focuses instead on the difficulty of keeping someone safe when people are willing to sacrifice their lives to harm that person. (This is the Secret Service’s worst nightmare, too.)
The book is not as polished as some of the author’s later efforts, but all the hallmarks of his writing are there–well drawn secondary characters, terse but eloquent descriptions, interesting plot, and well-paced action. There are also deftly written scenes with the daughter of the target, who has Down’s Syndrome.
All in all, Greg Rucka continues to be my favorite author in this genre, and I will certainly be reading “Finder,” the next book in the series.

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Book review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)Killing Floor by Lee Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hard boiled thrillers are a bit hit-and-miss with me. I like some of them but many are off-putting due to their unlikeable main character. I was surprised I liked this book as much as I do. There’s violence, of course, (you can’t have a hard boiled thriller without it), and some of it is a bit gory. But the hero is surprisingly appealing, with just the right mix of vulnerability and mystery to make him engaging. The plot is elaborate, well-researched, and well-paced. The dialogue is crisp but not affected. The secondary characters are well-drawn and fleshed out (this is, in my experience, a rarity in this genre). I look forward to reading more of Lee Child’s works!Killing Floor

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