Cesar Botello on March 6th, 2009

Being swept away by a well-told story, one crafted by a skillful author, has become to me much like a drug. I am thoroughly addicted. Sadly, like any drug fiend will tell you, the problem with being an addict is the torturous, unending, all-consuming search for the next high. Even sadder however, is how almost impossible to recapture that first high is. I spend most of my time searching for that perfect book, one that will completely ensnare me, mesmerize me, transport me. Once in a while I find one.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is by no means a perfect novel. It has its many flaws. What it is though, is a deeply engrossing character study. The novel is well plotted, suspenseful, and effortlessly blends the elements of a thriller with those of a mystery. For all these reasons this novel is a great read. But it’s the protagonist Dexter that takes your breath away. He is brilliant, charming, charismatic and a remorseless serial killer. In Dexter, Jeff Lindsay has created an unforgettable character. We see the world through his eyes and we so completely fall in love with him that we begin to look forward to his next kill.

This is an excellent couldn’t put it down page-turner that I devoured cover to cover in one sitting. I loved every twist and turn in this book and I think you will too. This book inspired the hit Showtime Series Dexter, which surprisingly enough is much better than the novel. Get this book, read it, then go out and get the TV series. You’ll thank me later.

Tags: Crime, Horror, serial killer

Cesar Botello on March 6th, 2009

The plot of this story is as simple as its title. Three men find a plane with four million dollars in it. They decide to keep the money. What at first seems like a simple matter of dividing up the money and trying to keep it secret soon turns into a rollercoaster ride down the darker side of human nature. This is a well thought out, remarkably well-paced suspense thriller that will keep you turning pages all the way to the end.

Scott Smith has a remarkable talent for writing stories that are at once mesmerizing and at the same time deeply moving. Like his newest novel, The Ruins, his stories are not about weird situations, but how people react when caught up in them. This novel is replete with characters so vivid and alive that they seem to jump off the page.

As I read I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘Would I do that?’ You will undoubtedly ask yourself the same question. Prepare yourself however, you may find yourself surprised by your answer. If you haven’t read Scott Smith in the past get this novel today. You won’t regret it.

Tags: Horror, Thriller

Cesar Botello on March 5th, 2009

I’ve never been a fan of literary novels, especially those longwinded, meandering amalgams of overly flowery prose and bore you to tears characters. They usually go nowhere and seem to exist only for the purpose of giving their writers a platform to show off their command of the language. Once in a while, however, a gem comes along that blends together the myriad of intangible factors that when weaved together build a tapestry that becomes a masterpiece. Disgrace is such a novel.

J. M. Coetzee, twice winner of the prestigious Booker Prize and 2003 Nobel laureate for literature, shows himself at the height of his powers with this wonderful, flawlessly written novel. It is a true masterpiece of pacing, characterization, prose, style, and theme. This novel is everything a literary work should be. Although it is not a thriller, strangely enough it reads like one. From the very first page I was sucked in and was not able to put it down until I turned the last page.

Life can be terribly unfair at times. In the late sixties, early seventies Coetzee taught as an assistant professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Unbelievably his application for permanent residence in the United States was denied. It appears that holding a PhD in English, linguistics, and Germanic languages wasn’t enough for him to qualify. I’d like to meet the genius that made that decision. Perhaps had he had some connection to extremist terrorist groups he would have had better luck. Oh well.

I highly recommend this wonderful novel, and anything else J. M. Coetzee has written. He is one of the best writers of our time and if you haven’t yet read him, you’re in for a treat.

Tags: literary, south africa

Cesar Botello on February 6th, 2009

This is by far Dan Brown’s best book. It is a stunning thriller, perfectly paced and ingeniously plotted. To think I almost didn’t read it. Long before anyone knew his name, I tried first his debut novel and then the follow up. In my opinion, they were just short of awful. The writing was amateurish, the characters were shallow and boring, and the plotting was so confusing I kept getting lost. I vowed at the time never to read another book by him, but now I’m glad I broke my promise.

If you take it for what it is, a work of fiction, this book really is fantastic. It is great fun. It’s loaded with interesting characters, and it jumps from one exotic location to the next at a breakneck pace. It is the kind of can’t be put down, page turner thriller that I wish that I wish we had more of on the bookshelves.

Dan Brown manages to blend fact with fiction so ingeniously well that at times it’s difficult to figure out where one ends and the other begins. It is the sort of thing that has gotten him in trouble in the past, with some fans and critics, who have taken his writing more seriously than they should have.

Although the Da Vinci code is more popular and better known, this, Dan Brown’s third novel, is in many ways a far superior read. If you haven’t yet read it, there’s no time like the present.

Tags: dan brown, pope, vatican