Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You Are An Ironman - by Jacques Steinberg

This book is an inspirational look into the lives of six ordinary people and their decision to attempt an Ironman.  For anyone not familiar with triathlon, an Ironman event consists of a 2.4 mile open water swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and completed with a full marathon (26.2 mile) run. Achieving Ironman status requires completion of the course within 17 hours.  It represents one of the highest achievements in endurance sports.

It is hard not be be inspired by people who, for various reasons and out of different circumstances, commit to a seemingly unattainable goal and then put in the work and make the sacrifices necessary to meet their goal.  The author is clear in his disclaimer that this is not a training manual by any stretch of the imagination.  Rather I would describe it as an engaging documentary of sorts that interweaves the stories of six different Ironman aspirants.  The book introduces their background; provides the details that led each of them to register; highlights some of the ups and downs in their training regimen; and ultimately, exposes the reader to their individual Ironman experiences on race day.

I am not a triathlete (or an endurance athlete of any kind) but was very motivated by these stories that demonstrate real-life drive and commitment enabling the accomplishment of truly astonishing things.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Voodoo River - by Robert Crais

Voodoo River is the fifth book in the Elvis Cole series.  Jodie Taylor is an actress who hires Elvis to help her discretely locate her birth family in order to get details about her medical background.  For those familiar with the series, in this installment, Cole meets and works with Lucy Chenier, who is Jodie Taylor's attorney, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, near the small town where she was born.  This job is almost too easy for the world's best detective and Elvis quickly finds the answers he was paid to find and more.  When things grow unexpectedly complicated, Joe Pike and Elvis Cole must step in.

I have read a number of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike stories by Robert Crais and really like them.  While this is not my favorite of the series, I was certainly not disappointed.  In general, the plot had a good number of twists and turns and was well paced.  The characters and dialogue were interesting.  Elvis is always a somewhat humorous and very likable main character.  Joe Pike is not very conversational, but he is very good at what he does and is a very loyal friend and partner to Elvis.  If you like this brand of crime mystery fiction, I think you will enjoy this book.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tick Tock - by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

New York City is experiencing a wave of terror-inducing crimes reminiscent of some of the most prolific in its past.  Detective Michael Bennett is on a beach vacation with his family at nearby Breezy Point.  As always, the call of duty does not respect his personal life and he is forced to spend much of his vacation working this high-profile case.

"Tick Tock" is the fourth book in the Michael Bennett series written by Patterson and Ledwidge.  As with previous installments, this is a fast-paced crime thriller with a good dose of suspenseful twists and turns.  This book also places significant focus on potential love interests for Detective Bennett.  His relationship with his nanny, Mary Catherine, has been heating up.  FBI agent Emily Parker re-enters the scene to help on the case   with the romantic evolution of their relationship all but inevitable.

In my opinion, if you like James Patterson books, this is a very good one.  If you don't care for his previous works, however, this one is based on a similar formula.  As these types of crime fiction novels are right up my alley, I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President - by Eli Saslow

In an effort to stay connected with his constituents, President Obama has his staff select ten letters for him to read that are representative of the enormous volumes of correspondence received by the White House each day.  For this book, Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow tracks down and profiles ten American letter writers whose letters were personally read and answered by the President.  Each of them had very personal reasons to engage their President with their views on an issue that deeply concerned them.

This book could certainly be considered by many to have a political bias.  It certainly covers letters about politically charged topics, as well as a reaction and response representing President Obama's perspective.  To me, however, this book was much less about the positions taken by the letter writers and/or our President and more about the personal stories of each of the letter writers that led them to actually share their viewpoint with the highest ranking elected official in their government.  These stories provided some examples of national issues having direct and personal impact on the lives of everyday citizens.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Harm's Way - by Ridley Pearson

This is the fourth book in Ridley Pearson's Sun Valley, Idaho, Sheriff Walt Fleming series.

The story opens with Fiona Kenshaw's heroic rescue of a child trapped under a tree limb in a swift-moving river. Fiona is Walt's photographer that he has developed romantic interest in. She asks him to try to keep her picture out of the press, and when he fails to do so, she is upset about it, but won't explain why.

