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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Mills, Kyle: Darkness Falls | Main | McCall Smith, Alexander: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency »

Priest, Jack: Gecko

  

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Bootleg Press © 2005, 329 pages
4 stars

The protagonist of Jack Priest's thriller Gecko is fifty-five-year-old Jim Monday--a real estate developer and former congressman and a decorated Vietnam veteran who finds that, even after decades without practice, killing comes easy. Which is good, because Monday has a number of problems to deal with in Priest's story, not least of which is that he's being stalked by a giant, noisome, man-eating gecko. A bunch of humans are trying to kill him too, and he's hearing voices in his head, and, to top it off, his wife wants a divorce. But all of his difficulties turn out to be related to one another, so, in theory, the whole mess could be solved very tidily.... Not that it turns out that way.

[INSET TEXT: Sure, one has to suspend one's disbelief about the whole giant gecko thing.] While Monday is trying to solve his melange of problems and to save the life of the disembodied voice sounding in his head, he's helped by a number of other characters: the disembodied voice itself, his wife's twin sister, a pair of policeman who stake their careers on Monday's innocence, and the daughter of one of the policemen. The policeman and his daughter, Hugh and Glenna Washington, in fact figure very prominently in the book, such that the story is arguably half creature feature and half rogue-cop procedural.

Priest's book is not keep-the-lights-on scary, but he does manage to make small moments suspenseful because, as he proves more than once, he's not averse to killing off major characters. So it's never safe to assume that any given character won't die--horribly, with great loss of blood--in any particular scene. The book certainly held my interest. Sure, one has to suspend one's disbelief about the whole giant gecko thing. I had no problem doing that, but I did find it hard to believe that Jim could rack up so many intense relationships with gorgeous women during the brief period covered by the book. I also think that the book's storyline could be tightened up. I wouldn't say that the fate of the Washingtons is a loose end, for example--we know more or less what happens to them--but they exit the story surprisingly early given how important they are to it, never to be heard from again. It is surprising in particular given that the daughter is one of those gorgeous women with whom our hero so quickly forms an intense bond. A number of small scenes could probably be excised from the book as well to make it a tighter read.

Despite these complaints, I enjoyed the book. It's a fast read, with a quite unusual premise.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Comments

1.

Sounds like an intriguing premise, with a slightly frustrating execution. If I stumble across it I might have to give it a read!




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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.