Books I’ve Read in 2016

Here are the books I’ve read thus far during 2016. I rate them with 1-5 stars. The book must be truly phenomenal to get 5 stars.

  1. ****Field Gray (Phillip Kerr, 2010). The 7th Bernie Gunther novel. This one find Gunther back in Germany in 1954, being held in a prison for war criminals by the Americans. It goes back and forth between 1954, 1931, and the war years. We are in France after they surrendered to Germany. Various famous Germans from history make an appearance, like Heydrich. But the plot revolves around a man who would become one of the world’s premier spymasters during the Cold War. Gunther gets injected firmly into this man’s early life. A superb book. 1/6
  2. ***Galveston (Nic Pizzolatto, 2010). A mob strongman survives a hit by his boss, and goes on the run with a troubled girl. Quite an interesting piece of noir. Not a lot happens. Very character driven. About halfway through, or maybe more, the book takes a serious and unexpected shift. 1/20
  3. ***That’s How I Roll (Andrew Vachss, 2012). The story of Esau Til, a brilliant but wheelchair-bound killer, and his commitment to taking care of his younger, somewhat retarded brother. Interesting story. 2/9
  4. ***Home (Tom Abrahams, 2015). A disease called The Scourge led to this post-apocalypse. Six years after the Scourge which took his wife and son, Marcus Battle remains holed up in his prepper fortress, killing anyone who approaches. But then a woman is chased on to his property by four men. Battle kills three of them. The fourth gets back to The Cartel, which rules in that part of Texas. Now that they know Battle exists, they’re coming after him. A nice start to a trilogy. 2/11
  5. **Crossing (Tom Abrahams, 2015). A family of four is caught on an island off the coast of Maine when the Chinese attack. They need to get back to the mainland, and ultimately back to Maryland. This beginning of the Pilgrimage trilogy. 2/13
  6. **Refuge (Tom Abrahams, 2015). The second Pilgrimage book finds the family in Pennsylvania with a group of survivalists who come under seige. 2/14
  7. **Advent (Tom Abrahams, 2015). The final Pilgrimage book finds the family back home in Maryland, where their house has been taken over by some ruthless meth-heads. 2/15
  8. ***Sunshine Patriots (Sean T. Smith, 2015). A stand-alone book in the Perseid Collapse world. A survivalist battles to get his kids back from some bad people. 2/16
  9. **Lights Out (Ted Koppel, 2015). The fragility of the electrical grid, and how to cope if it goes down. Somewhat disappointing. 3/4
  10. ***Walk the Sky (Robert Swartwood, 2013). Two men on the run from a posse come across a deserted town. Then they get abducted by people from another town who make nightly sacrifices to demons who come through the town. Interesting. 3/8
  11. ***The Shepherd: Society Lost (Steven Bird). A post-apocalyptic, prepper novel. Former Sheriff Jessie Townsend built a homestead deep in the Rocky Mountains for himself, his wife, and son. But the violent, plague-ridden world interrupts. 3/12
  12. ***Nightmare Town (Dashiell Hammett, 2000). A collection of stories by Hammett. 3/20
  13. ****Flashfire (Richard Stark, 2000). Some partners in a theft don’t give Parker his share. He knows about their next job, and goes there–Palm Beach–to get revenge. An excellent book. Some unexpected things happen. 4/1
  14. ****Firebreak (Richard Stark, 2001). Starts with someone trying to assassinate Parker. So he’s got to track that back to the source, while also getting involved with stealing paintings from a young billionaire’s remote home in Wyoming. Very good story. 4/8
  15. **The Criminal (Jim Thompson, 1953). A strange story about a teenage girl who is raped and killed, and the teenage boy accused of the murder. Told first-person by a whole bunch of different people. Never grabbed my attention. 4/14
  16. ****The Polaris Protocol (Brad Taylor, 2014). A Mexican cartel wants to take down the global GPS system, and Pike Logan and Jennifer want to stop them. 4/18
  17. ****Lucid Intervals (Stuart Woods, 2010). Herbie Fishers wins millions of dollars in a lottery, and put Stone on retainer…and then keeps bugging him. Somebody seems to be trying to kill Herbie. Meanwhile, ex MI6 agent Felicity Devonshire hires Stone to find a supposed British traitor. 4/21
  18. ****Strategic Moves (Stuart Woods, 2011). Stone gets involved in going to Iraq and retrieving arms dealer Pablo Estancia, who subsequently escapes and…and then hires Stone. That puts Stone at odds with the CIA. Good book. 4/25
