Saturday, January 21, 2012

Senior News Column--January

For some time now I have been writing a monthly book review column for the Senior News newspaper. The Senior News is aimed to the over 50 crowd with news relevant to seniors regarding various issues, humor pieces, and my review column among other things. The newspaper is a giveaway at doctor offices, stores, etc. and can be received by via a paid subscription.

My column every month focuses on books of interest to the Texas audience. Therefore books selected for the column, fiction or non-fiction, are written by Texas residents, feature Texans in some way, or would have some other connection to the Texas based readership. At least two books are covered each month in the short space I am given.

Below is/was my January column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

Texas Standoff: A Novel Of The Texas Rangers
Elmer Kelton
Tom Doherty Associates, LLC (Forge)
ISBN# 978-0765364777
288 Pages

Recently released in paperback form, this book is the ninth and final installment of the Texas Ranger series. Newly married Texas Ranger Andy Pickard is thinking that it is about time to leave the Rangers and settle down. The bean counters are getting worse down in Austin, his wife Bethel is urging him to quit and making it hard for him to leave when he has to, and this latest mission, chasing a lowly chicken thief,  is not worthy of his talents. If that is not bad enough, the sergeant is sending Logan Daggett with him. Pickard knows Daggett by reputation only and that reputation is not a good one.

Not only do the two Texas Rangers find their chicken thief, they also find a lot more trouble with some of it their own making.  A blood feud between the patriarchs of the McIntosh and Teal families, the desire by some to start fencing the range land and the ominous presence of the “regulators” are just some of the issues that Pickard and Daggett, who rarely see eye to eye, must confront in this very good 288 page novel.

Payne Harrison
Variance Publishing
326 Pages (book includes six page ad preview of The Emperor’s Tomb by Steve Berry

Also now available in e-book form for the Kindle, Texas author Payne Harrison (author of the bestseller Storming Intrepid and others) is back with a weak thriller featuring a clichéd plot in EUROSTORM. At its heart, the book is about a lethal substance being sent by the British government to France on the Eurostar train. Unfortunately, the train is captured by terrorists and it is up to an elite group of French commandos to take back the train and its contents.

Fortunately the commandoes, as are all those on the side of right defending the planet, are amazingly strong, sexy and can perform at a super human level doing amazing feats of strength—or die. The same is true of the evil doers. The reason why all of this is happening is simply amazing and a plot device that should have been buried long ago.

As compared to the numerous books the author has done before, EUROSTORM  is a serious disappointment. On its own, the novel is average at best and a disappointment in terms of overwriting, sense of pace, clichéd characters, clichéd plot and other issues. That is a crying shame as the novel could have been so much better.

Texas Standoff came via the library and EUROSTORM was supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

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