Kira Tulivich is a 21-year-old girl recovering from the pyschological trauma of a violent assault two years earlier. Fiona has taken her under her wing and the two of them are house-sitting for a wealthy couple. When someone start's raiding homes in the area and trying to make it look like the work of a bear, Walt sees the crime for what it is and determines that a prowler is on the loose in Fiona's and Kira's neighborhood.

A football team owner, Marty Boatwright, and a famous sports agent, Vince Wynn, both have homes in Sun Valley. Walt responds to a call where Vince was shooting his gun to scare away retired professional linebacker Martel Gale. Not long afterwards, the large and imposing Gale is found dead from a strike to his head, near the side of the highway. Seattle homicide detective Lou Boldt, from another of Pearson's series, is working the murder of Caroline Vetta, a woman with a history of dating sports figures. The trail on his case intersects with Sun Valley, and ultimately Walt's investigation.

Fleming is a divorced father of two girls and his best deputy lives with his ex-wife. The woman who helps him with his girls (a friend) confides in Walt about her suspicions that her pregnant teenage neighbor is being sexually abused by her father.

Walt has crimes to solve with personal and emotional implications. Their solution is not predictable. This story provides many interesting and sometimes even suspenseful twists and turns. Much of the plot, however, involves Walt wrestling with his feelings, emotions, and morals. This adds depth to his character but may be a little "sappy" for some. Personally, I liked the book a lot, but not enough to rave about it. Certainly enough to recommend it, however.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Forced Out - by Stephen Frey

Jack Barrett used to be a big-time scout for the New York Yankees, but now he and his daughter are barely getting by in Sarasota, Florida.  He has a new mission in life, however, when he discovers the talent of Mikey Clemant, a local minor league player who can occasionally do amazing things on the baseball field but otherwise seems to be an uninspired player with bad attitude. Johnny Bondano is a hit man for the Lucchesi crime family asked to find and kill the man blamed for killing the crime boss's only grandson.  The lives of these three men (and others affiliated with each of them) converge in ways not hard to figure out, but somewhat complicated and unexpected, nonetheless.

In my opinion, this was a good, but not great story.  It was well constructed and somewhat suspenseful.  It kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out what happened.  The ending was not exactly what I suspected.  In my personal opinion, I would not give it a raving review.  I certainly wouldn't complain about it either.  I enjoyed reading it and I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Edge - by Jeffery Deaver

Corte is an elite Federal protection officer.  In the vernacular of his agency, he is a "shepherd."  In this story, he is responsible for safeguarding the family of a Washington, D.C. police detective.  Intelligence has revealed that the "lifter," Henry Loving, who six years earlier tortured and killed Corte's mentor, Abe Fallow, is targeting them.  An academic and and aficionado of board games, Corte matches wits with Loving in a dangerous duel of strategy, deduction, deception, and calculated risk-taking.

I am not a big fan of Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series, but I loved this book.  The suspense, the action, and the pace of events combined to produce a very enjoyable plot.  The characters were well developed and interesting.  The reader experiences events from Corte's viewpoint and familiarity with the Federal officer protagonist grows as the story progresses.  I appreciated both the view into his reasoning skills that make him so good at his job and the glimpses into his background and  inferences about his personal life that make him fascinating as a person.  In my opinion, this is one of the better books that I have read recently.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Cut - by George Pelecanos

Spero Lucas is a young veteran (ex-Marine) of the Iraq war who now works as a freelance investigator.  He is good at finding things and his standard fee is a 40% cut of the recovered property.  After doing some good work to help Washington, DC, lawyer Tom Petersen get car theft charges dismissed against a good kid who made a bad decision, he meets with the boy's father, Anwan Hawkins, who is currently in prison on drug charges.  Hawkins explains to Spero the FedEx scheme he uses to smuggle his marijuana.  Recent losses of two shipments, however, have been costly and he wants Lucas to find them for him.

In my opinion, this is a very good book.  Pelecanos spins an origanal and suspenseful tale, set in the neighborhoods surrounding our nation's capital with a cast of interesting and well-developed characters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Buried Prey - by John Sandford

Buried Prey represents the 21st volume of Sandford's Lucas Davenport series.  The bodies of two young girls who were killed back in the 1980's are unexpectedly unearthed when a house is demolished.  Back then, as a young uniformed patrolman, Lucas's involvement with the case launched his career as an investigator.  He considers the mistake he made on it, however, the worst in his career.  Now he must find out the truth.

