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Book Review: Potboiler

Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman

potboiler Twice this week I’ve read a book in one sitting, and both books came from the same DNA. The first was the newest Alex Delaware book by Jonathan Kellerman; the second was written by his son, Jesse Kellerman.

This novel, ‘Potboiler,’ is a strange twist on a post-Cold War spy novel, combining the intrigue of conspiracy theory and fancy techno-gadgets with the annoying literary babble of academia.
The story opens with the death of a famous writer, and his long-time friend, our narrator, attending his memorial service. Arthur then discovers that an unfinished, unread manuscript has been left behind, and he takes it. Unable to resist temptation, Arthur edits it a bit, and publishes this as his own; it becomes a bestseller, and he soon discovers lots of things he did not know about his dear departed friend Bill. For example: he’s a spy, and his novels are carefully coded to give instructions to agents around the world. By changing his last book, Arthur has messed things up, and now must either go to work for The Boys, or pay the price.
With character names I can’t spell, let alone pronounce, a fictional communist country divided over the burial place of a hero from their national poem, and lots of root vegetables, I was drawn in by the story, and yet had occasion to laugh. James Bond would never glue his false mustache on upside down; then again, Bond wouldn’t need a false mustache!
I will be looking forward to the next book from Mr. Kellerman, and checking every “beach read” from now on for spy code, just in case.

 

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Book Review: The Night Season

The Night Season (Gretchen Lowell, #4)The Night Season by Chelsea Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chelsea Cain has been credited with making the serial killer genre “female friendly.” I can’t say if that’s true or not, but she does write one hell of a book! The Night Season is #4 in the Gretchen Lowell Series, and it is another fabulous thriller. The one issue I have is that Gretchen Lowell only appears in two paragraphs, at the very end! Her presence is felt throughout the book, as Portland police detective Archie Sheridan searches for a killer. The Willamette River is flooding, and someone is poisoning people before pushing them into the river. Archie and reporter Susan Ward are once again in danger as they track down this murderer and his odd weapon.

I must say, I was surprised by the serial killer’s choice of weapon, but reading on, it started to make more sense. I was disappointed that Cain did not explore the Vanport story line further, choosing to neatly tie it all up in few paragraphs at the end. It seemed too easy, and I for one, would have liked for that story line to have been included more in the entire plot. It was interesting, and since it was, indeed, crucial to the actual killer, it should have been explored further. Instead, it was simply a side note, a story only Susan was interested in.

That being said, I completely enjoyed this novel. The development of the characters since book one is remarkably real; Archie still craves Vicodin, Susan has a hard time standing up to her boss. The action in this novel is not as gorey as the previous three, but still thrilling, and closer to home. I love seeing places I know in Cain’s novels; I’m a Portland girl, too. I’m looking forward to the next Chelsea Cain novel; you should, too!

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