May 18th, 2012

  • krinek

8. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

monster of florence
Title: The Monster of Florence
Author: Douglas Preston
Publisher: Grand Central
Year: 2008
# of pages: 328
Date read: 2/23/2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good


Douglas Preston fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved with his family to a farmhouse in Florence. Upon meeting the celebrated journalist, Mario Spezi, Preston was stunned to learn that the olive grove next to his home had been the scene of a horrific double murder committed by one of the most infamous figures in Italian history--the Monster of Florence. Fascinated, Preston began working with Spezi to uncover the serial killer who had ritually slain fourteen young lovers and was never caught. Here is the true story of their search and confront the man they believe is the Monster. And in an ironic twist of fate that echoes the city's bloody history, Preston and Spezi themselves became targets of a bizarre police investigation.

THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE is a remarkable chronicle of murder, mutilation, deceit, suicide, and vengeance. . .with Preston and Spezi caught in the middle." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very good book about an elusive serial killer and about how a fixation on a particular theory and the importance of saving face can have serious consequences.
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9. The Footprints of God by Greg Iles

Footprints of God
Title: The Footprints of God
Author: Greg Iles
Publisher: Pocket Star
Year: 2004
# of pages: 526
Date read: 2/28/2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good


"In a secret government lab, America's top scientists work on Trinity -- a supercomputer that could surpass the power of the human mind. As the project's ethicist, Dr. David Tennant works in a firestorm of limitless science and ruthless ambition. After a fellow scientist is murdered, David uncovers who the killer is. Desperate, he turns to Rachel Weiss, the psychiatrist probing the nightmares that have plagued him since joining the project, and both are forced to flee for their lives.

Pursued around the globe, David and Rachel piece together the truth behind Project Trinity, and the apocalyptic power it possesses. But Trinity's countdown has already begun, and humanity is now held hostage by a form of life that cannot be destroyed. The only hope for survival lies in the shocking connection that exists between Trinity and David's tortured mind. Mankind's future hangs in the balance -- and the price of failure is extinction." -- from the back cover

My thoughts: 

This was a good, fast moving thriller. I liked how David and Rachel worked together to stop Project Trinity.
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10. The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford

girl in the glass
Title: The Girl in the Glass
Author: Jeffrey Ford
Publisher: Dark Alley
Year: 2005
# of pages: 281
Date read: 3/8/2012
Rating: 3*/5 = good


"The Great Depression has bound a nation in despair -- and only a privileged few have risen above it: the exorbitantly wealthy ... and the hucksters who feed upon them. Diego, a seventeen-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant, owes his salvation to master grifter Thomas Schell. Together with Schell's gruff and powerful partner, they sail comfortably through hard times, scamming New York's grieving rich with elaborate, ingeniously staged séances -- until an impossible occurrence changes everything.

While 'communing with spirits,' Schell sees an image of a young girl in a pane of glass, silently entreating the con man for help. Though well aware that his otherworldly "powers" are a sham, Schell inexplicably offers his services to help find the lost child -- drawing Diego along with him into a tangled maze of deadly secrets and terrible experimentation.

At once a hypnotically compelling mystery and a stunningly evocative portrait of Depression-era New York, The Girl in the Glass is a masterly literary adventure from a writer of exemplary vision and skill." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good book about staged seances, immigration, Prohibition and life of grifters trying to make a living among the rich. I liked Diego's relationships with Schell, Antony, and Isabel.


10 / 100 books. 10% done!

2888 / 35000 pages. 8% done!
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

At one point during the day, yesterday, when there was a lull between patients, I finished reading Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow; it's the first book of a series about the life/adventures of a young man in the Roman legions. It was a good read, dealing with his initiation into the legion, and a bit about the politics of life there. I will continue reading books of this series.

#18: Still scary after all these years

You know Silent Spring. Well, know of it, at least; maybe you haven't read it. Even fifty years after its publication, it's still shocking how cavalierly toxic pesticides were sprayed in Carson's era - spread, for instance, by airplanes over suburban neighborhoods without advance warning and against the occupants' wishes, etc. The DDT would soak into the ground, where the earthworms would find it; the robins would eat the earthworms; and thereby the toxins work their way up the food chain concentrating themsleves in doses far beyond the initial spray.

The book's a strong primer in how to bring a case to the public. Carson explains the science involved - cutting-edge at the time - by refusing to overwhelm; she presents just enough information to her readers to give them an informed working knowledge of the situation. Her research is meticulous and well-cited, and the conclusions she drew have proven pretty prescient; her asserted link between benzene and cancer, for instance, is now widely supported by a number of studies. She frames her report as a narrative, giving a structure to her argument that underlines her main points - that seemingly small actions can aggregate to big consequences; that nature is a living system, and you cannot engineer one aspect of it in isolation.

Now that DDT is being considered a weapon of last resort in the fight against malaria, some are blaming Carson for sounding the alarm about its dangers in the first place - claiming that we could've carpet-bombed the African continent the continent with DDT and had no malaria ever more ever. Well, they say you can inversely judge an argument by the quality of its detractors, so have an article from one of the primary the anti-Carson websites on how cesium-137 is health food.