Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come

Mutations. For a real change of virus from Covid-19 to Ebola, I decided to read Richard Preston’s book titled, Crisis in the Red Zone: The Story of the Deadliest Ebola Outbreak in History, and of the Outbreaks to Come. The book reads like a thriller, packed with an interesting cast of characters. In addition to the focus on the 2013-2014 Ebola pandemic, he brings readers back to earlier Ebola outbreaks in Africa. Readers become caught up with the stories of the victims of the virus, the caregivers and the scientists. There’s a heightened sensitivity to the issues Preston raises in this book especially about mutations, the uncertainty of treatments and vulnerability during the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m still thinking about the difficult choices about limited resources, drugs and making decisions about who receives treatment. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Crisis in the Red Zone from amazon.com.

Celtic Empire

Pitts. The twenty-fifth installment in the Dirk Pitt adventure series by Clive Cussler is a novel titled, Celtic Empire. Pitt father and son are both back along with their familiar cohorts in a predictable adventurous romp around the world. We’re grounded in something from history, in this case three-thousand-year-old Egyptian version, and tension comes when an evildoer is up to no good, and the Pitts come to the rescue. No plot spoilers there, that’s the successful formula, and in this installment, I was predictably entertained. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Celtic Empire from amazon.com.


Twists. Jo Nesbø’s twelfth novel featuring Harry Hole is titled, Knife. Crime fiction fans will enjoy almost five hundred pages of plot twists and Harry’s ups and downs. The only woman Harry has ever loved, Rakel, has been murdered with a knife, and Harry is a suspect. His excessive drinking hurts him again, as he can’t remember much about the night Rakel died. Nesbø pulls readers into the story, complicates matters superbly, and leads us toward a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Knife from amazon.com.

Writers & Lovers

Crossroads. Casey Peabody, the thirty-one year old protagonist of Lily King’s novel titled, Writers & Lovers, feels all the confusion and vulnerability of being adrift. Casey’s mother died suddenly. A romantic relationship fell apart. The novel she’s been working on for six years still isn’t finished. She lives in a hovel. At age thirty-one she works as a waitress to survive. Thanks to King’s fine writing, readers care deeply about Casey, and root for her as she forges ahead. She falls in love with Oscar and Silas at the same time, both writers and very different personalities. Will she choose one or the other? Can she continue to pursue her dream of writing? Will she ever get out from under her debt? Fans of literary fiction are those readers most likely to enjoy this finely written novel. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Writers & Lovers from amazon.com.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold

Belonging. The debut novel by C. Pam Zhang titled, How Much of These Hills Is Gold, describes the struggles of two Chinese American orphans, Lucy and Sam, in the American West during the 19th century. Zhang’s prose is finely written, and she creates appealing characters that will lead readers to care what happens to them. Memory, family and finding the place where one belongs in the world are all themes that are explored with great skill. Fans of historical fiction and good writing are those most likely to enjoy this novel. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase How Much of These Hills Is Gold from amazon.com.

If It Bleeds

Novellas. The four novellas in the collection by Stephen King titled, If It Bleeds, will appeal to all readers who enjoy his imaginative storytelling. I especially enjoyed the return of Holly Gibney from the Bill Hodges trilogy in the title story. I found each novella satisfying and read them too quickly, as I usually do with King’s work. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase If It Bleeds from amazon.com.

The City We Became

Avatars. The first installment in N.K. Jemison’s planned Great Cities Trilogy is a novel titled, The City We Became. Anyone who has lived in a great city knows that the place seems alive and has a certain set personality. I don’t read a lot of fantasy fiction, but there are times we need to escape our world and Jemison offers that with her writing skills. In the novel, she reveals avatars for New York’s five boroughs and pits them against an alien from the multiverse. Each borough’s personality shines in these characters. Avatars for São Paulo and Hong Kong show up to help New York out. For a great escape that also captures contemporary life, consider reading this novel and the others in the series when they are released. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase The City We Became from amazon.com.