Book Reviews: Quickfire Reviews of Bitter Gold Hearts, Vengeance is Mine, and Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Odeon

It’s time once again for an edition of Quickfire Reviews! This is what I do when I have books that I don’t have a lot to say about and just want to get a few thoughts out there about them.  Some of the books I like, some I don’t, but either way, they just don’t inspire a verbose review.  So, without further adieu…

bitter-gold-hearts

Title: Bitter Gold Hearts: A Garrett, P.I., Novel

Author: Glen Cook

Format: Paperback edition, Roc

Published: 1988

There are some series that you hear about for years and years and always mean to get around to.  Glen Cook’s Garrett, P.I. series is one of those for me.  Set in a world of fantasy,  the series’ title character is a hard boiled investigator who plies his trade amongst elves, dwarves, orcs, and other fantasy creatures.  Extremely popular with readers of fantasy and even some of mysteries, “Bitter Gold Hearts” is second in the series.  This being the only book I’ve read so far, I don’t really see the appeal.

When a high ranking official’s son is kidnapped and ransom requested, Garrett’s reputation of dealing with such cases gets him pulled in to the maelstrom of family betrayal, mystical politics, and a lot of unfriendly, unlikable types.  Although the story has a decent pace and characterization is, for the most part, good, there was just nothing about this book that made me want to read more of the series.  The lead character is by far the most appealing aspect of the book, as the supporting cast, both those who seem to be recurring and those just appearing in this book, just really fall flat.

 

‘Bitter Gold Hearts’ rates two out of five pages. It’s a rainy day read, but nothing really significant.

On my own personal scale, it gets three out of six bullets, but just barely.  Having read other works by Glen Cook, I know that this book must have just been a misfire, so that buys it a a little bit of grace.

52 Mickey Spillane Vengeance Is Mine Signet 1953 1

Title: Vengeance Is Mine

Author: Mickey Spillane

Format: Paperback edition, Signet

Published: 1950

“Vengeance is Mine”, the third book in the Mike Hammer series by Mickey Spillane, is classic Hammer in every single way.  Early on in the character’s development, this book opens with Mike being roughly interrogated by policemen who find him hung over in a hotel room where a friend of his had apparently committed suicide with Hammer unconscious when it happened.  With his license and gun lifted, Mike is on his own when he decides that his friend was murdered.  Tearing through the city on a mission of blood and revenge, Mike takes on the model industry, the District Attorney, snipers, and blackmailers in typical rapid fire Hammer style-Lots of people bleed and die until Hammer gets to the truth.  This is pure Spillane-savage characterization, galloping plot, and a cast around Hammer that proves as tough as he is!

‘Vengeance is Mine’ gets five out of five pages. It’s simply Spillane at his Mike Hammer best.

This one also gets six out of six bullets for sure.  Life changing? No.  But everything You expect a Mike Hammer novel to be when penned by Spillane, right down to the last sentence twist? Yup, in every way.

lando

Title: Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon

Author: L. Neil Smith

Format: Paperback edition, Ballantine/Del Rey

Published: 1983

 

I am a Star Wars fan. Obsessive, no, but probably way more a fan than the average joe or jane who says they like the movies.  Favorite character of all time? Han Solo,without question. Second favorite? Landon Calrissian. Which is why when I tripped across this, the second volume in the Lando Calrissian trilogy of books published in the 80s, I was excited to read it.

I didn’t finish it.  Couldn’t stomach it.  The pacing of the book was as slow as a dead tauntaun and the characters didn’t appeal to me at all.  The sad part of that last bit is that list of characters I could do without had Lando at the top of it.  Cardboard portrayal of a character that sizzled with humor and life on the screen will kill a book faster than anything, this one proves that.  With the plot going nowhere, the characters being as dead as the wood they were printed on, and the overall writing being weak, I couldn’t find anything in the first fifty pages that hooked me in at all. So it remains unread. which means this one gets no pages and the chamber stays empty, no bullets out of six.

 

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