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Edward Hahn has commented on (166) products.

Hot Springs by Stephen Hunter
Hot Springs

Edward Hahn, August 8, 2015

While I like Hunter's books most of the time, I loved this one. While it's perhaps a little over dramatized, it is well written and suspenseful.

Earl Swagger, a returning WW II vet and Medal of Honor winner, joins a group taking on Mafia member Owney Meany and his crew who run Hot Springs, Arkansas and its gambling, prostitution and other illegal activities. The story has lots of action as Earl and ex-FBI agent D.A. Parker train and lead a group of young police officers to put Meany out of business.

Hunter does a good job of character development as well as providing a number of surprises as the plot unfolds. The story is based on actual events but as Hunter himself points out where history and a good story intersect the story wins.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you are unfamiliar with Hunter's Work.
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Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
Bangkok 8

Edward Hahn, August 1, 2015

I've read most of Burdette's output but somehow missed his first novel, "Bangkok 8". It was a great read. I enjoyed it even more because of all the time I've spent in Bangkok. It was like reading a novel set in San Francisco, Portland or Hong KOng.

Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a half Thai, half American Bangkok detective, watches his partner and soul brother, Pichai, die when the two of them open the door of a Mercedes in which a Marine sergeant has been killed by drug maddened cobras and a hungry python and Pichai is bitten in the eye by one of the cobras. Jitpleecheep swears to avenge Pichai's death but the deeper he gets into the case the more complicated it becomes until both Jitpleecheep and the reader are confused as to who is really ultimately responsible for both Pichai's and the Sergeant's murder.

As the story unfolds, Burdett introduces us to his version of how Bangkok works, particularly police corruption and the prostitution industry. We are also given an introduction to Bhuddist philosophy as practiced by Jitpleecheep. We also learn the back-story of Jitpleecheep's life and his relationship to his courtesan mother and her lovers as well as his boss, Colonel Vikorn, a character if there ever was one.

The plot kept me guessing throughout the book. It's forays into the transgender society, half breed treatment by Thais, the meth trade or "Yaa Baa" as the Thai's call it, the Chiu Chow Chinese influence, and other less obvious byways, kept me from becoming totally depressed as Jitpleecheep pursued his vengeance.

I highly recommend, not just "Bangkok 8", but all the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series.

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Lion of the Sun: Book Three of Warrior of Rome by Harry Sidebottom
Lion of the Sun: Book Three of Warrior of Rome

Edward Hahn, July 20, 2015

This book was my introduction to the "Warrior of Rome" series. Though it's the third entry, reading it first was not a problem. I was able to keep all the characters straight and found enough information to understand their place in the narrative.

I wish I had discovered Sidebottom, sooner. I consider myself a fan of Roman historical fiction and he is obviously a very good practitioner. His work is well researched and documented plus accompanied by an excellent bibliography, appendix, and glossary.

The story's protagonist is Ballista, an officer in the third century Roman army, originally sent to Rome as a hostage against his Germanic father's continued good behavior. He's now, 20 years later, defending Rome's eastern borders against the growing threat of the Sassanid (Persian) empire.

Ballista and the Emperor Valerian, betrayed by Macrianus the Lame, have been captured by the Sassanids and are forced to prostrate themselves before the so-called King of Kings. Ballista is to go to Samosata and ask Macrianus to ransom Valerian. He knows it's a fool's errand but gives his oath to return.

Ballista then breaks his oath to protect his family and goes into the service of Macrianus as a high level commander. The plot then revolves around what Ballista must do to not only survive but also protect his family from enemies both within and without the Empire.

The battle scenes of which there are many are well done. The characters are well drawn and for the most part believable for the time. Ballista's companions stay loyal to him and in many cases are able to protect him from his enemies.

I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series in order or not. I can certainly recommend this volume.
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Evidence by Jonathan Kellerman

Edward Hahn, July 16, 2015

I'd not picked up a "Alex Delaware" novel in over a year. I was disappointed in the last few books in the series. I'm glad I grabbed this one as it reaffirmed my appreciation of Kellerman as an excellent writer of crime novels.

In this offering the bodies of a murdered man and woman are found coupled together. They are discovered by a disabled night watchman in a half finished castle-like structure in the very posh Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles. Alex is called into the investigation by his long time friend, LA police detective, Milo Sturgis.

They immediately identify the male as Desmond Backer, an architect recently employed by a newly formed "Green" architectural firm. Desmond is also quite a lover, though somewhat indiscriminate. It takes much longer and lots of detective work to ID the woman.

As the plot unfolds, the list of suspects and the trail of connected crimes as well as connections to eco-terrorists provide a ton of clues but very few answers. The primary suspect, Helga Geiman, the money behind the architectural firm, was not subject to Backer's charms and was not at all upset at hearing of his death.

The twists and turns in this particular plot are so well done that you really can't figure out who's done what to whom until close to the end of the book.

As in all the "Delaware" series, the dialogue, especially between Milo and Alex is entertaining. The characters come alive, even the minor ones. This is one of the better entries in the series. I highly recommend it, even if you haven't read the earlier ones.
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Uniform Justice (Penguin Mysteries)
Uniform Justice (Penguin Mysteries)

Edward Hahn, July 14, 2015

This, the 12th in the Commissario Brunetti series, is one of the best. A refreshing change from the usual "who dunnit" genre. It is full of well drawn characters and a plot that, while it doesn't keep the reader guessing as to who is guilty, nevertheless does keep the reader guessing as to what is going to happen next right up to the last two or three pages.

The story opens when a young student is found hanging from the ceiling of a bathroom in the San Martino military academy. While it is an apparent suicide, Brunetti is suspicious as the boy is the son of Dottore Moro a doctor and former member of parliament who has a reputation of unimpeachable honesty for uncovering corruption in the Venetian Health Service. In addition, Brunetti is put off by the arrogant, almost hostile attitudes of both the staff and the students. So he sets out to prove that young Moro was murdered.

In the process, we are exposed to the failings of the Italian justice system which Brunetti understands but constantly tries to work around, especially when dealing with his incompetent superior, Vice-Questore Patta.

Brunetti does manage to attract like minded people to help, especially his boss's assistant and computer hacker, Signorina Elettra, who provides him with information he couldn't get any other way. He also depends on his wife Paola, to keep his head straight when he gets frustrated with the system.

Whenever I pick up a Donna Leon book, I anticipate being transported into another world peopled with interesting characters and compelling plots. This volume certainly didn't disappoint.
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