2017 Books Read

  1. ****Red Rising (Pierce Brown, 2014). Darrow is a Red, the lowest caste. He hooks up with some rebels, who get him entered in what turns out to be somewhat of a Hunger Games thing, but on a much grander scale. Brown does a great job creating a very compelling world with different castes (all using a color) and intricate dynamics. And the writing is very good. 1/12
  2. ***The Day after Never: Blood Honor (Russell Blake, 2015). A post-apocalyptic novel set in Texas and New Mexico, five years after a global plague. Lucas Shaw, a former Texas Ranger, rescues a wounded woman in the desert. Turns out she’s wanted by a gang that rules much of Texas. Lots of violence. A well-down first book of a series. 1/13
  3. ****Cross Justice (James Patterson, 2015). The latest Alex Cross novel takes Alex back to his childhood roots. Very well done. 1/16
  4. ****One Fearful Yellow Eye (John MacDonald, 1966). Travis McGee goes to Chicago help Gloria, a woman he salvaged in an earlier book, with a family issue. Her husband died, and his entire estate is pretty much gone, over $600,000. Unexpected ending. 1/22
  5. ***The Girl from Fort Wicked (Dee Brown, 2012). A US Cavalry captain chases the Indians and white guy who killed his fiance and stole an Army payroll. There’s a girl, whom he leaves at the settlement called Fort Wicked. An interesting read. 1/24
  6. ****Forty Guns West (William Johnstone, 1993). The book starts in Ohio, where Preacher is with his family. He has to kill a guy, teams up with a young boy, and heads back to the West–with a bunch of bounty hunters after him. The book mostly takes place in the Rockies, with Preacher wreaking havoc on scores of men chasing him. 1/27
  7. ***How to Move to Canada (Andre Du Broc, 2016). A light-hearted but mostly factual explanation of how to move from the United States to Canada. 2/1
  8. ***Canyon (Tom Abrahams, 2016). The second book in the Traveler trilogy. Wasn’t as good as the first one, but good enough for me to move right on to the third book. 2/1
  9. ***Wall (Tom Abrahams, 2016). The third book in the Traveler trilogy. The Dwellers duke it out with the Cartel. 2/5
  10. ***Kill Switch (Steve N. Lee, 2015). Tess, a highly trained assassin, becomes involved in finding a young woman who is kidnapped by human traffickers. Takes place in Poland. 2/11
  11. **Trailblazers in Sierra Leone, Volume 2 (George Fleming, 1972). The history of United Brethren ministry in Sierra Leone, 1920-1972. 2/11
  12. **History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (Henry Spayth/Wm Hanby). A history up through 1851. 2/18
  13. ***Son of Stone (Stuart Woods, 2011). Not much action. Mainly a character-development piece as Woods introduces Peter, the 17-year-old son of Stone Barrington. 2/22
  14. ***History of Sherbro Mission (William McKee). The history of United Brethren mission work in Sierra Leone. The best such history I’ve read. 2/22
  15. ****Devil Red (Joe Lansdale, 2011). Hap and Leonard look into a double homicide, and it leads them to a bunch of other murders. Vanilla Ride is involved in this story. 3/14
  16. *The Pharmacist’s Mate (Amy Fusselman, 2001). A strange book–a woman in the present trying to conceive a child, and the diary of her ship-board father. 3/21
  17. ****Unflinching (Stuart Yates, 2015). Simms is a Pinkerton, assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of an Army general. The culprits are Mason and Newhart, two very very bad dudes. Indians and Mormons are involved. Quite a good book, and the start of a series. 4/7
  18. ****Live Right and Find Happiness (Dave Barry, 2015). Yet another funny collection of columns. 4/10
  19. ****Philip William Otterbein (Paul Milhouse, 1928). An excellent little biography. the author traveled to Germany to do new research. 4/14
  20. ***History of the United Brethren in Christ, Vol. 2 (John Lawrence, 1961). An excellent history of the UB church from about 1815-1861. 4/16
  21. **The Autobiography of Samuel Huber (Samuel Huber). One of the early UB ministers. 4/24
  22. ***Marine: the Life of Chesty Puller (Burke Davis, 2016). A biography of the legendary Marine. 4/24
  23. ***Hammer of God (Philip McCormac, 2016). An Old West lawman becomes a priest, and gets drawn back into his gunfighting life. 5/3
  24. ***Lillith’s Brood (Octavia Butler, 2012). The first part of a sci-fi trilogy involving aliens who rescued some survivors of a nuclear exchange on earth, and have plans to restock earth. Very interesting, but not sure I’ll continue with the next two books. 5/12
  25. ***All for Christ, Volume 1 (Steve Dennie, 2017). 5/13
