A humble little blog about books, information, and other things that are good to know.

Posts tagged ‘action-adventure’

The Fury

The Fury by John Farris

Image via Fantastic Fiction.

Title: The Fury

Author: John Farris

Year of Publication: 1976

Genre Keywords: action-adventure, conspiracy, horror, paranormal, psychic, suspense, teen, telekinesis, thriller.

Summary: Gillian is a level-headed, perfectly normal teenager from a wealthy and powerful family . . . until a serious fever awakens the psychic powers she’s been burying since childhood. Robin is deeply aware of the powers he’s always had, even if he has to conceal them around the fanatically religious relatives caring for him. Now that the teens are beginning to explore astral projection, clairvoyance, and telekinetic powers, government agencies have started to take notice. Will they be able to harness Robin and Gillian’s potential for the sake of national security? Or will the teens’ potentially lethal abilities leave government officials shooting to kill? Just to add a layer of complexity, Robin’s father has discovered how the government wants to use his son, and he’d do anything to save Robin from their clutches. He’s fighting for his son’s life, but the body count is rising and time is running out.

Who’ll Love It: Anybody who likes their horror stories X-Files-style, with a side order of conspiracy-theories-come-true. The imagery is truly macabre and honestly a little bit gory, and the fact that it was current in the 1970s makes it almost period fiction by this point.

Beyond Books: For horror-film buffs, check out the classic film adaptation of The Fury, directed by Brian de Palma.

Knockout

Knockout by Catherine Coulter

Cover art for Knockout. Image via Amazon.

Title: Knockout

Author: Catherine Coulter

Year of Publication: 2009

Genre Keywords: action/adventure,crime,  FBI, kidnapping, paranormal, psychic powers, suspense, thriller.

Summary: A little girl named Autumn has a larger-than-life power: the ability to talk telepathically to others who share her gift. But the sinister family from which she’s inherited it will stop at nothing to get Autumn on their side so they can take advantage of her powers, and she and her mother are on the run. After seeing Agent Dillon Savich on television, she uses her extraordinary brain to call on him for help, and Dillon becomes deeply involved in trying to save her. At the same time, he and his wife Agent Lacey Sherlock pursue a pair of young bank robbers driven forward by an out-of-control teen girl bent on revenge for the robbery-gone-wrong that killed her mother.

Who’ll Love It: Thriller fans who thrive on action and suspense will get sucked right into the high-stakes, high-energy story. Looking from a different angle, though, readers with an interest in dysfunctional families will be fascinated as well – the action grows out of a history of Autumn’s power-hungry relatives and why her father left the brood, and also out of the family dynamics that turned a mother-and-daughter bank-robbing team into a dead mother and an orphaned fugitive.

Series Alert! Catherine Coulter has been writing FBI thrillers about Dillon and Lacey – and other agents, too – since 1996. Find out more by visiting her website.

The Lost Symbol

Cover art for The Lost Symbol

Image via Knopf Doubleday.

Title: The Lost Symbol

Author: Dan Brown

Year of Publication: 2010

Genre Keywords: action/adventure, archaeology, CIA, conspiracy theory, Freemasonry, kidnapping, metaphysics, mystery, religion, symbology, thriller.

Summary: Now-famous symbology professor Robert Langdon is invited to give a last-minute lecture in Washington, D.C. . . . but when he gets there, he finds he’s been tricked by a violent madman in need of a symbologist who can deliver the closely-guarded Masonic pyramid, crack its code, and lead him to the human race’s greatest source of wisdom, guarded for centuries by the Freemasons. If Langdon can decipher this high-stakes puzzle, his mentor Peter Solomon goes free; if Langon fails, Solomon dies. Langdon enlists the aid of Solomon’s sister Katherine, a scientist on the verge of a major breakthrough in Noetic Science, to try to solve the puzzle posed by the Masonic Pyramid.

