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Memorable Books

I was going to post the book review for C.L. Polk’s debut novella, Witchmark, but then I remembered that it first has to appear in our next issue of Gamecca Magazine first which means it will have to wait until next month. It’s a contract thing. Anyway while I’m still working through Robert W. Chambers’ The King In Yellow for the next review (I’m halfway through don’t worry), I thought perhaps I should talk about books for today.


There’s this part of me that wishes I had impeccable memory and can recall the contents of a book thoroughly enough to sound… well like a scholar. I know it sounds pretentious but have you heard people talk about books like they were literally living in them? Character names. Places. Events. Linking scenes and quotes between books to draw revelations I would have otherwise completely missed. I want that ha ha. Although in my defense, I spent way too much of my youth reading Stephen King so I could probably do that with a couple of his books (looks at the collection of The Dark Tower novels).

Memorable Books

While I may lack that ability to fully recount a book’s contents, here are some memorable books I’ve read over the years that I remember well and still think of to this day. Some I can draw correlations across other books while others just changed my worldview:

1. The Program – Gregg Hurwitz

The Program Gregg Hurwitz

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

3. Kill Baxter – Charlie Human

4. Once – James Herbert

5. Endgame – James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton

6. The Bachman Books – Stephen King as Richard Bachman

7. Books of Blood – Clive Barker

8. Beyond the Pale – Mark Anthony

9. Three – Ted Dekker

10. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline


Do you have any books that have stuck in your mind or you still recall to this day? Perhaps any book that changed your mind, thoughts, world view?

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The Program (Tim Rackely series)

The Program Gregg Hurwitz

The series that started it all!

In this powerful follow-up to his action-packed thriller The Kill Clause, Gregg Hurwitz, the new maestro of pulse-pounding suspense, ratchets up the excitement with another sensational page-turner featuring Tim Rackley, a driven lawman motivated by honor, morality, and a deep sense of justice.

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

Tim becomes enmeshed with a diverse band of characters—from the charismatic, messianic leader T. D. Betters to a cult reject burnout to the intelligent yet highly vulnerable Leah herself—and finds himself caught in a shadowy landscape of lies, manipulation, and terror. At stake: innocent minds—maybe even his own.

The Program Book Review


The book that pulled me out of a reading slump, made me self-conscious of manipulative behaviour and crowd mentality, and produced a rare 5-star rating from me – and all without a synopsis, cover or recommendation. Totally my favourite author… perhaps even above King? (*Gasps and chants of sacrilege*)

Gregg Hurwitz

Gregg Hurwitz is the New York Times bestselling author of 15 thrillers, including the recently released ORPHAN X. His novels have been shortlisted for numerous literary awards, graced top ten lists, and have been translated into 27 languages.

He is also a New York Times Bestselling comic book writer, having penned stories for Marvel (Wolverine, Punisher) and DC (Batman, Penguin). Additionally, he’s written screenplays for or sold spec scripts to many of the major studios, and written, developed, and produced television for various networks. Gregg resides in Los Angeles.

My Top Five 5-Star Rated Books

Reading

Reading is one of my greatest passions next to writing (gaming has fallen way down on the list surprisingly) and as most of you know, I have been challenging myself to read a book a week for the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It’s been tough and as far as I can see, I am a bit behind in my reading. Nonetheless, I have read enough to give you a list of five books that I have given 5 star ratings (4.5 counts too right?).


9780062332585-us

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

Well of course Endgame: The Calling was going to be on this list. I gave it a 10 out of 5 but had to scale it down for the sake of being impartial, fair, objective, realistic, etc etc. This is a definite recommendation for those looking for something better than your typical let’s-get-these-teens-to-kill-each-other-off book… and the general populace who don’t mind some fast paced, heart thumping action.


The Program_1

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim Rackley is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

This is the book that got me back into reading. I was away visiting the States (East Coast) and I happened to  visit a Thrift Shop, which had a selection of cover-less books. I picked this up, went to a random page, read the page, and bought the book. Yes it was that good. So good, that even now in real life I am skeptical of group meetings, where there is a leader trying to “sell” something and has advisers on the side are egging on the crowds into “buying”. Mind Control I tell you. Mind Control!


3583652

When a violent and incoherent naked Jane Doe is found cowering in the street near the scene of a brutal murder, a pair of bloody scissors in hand, Detective Frank Blackburn is faced with a tough question: is she a victim or the killer herself? Determined to get some answer, Blackburn takes the young woman to the Baycliff Hospital detention unit, to renowned psychiatrist Michael Tolan, in the hope that he will work his magic and get her to open up.

