Author Archives: Laurie C

Military / Nonfiction Adventure – June 14

Ice StationThe Southeastern Mass. Reader’s Advisory Roundtable (SE-RART) meets Thursday, June 14, 10 am-12 pm, at the Queset House, Ames Free Library, 51 Main St, North Easton, to finish out our 2017-18 Action/Adventure genre study with a discussion of Military Adventure and Nonfiction Adventure.

For the June meeting, the benchmark title is Ice Station, a novel by Matthew Reilly – first in the Shane Schofield series. Please choose another title from either the Military Adventure or Nonfiction Adventure subgenre as your second title. (See suggestions of authors below.)

As always, please don’t stay away from the meeting if you can’t finish two novels in time; if you need to, you can follow the “Read a Book in Ten Minutes” guidelines!

Short, additional readings for discussion at the June meeting will be emailed to registered participants. Please register for the June meeting on the MLS Web site , and let us know if you don’t receive the email with the supplemental readings by June 1st.

Even if you don’t get to read your two books completely, please be prepared to talk briefly about each of them in terms of reader’s advisory appeal factors, as laid out by RA-guru Joyce Saricks:

  • Pacing (e.g. breakneck, unhurried, densely written)
  • Characterization (e.g. quirky, well developed, ensemble cast)
  • Plot/Storyline (e.g. action-oriented, sensual, domestic, sexually explicit)
  • Tone/Mood (e.g. gritty, heartwarming, political)
  • Style/Language (e.g. sophisticated, homespun, frank)
  • Frame/Setting (e.g. urban, rural, world-building, time-frame)

If you’re looking for ideas for your second title, we have put together lists of possible authors.

MILITARY ADVENTURE FICTION AUTHOR POSSIBILITIES

Ted Bell
Dale Brown
Tom Clancy
W.E.B. Griffin
Joshua Hood
Richard Marcinko
Scott McEwen
David Poyer
Douglas Reeman
David L. Robbins
Patrick Robinson
Leonard B. Scott

NONFICTION ADVENTURE TITLE POSSIBILITIES
(Stay with the military theme or not, your choice!)

Delta Force: the Army’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Charlie Beckwith
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden
Adrift: Lost at Sea by Stephen Callahan
Cutthroats by Robert Dick
Kill Bin Laden by Dalton Fury
A Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Sinai Surgeon by Robert Letts
No Hero by Mark Owen
Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
I am a Seal Team Six Warrior by Howard Wasdin

If you want to post information about your second title before the meeting, you can!

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Political Thriller / Espionage – 2nd Titles

Here are the second titles that have been submitted so far for the Adventure fiction subgenres of Political Thriller and Espionage. Please submit yours if you haven’t done so yet! This list is in alphabetical order by author:

A Divided SpyTitle: A Divided Spy (2017)
Author: Charles Cumming
Main Appeal Factors: Inside details about spycraft and international intrigue; complex characters; a classic espionage story updated for contemporary times
Genre: Espionage
Annotation/Thoughts:
Third in the Thomas Kell series by Charles Cumming, A Divided Spy contains some plot spoilers for the first two books, but can be read as a standalone title without difficulty.
Pacing is fast in that most of the action of the book takes place over a short period of time, but there is a fair amount of character development and backstory, as well, which, while adding depth to the book, makes parts of the book proceed at a slower pace than a reader looking for a non-stop action thriller might want.
The main character, Thomas Kell, is a disillusioned former spy who — although he has left MI6 (England’s Secret Intelligence Service — is still seeking answers from (and revenge on) the Russian agent he blames for the death of another agent. The storyline is centered at first around Kell’s quest as he gets wind of his quarry, but escalates quickly from personal concerns to national security as Kell wonders if he’s playing or being played by his opposite number, the charismatic Russian agent, Alexander Minasian. Tone is dark, in classic espionage style. The language is rich with both spy jargon and literary references; the main characters are well educated and extremely good at what they do. Various cities in different countries serve as the setting, but the frame is England and its intelligence service. Readers will learn a lot about what constitutes good “spycraft” while enjoying an exciting and suspenseful contemporary tale of espionage.
Definitely would suggest Charles Cumming to readers who like John Le Carré.

The Freedom BrokerTitle: Freedom Broker
Author: K.J. Howe
Main Appeal Factors: worldwide, terrorists, non-stop
Genre:
Political Thriller
Annotation/Thoughts:
First in Kidnap-and-Ransom Thriller series.
Main character, Thea, is a kidnap victim rescuer for a firm that specializes in kidnappings for money by terrorist groups. Very up-to-date issues including China trying to take control of African countries.
Pacing: breakneck: starts with tense scene in jungle, has a break, and then jumps right into a kidnapping
Characterization: main character has elaborate backstory as well as type 1 diabetes. All the characters are complex. Told from multiple narrators.
Story Line: action oriented and plot twists
Frame and Tone: detailed settings, all over the world.
Style: straightforward with just enough description for the setting without slowing down the action.

The SIngularity RaceTitle: The Singularity Race
Author: Mark de Castrique
Main Appeal Factors: AI, Secret Service, computers
Genre:
Political Thriller
Annotation/Thoughts: 
Artificial Intelligence has been in the news a lot frequently, with dire warnings about how the Chinese look to be outrunning us in the race to come up with AI that can think better than humans. This book uses AI as the “weapon” and our hero, Rusty Mullins, is racing to stop a computer from taking over the US infrastructure and indeed the whole world. The technology isn’t the focus so much as the human relationships and basic spy work. As such this book works really well as an adventure fiction/thriller. It certainly was hard to put down. So far there only seem to be two books (this is the 2nd) in the series, so it may just be a two-book set. I haven’t read any of de Castrique’s other books.

Pace: page-turner; starts with a kidnapping/murder and goes to terrorist attack
Characterization: Main character has a backstory, good family life and friends, but is still a “hero” with lots of skills as a former secret service man; Some romance; side characters not fully developed
Story Line: very timely; AI is a weapon.
Frame and tone: While there is some points of view of other people, most of the story is told from the hero’s point of view.
Style: straight-forward, but with emotions involved. Descriptions are minimal.

World at NightTitle: The World at Night (1996)
Author: Alan Furst
Main Appeal Factors: Setting (Paris 1940-41), Mood (dark), Storyline
Genre:
Political Thriller/Espionage
Annotation/Thoughts:
The World War II time period as well as Paris, France were the initial appeal factors for me. The protagonist, Jean-Claude Casson is a film producer who lives in the 16th Arrondisement, which was and still is swanky and just west of the Seine. The book is written in 3rd person through the eyes of Casson. The book opens on the day that the Germans prepare to march into France. Casson is called up to enlist as a film maker but his days in the army are short lived as the Germans invade France and take over Paris in a very short period of time. When Casson returns to Paris a couple of months later, the city seems ghostlike. With the shortages in food, electricity and heat, Casson needs to find work and his lawyer advises him to continue on as a film maker. Casson is eventually hired by a German production company. As he starts pulling together the makings of a film with a woman he loves as the star, he is asked by the Germans to do some work for them and then asked by the resistance to also work for them. Although I was confused by the seemingly large number of characters, the pacing moved along. The book has nine chapters, and breaks between the text on almost every page. Casson as well as a couple of other characters are well developed and the City of Paris is also like a character. The mood is dark and gets darker as the book goes on, as does the action which builds towards the end of the book.
Fourth in Night Soldiers series.

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