Pirate: Clive Cussler & Robin Burcell

Pirate is Clive Cussler’s latest, a Sam and Remi Fargo adventure, co-authored by Robin Burcell. As Cussler fans know, Mr. Cussler is lead writer of many of his books, Cusslerizing the writing of others well know for works of their own. Grant Blackwood, Russell Blake, Robin Burcell, and Thomas Perry have all co-authored one or more of the Fargo’s adventures.

Pirate is a treasure hunting tale featuring the Fargos, a wealthy husband and wife team with a knack for research and the discovery of long lost treasures. Funds are never a problem for the globetrotting Fargos.  Back at the ranch in La Jolla, they employ a research team with access to fabulous resources, with Selma Wondrash as the lead researcher, booker of travel arraignments and general go-to person who lubes the way for the Fargo’s success. Fargo adventures share a sense of light banter and by-play between the Fargos that makes the stories a bit softer than other Cussler series books.

The tale opens with a version of the story of the loss of King John’s treasure, a vast fortune in valuables, coins and crown jewels. This sets the stage for the hunt. We meet the Fargos in San Francisco’s China Town where they are searching for a copy of Pyrates and Privateers at Pickering’s Used and Rare Books. Immediately, they are confronted by a minion of Charles Avery, a corporate raider, salvage expert and all-around bad guy who also is searching for King Johns treasure.

As is typical in the Fargo adventures, Sam and Remi bounce from one spot on the globe to another running down clues at the sharp end of the stick, feeding Selma info she synthesizes into practical next steps. In Pirate, they hit Jamaica, Oak Island off of Halifax, Snake Island off Brazil, and Great Britain in their search for King John’s treasure. The Fargos find themselves one step behind Charles Avery most of the time.

The exciting conclusion occurs underground (as is often the case in Clive Cussler’s stories), this time in caves under the city of London. There they fight a final battle with the evil Charles Avery and his troops and of course, find the treasure.

Another in the long series (17 to be precise) of Clive Cussler’s New York Times best sellers, this is an action packed adventure studded with bits of history, geography and light romance between the Fargos. Did I want to keep reading? Yes!

Pirate by Clive Cussler at Book Shop

Clive Cussler at Book Shop

Mystery Adventure Fiction at Book Shop

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William Kent Krueger: Northwest Angle

 

This story by regional author William Kent Krueger takes place on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota. The date is July 4th, 1999. A rare weather system called a derecho produces straight line winds of over one hundred miles per hour in a broad swath across the lake. The result is the great Boundary Waters blow-down.

The story focuses on the Cork O’Conner family. Cork and his daughter Jenny are out on the lake when the storm hits. Cork maneuvers his launch in the lee of an island and they ride out the storm, then seek shelter on the island. While on the island, Jenny stumbles across a rude shelter inhabited by a young woman (dead) and an infant (alive). While on the island they are confronted by a man who is clearly searching for the inhabitants of the shelter and who is armed with a rifle. By the skin of their teeth, Cork and Jenny escape the rifleman and return to their resort with the infant in hand.

Since Lake of the Woods straddles the US/Canada border, someone with intimate knowledge of the lake and a fast boat can move goods between countries. Soon the O’Conners learn the rifleman at the island is likely Noah Smalldog, a rogue member of the Ojibwe band who is involved in smuggling.

Following reports of a fast boat docking at night at Stump Island, the O’Conners explore the island. There they meet members of the Church of the Seven Trumpets, a cult building a citadel on the island against end times which the Seven Trumpet folks say are coming soon. The O’Conners find themselves unwelcome and are run off the island.

In the meantime, Jenny falls in love with the infant and is fearful that Noah Smalldog is searching for the child. The story unfolds not unlike a Nancy Drew mystery, with appropriate twists and turns. Who is Noah Smalldog really? What are those Seven Trumpets people up to on Stump Island? Will Jenny be able to keep little Rabbit (as they call the baby)? The tale combines a blend of Christian and Ojibwe faith and philosophy. William Kent Krueger pens a great story and tells it well. The pacing is good and there is plenty to keep one’s attention. Did I want to read on? I sure did.

Northwest Angle: William Kent Krueger $7.50

William Kent Krueger at Book Shop Sioux Falls

Mystery Adventure at Book Shop Sioux Falls

  • Dave

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is J. K. Rowling’s latest (and last) Harry Potter offering. Based on a new story by Rowling with John Tiffany (playwright) and Jack Thorne (director) Rowling presents the final Harry Potter story as a play. The play is written (and performed) in two parts and is currently in production in Great Brittan, with negotiations underway for Toronto and New York performances.

