Life as an Extreme Sport

Book Review – Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice: A Beaumont and Brady Novel by J.A. Jance My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was my first exposure to JA Jance – and it introduced me to two of her characters. I found myself delighting in the tiny details and geographical accuracy of her Seattle-and-environs setting, and marveling at her ability to not only switch voice but the literal point of view she was writing in as she shifted between Beaumont and Brady’s stories, and slowly brought them together. Beaumont’s of the Washington State Attorney General’s Special Homicide Investigation Team (go ahead, figure out the acronym and then grin) has taken over a case spanning several counties: women are being killed, their teeth removed from their bodies, and the bodies rolled in tarps, dumped, and burned. But this latest body might be the break they need: the teeth haven’t been removed. Will this be the lead

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Book Review – Spartan Gold

Spartan Gold by Clive Cussler My rating: 1 of 5 stars Overall, a disappointing outing from Cussler and Blackwood. In this novel, Remi and Sam Fargo, treasure hunters extraordinaire and generous philanthropists, find themselves up against the forces of a mysterious Ukranian crime boss who traces his ancestry to Persia, and Xerxes the Great. Both are after the secrets of the lost cellar of Napoleon and the potential treasure it will lead them to. The major issue here is that there is no threat. Remi and Sam repeatedly face down the bad guys, and do so in non-lethal manners that allow the bad guys to escape and the Fargo’s to run free. Once or twice it might work, but after the third or fourth time it becomes repetitive, and the sense of threat and peril to the characters vanishes. You know they’re going to get out of it okay, so

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Book Review – The Emperor’s Tomb

The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry My rating: 4 of 5 stars Cassiopeia Vitt has a problem. She owes ex-pat Russian Lev Sokolov a favour, and he’s come to collect. His young son was kidnapped in China, a growing problem no one will admit exists. In her effort to find Sokolov’s son, she steals an ancient Chinese artifact – a lamp – and then she finds herself kidnapped and being waterboarded. She does the only thing she can think of: she tells her kidnappers and torturers that Cotton Malone has the artifact they so desperately want. With that, Cotton finds himself pulled back into Cassiopeia’s orbit, and once again running from mercenaries who want him dead. Only, this time, that running takes him through Vietnam, into China, and into the hands of his Russian nemesis, Viktor Tomas. The Emperor’s Tomb continues Steve Berry’s tradition of mixing historical fact with present-day

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Book Review – The Templar Salvation

The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury My rating: 3 of 5 stars This sequel to The Last Templar finds us catching up with Tess Chaykin and Sean Reilly – and discovering that their happily ever after wasn’t quite so happy, or ever after. Following the formula he established in The Last Templar, The Templar Salvation starts off with a historical prologue before bringing us to the current day, when we are dropped down mid-mission with Reilly in Vatican City. Reilly’s doing the unthinkable, and using his connections to get into the Vatican Archives, where he can then go about breaking into a forbidden section. Why? Because someone’s kidnapped Tess – and this is the only way he knows he’ll be able to see her again. Of course, if it was that easy, the book would be over in a chapter. Instead, Reilly faces a curveball that requires him to apologize

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Book Review – The Chase

The Chase by Clive Cussler My rating: 3 of 5 stars The first of the Isaac Bell novels, the reader is introduced to a new era for Cussler – the end of the Wild, Wild West, when railroads brought civilization to the frontier. The Butcher Bandit has been declared a ghost by local police across multiple states. He comes in, robs banks, shoots all witnesses, and disappears before anyone realizes he’s been there. No one knows what he looks like, no one knows how he gets in and out of town, and no one knows where he will strike next. Can Van Dorn Detective Isaac Bell, with his blend of cutting-edge science and no-nonsense practicality, stop the Butcher Bandit before the body count climbs? The outcome isn’t as clear as you might think. While Cussler has adventure writing down to his own science, there’s something missing from this book. It’s

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