While I have only read a handful of the "Prey" series, I really appreciated the background provided by young Lucas's "temporary assignment as a plainclothes homicide detective.  This was also the beginning of his relationships with supporting characters we have grown to know and love such as: Sloan and Del Capslock.  When he brings the murder mystery to the current day, John Sandford mixes some revenge motivation into the search for this sexual predator and killer that slipped through the system all those years ago.  The result is a murder mystery page-turner that I would definitely recommend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ahead of the Curve - by Philip Delves Broughton

After ten years as a journalist, as Paris Bureau Chief for the Daily Telegraph of London, the author decided to break from that career path and attend Harvard Business School (HBS).  He pursued a coveted Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from a venerable institution that produced some of America's greatest business leaders.  In this book, he shares this experience with his readers.

I have never really considered a formal business education.  I do not have the academic credentials to qualify me for graduate admission to an Ivy League school.  For me, then, this book provided me a glimpse into a world I would never experience on my own.  In a story-telling fashion that is both entertaining and insightful, Broughton shares his experiences and impressions.  He is very upfront about the fact that his writing reflects his experience, which may not necessarily mimic that of his peers.  For me personally, I really valued the chance to envision what it might be like to attend an elite MBA program like that at HBS.  This is not simply a clinical narration, however, but rather incorporates both his philosophical perspectives and his wit.  If the study of business is of interest to you, I would recommend this book.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Affair - by Lee Child

If you're a Jack Reacher fan and have ever wondered how it all began, this volume in his series (#16) explains the story leading up to the end of his career as a military cop, his separation from the Army, and the start of his "wandering" ways.

In this story, Major Reacher is given an undercover assignment to monitor the local law enforcement response to a rape and murder in Carter Crossing, Mississippi. There are potentially serious political implications to the Army, as Senator Carlton Riley, the chair of the Armed Services Committee has a son at nearby Fort Kelham with possible ties to the victim. Reacher matches wits with and is attracted to Sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux, a beautiful former Marine MP.

If you're a Reacher fan, this is a must-read, as it fills in some of the back story of the quirks and nature of the character you've come to know.  If you've never tried a Jack Reacher novel before, this might be a good book to start with.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nine Dragons - by Michael Connelly

This is a novel in the Harry Bosch series (#15), although his half-brother, Mickey Haller, also makes a minor appearance and reporter Jack McEvoy is mentioned.  In this novel, a murder case in South Los Angeles becomes personal and Bosch must go to Hong Kong to try to rescue his daughter.

I previously read "The Drop" and "The Fifth Witness," so this novel filled in a little of Harry Bosch's more recent background that I had already glimpsed in these sequels.  Harry is a no-nonsense detective.  In this book (as in others), he shows that while he may make some mistakes, he is a take-charge guy, who trusts his instincts and is comfortable being in control of his destiny.  In this book, he races against time to find clues and follow the evidence, but all is not always what it seems.  I like Connelly's writing and this story did not disappoint me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lullaby Town - by Robert Crais

This is another early Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novel (third in the series - published in 1992).  In it, Peter Allen Nelson, a high profile Hollywood director, hires Cole to find his ex-wife and the son that he abandoned on his rise to fame.  When he tracks them down on the east coast, however, he uncovers an unexpected mob connection and things get complicated.

I liked this better than "The Monkey's Raincoat," but its not close to being my favorite book that I've read thus far in the series (I absolutely love the later ones).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Monkey's Raincoat - by Robert Crais

I am a fan of Robert Crais and, especially, his Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels.  Therefore, when I saw "The Monkey's Raincoat," (the very first of the series) at the library, I had to read it.  In this installment, Cole is hired by a seemingly helpless wife to find her missing husband and son.  Things quickly get complicated and the story is fairly fast paced and action packed.

I'm not sure if it is because the book is dated (published in 1987) or if it is because I am being introduced to Elvis and Joe after knowledge of them as more fully developed characters in later stories, but I did not enjoy this as much as many other Crais works.  It won the Anthony and Macavity awards and was nominated for the Edgar and Shamus awards.  The story was engaging.  I didn't find Elvis and Joe as interesting and likable, however, as I usually do.

