Playing catch-up here a bit for those of you who care what books I've read.
The highlight was Dean Koontz's new novel "The Other Emily." I kick myself whenever I get off a Koontz kick and bother with other authors, because he's so consistently good. This didn't disappoint.
A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.
Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens―and terror escalates.
Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.
It's tough to say much more without giving away the twists and ending. I came close to figuring it out pretty early on, but Koontz surprised me with the grand finale and why it was Thorpe felt guilty. Suffice to say it was typical Koontz - good versus evil, quite frightening and bordering on the impossible, but the more you think about it, pretty probable.
I gave it an 8 of 10 on the Haugenometer. Amazonians a 4.3 of 5.
** Another one I was looking forward to was "The Sentinel." It's the first of the Jack Reacher series where author Andrew Child steps in to continue the popular series begun by his now-retired brother, Lee Child.
Having read the previous 24 books written by Lee, I have to say Andrew did a pretty good job. But, a devotee to the series like me could recognize some differences in style. The one that stood out to me most is that he had a much more talkative Reacher. Sometimes in unrealistic ways, like when Reacher is ready to defend himself against a gun-wielding bad guy, Reacher launches into a soliloquy of how he's going to defeat the guy before he does it. Meanwhile, apparently, the bad guy just stands there and waits for him to be done sermonizing before the fight begins. Otherwise, it was all good.
I gave it a 6 of 10 and look forward to the next one, "Better Off Dead," due out in October.
** I also read Lawrence Block's "No Score" - one of the short Chip Harrison series. Kind of a silly book, but mildly entertaining, as drifter Chip keeps having his quests to lose his virginity interrupted. I gave it a 5 of 10. The Harrison series is not one of Block's best, probably his lamest.
** I round out the list of missed reviews with Ace Atkins' "The Ranger." This is the first of six in the Quinn Colson series, a former Army Ranger returned to his home in the south and cleans it up. I gave it a 6 of 10.