Tuesday, March 20, 2018

6. The President's Plane is Missing by Robert J. Serling

I had to go the emergency room because of a "mallet finger" I got playing basketball.  It was an extremely negative experience except that I discovered the Montreal General has a book shop in the lobby.  It's called the Book Nook and was filled with paperback and hardcover anglo fiction from the 60s, 70s and 80s.  It was quite exciting but because of the terrible emergency room service, I couldn't check it out despite being stuck at the hospital for 8 hours (you can't leave the room or you'll miss your appointment that you have no idea when will come).  However, I did have a follow-up appointment with the doctor at the hospital and I made it a point to come in early to look for books.

Well the haul wasn't mind-blowing but it was still a good vein with potential for the future.  The most exciting find was a first American edition hardcover of Jack Carter and the Law by Ted Lewis (the U.S title for Jack Carter's Law), the prequel to Get Carter.  Very psyched about that find.

The President's Plane is Missing has about the most boring cover ever (although I do like the fading letters).  The story itself is not boring, but the cover does represent well its straightness.  This is a very mainstream (for the time) political thriller.  Despite it being slightly vanilla, it is actually quite a gripping and suspenseful story and I stayed up an hour past my bedtime to finish it.  It has a cast of characters most of which are focused around a small newswire bureau in Washington.  The president is like the best president ever, but he is tired.  He is embarking on a much needed week long vacation where he has made special requests to not be disturbed.  This extends to his time on Air Force One, where he makes plans to spend the flight reading in the back room.  The flight takes off fine and once in the air is flying smoothly.  Ground Control calls to tell them that there is a storm ahead of them.  The pilot requests permission to fly above it and permission is granted.  Shortly after, the plane simply disappears from the radar.

The rest of the book is about trying to figure out what happened, while following the political repercussions.  The weak and henpecked vice-president is the protagonist in this storyline.  His character is unrealistically insecure and you know he is going to cause trouble in some way or other.  I won't say anything more because it honestly was quite gripping the story behind everything is solid and well thought-out. 

Ah cool, I see they made a TV movie out of this!  And it got some decent reviews.  To the internet!

Monday, March 05, 2018

5. Paper Money by Ken Follet

Picked up this workmanlike paperback in decent condition at Chainon.  It's Ken Follett's first book and was originally published under another name (and didn't sell very well).  I found it to be quite enjoyable and fun to read.  The milieu is the highs and lows of wealthy financiers and cockney hoodlums in London in the 70s, with the reporters of a daily newspaper in between.  Several storylines including a financial deal, a heist, policy announcements, blackmail and so on quickly and efficiently converge together by the end.  The portrayal of the milieu and the characters, especially the villians (term used in the book by the villains themselves) is rich.  It came at a good time as I am once again struggling to read steadily.