  26. ****Badlands (C. J. Box, 2015). Excellent mystery staring a woman FBI agent, set in North Dakota. 5/21
  27. ***All for Christ, Volume 2 (Steve Dennie, 2017). 5/22
  28. ****Brownie Morsels (Christy Cabe, 2017). Christy’s story of losing her mom, of her son’s bout with leukemia, and other life lessons. Very well done. 5/24
  29. ***One Year After (William Forstchen, 2015). The follow-up to One Second After. The town of Black Mountain faces a threat from the reformed government based in Asheville. 6/8
  30. ***Kings of Cool (Don Winslow, 2012). A prequel to Savages, which I read a couple years ago, and which was probably better. But I love Winslow’s writing, and enjoyed revisiting the characters from Savages. 6/22
  31. **The First Americans (John David Cross). The Indian civilizations of North America prior to the arrival of Europeans. Very interesting to read how people probably first arrived from Asia, and how highly developed Indian cultures were even in the USA. 6/24
  32. ****The City, Not Long After (Pat Murphy, 2014). A real post-apocalyptic gem. In a world where probably 95%+ of the population has been wiped out by a plaque, 16 years have passed. In San Francisco, the downtown is populated by somewhat of an artist colony. Meanwhile, around Sacramento, a war-some group sets its eyes on the city. Love this book. Very unusual. 7/8
  33. ****The Guilty (David Baldacci, 2015). Robie is having trouble in the field, and it traces back to his childhood. His father has been arrested for murder. Robie heads to Mississippi to make peace with the past, and gets embroiled in lots of drama. 7/18
  34. ****The Devil’s Star (Jo Nesbo, 2012). Harry Hole is trying to solve a serial murder case, while also nail his police colleague, Tom Waaler. 7/22
  35. ****The Girl in the Spider’s Web (David Lagercrantz, 2015). Lagercrantz continues the story of Lisbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, and it’s a winner. 7/26
  36. ***Pale Gray for Guilt ( John MacDonald, 1968). A friend is killed, there’s an evil corporation involved, and lots of small-town intrigue, plus financial finagling. 8/1
  37. **Child of God (Cormac McCarthy, 1973). Set in Hillbilly country, a low-life guy goes about killing people and collecting bodies. 8/5
  38. ***The Drifter (Nick Petrie, 2016). The first Peter Ash book, about an Iraq/Afghanistan vet helping the widow of a fellow soldier in Minneapolis. He finds a suitcase filled with money and plastic explosives, and it embroils him in a big plot. 8/7
  39. ****The Hell Bent Kid (Charles O. Locke). Tot Lohman heads from Texas to New Mexico to team up with his father, but is pursued by the Boyds, who want him dead, and who coral a bunch of other people to chase after Lohman. Very good book. 8/9
  40. ***The Last Jew of Treblinka: a Memoir (Chil Rajchman). A very disturbing book by a man who survived a year in Treblinka. 8/10
  41. *The Golden Gizmo (Jim Thompson, 1954). A plot involving gold. Very hard for me to get interested on. 8/12
  42. ****Memorial Day (Vince Flynn, 2004). The 8th Mitch Rapp book. Islamic jihadists are smuggling two nuclear weapons into the country. 8/16
  43. ****Forge of God (Greg Bear, 1987). An alien force is intent on destroying the earth, and there’s nothing humans can do about it. Superb book. 8/18
  44. ***Anvil of Stars (Greg Bear, 1993). Sequel to Forge of God. Some of the handful of survivors from Forge of God hunt down the aliens who destroyed earth. 8/22
  45. ***The Man in the High Castle (Philip K. Dick, 1962). An alternate history, where the Axis won WWII. Japan now rules the US West Coast, and Germany the East, with a buffer in between. Intrigue involving a book–an alternate history within an alternate history–in which the Axis actually loses, but based on a different loss scenario. 9/1/2017
  46. *****Jesus: a Pilgrimage (James Martin, 2014). Martin, a Jesuit, traces the footsteps of Jesus, and gives meditations on different events in Christ’s life. An astounding book. 7/28
  47. ****Hell’s Gate (Bill Schutt and J. R. Finch, 2016). Set during WWII with a more scientific version of Indiana Jones. It’s got everything: Japanese and Nazi war criminals, rockets, vampire bats, the Amazon, exotic tribes, poison gas, hard science, prehistoric animals. Loved it. 9/4/2017
  48. ****Just Compensation (Raylan McCrae, 2015). A Western involving an itinerant lawman named Lucas Wade. He cleans up a town, at the request of an old flame, that is overrun by a violent cattleman and his band of hired guns and cowpokes. Very good. Went immediately into the second of the three books. 9/5/2017
