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.