Diversify

I’ve got a few writing projects going on at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped me from also reading two different books (one at work, the other at home). A guy I work with asked me how I was able to read two books at once. “Don’t you get the characters or the plots confused with each other?”

Honestly? No.

And it’s not because I feel like my brain is too sharp or powerful for such a thing. That’s certainly not it. I’m one of the most scatterbrained people I know. For example, if Mrs. Revis asks me to do something right before she goes to bed (like empty the dishwasher or switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer), unless I do it right away, I’ve forgotten it about five minutes later. Then, when the morning comes, I am the recipient of an angry glare and I don’t know why until she reminds me of what I was supposed to do.

No, the reason I don’t get them mixed up is because they are nothing alike. Other than the fact that at least some of each of the two books takes place in Texas, they have nothing in common.

The one I’m reading at work is The Deceivers by Alex Berenson. Here is the back cover blurb for it as it appears on Amazon.

The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Ahmed to doubt them, until it was too late.

When John Wells is called to Washington, he’s sure it’s to investigate the carnage in Dallas, but it isn’t. The former CIA director, now president, Vinnie Duto has plenty of people working in Texas. He wants Wells to go to Colombia. An old asset there has information to share–and it will lead Wells to the deadliest mission of his life, an extraordinary confluence of sleeper cells, sniper teams, false flag operations, double agents high in the U.S. government–and a Russian plot to take over the government itself. If it succeeds, what happened in Texas will only be a prelude.

The book I’m reading at home is Night Shift, the third book in the Midnight, Texas trilogy, by Charlaine Harris. Here’s the blurb for hers.

At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town. Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place…

So, basically, one book is about a CIA agent trying to stop terror attacks and the other is about a small Texas town that has vampires, werewolves, psychics, and witches in it.

Not similar at all.

And that got me thinking about all of my books. It’s the same with them too. If you were to look on my bookshelf, you’d see Harlan Coben books next to Jurassic Park, Dungeons and Dragons novels next to The Lincoln Lawyer, and Star Wars novels next to books written by the fictional Richard Castle.

And that, my friends, is how you avoid getting burnt out on reading. You diversify your library.

The Lincoln Lawyer

This review is going to be a little bit different in that I’m going to tackle the book and movie all at once. I’m going to start with the book first, then go into my thoughts on the movie adaptation.

THE BOOK: Written by Michael Connelly, the novel follows defense attorney Michael “Mickey” Haller as a big money case falls into his lap. The defendant, Louis Roulet, is a Beverly Hills rich kid who is accused of beating and attempting to rape a woman he meets at a night club. After hearing Roulet’s version of events, Haller starts to think he has something he never thought he would ever see: an innocent client.

The Lincoln Lawyer, like all of Connelly’s novels, is a well written book that is constantly throwing twists and turns at the reader. Just when you think you have it figured out, something new comes up, forcing you to have to rethink everything. Anyone who enjoys mysteries, or just reading in general, should read this book.

THE MOVIE: Matthew McConaughey plays Haller. I’m not really a fan of his, but he did a pretty good job in this movie. Ryan Phillippe is also very good as Louis Roulet. Marisa Tomei gives a decent performance, but she looks really old in this movie.

The movie follows the book pretty closely. There are a few minor differences, but nothing worth complaining about. Overall, it’s a very good movie. Anyone who likes the book should definitely check it out.

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly

I first discovered Michael Connelly by accident. I was walking through a Barnes and Noble just looking around. I looked at the back of one of his books, thought it sounded good, and bought it. I’m so glad I did. Michael Connelly is one of the best writers out there. I have almost all of his books. His books are well written, suspenseful, and make you want to keep reading. Most of his books center around LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, although he does have a few stand alones and books featuring other characters. Harry Bosch is a homicide dectective who joined the police force after getting back from being a soldier in Vietnam.

The Black Echo is the first book in the Harry Bosch series (it’s also the first novel Michael Connelly had published, back in 1992). It starts off with Harry getting called out to a crime scene. When he arrives at the scene, all of his co-workers are writing the body off as an accidental drug overdose. When he looks at the body, he realizes that the corpse was a man who was in his old Army unit back in Vietnam, so he digs deeper. What he finds is something far more sinister than a simple overdose, and it forces him to team up with the FBI. In the process, he angers other members of the LAPD and it makes him have to constantly watch his back.

This book gets you hooked right away. As you keep with it, as Harry uncovers more and more of the mystery, you can’t help yourself. You have to keep reading. You find yourself needing to find out what happens next and, ultimately, who did it. The tension of the story continues until you reach the explosive ending. By the end, you’ll not only be rewarded with a great story, you’ll start to understand the character of Harry Bosch. He’s one of the most complex characters I have ever read.

On a scale of 1-10, this book is a 9. To me, this is a definate must-read.