Blog Posts by jfreier

Posted by jfreier on 03/26/15
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 A moving story of nine members of the U of Washington rowing team who overcame many obstacles and challenges to compete for America in the 1936 Olympics. The story is told through the eyes of Joe Rantz a poor young man who was orphaned twice and must manage to make the team , pay for college and feed and cloth himself all during depression era America. The rowing team is led by an enigmatic coach Al Ulbrickson and Tom Bolles, and has it's boats built by the fascinating English boatmaker George Pocock.
Daniel James Brown alternates the story of the rowing teams struggles and the challenge of beating U of California and the elite east coast teams, Harvard. Princeton, Navy and others with the narrative of Nazi Germany setting the stage for the Olympics. The descriptions of how Hitler, Goebbels and his architects passion to show the world how modern and beautiful Germany is adds a great contrast to the depression and dust bowl America.
A well written and inspiring and moving book, good for all ages and both men and woman.
Posted by jfreier on 01/22/15
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A new biography about the real founder of the Rolling Stones, Brian was the man who started the Stones and brought in Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman. Brian Jones has almost been forgotten by most fans and unknown to those who weren't alive when the Stones started in 1963.
Jones has been much maligned by current Stones members except Charlie Watts and former member Bill Wyman. Keith Richards and Mick have almost erased the fact that Jones was the best musician by far and he was the biggest influence on their sound, filled with many interviews with others who knew who was the real driving force behind the band.
Interviews with Marianne Faithful, Pete Towndshend, Eric Burdon and others shed a different light on Jones as a troubled and difficult man but a brilliant musician and the trend setter for the band. I would say a must read for any Stones fan. Paul Trynka has done a service to Brian Jones legacy.
Posted by jfreier on 12/18/14
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Jamie DeBroux is heading to a special saturday morning meeting at his office but it turns out not what he expected. Jamie's boss has informed his staff of six that they have been working for a covert government agency and they are being shut down.
He tells his employees they have two choices drink poisoned mimosas and die quick and painlessly or get shot in the head.
The boss also has shut off all computer and cell service and rigged the elavators so ther is no way out.
Molly Lewis, the quiet assisant to the boss sets the action in motion by shooting the boss in the head and then the fun begins, eveyone for themselves, the surprises and plot twists are dizzying but it is so fast paced it is impossible to put down. Severance Package is the first book I have read by Duane Swierczynski and now I have read all of his other books, if your looking for a fast, fun escape I highly recommend this authour.
Posted by jfreier on 11/07/14
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Truly a book from today's headlines, Sting of the Drone is a fictional account of the American drone program and the men and woman who implement it. The drone strikes have been wreaking havoc on the terrorists and a criminal drug cartel run by the Quazzani clan in Pakistan. The crime cartel enlists the best hackers from Russia and the Ukraine to shoot down and eventually steal drones to use on Americans.
The agency in charge called the kill committee based in an air force base outside Las Vegas is shocked that any of their drones were vulnerable. They seek to turn the tables on the cartel and lure them into a counter attack. The Kill committee and the President also begin to question the morality of the use of the drone program.
A well written novel by Richard A. Clarke who served under three presidents and was in charge of the beginning of the drone program brings insider knowledge and insight to the program and it's necessity.
Spy, Thriller
Posted by jfreier on 10/02/14
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An intelligent new mystery by Randy Wayne White, Doc Ford, marine biologist and man with a mysterious and lethal past is up to his neck in a complex case.
Doc is asked by his his friend Tomlinson, a self medicated Zen master of sorts to help him and his Crow Indian friend to recover an old Indian relic. Doc is also hired by Leland Albright the wealthy owner of a phosphate mind in central Florida known as the Bone Valley. Leland and his dysfunctional family, trophy wife Ava and their twin daughters and stepson Owen lead them into the dark world of crazy relic collectors.
Doc, Tomlinson, and Duncan are soon being chased by a psychotic biker with a bionic arm who wants access to the private Bone Valley. A fast, entertaining,informative and funny mystery, the 21st in the Doc Ford series.
Posted by jfreier on 08/28/14
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 A great look at the pinnacle of hotel luxury, the Hotel Ritz in Paris from it's opening in 1898 until the present with much of the book focusing on the years of the Nazi occupation. The portion of the book during the occupation is perhaps the most interesting, the Nazis occupied one wing and left the adjoining older building to the rich and famous, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Edgar Degas and many others.
Joseph Goebbels demanded that the party must go on and even the German army was not to wear uniforms while in bar or dining rooms. There are tales of wild parties, intrigue, and even romance and leads up to the night Princess Diana left on her last night and up until present.
A romantic look at the famous hotel with great gossip and wild stories, some of which are hard to believe, but an entertaining read.
Posted by jfreier on 07/31/14
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Secret Service agent Ethan Burke is sent to the small Idaho town of Wayward Pines to search for two missing agents, Ethan comes to in a hospital with amnesia. Ethan finds out he was in a car accident and his partner was killed, as his memory comes back he finds out this picture perfect town isn't what it appears to be.
Ethan is unable to get his personal belongings back and can't contact his family or boss. Outwardly everyone and everything looks perfect until he tries to leave and finds the whole town fenced in by a 30 foot electrified fence, keeping who out or who in.
Ethan starts to realize that it was not an accident ending up in this town and the closer he gets to the truth the stranger and more deadly it becomes for his survival, suspenseful, break neck pace and a touch of horror and sci fi, the first in the Wayward Pines Trilogy. Blake Crouch has wriiten several other horror books and is just fun to read.
Posted by jfreier on 06/12/14
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John Wells is back in the 8th book in this series following the exploits of the deep cover C.I.A agent.
The Chief of Station in Istanbul is approached by an Iranian with intel on two upcoming attacks on Israeli embassies, when they come true, the Iranian hints at an attack on American soil.
The agency calls on John Wells to follow leads to see if the informant is genuine or a false flag trying to set up the Americans.
The leads take Wells on a twisting and dangerous mission from Panama City, Bangkok, Manila and to Istanbul.
This is a timely and well paced novel by a great spy writer Alex Berenson, a former N.Y. times foreign correspondent.
spy thriller
Posted by jfreier on 05/15/14
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A man's body is found beaten and bruised under an abandoned Yorkshire railway bridge. The first police on scene rule it a suicide, but are unsure when they find 5,000 pounds in the victims' pocket. DCI Alan Banks is called in and after further inspection the man is found to be a former professor who was fired due to a sketchy sex scandal.
Inspector Banks and detective Annie Cabot follow the leads which lead to Lady Chalmers, a former Marxist and now famous author and member of an aristocratic and politically connected family. Banks and Cabot find out that the victim and Lady Chalmers were once former students and activists together at University.
The duo rule out suicide and random foul play and follow a complex trail to blackmail and betrayal that leads to the very top of british society. A complex and well plotted mystery set in the haunting Yorkshire Dales, thsi is Peter Robinson's 21st Alan Banks mystery, and another well written story.
Posted by jfreier on 04/12/14
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King and Maxwell are back for the sixth book in this series by David Baldacci.
Tyler Wingo a teen is given the tragic news that his father was killed in Afghanistan, but later hears from him after his supposed death. Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to investigate and it leads to a larger and more dangerous conspiracy that puts all three in danger.
The two are lead to higher ups in the Pentagon and to the White House in this typically fast paced style of Baldacci, the relationship of Sean and Michelle deepens and actually adds to the story, as does their protection of Tyler, a bit of a slow start, but the pace picks up and is another easy but escapist read. Sorry to hear the T.V series King and Maxwell was cancelled.
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