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Morrison Luke Smith

don’t i look smart

Where I will do gear reviews, book reviews… and…. ….disses.  As much as I’d like to just talk about awesome gear I own, I don’t own so much stuff that I can drive frequent blog postings.  Barring a Lottery win, within a matter of weeks, I’ll be reduced to extolling the certain merits of my brand of Chapstick (It’s Burt’s Bees if you must know).  For now, I’ll stick to reviews.  Today, it’s books for people who fly on planes, go to beaches, or otherwise read for escape.

I purchased Ted Bell’s Phantom on the way to USA Ultimate championships.  It seemed like something that would be exactly my kind of  fun.  The reviews on the cover say it all.

“Bond, Eat your heart out… There’s a new spy in town.” (NPR).

“Bell knows how to build a plot that moves at breakneck speed.”  (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

I read three of Bell’s series.  They are solid ‘beach reading.’  They are fast paced, solid escapist fare.  I got stuck some inconsistencies, and weird erratic text.

“Pablo strode into the room, and brushed off the trail dust with his hat.  Esmarelda’s eyes met his and her spine tingled as she looked at him.  She licked her lips as ….” Wait.  That’s totally the wrong book.

My bad. The Book: Phantom, by Ted Bell.  The Setting: Palo Alto California.   “A trail snaked through the redwoods that led to an overlook where you could see the Pacific on a clear night.  It wasn’t clear…”


Now, you can say, that I’m picking nits, but the fact of the matter, he set his scene in suburbia, and Then turned it into Mt. Mckinley.  Beyond that, the protagonists main ally is uber-mensch and all around bear slayer Vladimir Putin.  In other words, it’s pretty much like later books by Tom Clancy without the detailed research. But as I mentioned, I was bothered so much I bought two more by the same author.  DoH.!

In other words, pick it up for a plane trip, but I have a couple other books I’d recommend more.

For instance, There is Jack Reacher.  These are great escapist novels, written by Lee Child.  They are all fast reads.  There is a whole mess of them.  I truly don’t want to spoil the pleasure, and, I’ll let you go look them up (unless you comment me: I’ll post the links then). I’ve seen them listed in chronological order, or in the order that they were published.  I don’t think it matters a lot.

To be fair, the later ones are a faded product, but just slightly, and there are 17 of them.  And frankly, I enjoyed them a lot more than even the Clive Cussler books I enjoyed so much in my child hood. Basically, the guy is a brilliant investigator, who also happens to be 6’4 230, so on the rare occasion he can’t sleuth it out, he beats the truth out of ya.  And he drinks lots of black coffee.  Classic.

It’s a recommendation, not a review.  The link to Amazon has a ton of reviews.  I hope you enjoy it.

Morrison Luke Smith