This was a book I also picked up at a random book sale, in a mall I never visit, run by an old couple who are hardly ever there, selling books at a ridiculously low price. The blurb was interesting enough but the story blew me out of the water completely. Dark. Gritty. Plot twisted. Fast paced. Action saturated. Supernaturally thrilling. This was the better-than-Stephen-King author I was hoping to meet.


Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

Magical. Magical. Magical! I don’t know where Erin Morgensten came from, but I am glad she did. An inspirational novel about a mystical circus, the people affected by it and the hidden magical realm that exists in and around the circus. Most times I am put off by long-winded descriptions but this was the exception, and a spellbinding one too.


9781415203798The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. His bloodline may be a combination of ancient Boer mystic and giant shape-shifting crow, and he may have won an inter-dimensional battle and saved the world, but does anyone care? No.

No. No one cares! In this sequel to Apocalypse Now Now, Baxter seems to be a changed young man. No longer leader of the Spiders and now exposed to the magical realm running rampant in Cape Town, Baxter is also trying to live a new life at a notorious magical school. And as you can imagine, chaos ensues. I loved it not only because it’s local (South Africa) but also because Charlie Human is hilarious and clearly South African in his descriptions. Ludicrous in other things, but all tied up so well I couldn’t help love this novel. South African authors are just as talented!


What are your top rated / favourite books? I’m always keen for some good book recommendations.

Wednesday Book Review: The Program

 

The Program_1

 

Title: The Program

Author: Gregg Hurwitz

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Book procurement: Bought at a Thrift Store in America

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The series that started it all!

In this powerful follow-up to his action-packed thriller The Kill Clause, Gregg Hurwitz, the new maestro of pulse-pounding suspense, ratchets up the excitement with another sensational page-turner featuring Tim Rackley, a driven lawman motivated by honor, morality, and a deep sense of justice.

Called back into the fold of the U.S. Marshals Service, Tim is tasked with retrieving Leah Henning, the daughter of a powerful Hollywood producer, from a mind-control cult. As Tim wends his way deep undercover into an insidious operation called The Program, he confronts a brand of mind-warping manipulation beyond his worst expectations.

Tim becomes enmeshed with a diverse band of characters—from the charismatic, messianic leader T. D. Betters to a cult reject burnout to the intelligent yet highly vulnerable Leah herself—and finds himself caught in a shadowy landscape of lies, manipulation, and terror. At stake: innocent minds—maybe even his own.

Review:

July 2014 I was in the United States in a bad slump as I had been unable to pick and read a fictional book like I was once able to. Writing was still a major part of my life; I was anticipating my short story to be published anytime soon while I attempted to do some reading in the form of short eBook stories. It was during this time that we went shopping and one of the places we visited was a Thrift shop. I wish I could tell you which one or which state it was in, but I just cannot remember. What I do remember though, was picking up this book without a cover or synopsis, opening to a random page in the book and reading the first page my eyes landed on. That was all it took. I was hooked. I was drawn in. I was buying that book; and for a $1 I was pretty happy with that deal.

The Program follows detective Tim Rackley who has been hired by a Hollywood producer to recover his daughter Leah, who seems to have been drawn into a cult. What follows is a heart racing, adrenaline fueled dive into the world of brain-washing and cult mentality as Detective Rackley discovers hidden secrets, devious manipulations, intense action and drama, all wrapped around the charismatic leader of the cult T.D Betters. The members of the cult are as loyal as they are dangerous, and the sense of purpose imposed upon them, it is easy to understand why they would remain loyal, to the Program.

This book really got me back into reading, reminded me why I loved it so much and the funny thing is, there was no cover, no synopsis, no author details. Nothing. It was just a brown/black hard cover with the name of the book on the spine. And yet from the traumatic opening scene, right into the depths of cult psychology and to the final conclusion within the cult compound, Gregg Hurwitz drew me in with his words and didn’t let go even to this day. I still mentally assess any gathering I find myself in, where there is a leader riling up the crowd and his “lieutenants” on the side egging us on.

The writing is fluid and moves at a decent pace. I was moving between the scenes anticipating the next scene and next twist in the tale. The characters are real, with believable issues they are facing, making for a realistic story about characters you care about. And just because Tim Rackley is the main protagonist doesn’t mean he is invincible, as you find later out in the story, and it’s these kind of story progressions that made the book that much more enjoyable.

I would definitely read this book again, and plan on getting Kill Clause the first book in the series, Troubleshooter the third in the series and Last Shot the fourth and final book.

Rating: A free-willed 5 out of 5

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