Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Stuff and a few Re-reads

#7 August 28, 2016
It has been a while since I last reviewed my reading list and I know I've read more than what I'll list but I can't find any written record. And believe me if I can't remember reading it, you sure wouldn't want to waste time on it. So what have I been reading these past six months that had an impact?

I got a signed copy of Chris Pavone's "The Travelers" at the Tucson Book Festival and wanted to try his writing. Will Rhodes, a writer for Travelers Magazine finds himself and his marriage seriously compromised in a hotel room in Argentina when his lady friend threatens a video of their tryst and then, belts him in the mouth. The hectic pace Rhodes follows trying to find this lady and to discover why his editor seems to be a spy master of international scope is matched by his wife as she slowly reveals her skills and history.

Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize and a fistful of other awards for "The Sympathizer" that serves as a reminder of the Vietnam War 40 years later.An un-named, half Vietnamese, half French man serves as a captain in the South Vietnamese Army in the closing days of the war as his general is planning his escape with extended family to the United States and California. The captain who assists in the escape is actually a spy for the Viet Cong and he continues his reports on the general and other Vietnamese military and political leaders in the US in coded messages to Paris.The twist in the reporting is in how these messages are misunderstood in the communist-controlled Vietnam and what it means to the Sympathiser when he returns to Vietnam.

I really enjoyed Paolo Bacigalupi's "Water Knife" which, while fiction, seems more timely and horrifying as the months go on. Set in an unspecified future, the novel presents a western US that is in complete drought with the Colorado river drying up and the states at war with each other to control access to water. A "water knife", Angel Velasquez is parts detective, murderer, and consigliere for the "Queen of the Colorado", Catherine Case who has partnered with Chinese construction companies to build self-contained and fully-watered "arcologies" in Las Vegas where the super-rich live and gamble. Angel is sent to the hell-hole of Phoenix to investigate rumors of a possible water grant that is senior to all others and may guarantee Phoenix water at the expense of Las Vegas and California. Murders of people in the Phoenix water world and journalism involve Angel with two young women, Lucy Monroe, a journalist and Maria Villarosa, an escapee, migrant from Texas as they work against each other and then cooperate to survive.