All said, I wasn't blown away, but I'm glad I read it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

iWoz - by Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak is the computer wizard best known for co-founding Apple Computer, back in the mid-1970’s, with the late Steve Jobs. It was the legendary Apple II computer that he designed way back in 1977 that launched the personal computer industry as we know it and put their upstart company at the head of the pack. This memoir also gives glimpses into his childhood and stints as a student, a concert promoter, the creator of the Bay Area’s first Dial-a-Joke hotline, a San Jose philanthropist, the inventor of the first universal remote control, a stay-at-home dad, and a fifth-grade teacher.

Wozniak claims that one of his drivers behind the book is to set the record straight. He says that much of the information out there about him is wrong. For instance, he and Steve Jobs were not high school classmates (they were years apart), he and Jobs did not co-design Apples first computers -- they were engineered by Woz alone, he did not get kicked out of the University of Colorado, he did not drop out of school, and he did not leave Apple because he was unhappy there - he stated some concerns but stressed that they were not why he left (technically he has been continuously employed by the company at a minimal salary).

I am myself a geek and lived through the era his story is set in (went through engineering school about a decade after Woz started). Therefore, I have a profound appreciation and deep respect for Woz's passion about electronics, engineering, and innovation. I found his explanations interesting. His sense of humor is a little different than mine, but his stories made me appreciate his personality. His recounting of various relationships (business, personal, and family) seemed genuine and reinforced his image as a good and caring person. I will warn you, though, if you have little interest in the technology explanations incorporated throughout the book, have little patience for unsophisticated and direct prose, and cannot relate to being a geek or nerd, you may not appreciate this book nearly as much as I did.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Innocent - by Harlan Coben

This is the story of Matt Hunter, a promising college student with a bright future.  His life is forever changed, however, when he gets in a fight at a party and unintentionally kills someone.  Years later, now an ex-con, and despite losing his father, while in prison, and his brother, shortly after getting out, he is putting his life together once again.  He is about to move back to his hometown, in New Jersey, with his pregnant wife, Olivia.  When she goes on a business trip and he receives a troubling picture and video on his phone, however, once again his life begins to fall apart.

If you are familiar with Harlan Coben stories, this novel features investigator Loren Muse and private detective Cingle Shaker.  I am a fan of his books, so I'm a little biased.  I found the pace of this book to match his typical gripping style.  Even though it was 503 pages, I got through it relatively quickly because I didn't want to put it down.  Some may find the plot, as ultimately revealed, a little too complex.  For me, personally, though, this is my kind of read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Design of Everyday Things - by Donald Norman

In this work, cognitive scientist and usability engineer, Donald Norman, presents many of the concepts that he believes underpin both good and bad "user-centered" product design. He walks the reader through examples of human interactions with everyday things (like doors, telephones, switches, cars, etc.) to illustrate the fundamental principles of functional design.

As this book was first published in 1988, even this "old" reader found the case studies it contains a little dated. Although the ideas presented are principally timeless, they are also largely common sense. Nonetheless, many of these easily understood points, in retrospect, may not be so obvious to the designer, whose viewpoint is biased by his/her inherent expertise with the thing he/she is designing. It can often be hard for this person to recognize cues that might provide the user a misguided conceptual model and, hence, result in difficult or improper usage.

When this book was first published in 1998, it was titled "The Psychology of Everyday Things." In the introduction to the 2002 edition (the version I read), the author explains that he changed the title to avoid the tendency for it to be marketed as a psychology, rather than design, book. From my perspective, though, the time he spends evaluating the psychology of how humans interact with the user interfaces of everyday things and devices was the most insightful.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Defending Jacob -- by William Landay

This novel tells its story in the context of the grand jury testimony of Andy Barber, a former Assistant District Attorney in upscale Newton, Massachusetts.  His testimony is interspersed throughout the more complete version of his story that he tells the reader. He begins his narration by telling about the tragic murder of a 14 year-old boy, Ben Rifkin, who was stabbed to death in the woods near the local school.  The reader sees the crime from both his viewpoint as the ADA trying to find and bring the killer to justice as well as a a member of the community and father of a 14-year-old boy who was a classmate of the murder victim.  When his son Jacob is arrested, he must expose the truth about his murderous ancestry and defend his son.

