Good Books and the Random Movie

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31 December 2009

Day of Reckoning (Sean Dillon #8)

Day of Reckoning by Jack Higgins is the eighth book in the series featuring Sean Dillon - an ex-IRA enforcer who now works for British Intelligence.

Sean Dillon has worked with his US counterpart, Blake Johnson, on past jobs. So when Johnson's ex-wife is murdered, Sean is there to help avenge her death. A video she left for Blake in case of her death tells them about a story she was writing to expose the new face of the mafia - Jack Fox - a man who looks like a legitimate business man.

In response, Sean and Blake plan to ruin all of the aspects of Fox's business - everywhere he operates in the world. They will target his casinos, arms deals, and cash flow with the help of Brigadier Ferguson, Superintendent Hannah Bernstein, and some friends on the other side of the law who owe Dillon a favor.

Higgins's books just keep getting better. Read them all!

Higgins, Jack. (2000). Day of Reckoning. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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30 December 2009

Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider #8)

Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz is the latest book featuring Alex Rider - a fourteen year old James Bond who works for MI6.

It has been months since Alex has seen anyone from MI6. And he does not miss them. He would love to never work for them again. But when a reporter comes to him and threatens to expose him, Alex is trading favors with MI6 once again.

His assignment seems simple, at first. Smithers, the Q of the series, has some great gadgets that will help Alex break in to the office of the head of a bioreseach lab. His school is going on a tour of the facility and he should be able to sneak away for a few minutes and download the information MI6 needs.

Of course if everything went according to plan it would not be a very long book - or an Alex Rider adventure. By the end of the book Alex is in the thick of thing and is the only person who can save thousands of lives.

Horowitz has created a fast-paced, exciting series that readers will devour. Any James Bond fans should read this series. The action is so intensely written you will not move until you are done reading.

Horowitz, Anthony. (2009). Crocodile Tears. New York: Philomel Books.

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28 December 2009

The White House Connection (Sean Dillon #7)

The White House Connection by Jack Higgins is the seventh book in the Sean Dillon series - an ex-IRA enforcer turned British Intelligence agent.

At the beginning of the peace process in Northern Ireland, British Intelligence was told to share all information about the area with the White House. The British team in charge of the information soon found themselves with a whole group of dead undercover agents. After that they only sent information that could be found in a newspaper.

Three years later, the mother of one of those killed, has found out the actual events that lead to her son's death. She knows that a group calling itself the Sons of Erin was responsible. Now this older woman will take out the cell that caused his death - including a notorious London criminal who Sean Dillon and Brigadier Ferguson have been after for years.

In his best Dillon book yet, Higgins weaves together stories from both sides of the Atlantic into a novel you will not be able to put down.

Higgins, Jack. (1999). The White House Connection. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.

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26 December 2009

Movie: Ink

Ink is an independent film by director Jamin Winans, starring Soren Kelly, Quinn Hunchar and Jessica Duffy.
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This movie is battle between good and evil. When we sleep there are two forces that guide our dreams. The one side, called storytellers, guide us through dreams of joy, hope, and desire. The other side, the incubi, guides our nightmares of fear, shame, guilt and despair.
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Ink is a man who has lost all hope. He is on a quest to become an incubus. In order to do so he will steal the soul of a young girl and deliver her to the others. The storytellers, aided by a pathfinder, will fight to save her.
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The pathfinder can feel the music of the world and can, therefore, see the links in the chain reaction of life. Through his manipulations events may be changed to save not only the little girl who was stolen, but break someone else out of a cycle of despair.
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The cinematography of Ink is gorgeous and at times has the surreal quality and richness of Pan's Labyrinth. The fight scenes between the two forces are as good as the fighting in movies like The Matrix. The message hidden within the story is profound. Ink has all of the hallmarks of a great film, but due to its independent status missed the big box office exposure.
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See Ink. It is worth time and it will leave you thinking.

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The President's Daughter (Sean Dillon #6)

The President's Daughter by Jack Higgins is the sixth book in the Sean Dillon series - an ex-IRA enforcer how now works for British Intelligence.

The is a shadow organization that has infiltrated the highest levels of intelligence in both the US and Britain. Their current operation involved kidnapping and blackmail. If the president of the United States does not sign a treaty that will unleash nuclear weapons on the enemies of the group, the hostage will be killed.

Sean Dillon is lured into a trap because he has access to the president. The plan is to make him deliver the message and then have him killed. Members of the organization will know if any FBI, CIA, NSA, MI5 or Scotland Yard databases are searched for their leader's identity.