  49. ****Gunfighter’s Justice (Raylan McCrae, 2015). Lucas Wade and Nellie Washington move on to Spencer, Wyoming, where a paramilitary group–Regulators, they are called–are terrorizing the town. He becomes sherif, and takes care of things. A great follow-up to Just Recompense. 9/8
  50. ****Day of Reckoning (Raylan McCrae, 2016). A big range war breaks out in Spencer, Wyoming. A group of Eastern-based corporate cattle barons are running off other ranchers. Another superb western. 9/10
  51. ****Frontier Justice (Arthur Bradley). The first in the Survivalist series. Very well done. Basically goes back and forth between three storylines: Mason Raines (the main character), Mason’s convict father Tanner along with Samantha Glass, and President Glass and the intrigue in the White House. 9/18
  52. ****Anarchy Rising (Arthur Bradley). The second in the Survivalist series. Just as good as the first book. 9/20
  53. ****The Fall of Japan (William Craig, 2015). Excellent book on the last months of the War in the Pacific. So much I didn’t know. 9/21
  54. *****Night School (Lee Child, 2016). Yet another Reacher book set during his days as an MP in the Army. He’s placed in a top-secret group to investigate a serious threat to the country. 9/23
  55. ****Burning Bright (Nick Petrie, 2017). The second Peter Ash book. Ash stumbles across a woman, hiding in a forest, who is being pursued by unnamed assailants. Ash and June are a great pair. Lots of action. 9/28
  56. ***Cheyenne Challenge (Williams Johnstone). The fifth Preacher book. More bad guys going against peaceful wagon trains. 10/9
  57. ****The Reluctant Gun Hand (Paul Lederer, 2015). Jake gets out of prison and heads off to find his true love. But on the way, he gets pulled into a robbery scheme. Things go badly, he ends up being chased by the others. A good book and a quick read. 10/13
  58. ****Pistolero Justice (Patrick E. Andrews). Raul, a wealthy rancher’s son, agrees to go into Mexico after a blonde woman who was kidnapped and sold into sexual trafficking. An excellent book. 10/14
  59. Larry & Stretch #1: Drift (Marshall Grover). The first Larry & Stretch book, about two Texans in the West. They get involved in transporting a woman witness to another town for the trial of a desperado. 10/17
  60. ****Pale Gray for Guilt (John MacDonald, 1968). The 9th Travis McGee book. Travis gets involved with the daughter of an ex-flame who has been attempting suicide. It takes him to a town with a lot of intrigue. 10/27
  61. ****Eyeshot (Taylor Adams, 2014). A superb thriller set in the Mojave desert. A young couple find themselves with a broke-down car on a lonely road, with a sniper trying to kill them. Loved it. 11/1
  62. ****Drift (Rachel Maddow, 2012). An excellent historical review of how Congress keeps giving war-making power to the executive branch. 11/6
  63. ***Tropical Affair (Kimberli Bindschatel, 2015). A Fish and Wildlife officer goes undercover in Costa Rica to break up an animal smuggling operation. Kind of a fun read. 11/6
  64. ****Cross the Line (James Patterson, 2016). The latest Alex Cross book involves a vigilante group. 11/8
  65. ***100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call (Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso). The first in a graphic novel series. 11/17
  66. ***A Man Without Breath (Phillip Kerr, 2013). The 9th Bernie Gunther book takes place in 1944, mostly on Solemsk, Russia, and involves the Katyn Forest massacre. Seemed to drag toward the end. 11/17,
  67. ***The Johns. About human trafficking, with a focus on the buyers of sex. 11/18
  68. ***Life is Not an Accident (Jay Williams, 2016). The story of Duke guard Jay Williams, who ruined his career in a motorcycle accident. Interesting. 11/19
  69. ****Walking Dead Compendium 1 (Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard). The first eight volumes of the Walking Dead graphic novel series. 11/19
  70. ****The Life of Bishop J. J. Glossbrenner (A. W. Drury). A biography of the longest-serving United Brethren bishop. 11/20
  71. ***The Girl at the End of the World (Richard Levesque, 2014). A lot like the movie “Night of the Comet.” A 15-year-old girl is left virtually alone in Los Angeles as a pandemic kills nearly everyone. But she’s not entirely alone, of course. 11/20
  72. ****Sin City: The Hard Good-Bye (Frank Miller, 2010). The first in this graphic novel series involves Marv trying to avenge Goldie. 11/23
  73. ****The Survivalist #3: Judgment Day (Arthur Bradley, 2014). The 3rd book in this wonderful series. 11/23
  74. ****The Survivalist #4: Madness Rules (Arthur Bradley, 2014). The 4th book in the series. 11/25
