Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Hundred-Year Christmas

by David Morrell
96 pgs

I hadn't decided on a Christmas book to read this year until I learned about this old book written by David Morrell. It's a short novella, and nothing like the thrillers he usually writes, but it's heart-warming and equally appealing to adults and children. I read it to my seven-year-old son, and we both enjoyed it.

 Every hundred years, a new Santa is chosen. The old one selects his replacement during his hundredth year, and on that Christmas Eve, leaves this world by climbing and disappearing over a snowy hilltop by his home.

Every New Year's Eve, a new Father Time is born. He ages eight years every month, and on the very next New Year's Eve, he also climbs and disappears over that same snowy hilltop.

The Hundred-Year Christmas takes place during the current Santa's one hundredth year. He has a year to select his replacement before his time is up, but finding someone willing to serve in the iconic role is proving to be extremely difficult. But the search for his replacement isn't really the story Morrell is telling. The real story of the book is the relationship between the two men. One that lives his whole life in a year's time, and the other that watches those hundred lifetimes knowing the exact moment his own life will end.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Heist

by Daniel Silva
496 pgs  (Gabriel Allon series #14)

In this latest offering in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, Allon is called on to find the killer of an English diplomat named Jack Bradshaw. Julian Isherwood, an art dealer, and long-time associate of Allon, discovered the body of Bradshaw and is now being held as a suspect in his murder. Bradshaw, it has been learned, has been secretly trafficking priceless pieces of art stolen from museums and churches around the world for years and selling it to an unknown collector. The Italian police have threatened to accuse Isherwood of Bradshaw’s murder unless Allon is able to discover the identity of the true killer.
Allon soon discovers that Bradshaw’s murder is connected to the disappearance of Caravaggio’s famous, and long-lost masterpiece The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence. Stolen in 1969 from the Sicilian church it had hung in for centuries, The Nativity has become one of the most famous and valuable missing pieces of art in history.   
In order for Allon to find the killer and free his friend, he must track down the masterpiece and uncover this mysterious and powerful art collector. As the story unfolds, and Allon and his team of Israeli operatives devise a plan to draw out the collector, Silva’s strengths as a storyteller are evidenced.
This is the 14th book in the Allon series, and remarkably, Silva continues to keep the series as fresh and captivating as ever.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Friday, December 5, 2014


by Stephen King
403 pgs

Revival is the second book to be released by Stephen King this year. And while the first one, Mr. Mercedes was a departure from the type of book he's known for best, this one is a return to form. On the inside flap it says that the book has the most terrifying conclusion that King has ever written--a statement I don't agree with. But still, it's good to see that King can still write a scary story.

The book begins with young Jamie Morton, a six-year-old boy playing with his toy soldiers along the dirt path in front of his house in rural Maine. When a shadow falls over him, Jamie looks up and sees Charles Jacobs, the new minister in Jamie's town. It's the first time Jamie has ever met the new reverend, and while he has no way of knowing it at the time, it's the beginning of a fifty-year relationship that will drastically affect Jamie's life, and will end with an experience that will shake him to his core.

The reverend, who has always had a fascination with electricity, has discovered that while it can be deadly at times, it can also be used to cure people of certain ailments. The first time he uses it is on Jamie's brother, whom he's able to cure of an injury to his larynx that has left him speechless for weeks. Years later he uses it to help Jamie overcome a serious drug addiction. But Jamie soon realizes that the cure Jacobs provided him was accompanied by some unexpected and disturbing consequences. As Jamie begins looking into the lives of others who were cured by the reverend, he learns that others have been similarly affected.

Revival is nowhere near the best book King has ever written. But it's still a worthwhile read. I'm biased towards King's books, but I really think that an average book by him is better than the best books by most other authors.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