But the leader of this group overlooked one thing - Dillon is not so easy to best. He will fight back with everything at his disposal to free the hostage.

Warning: Higgins' books are addictive. If you read one you may have to read them all!

Higgins, Jack. (1997). The President's Daughter. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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21 December 2009

Drink with the Devil (Sean Dillon #5)

Drink with the Devil is the fifth book in Jack Higgins' Sean Dillon series. Dillon is an ex-IRA soldier who now works for British Intelligence.

Higgins has done what most readers of fiction series fail to do - he has gone back into the past of his main character to give us a look at where Dillon came from.

The book starts in 1985 in Belfast. Dillon is still with the IRA and he is assigned to infiltrate a plot by the Protestants to steal enough gold to start a civil war in Northern Ireland.

In the second half of the book - 1995, Dillon is called upon in his Intelligence work to look into a gold heists from ten years ago. None of the reports linked him with the theft, but he has inside information that will help the operation.

Drink with the Devil is another great book by Higgins. He creates characters that are likable (sometimes in spite of their actions), plots that keep readers staying up late to read, and a series that is addictive. Do not read the first book unless you are ready to commit to all seventeen.

Higgins, Jack. (1996). Drink with the Devil. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.

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20 December 2009

The Jericho Pact (Office 119 #3)

The Jericho Pact is the third book in the Office 119 series/trilogy by Rachel Lee. (I am guessing there will be more books in the series even though the current situation has been resolved.)

By this third book all of the plot lines are merging. Europe is in trouble and a man who is following the same set of plans as Hitler is at the core of the trouble. Muslims are being relocated - supposedly for their safety. A leader in opposition to the relocation has been killed by an assassin.

The office 119 team is trying to put together the facts about who is behind the unrest. They start to realize the the president of the EU is behind the chaos when one of their own is arrested for tackling a man who threw a Molotov cocktail into a crowd of Muslims - and the man turned out to be on the EU Security Force.

Lee (a pseudonym for two writers working together) has created a fascinating, suspenseful look at how easily history can repeat itself if the leader of the plot uses media and fear to control populations. This trilogy is a must read for anyone who is interested in history, politics, human rights, or reading great books.

Lee, Rachel. (2007). The Jericho Pact. New York: Mira Books.

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16 December 2009

The China Study

The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell will change the way you eat. Backed up by dozens upon dozens of lab tests, Dr. Campbell shows that people who eat a typical Western diet of meat and dairy and over processed foods are more likely to develop diseases from cancer to obesity.

I am not a follower of fad diets, but this book is not a diet - it is a lifestyle change. The basic premise is eat real food, mostly plants. Campbell is saying that the creations made in chemical factories to stimulate our taste buds are not the real food our bodies need to thrive. Humans need real food not lab experiments.

When one of his studies compares two meals one meat and dairy and one vegetables, the nutrients in the vegetable meal far out weigh the meat meal (including beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin C, folate, iron, vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium). And the fear people have about not getting enough protein with vegetables was proved baseless - the veggie meal had only 1 gram less protein. The only categories the meat/dairy meal won were cholesterol and fat.

The book if filled with studies that prove over and over that the healthiest diet is made up of plants - vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Most of what he says is common sense that has been suppressed by corporations trying to sell us something. Campbell presents the evidence in easy to understand terms - if you eat more healthfully you will have a lower risk of getting ill from any of the main killers in our society - from cancer to heart disease to stroke. Read this book if you have any desire to live to a ripe old age!

Campbell, T. Colin. (2004). The China Study. Dallas, TX: Benbella Books.

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Angel of Death (Sean Dillon #4)

Angel of Death is the fourth book in the Sean Dillon series by Jack Higgins.

After 25 years of war, there is a strong chance for peace in Northern Ireland. But there are still groups fighting. A new group - January 30 - has been assassinating people Catholics, Protestants, KGB, and even CIA.

Brigadier Ferguson, Sean Dillon, and Chief Inspector Hannah Bernstein will lead the investigation to track down January 30. So far every agency that has tried has failed to find any information about January 30.
Though I have loved each Sean Dillon book, this is my favorite (so far). The complicated plot and characters leave readers guessing until the last page. Throw in a bit of Irish history and Angel of Death is a great novel.

Higgins, Jack. (1995). Angel of Death. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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14 December 2009

On Dangerous Ground (Sean Dillon #3)

On Dangerous Ground is the third Sean Dillon book by Jack Higgins.

