Rants and Raves

Troubled Blood – big and entertaining

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I saw it on a list of the CWA Ian Fleming Award candidates (along with the Robatham author I had read recently‚Ķ). I went in blind not knowing anything about the characters or even that the author’s name was a pseudonym – although I found that part out pretty quickly after adding it to Goodreads. But I was trying to avoid spoilers so I tried to avoid seeing anything about the story online.

I usually don’t start at #5 of a series of previously established characters- but that didn’t matter here. Good character depth and really well written.

I was a bit impatient in the middle – it’s a long book – but that’s because a lot of mysteries I read are pulp and I was thinking that this case would be solved quickly. I also read this as an e-book that’s why I wasn’t grasping that this would be that a long tale. But it was worth sticking out.


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Alone : The Classic Polar Adventure – *****

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure by Richard Evelyn Byrd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A relatively quick read and very interesting even though I was worried I wouldn’t like the book’s story (it was a gift). The afterword was a welcome addition which helps provide some historical context and insight after the tale had ended.

I think it was interesting timing that I read this given what is going on in the world right now with Covid-19. In particular, this account of the author being alone in the Antarctic had a few passages that seemed very relevant to today.

eg: being solo and trapped inside and keeping to a schedule -the author was to be taking weather readings at regular times and had to maintain his hut/base- extreme WFH? Even Scott Kelly (astronaut) wrote about this recently in the NY Times.

Another example was a passage about a previous expedition with a healthy crew in isolation, but one day they opened a crate of old clothes and all of them got sick.


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Shadow Divers – ****

Shadow Divers

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read this on the recommendation of a friend who dives. This is a really intense book that explains the perils of deep diving. Mostly the story about the discovery of a U Boat and the men who explored it, but a good overview of this type of diving and about the teams’ work above water too. It made me feel claustrophobic when describing the insides of wrecks.



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Left of Boom – **

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda

Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by Douglas Laux

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Certain parts were interesting. Overall it’s predictable. I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone unless they’re really interested in the plight of adventure junkies who return to sedate lives and try to adjust.

The book is also really uneven. It could have used more editing. As other commenters on Goodreads have posted, the “redacted” sections are a nuisance. They’re cute at first an then just get more and more annoying.



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Book updates

Looks like the blog was down again. Here are some books I read recently:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – **

Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
by Jaron Lanier – ****

Twilight at Mac’s Place by Ross Thomas – ***

The Mercy Rule (Dismas Hardy #5) by John Lescroart – ***

notes: The Manson book was interesting but it really needed an edit. It seemed like it was a bunch of mashed up brochacho blog posts. The writing style really distracted from the message.

The Lanier book was interesting and spells out what we all know and implores us to act on it. I’m not sure I can, but it’s something to think about.

The mysteries I like- I’m a Ross Thomas fan and I’m slowly getting caught up to the late 90s in the Dismas Hardy series which are set in SF.