This book is the blend of a criminal thriller with the drama of a couple (Andy Barber and his wife Laurie) wrestling with thoughts of whether or not their son might be a monster who committed an unthinkable act.  I loved this book and couldn't recommend it more highly.  I can't remember ever before experiencing a page-turner such as this that simultaneously made me empathize with the narrator and ponder what I might do in such trying circumstances.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Micro - by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

"Jurassic Park's" Michael Crichton wrote one-third of this techno-thriller before his death in 2008 and "The Hot Zone's" Richard Preston completed it.

Nanigen MicroTechnologies Corporation has somewhat secretly developed the technology to miniaturize people and objects. A group of talented young researchers from Cambridge, Massachusetts, accept an offer to learn more about promising and potentially lucrative opportunities with the successful upstart technology company that is headquartered in Hawaii. Unfortunately, their would-be employer is a money- and power-mad science entrepreneur named Vin Drake and, when they almost immediately get caught up in a scheme of deception and greed, he shrinks them to a height of about one-half inch. They are deserted in a tropical rainforest where they must face now giant ants, spiders, moths, bees, and wasps, as well as a variety of other plants, creatures, and insects. Meanwhile, from the full-size world, the evil Drake tries his best to stamp out the miniaturized scientists and Detective Dan Watanabe investigates a set of events that converge on Nanigen and Drake.

I am normally not a science fiction fan. "Micro," though, was good enough thriller to generally keep my interest. I also felt like I learned a little about the micro-biological world. While it is not a personal favorite, I enjoyed it and am glad that I read it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blood Feud - by Kathleen Sharp

This book exposes how money and profits drive Big Pharma's enormous influence on the medical industry and ultimately the health of its patients, as well as the pockets of taxpayers who subsidize it.  At the center of the story is an anti-anemia drug developed in the 1980's by a start-up named Amgen.  In a move to save the company, they licensed it to industry giant Johnson & Johnson.  The two companies, armed with a non-competitive marketing agreement, sold the miraculous "blood booster" drug under the names Procrit, Epogen, and Aranesp.  Fueled by sales tactics like biased marketing studies, off-invoice rebates, doctor payments, and off-label promotions, though, the drug was pitched for uses and dosages that led to billions in annual sales and turned it into a huge biotech blockbuster with some disregarded dangers.

It is also the human story of Mark Duxbury, who paid a huge price for his transformation from award winning Procrit salesman to whistleblower.  In the end, even with the help of his former colleague and good friend Dean McClellan, who provided a treasure trove of damning documents, I was somewhat surprised with the alarming outcome (or lack of one) in the end.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shock Wave - by John Sandford

Shock Wave is the fifth novel by John Sandford starring Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension detective Virgil Flowers.   Mega-chain store, PyeMart is building one of their stores in small town Butternut Falls, Minnesota, and now bombs are going off.  The first was at PyeMart headquarters in Michigan, but then the explosions start to rock Butternut Falls.  Virgil is sent to help both local law enforcement and the Feds (ATF) track down the bomber and stop the related terror and tragedy.

While I have read several novels in Sandford's "Prey" series, I am certainly not as familiar with his books as many others.  Based on this story, however, I plan to read more.  Virgil Flowers is a top-notch investigator without being super-human.  He has long hair, wears classic rock t-shirts, is not a fighting machine with his arsenal always at the ready, drags a fishing boat around, has a string of ex-wives, and his current long-distance relationship seems to be cooling.  In other words he is both very likable and very believable.  While this may be a poor comparison in many ways, Virgil's style almost reminds me of watching Lieutenant Columbo long ago.  He talks to lots of people and at first glance may not seem to be the sharpest and most insightful of detectives.  Somehow, however, he listens and relates to others and his powers of observation and deduction pull the truth out of substantial noise and diversion.