A dying man confesses to knowing about a treaty that, if recovered, will extend British control on Hong Kong for another one hundred years. Not only is the Prime Minister interested in finding the document, but so is an Italian family that is heavily invested in Hong Kong and stands to lose millions of dollars when China takes over.

Sean Dillon, an ex-IRA soldier who now works for British Intelligence, will have to use much of his extensive knowledge and skill to find the treaty before the mafia. And he will have to do it while recovering from an injury that would send the average man into retirement.

Higgins is a great suspense writer with characters that are captivating. Read this series.

Higgins, Jack. (1994). On Dangerous Ground. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.

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11 December 2009

Thunder Point (Sean Dillon #2)

Thunder Point by Jack Higgins is the second book in his Sean Dillon series.

When Henry Baker retired and moved to St. John he thought his life would be relaxing. He learned to scuba dive and generally did what he wanted. It was on a dive, just after a hurricane, that Henry discovered a Nazi submarine. He had just enough time to pull a briefcase from the boat before he had to surface.

Inside the briefcase were documents about Nazi loyalist in England and the US. Henry immediately takes the case to his friend in London who can read German.

Sean Dillon, ex-IRA soldier and hired assassin/terrorist, will be recruited by British Intelligence for his skills as pilot and master diver. Together Dillon and Brigadier Charles Ferguson hope to find the submarine before the information falls into the wrong hands.

Jack Higgins' Sean Dillon series is a must read for any fan of adventure, espionage, politics or suspense. He is a master.

Higgins, Jack. (1993). Thunder Point. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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07 December 2009

The Crimson Code (Office 119 #2)

The Crimson Code by Rachel Lee is the second book in the Office 119 series - a group of law enforcement agents who have been recruited to become part of a covert UN intelligence group tasked with stopping terrorism worldwide.

On Christmas a synchronized attack across the US and Europe was carried out. Most targets were Catholic churches and cathedrals during mass. Other targets included no civilian casualties on strategic military and economic targets.

Retate Bachle is convinced that a sinister society that operates under the cover of international banking funded the attacks. With the help of Lawton Caine and others from Office 119, they will track down the terrorists and get one step closer to exposing the secret society at its core.

This multi-layered plot will suck in any readers of suspense novels. The first two books are building toward a culmination of events that started with Moses and will end in the near future - the building suspense is addictive.

Lee, Rachel. (2006). The Crimson Code. New York: Mira Books.

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05 December 2009

Eye of the Storm (Sean Dillion #1)

Eye of the Storm is Jack Higgins' first Sean Dillion book (a series that now includes seventeen novels).

Sean Dillion is a ghost. All European intelligence agencies have heard of him but not one picture of him exists. He is an assassin trained by the IRA. Since leaving the IRA he has worked for various other terrorist/political groups including the PLO.

Now (1992) Dillion has been hired by Michael Aroun, an Iraqi man who would like to boost the moral of Saddam Hussein's army by pulling off an attack on the British.

After an ambush on former prime minister Maggie Thatcher fails, Dillion sets his sights on a new target - the current prime minister John Major and his entire War Cabinet at 10 Downing Street.

Higgins is a master storyteller. His character may rival the skill and creativity of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon, though he usually plays for the opposite team. Any readers of suspense or espionage would love this series.

Higgins, Jack. (1992). Eye of the Storm. New York: G.P.Putnam's Sons.

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03 December 2009

Arch Enemy (Looking Glass Wars #3)

Arch Enemy is the final book in Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars trilogy - the truth about the story behind Alice in Wonderland.

Alyss Heart is the queen of Wonderland. But due to an attack by Arch - king of the Boarderlands - she is without imagination. Without imagination she is more susceptible to further attack.

The Club family is plotting openly against imagination - stating that life is better without it. Their soldiers are beginning to round up those who disagree and hold them in camps. King Arch and Alyss's aunt Redd are plotting to take over Wonderland. And Alyss's heads of security, Homburg Molly and Hatter Madigan, are secluded in the wilderness in morning.

In spite of her lack of imagination, Alyss must do what she can to help the people of Wonderland. And this third book will decide once and for all who controls the Heart Crystal - the source of imagination.

Athough Beddor's second and third book are entertaining, the first book (The Looking Glass Wars) is brilliant. Even if you choose not to continue with the story, read the first book. All fans of Alice in Wonderland will be amazed at his attention to detail as he describes the true story of Alyss's life.

Beddor, Frank. (2009). Arch Enemy. New York: Dial Books.

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