Bearister's Book Blog

The best way to relax is with a book. I can't imagine a world without books or a time when I didn't have a book ready to read.

Is the Secret Service "Secret?"

In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect - Ronald Kessler

In this book, the author, Ronald Kessler, takes the reader "behind the scenes" in the lives of several of our presidents.  Many of us have probably wondered (with respect to any of the presidents) "what's the president really like?"  Well, to some extent, this book answers that question.  The viewpoints expressed are those of former Secret Service Agents who served on the presidential protection detail.


I wasn't surprised that President Jimmy Carter was, in the view of the agents protecting him, one of the most aloof and unfriendly presidents. Carter would treat the agents protecting him as servants.  These men were not allowed to make eye contact with him much less greet him with a "good morning" or "good evening."  He expected the agents to carry his bags when he was traveling, something which one agent expressed "is beyond our job description."


On the other hand, one of the agents' favorite presidents was Ronald Reagan - no surprise here.  He treated the men and women who protected him with genuine respect and a sense of humor.


The "crudest" president, by far, was Lyndon B. Johnson who, in private, was foul-mouthed and bigoted and thought nothing of "relieving" himself off the deck of his ranch home in "the rolling hills" of Texas.  This description of Johnson reminded me of a "spoof" book that appeared in the late 1960s:  "Quotations from Chairman LBJ."  At the beginning of this little "red book," which mocked another little red book during the same time period (Quotations from Chairman Mao), Johnson was quoted as saying "Don't spit in the soup, we all gotta eat."


There are many other fascinating revelations in this book and if you did ever wonder "what is he like" you will enjoy this book!

Silken Prey by John Sanford

Silken Prey - John Sandford

It's been years since I've taken up a John Sanford novel.  I decided to take another "chance" with his latest:  Silken Prey.  The blurbs on Amazon all speak of Sanford in sparkling terms  - "this novel is not to be missed."  Well, I've not finished it but I think I'll miss the rest of it.  I like novels that MOVE and move quickly.  This one doesn't.  I was acquainted with Lucas Davenport in Sanford's books that I read years ago and now I understand why I stopped reading them.  They just "poke along."  


This novel was supposed to involve the best aspects of a political thriller and a murder mystery.  Well, it does include both of these elements but after a hundred pages it still has not gone anywhere fast.  So, Goodbye, John Sanford.

Gone Girl - A Real Sleeper

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

I've started this book three or four times and have come to the conclusion that it's no "thriller" but rather a "sleeper."  That's right, it just drones on and on.  The characters aren't the least bit interesting and living on the Mississippi River can certainly be no joy in Spring when there's tons of rain.

They Never Die Quietly

They Never Die Quietly - D.M. Annechino I got this novel quite a few months ago and didn't pay much attention to it. I just finished reading it yesterday after all those months and I found it quite compelling - at first I thought the plot was pretty weird - young women were being murdered by crucifixion to atone for their "sins." While the reader knows immediately who the killer is, it is not clear exactly what the motive is. It takes the San Diego Police Department detective Sami Rizzo and her partner Al Diaz much longer to figure out - will one of them end up "on the cross?" There is a sequel to this book titled "Resuscitation" which I actually read first but, no matter, I really didn't associate the two - at least not right away.


Nano - Robin Cook I've read all of Robin Cook's books. In this novel he re-introduces recent medical school graduate, Pia Gradzini. Pia postponed participating in a medical residency in order to do research in a Boulder, Colorado company exploring the wonders of nano technology and its possible uses in curing medical diseases, among other uses. While the book was interesting I found the ending rather un-interesting - in fact it had sort of a "Deus ex Machina" feeling about it. Nevertheless, I think it's worth reading if you like Cook and enjoy medical thrillers.


The Amateur - Edward Klein This is a very interesting book by Ed Klein. We know so little about the anointed one - I suspect that we know so little about this man because he doesn't want us to know how distorted his thinking and how inept he really is. I'm sure there will be many books written about this non-president that will mistakenly pay homage and rejoice at the crap he's done to America and Americans.

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn BORING

I, Michael Bennett

I, Michael Bennett - James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge Not Patterson's best effort. Weak ending and disjointed story-line

The Stranger Beside You

The Stranger Beside You - William Casey Moreton Good thriller

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes - Marcus Sakey I was disappointed. I've read all Sakey's novels and this one just left me feeling disinterested.