  75. ****The Last Man (Brian Vaughan). All at once, all men and even male animals–whatever has a Y chromosome–dies. Yorick and his male monkey somehow survive, and are now thrust into a women-only world. And there are people with devious intentions toward Yorick. I really enjoyed this. 11/24
  76. **Hell’s Gate (Michael Newton). A New York gangster is tasked with taking a bag of $500,000 cross country to deliver to the mob boss in Arizona. Not a lot happened, actually, but it was interesting. 11/25
  77. ****Cortes and the Aztec Conquest (Irwin R. Blacker, 2015). A 154-page chronicle of how Hernan Cortes defeated the mighty Aztec empire in Mexico in 1522. Moves right along, without fluff. I loved this book. Always been fascinated by the Aztec-Cortes story, but didn’t know all of these details. 12/1
  78. ****The Last Man, Book 2 (Brian Vaughan). The second Last Man book takes place mostly in the West, particularly Arizona. 12/2
  79. ***The Man on the Bench (Robert Swartwood, 2012). A Stephen King kind of book. Some kids can see a man sitting on a bench, but adults can’t. It’s part of a decades old evil mystery. 12/4
  80. ****A Dame to Kill for (Frank Millar). The second Sin City books involves Dwight McCarthy and his former love, Ava. 12/6
  81. ****When the English Fall (David Williams). A post-apocalyptic novel involving an Amish community in Lancaster, Pa. Written in diary form by an Amish man. Really an excellent book. 12/8
  82. ****That Yellow Bastard (Frank Millar). The third Sin City graphic novel features Hartigan, and focuses on the Bruce Willis storyline from the movie. 12/8
  83. ****Open Season (C. J. Box, 2000). The first Joe Pickett novel deals with an endangered species of weasel, and lots of intrigue. Excellent. 12/9
  84. ****Dress Her in Indigo (John MacDonald). The 11th Travis McGee novels finds him and Meyer in Mexico tracking down the journey of a dead girl, at the request of her bereaved father. 12/12
  85. ****Savage Run (C. J. Box, 2002). The 2nd Joe Pickett novel. He goes up against killers hired by the Stockman’s Trust, who are killing environmentalists. 12/16
  86. ****Bounty for the Preacher (Robert Hanlon). A short novel about two bounty hunters and the trouble they encounter in a Wyoming town. 12/16
  87. ****The Man Called Noon (Louis L’Mour). A man loses his memory in an attack. He ends up on a ranch where many of the ranchhands are criminals. As his memory comes back, he’s clearly a gunfighter. Interesting book, quick read. 12/18
  88. ***The Texan Avenger (Robert Hanlon). First in the Clint Caine trilogy. Goes back to how he left home and hooked up with a rancher and his niece. 12/19
  89. ***The Guns of Clint Caine (Robert Hanlon). The second Clint Caine book. 12/20
  90. **The Texan Avenger Returns (Robert Hanlon). The third and final Clint Caine book. Terrible editing. 12/21
  91. ***Deathwatch (Dana Morton). First in the Broslin Creek series, which apparently involves different characters but the same community. This one finds an Afghan returning home to find a woman staying in his house who is hiding out from a notorious assassin. 12/22
  92. ****No Exit (Taylor Adams, 2013). Superb book. Darby is snowed in at a mountain rest stop with four other persons. In one vehicle, she finds a young girl in a locked cage. 12/23
  93. ***The Last Man, Book 3 (Brian Vaughan). The third collection in the Last Man series.  12/23
  94. ***Saint/Sinner (Sam Sisavath). Second in the Allie Krycek series. She’s a highly trained operative of some kind. Here, she deals with a home invasion by men in tactical gear. 2/24
  95. *****The Police (Jo Nesbo, 2013). A Harry Hole book. This one involves the murder of policemen at the scenes of unsolved past crimes. Very complex. 2/16
  96. ***Grunt (Mary Roach, 2017). With humor and clarity, Roach examines the intersection of science, biology, medicine, and the American soldier. 12/29
  97. ***Lazarus: First Collection (Greg Rucka and others). The first two Lazarus volumes, “Family” and “Lift.” 12/29
  98. ****The Jesus I Never Knew (Philip Yancey, 1995). Yancey’s tremendous book about Jesus, looking at him from “from below” rather than from the perspective of his divinity. 12/30
  99. ***Night Heron (Adam Brookes, 2014). A Chinese man escapes from prison after 20 years and resumes spying for the British, who didn’t even know he was still alive. Really takes you into the world of espionage. 12/30
  100. ***Lazarus: Second Collection (Greg Rucka, 2017). The third and fourth Lazarus volumes, “Conclave” and “Poison.” 12/30
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