Monday, November 25, 2019

Blue Moon (Jack Reacher, #24)Blue Moon by Lee Child
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I went back and forth about a rating for this book. On the one hand, Lee Child's Blue Moon is well written and moves quickly, but on the other hand, I feel like he's out of ideas. This certainly isn't the first Reacher book that doesn't hold up to critical thinking. Just starting with the odds of one man, even a very perceptive one, always wandering into these major criminal happenings is enough to make the stories ridiculous.

Add to that the fact that whatever compunction Reacher had about killing seems to have disappeared, and it's really too much. Yes, Reacher always was very dangerous when provoked, but now it feels like the killing is what he wants. Not an "I kill if I have no choice" hero but a "come on, give me an excuse to kill" vigilante. There's a big difference. In this book, he even kills an unarmed man who, while repulsive in his actions, isn't a violent criminal. He just executes him. Is this where we've wound up?

I didn't go with one star, because, as I said at the start, it moves quickly and is well written. But I can't go more than two stars, because we've gone from a thoughtful righter of wrongs to the Terminator, set loose in unnamed towns where he magically stumbles upon huge organized crime syndicates that he, with the help of a few friends, is going to annihilate.

Maybe Lee Child needs to do some prequel work. Go back and let a younger Reacher be an MP officer again and investigate military crimes. At least that wouldn't be so far-fetched.

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The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - CityThe Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City by David Lebovitz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I grabbed this book, because I love baking and love Paris. So what could be wrong?

Well, the author doesn't say much about his work as a pastry chef, except for keeping some Parisians happy with American-style brownies. (He does share recipes, but that's not the same.) Regarding Paris, wow, he loves to complain! More specifically, about Parisians.

My experience, over the course of all our trips to Paris, has been that the turnover of generations (my first trip there was 38 years ago) has mellowed the Parisian demeanor. In 1981, I found Parisians to be as unfriendly as they were reputed to be. During more recent visits, however, I found them to be much more friendly and helpful. You wouldn't know it from this book.

Perhaps it's the author's own approach to them, or perhaps it's the more nuanced perspective of someone who's there full-time, but his description of life in Paris wouldn't have encouraged me to visit the City of Light if I hadn't been there already.

Two fun subjects, baking and one of the world's greatest, most beautiful cities, and still this book was hard to get through.

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