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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Light of the World; The Trinity Six; In the Company of Others; The Rembrandt Affair; and The Lawgiver

James Lee Burke.  Light of the World.  ©2013  Dave Robicheaux, his wife Molly and his daughter Alafair are vacationing in Montana with Clete Purcell and his newfound daughter, Gretchen Horowitz, formerly known as “Caruso” when she was doing hits for the mob.  Alafair is being stalked by an escaped serial killer whom she had interviewed in prison for a possible book.  Wyatt Dixon, the nemesis of Billy Bob Thornton in Bitteroot has a more positive role in this book and even finds a girlfriend.  Electroshock therapy apparently can work wonders on deranged rodeo clowns.  As usual the cast includes an evil billionaire and his dysfunctional family and the ex-cons who work for them.  One critic wrote that this is “Burke’s ultimate examination of the theme of good versus evil, with his deepest exploration of both states.”  It’s more than a thriller and “an experience that is by turns beautiful and frightening.”  September 2013
Charles Cumming.  The Trinity Six.  ©2011   Burgess, McClean, Philby, Blunt and Cairncross were recruited by the Soviets in the 1930s at Trinity College, Cambridge.  Was there a sixth man in this group of traitors?  In this novel, there was, and his name was Eddie Crane, but was he a traitor or a double agent?  Eddie is 91 and living in a nursing home under an assumed name.  He wants to tell his story and Sam Gaddis, a professor of Russian history at UCL in London, takes over the contact with him after Sam’s journalist friend, Charlotte Berg, dies of a heart attack at age 48.  There’s a very big secret here that Russian President Platov doesn’t want revealed.  MI-6 seems to be collaborating with the Russians in a cover-up.  Sam finds that several people who might have known something about the secret have been killed and that his life is in danger.  This was a really good read.  It could have happened and Platov could have been Putin.  September 2013
Jan Karon.  In the Company of  Others.  ©2010  I tried this for a couple of disks but couldn’t stay with it.  Father Tim Kavanaugh, an Episcopalian priest in Mitford NC, has been the subject of several novels.  In this one he is vacationing at a fishing lodge in Ireland.  Not a whole lot happens and the Irishness of it soon gets tiresome.  From reviews I understand there’s a big secret waiting to be revealed in the last chapter, but it wasn’t big enough to make me stick around.  September 2013
Daniel Silva.  The Rembrandt Affair.  ©2010  This may be Gabriel Allon’s last operation --  or maybe not.  Isherwood, a gallery owner asks Gabriel to track down an unknown Rembrandt, which had been stolen from the restorer’s studio after he had sent it there for cleaning.  As Gabriel starts his search, he meets the daughter of an earlier owner.  As a child, she had to watch while an SS officer named Voss forced her father to “sell” him the painting for almost nothing.  Then her father and the rest of the family were shipped off to Ravensbruck and never seen again.  As Gabriel follows the trail he eventually traces it to the son of a Swiss banker who had appropriated the accounts of his Jewish depositors.  Along the way, he is able to persuade “the office” that this case is more than just a stolen painting, and he gets the full support of Mossad, MI5 and MI6 and the CIA. It’s a thriller like all of the previous ones, but the principals are getting older.  October 2013
Herman Wouk.  The Lawgiver.  ©2012  At 96, Herman Wouk is writing a novel about Moses.  He is asked to do a screenplay on the same subject, declines but then reluctantly agrees to sort of oversee the writing by an up and coming young writer.  The book is written in the form of emails, faxes, memos, records of meeting and transcripts of telephone conversations.  It’s a fascinating account of how a movie gets made, but the format begins to wear rather quickly.  October 2013

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