Harry Potter fans will recall Harry’s arch nemesis Voldemort has promised to return victorious by causing Harry’s demise. The story revolves around this promise and schemes hatched by various interested parties to disrupt Voldemort’s plans for a triumphant return (including preemptively killing Harry).

Nineteen years have passed and Harry, now thirty, is married (with children) to Ginny Beasly and Ron Beasly to Hermione Granger. Harry has a son, Albus. Dracos Malfoy has a son the same age, Scorpius. Everything starts at the train station, where at platform 9 3/4 , the Hogwarts Express is loading students attending Hogwart, a school for children of magicians. On this train ride, Albus and Scorpius meet and become good friends. Albus feels very much in the shadow of his famous dad and he and his dad do not see eye to eye. At school, Albus is chosen for Slytherin, the house of the snake and of dark magic and a major break with family tradition.

Albus and Scorpius come across a time travel gizmo, but it’s only a prototype and can only transport for five minutes. The boys use it in an effort to set right a perceived wrong, but produce unintended consequences. So of course they double down and time travel to fix what they broke the first time. And produce an even bigger mess.

In the end, all the old players hook up, Harry and Hermione, Ron and Ginny, Dracos Malfoy, and Albus and Scorpius to battle Voldemort one more time.

Did I want to read on? It’s Rowling, so yes, of course. It’s a good tale, full of twists and turns and lots of magic. That said, Rowling has assured audiences that the play would contain an entirely new story and will not be a rehashing of previously explored content. It seems a hard promise to keep while retaining most of the same characters and setting. If you want to read an entirely new story by Rowling pen, I suggest the Cormoran Strike series under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J. K. Rowling – $15.00

J. K. Rowling at the Book Shop

Children’s books at the Book Shop

-Dave

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is J. K. Rowling’s latest (and last) Harry Potter offering. Based on a new story by Rowling with John Tiffany (playwright) and Jack Thorne (director) Rowling presents the final Harry Potter story as a play. The play is written (and performed) in two parts and is currently in production in Great Brittan, with negotiations underway for Toronto and New York performances.

Harry Potter fans will recall Harry’s arch nemesis Voldemort has promised to return victorious by causing Harry’s demise. The story revolves around this promise and schemes hatched by various interested parties to disrupt Voldemort’s plans for a triumphant return (including preemptively killing Harry).

Nineteen years have passed and Harry, now thirty, is married (with children) to Ginny Beasly and Ron Beasly to Hermione Granger. Harry has a son, Albus. Dracos Malfoy has a son the same age, Scorpius. Everything starts at the train station, where at platform 9 3/4 , the Hogwarts Express is loading students attending Hogwart, a school for children of magicians. On this train ride, Albus and Scorpius meet and become good friends. Albus feels very much in the shadow of his famous dad and he and his dad do not see eye to eye. At school, Albus is chosen for Slytherin, the house of the snake and of dark magic and a major break with family tradition.

Albus and Scorpius come across a time travel gizmo, but it’s only a prototype and can only transport for five minutes. The boys use it in an effort to set right a perceived wrong, but produce unintended consequences. So of course they double down and time travel to fix what they broke the first time. And produce an even bigger mess.

In the end, all the old players hook up, Harry and Hermione, Ron and Ginny, Dracos Malfoy, and Albus and Scorpius to battle Voldemort one more time.

Did I want to read on? It’s Rowling, so yes, of course. It’s a good tale, full of twists and turns and lots of magic. That said, Rowling has assured audiences that the play would contain an entirely new story and will not be a rehashing of previously explored content. It seems a hard promise to keep while retaining most of the same characters and setting. If you want to read an entirely new story by Rowling pen, I suggest the Cormoran Strike series under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: J. K. Rowling – $15.00

J. K. Rowling at the Book Shop

Children’s books at the Book Shop

  • Dave

John Sandford’s latest: Extreme Prey

Sandford’s latest takes us on a romp through Southeast Iowa. Lucas Davenport – Sandford’s main character – is now a civilian having left employment as a police officer with the State of Minnesota.  Governor Henderson of Minnesota reaches out to Lucas to help solve a problem. Liberal Democrat Michela Bowden in Iowa is running for President and Henderson believes she will eventually select him as running mate. Henderson has caught wind of a threat on Bowden’s life and wants Lucas to get to the bottom of it.