Monday, April 23, 2012

That Used To Be Us - by Thomas L. Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum

In That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times columnist) and Michael Mandelbaum (professor and foreign policy expert) collaborate as friends and patriotic citizens on a book they intend as a wake-up and call to action for Americans.  As a nation, the authors claim that adapting to globalization, adjusting to the information revolution, coping with budget deficits, and managing energy consumption and climate change are the key hurdles requiring the type of collective response that Americans have employed in our past to achieve greatness.

Your like or dislike of this book may depend upon your political viewpoints.  Friedman and Mandelbaum take the position that both major parties have become increasingly polarized, making our political system ineffective. Instead, they endorse the "radical center" that more accurately portrays the more moderate values and viewpoints of the majority.  They argue that Democrats will have to cooperate on hard decisions to cut spending on government programs that are important and/or affect a lot of people.  Likewise, they assert that Republicans will have relent on their refusal to raise taxes.  They believe that government must invest in education, infrastructure, and research and development, as well as open our society more widely to talented immigrants and fix the regulations that govern our economy.  In the end, however, they claim that there is no magic potion for returning to greatness, no easy answers. “Americans will have to save more, consume less, study longer, and work harder than they have become accustomed to doing in recent decades.”  They point out, however, that America, in spite of its current problems, is still in the best position to spur innovation and success.  As we have in the past, they encourage us to embrace our uniquely American formula for greatness to adapt and succeed in the face of our current challenges.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Now You See Her - by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Nina Bloom has a secret past that she has kept hidden for more than 16 years.  When she comes across the case of a man about to be executed for a murder she knew he didn't commit, however, she is forced to confront the past that she has been running from.  James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge masterfully guide the reader through what happened all those years ago in Key West, Florida, when she (then Jeanine) was a college senior on spring break.  They then bring the reader back to the life she has created for herself and her daughter, as Nina, where she now must face the demons and danger from her past.

I found this suspenseful thriller to be a quick, fun, and enjoyable read.  The many unexpected twists and turns can sometimes border on the contrived and unbelievable, but the plot kept me engrossed and somewhat on the edge of my seat throughout.  If you liked previous works by Patterson and Ledwidge, you won't want to miss this one.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How To Measure Anything - by Douglas W. Hubbard

This is a book about measurement.  In it, Mr. Hubbard explains why measurement of anything that can be observed is possible.  Most equate the concept of measurement with observing and recording precise and purely objective metrics.  If we instead think of it in terms of anything that reduces uncertainty about a quantity, measurement of some type can be devised for even those things traditionally considered impossible to measure.

This is a business math book.  While not a page-turner, it is filled with techniques, cases, and examples for using measurement to inform decision-making.  To lay the groundwork, the author describes three samples of extremely ingenious measurement approaches.  First, way back in 200 BC, Eratosthenes measured the circumference of Earth to within an accuracy of 1%.  Enrico Fermi used simple confetti to help estimate the yield of the first atom bomb.  At the age of eleven, Emily Rosa devised an experiment to conclusively debunk claims of "therapeutic touch" and became the youngest author ever to be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

This book is not just a collection of historical measurement anecdotes, though.  The book gets into a fair amount of statistics and builds towards Hubbard's Applied Information Economics (AIE) model which brings many of the concepts together.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Live Wire - by Harlan Coben

Live Wire is Harlan Coben's tenth Myron Bolitar novel.  If the series is new to you, Myron is a former basketball star, whose professional career was ended by injury before it really began.  Now he is an an agent with amazingly trouble prone clients.  His friend and partner, Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III) is wealthy, preppy, and deceptively lethal.  His other partner, Esperanza, is a former lady wrestler (Little Pocahontas) and her former partner, Big Cindy (Big Chief Mama), also works for the firm.

In this installment of the series, pregnant former tennis star and client Suzze T. comes to Myron for help investigating an anonymous Facebook post claiming that her rock star husband Lex is not the father.  In classic fashion, Myron meddles with the best of intentions, but uncovers much more than he expected, including the sighting of his sister-in-law Kitty, married to his estranged brother.

For me, this quick-paced thriller was an enjoyable page turner.  This book includes a number of different story lines.  While, in my opinion, such an approach often detracts, Coben masterfully weaves and intertwines them to wonderful effect.  At the end of this book, he also drops on the reader what appears to signal a bold shift in the direction of this series.  Make sure you don't miss it.