  19. ****A Deadly Shade of Gold (John MacDonald, 1965). An excellent Travis McGee book. A friend of McGee’s is killed valuables stolen from him. The solution lies in Mexico, where McGee goes with the friend’s ex girlfriend. Superb. 4/28
  20. ***Meet Me at the Morgue (Ross MacDonald). Not a Lew Archer book. A probation officers gets mixed up in a kidnapping accompanied by a few murders. 5/10
  21. •••The Watchmen (John Altman). A man called out of retirement to help interrogate a terrorist, and a terrorist assassin on the way to interrupt things. 5/15
  22. ****The Wind is Not a River (Brian Payton, 2014). A journalist catching a ride in a military plane is shot down on Attu, an Aleutian island occupied by the Japanese. While he tries to survive, his wife, back on the mainland, tries to locate him, including by joining a USO troop. A World War 2 romance, sort of. Very interesting. 5/26
  23. ****The Gunfighter (Robert Conley, 2001). A famous gunfighter arrives in town, just wanting to chill out for a bit. But violence follows him. The story is told by Baijack, the town sheriff. Very well done. 5/28
  24. ****The Redbreast (Jo Nesbo). A superb thriller which goes back and forth between the Eastern Front in WW2, where a battalion of Norwegians are fighting alongside the Germans, and present-day Oslo, where an assassination is in the works. 6/5
  25. ****The First Mountain Man (William Johnston, 1991). The first in the Preacher series. Preacher ends up escorting a wagon train across the northwest to Oregon, pursued by bandits and Indians. 6/12
  26. ***The Last Kind Words Saloon (Larry McMurtry). A kind of strange Western, involving Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday before the Tombstone years, along with assorted other persons who, I’m going to assume are actual historical figures. Buffalo Bill Cody makes an appearance, along with General Sherman. 6/16
  27. *****The Gray Man (Mark Greaney, 2009). The first Gray Man book. The Gray Man is pursued across Europe by hit teams fro a bunch of different countries, as he tries to save his boss and his family from corporate kidnappers. 6/21
  28. ****Sniper Elite: One Way Trip (Scott McEwen, 2015). First in a new series around Navy Seal Gil Shannon. A woman helicopter pilot is held by the Taliban in a remote area of Afghanistan. Gotta get her back. 6/25
  29. ***National Security (Marc Cameron, 2009). The first Jericho Quinn book. It involves terrorists and a biological weapon. 7/1
  30. *****Prague Fatale (Philip Kerr, 2015). The 8th Bernie Gunther book, this one set most in Prague and involving Heydrich and Czech partisans. 7/7
  31. ***History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (A. W. Drury, 1924). A history from the beginning, following the liberal branch up through 1924. 7/11
  32. ****Bright Orange for the Shroud (John McDonald, 1965). A old acquaintance is conned out of his substantial wealth, made totally destitute. McGee, this guy, and a sympathetic girl try to get the money back. Very good. 7/12
  33. ***Darker than Amber (John MacDonald, 1966). Travis rescues a woman who was thrown off a bridge with a cement block wired to her. She’d been involved in a robbery-murder ring that had been going on for some years. Travis and Meyer get involved to stop it. 7/22
  34. ***History of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (Bruce Behney, 1979). Alternating chapters tell history of the United Brethren church and the Evangelical Church. 7/23
  35. ****Invisible (James Patterson/DavidEllis, 2014). An FBI analyst sees a connection between over 50 fires which have been declared accidental; all involved the death of one person. She goes on a crusade, and gets the FBI to reluctantly go along with her. 7/24
  36. ****Private Last Vegas (Patterson/Maxine Paetro, 2015). Good story with a number of small subplots. 7/29
  37. ****Religion for Atheists (Alain de Botton, 2012). An utterly unique book in which an atheist talks about positive things he sees in religions, particularly Christianity. 8/1
  38. ***Christian and Politics: Uneasy Partners (Philip Yancey). Thoughts from Yancey about Christians and politics. 8/11
  39. ****The Quick and the Dead (Louis L’Amour, 1982). Con Vallian comes across a family of would-be settlers in their wagon, being troubled by a band of outlaws. Loved it. 8/13
  40. ****Flint (Louis L’Amour, 1960). A Westerner, mentored by a killer named Flint, goes back East, becomes rich, then returns to the West to die. He become embroiled in a land scheme. Very good. 8/18