Chasng Grace

Chasng Grace - Carol Costello Before I say anything about this novel i will say that the author and I became acquainted as very young children living on the street mentioned in her book (her street number was221 as mentioned, mine was 201 and the name of the street was sort of what she called it). I will also say we went to the same Catholic grade school (in Elmhurst, IL and her descriptions of the events that occurred were true to the best of my recollection. She and I never had the same nun though. Ok now the book. Costello described her story as one about "coming of age" and that it was. I certainly cannot say that the story (other than the portions talking about Immaculate Conception School) were autobiographical and I really hope they weren't. The author describes an ordeal that I can best describe by using one of my daughter's favorite words: Jarring. I read the book in two days, maybe a little more and after following her from the Chicago area all the way out to California, I really was exhausted! The story line was entertaining and I would say at least partially believable, not that a work of fiction should be believable. I only use that term as the author has described her work as one depicting a young woman growing up from a naive young gir, apparently abused by her mother and somewhat ignored by her father who seemed to be more interested in practicing law and avoiding her mother. I've recommended the book to friends and family members as it was entertaining but I must say I was intrigued by the fact that our lives (the author's and mine) crossed so many years ago. Read it, you will enjoy it.

Lucid Intervals (Stone Barrington Series #18)

Lucid Intervals - Stuart Woods This is a Stone Barrington book and, thus far, is just typical. Stone, the amazing former cop now practicing attorney is an expert in every aspect of the law as well as in the fields of oenology, travel, aeronautics, fine cuisine and sex. Within the first short chapter, this genius has already landed a client who pays a retainer of $1 Million in cash and he also, in practically the same breath, beds a titled British woman who works for a clandestine arm of British Intelligence. As I've said previously, the books are entertaining, perhaps a bit trite and certainly not believable but isn't that why we read?

Now You See Her

Now You See Her - James Patterson, Michael Ledwidge I think this was one of Patterson's best books. A young college girl is having a great time on Spring Break in Key West. She discovers her boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend. She's quite drunk but she has the keys to the boyfriend's "hot" car so she takes it for a ride. She's going like a bat out of hell , slams on the breaks and swerves to miss a dog on the roa and instead creams a guy on a bike. Of course the local cop is nearby, sees her sitting there in the car, the body of the guy she hit. . .and, well, her life changes forever.

Buried Secrets (Nick Heller Novels)

Buried Secrets (Nick Heller Novels) - Joseph Finder I just finished Buried Secrets and thought it was excellent Joe Finder is a thoughtful writer and i think hes developed the Nick Heller character to the point where he seems a bit more human. The plot in this novel centers around the teenage daughter of the billionaire hedge-fund operator gone bad. The young girl is kidnapped and buried alive in a coffin. If you're not clausterphobic, you will be after reading Buried Secrets. That's all I'm going to say.

Split Second (FBI Series #15)

Split Second - Catherine Coulter This was the first book by Coulter that I've read and and I was pleasantly surprised. It started a bit slow but im glad i continued. I am always intrigued by serial killers and what leads them to their affinity for gruesome murder. You don't necessarily find the answer in a novel but novels are more fun to read than textbooks on abnormal psychology Jennifer Chase is an author that has written three novels involving serial killers and I think Jennifer is interested in the answers. I've got one of her books but I'll have to acquire the other two. She also writes a blog.

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War - Karl Marlantes This is a novel about the war in Vietnam written by a former combat marine. It's a long story but I've enjoyed it quite a bit. The "lingo" is all there and there's even a glossary of terms used by soldiers who were a part of that conflict to make reading a bit easier and understandable. The author's style is easy and his descriptions vivid. I've really not read any other novel on the subject since my departure from my tour in country over forty years ago. Sure, I've read novels that have taken place there but never one that describes the hopes, fears and day to day life of the "grunt" in the field. I hope that the book is immensely successful and it's a worth effort.

Currently reading

The Witness
Sandra Brown
Think Twice
Lisa Scottoline
The Storm
Clive Cussler
No Mercy
John Gilstrap
The Lost Symbol
Black Friday (Maggie O'Dell Novels)
Alex Kava
The Search: A Thriller
William Casey Moreton