Lucas drives down to Iowa and quickly finds out that he must adjust his approach to detecting since he is working in another state without a badge, weapon or the level authority and access to which he is accustomed. Lots of doors get slammed, both with civilians and with Iowa law enforcement. Never the less, he pokes around and learns of the existence of a group of local folks who are the collected disenfranchised from across the decades. Some had been involved in a bombing of a dairy in the 60’s, some were stripped of their farms through foreclosure during the 80’s, and some are conspiracy wingnuts, blaming Jews or the Government for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.

Lucas obtains a list of the 180 odd members of this alliance and he and others begin interviewing folks on the list. Bowden is adamant that she must make an official appearance at the Iowa State fair in Des Moines, if only for the press. With 100,000 daily attendees, this excursion promises to be a logistics nightmare for Bowden’s security, so the pressure is on for Lucas to uncover the details of the plot and the identity of the bad guys. Davenport gets on his Sherlock Holmes freek, eliminating the impossible to find a small group of could-have-done-its.

Marlys Purdy and her son are on the hot list and time is running short. The media walk at the State fair is just 24 hours away but Lucas is still ticking off possibles. Lucas finally locks on the Purdy’s and the venue, but still has no idea what is being planned.  We get a really great tour of the Iowa State Fair, including the animal barns and wiener schnitzel on-a-stick, but tensions run high as Lucas and the Iowa law enforcement community struggle to respond to an undefined threat and to protect Bowden come what may.

Classic Sandford. The story is compelling and regional, taking place around Cedar Rapids, and so is full of familiar place names (Marlys lives north of Pella). You’ll get no spoilers from me, but Davenport may get re-badged.  Did I want to keep reading? Yes, always. Great stuff.

John Sandford: Extreme Prey – $14.45

John Sandford at Book Shop Sioux Falls

Mystery/Adventure fiction at Book Shop Sioux Falls

-Dave

David Baldacci: Last Mile

A team of truth seekers joins up sort of NCIS style to learn the facts around a man condemned to death in Texas. While they are digging, another man confesses to the crime that put the Texas guy in prison, but like Parker’s Spencer, once they get on a jag, this team makes a virtue of not stopping until all the facts are in, let the chips fall where they may.

There are many characters, but Baldacci (channeling an anti-Terry Goodkind muse) introduces them so you are not overwhelmed.  There is tension among the truth seekers and the recently sprung con does not necessarily desire to revisit all his past. The bad guys who falsely put our ex-con in prison were high school buddies: now a much elected politician, a wealthy businessman and a sheriff. So they have juice. They  bombed a Black church during the height of racial tensions in the 60s killing a number of folks and are not anxious for this to be revealed. Thus they are willing to expend that juice to keep a lid on the facts.

I found the plot a bit twisted and the characters somewhat unsympathetic. There is an unreliable narrator in the person of a member of the good guy team who is a mole for the bad guys and for some reason, that device always bugs me. If trick is deft and I am surprised at the end, wonderful. In truth, by the time I got to the Big Reveal, I didn’t really care, and that can’t be good. Did the book pass my acid test? Did I want to keep reading? I have read other Baldacci’s that held my interest more successfully.

-Dave

The Doubles Table

When a book is popular and great copies are offered to us, we sometimes stock more than one copy. When that happens, we like to display them on the Doubles Table.

Sharon searched through 300 scarves to build this rainbow of gorgeous fabrics.

More Springy colors!

Comfortable, relaxing seating awaits you just as you enter from the enclosed mall.

Search Book Shop and Gifty Things Vintage on-line whenever your schedule allows.

-Dave

What we’re reading: Lee Childs latest Jack Reacher novel, “Make Me”

The latest Lee Childs’  series of Jack Reacher novels, “Make Me” opens with our hero de-training in a Midwest grain elevator town called Mother’s Rest. Just curious, poking around Jack Reacher style. Eventually Jack hooks up with a retired FBI agent who is searching for a colleague who vanished after visiting Mother’s Rest.

I was a little put off by the discussion about the world wide web v/s the dark web and why search engines do not find dark web sites. While true, it misses the point since the context was regarding three letter government Companies which certainly do not do depend on Bing or Google to locate web sites.

That said, the story intrigues, the ending is exciting (there is a charge across a wheat field by the good guys in a backhoe) and Jack Reacher makes all those snappy Sherlock Holmesian inferences  that make you slap your forehead and say, “Oh sure.”.

Altogether, “Make Me” is another classic in Lee Childs’ acclaimed Jack Reacher series, and a darned good yarn.

Jack Reacher at Book Shop

-Dave