Who’ll Love It: Any thriller fans will eat up the standard roller-coaster plot with the twists and turns typical of Dan Brown. But Brown has stepped up his game to create a genuinely well-written mystery full of interesting scientific and philosophical information and even a few touches of sparkling humour. It has a quality of storytelling that his past works have lacked, which makes the “intellectual thriller” a lot more thrilling as a puzzle for clever readers who enjoy solving mysteries or reflecting on ideas but have, in the past, been turned off by Brown’s stilted style. If a literary snob like me loved this story, who wouldn’t?

Is That Real? Dan Brown throws a lot of weird-but-true facts into The Lost Symbol. You can check out a scattering of them here on his web site. And that’s only the beginning!  Katherine’s area of expertise, noetic sciences, actually exists. A Google search on Freemasons can open a door bigger than anything I can link to here. And Brown makes a point of noting  that “all rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real”. The Lost Symbol can be the inspiration for further reading about a lot of fascinating (and fantastically strange!) stuff. Find out what’s fact and what’s fiction!

A Masonic symbol carved in stone

Image via Debate It Out.

Cradle and All

Cradle and All

Image via Fantastic Fiction UK.

Title: Cradle and All

Author: James Patterson

Year of Publication: 2000

Genre Keywords: action/adventure, apocalypse, Catholic thriller, demons, drama, mystery, religion, supernatural, suspense.

Summary: At a time when the news is filled with horrible epidemics and tragedies, something very different comes to light – the story of two teenage girls, both virgins and both pregnant. Ex-nun Anne Fitzgerald investigates the situation, trying to figure out which girl is lying and which one could be carrying the Second Coming of Christ. Or is it the Devil’s turn to send somebody into the world? As she tries to sort out the implications of these two seemingly miraculous pregnancies, she struggles to keep her emotions out of the equation – her genuine affection for both girls as well as her growing desire for the attractive priest who first caused her to question her vows.

Who’ll Love It: If you like the apocalyptic thriller genre, but you also like a story with some emotional depth, this book blends the two admirably. Rather than employing gore and graphic detail, Patterson creates tension in the story by depicting the characters’ emotional investments in one another.

Crazy Resonance: As a young girl – seven or eight years old, perhaps – a Chris de Burgh song led me to consider whether the Second Coming would take place in 2000. I calculated that I would be seventeen that year and wondered whether I might be the next Virgin Mary. Not joking. That really happened. My first memory of thinking about it takes place in a parking lot at White Rose. I think it was winter. Seriously, people!

If you’re interested in hearing the song, it’s worth looking at this fan video somebody made on YouTube. Actually, even if you’re  not interested, it’s got some lovely images of the Northern Lights.

Found Wanting

Cover art for "Found Wanting" by Robert Goddard

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction UK.

Title: Found Wanting

Author: Robert Goddard

Year of Publication: 2008

Genre Keywords: action/adventure, corporate thriller, corruption, espionage, explosions, financial thriller, friendship, politics, revenge, suspense, travel.

Summary: Richard Eusden has a dull and predictable civil servant’s life, until he discovers that his estranged best friend is dying. As part of Marty’s last wish, Eusden finds himself tracking a briefcase across Europe – a briefcase containing evidence that could prove or disprove the survival of Anastasia, daughter of Russia’s last tsar. Apparently, it’s information worth a large amount of money to the right people, even information worth killing for. He never intended it, but Eusden’s life is about to get a lot more interesting.

Who’ll Love It: Anybody with an affinity for stories of corporate wheeling and dealing. There are a lot of characters to keep straight and a lot of double-crossing, lying, and game-changing to track. The story reads like an action-packed film; be ready for high-speed travel, bullets flying, and explosive death scenes. Literally.

Bookshelf Cameo: Surprise! This isn’t the first time Found Wanting has appeared on this blog. It came up in passing when I talked about Book Crossing; it was the book my uncle-in-law’s girlfriend gave me that prompted me to reflect on how books get shared between reading fans.

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