  41. ****Make Me (Lee Child, 2015). Reacher gets off a train in a town called Mother’s Rest, and quickly stumbled into a nefarious plot which requires him to come to the aid of a beautiful private investigator. 8/20
  42. ***Separation of Power (Vince Flynn, 2001). Way too much political intrigue, not enough action. A great raid, though, into Baghdad. 8/22
  43. ****Hot Springs (Stephen Hunter, 2000). Earl Swagger, home from WW2 and getting the Medal of Honor, agrees to help clean up the mob-run town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. 8/28
  44. *****One Second After (William Forstchen, 2011). An EMP takes out the US electrical grid. John Matherson and his small North Carolina community try to survive amidst the chaos. Excellent book. 9/7
  45. ****Executive Power (Vince Flynn, 2002). A Palestinian terrorist/assassin pursues a plot against the US. 9/12
  46. ****Ice Cold Kill (Dana Haynes, 2013). Beginning of a series about Daria Gibron, a former Mossad agent now in the US working for the FBI. 9/15
  47. ***Dead in their Track (JT Sawyer, 2016). Follows combat tracker Mitch Kearns. In this book, he teams up with an Israeli agent in the Arizona desert against a paramilitary company with a deadly plot. 9/25
  48. ****The Hardest Ride (Gordon L. Rottman, 2013). A Western set in Texas. A cowpoke rescues a deaf Mexican woman, and it goes from there. 10/12
  49. ****Blood on the Divide (William Johnston, 1992). A ruthless gang is slaughtering settlers. Preacher goes after them. 10/8
  50. **A Bone Dead Sadness (Joe Lansdale, 2014). A novella involving a man missing for 25 years, and a long-ago bank heist. 10/16
  51. **United Brethren Bishops, Volume One (Paul R. Fetters, 1996). Sketches of UB bishops who served from 1889-1951. 10/18
  52. **The Mighty Hood (Ernie Bradford, 2014). The story of the HMS Hood, the mightiest ship in the British navy…until it got sunk by the Bismark. 10/29
  53. ****Target America (Scott McEwen, 2014). Gil Shannon works to thwart a plot by Chechen Islamists to detonate nuclear bombs in America. 11/2
  54. ****The Sniper and the Wolf (Scott McEwen, 2016). Gil Shannon mostly duels with a master Chechen sniper. Meanwhile, Tom Hagen and some rogue CIA agents go after Pope, and Daniel Crosswhite gets drawn into taking care of them. 11/9
  55. ****I’ll Mature When I’m Dead (Dave Barry, 2010). A hilarious collection of writings. 11/11
  56. ***Star Sand (Roger Pulvers, 2016). Set on a Japanese island during WW2. A girl, 16, find a Japanese deserter and an American deserter sharing a cave together. Interesting little story. 11/16
  57. *****Nemesis (Jo Nesbo, 2002). A fabulous Harry Hole mystery, with all kinds of unexpected turns. Starts with a bank robbery in which a teller is murdered. Involves a policewoman who can remember every face she’s seen, a gypsy mastermind who turned himself in and is sitting in prison, a crooked cop, two sets of brothers, and more. 11/26
  58. ***Best Little Stories from World War 2 (C Brian Kelley, 2010). Over 100 interesting stories from World War 2, most things you’ve never heard about before. 11/26
  59. ***Urban Emergency Survival Plan (Jim Cobb, 2014). Readiness strategies for people living in urban areas. 11/26
  60. ****The Absaroka Ambush (William Johnstone). Another great Preacher book, third in the series. He’s escorting a wagon train consisting mostly of women, and there’s a group of white criminals, plus Indians, ready to ambush them. 12/4
  61. ***Ernie Pyle in England (Ernie Pyle, 1941). Pyle’s columns from the Battle of Britain. 12/6
  62. **Eight the Hard Way (Nick Stephenson, 2013). Eight thriller short stories. 12/2
  63. ***Vanilla Ride (Joe Lansdale, 2009). Hap and Leonard tangle with the Dixie Mafia. 12/21
  64. ***Breakout (Richard Stark, 2002). Parker has landed in prison, but gets involved with a number of other convicts to escape. 12/27
  65. **Killing Christians (Tom Doyle, 2015). Stories of Christians, mostly converts from Islam, suffering persecution in Muslim countries. 12/29
  66. ****Going Home (A. American, 2013). The first book in the Survivalist series. I was surprised at how much I liked it. I quickly ordered the second book to start right away. The first book finds Morgan Carter stranded hundreds of miles from his home in Florida with an EMP hits. He’s a prepper with a fully-stocked get-home bag in his car, so he’s okay. But it’s a harrowing journey, with plenty of violence. 12/29
  67. ****Surviving Home (A. American, 2013). Morgan Carter is home in Altoona, Fla. All kinds of threats arise to his community. 12/30


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