Tag Archives: book review

Book Discussion: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek

Join me in a book (club) discussion.  Each day we will cover the main concepts and questions of one of the chapters.  I will summarize the points in each and offer my insights.  You are welcome to comment.  If you choose not to comment, you still may consider these and other points of interest to you.  Feel free to do so on your own or with someone you know.  I hope you enjoy and benefit from this experience.  Shall we?

e92da91f-0ea5-42ca-8bc5-7f95532f41b2

Why this book?

The introductions states –

What someone believes about God affects everything else he or she believes.1

It includes these 5 most critical questions in life:

  1. Origin: Where did we come from?
  2. Identity: Who are we?
  3. Meaning: Why are we here?
  4. Morality: How should we live?
  5. Destiny: Where are we going?

Any book that rightly helps us figure these out is worth discussing.

What we believe about God is often referred to as a worldview

There are 3 primary worldviews about God,

Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism.

Simply put

Theism = God made all

Pantheism = God is all

Atheism = no God at all2

The authors introduce us to the modern myth that religion is nothing more than faith (blind faith, some call it) and they include the parable of the 6 blind men and the elephant story as an illustration.

The point we are asked to consider is that all religious worldviews make truth claims.  To the degree those claims cannot be completely 100% proven, faith is used by people to cover what doubts remain.

We should evaluate these claims with scientific and historical evidence.

One example the authors provide is

Truth claim:  The universe had a beginning

Truth claim: The universe has always existed and did not have a beginning

Both claims cannot be true.

The book is a presentation of the evidence that allows us to decide which claim to accept as true.  This passage capsulizes the authors’ premise:

Yet despite these intellectual, emotional, and volitional obstacles, we submit that it’s not faith in Christianity that’s difficult but faith in atheism or any other religion.  That is, once one looks at the evidence, we think it takes more faith to be a non-Christian than it does to be a Christian.  This may seem like a counter-intuitive claim, but it’s simply rooted in the fact that every religious worldview requires faith – even the worldview that says there is no God.3

The book systematically covers twelve points that show Christianity is true.4  I have summarized them below.

  1. Truth about reality is knowable
  2. The opposite of true is false
  3. It is true that the theistic God exists. There are 4 types of evidence for this truth
  4. If God exists, then miracles are possible
  5. Miracles can be used to confirm a message from God (acts of God confirm a word from God)
  6. The New Testament is historically reliable, based on 4 key points of evidence
  7. The New Testament says Jesus claimed to be God
  8. The Jesus’ claim to be God was miraculously confirmed by
    1. His fulfillment of many prophecies about himself
    2. His sinless life and miraculous deeds
    3. His prediction and accomplishment of his resurrection
  9. Therefore, Jesus is God
  10. Whatever Jesus teaches is true
  11. Jesus taught that the Bible is the Word of God
  12. Therefore, it is true that the Bible is the Word of God – and anything opposed to it is false
adult biology chemical chemist
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the closing points made by the authors in the introduction is that acceptance of Christianity is not solely based on proof that it is true.  Many atheists and non-Christians refuse to become Christians because they are unwilling to live by the what they understand to be what Christianity espouses.  The authors assert that God wanted it that way.  Where there is room for choice.  Here’s what they say is why God made the world the way it is in order that we have free will to accept or reject him.

God has provided enough evidence in this life to convince anyone willing to believe, yet he has also left some ambiguity so as not to compel the unwilling.  In this way, God gives us the opportunity either to love him or to reject him without violating our freedom.5

Discussion point

I agree with the authors that God expects us to be knowledgeable about why we believe what we believe.  I have found the Old Testament encourages wisdom.  This is the type of book that helps us get exposed to more wisdom.  I have also found that the New Testament encourages teaching and discipling other Christians and persuading non-Christians.  This book should help with each of these.

What would you say on the points made in the introduction so far?  The authors have promised to cover each of these topics in detail.  Ideally, any questions you might have now will be answered in the chapters that follow.


1Geisler & Turek page 20 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

2Geisler & Turek page 23 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

3Geisler & Turek pages 24-25 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

4Geisler & Turek page 28 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

5Geisler & Turek page 31 I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

Book Review: First To Die (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson

What you should know.

James Patterson has sold many books and has many fans.  This book is the first of the 17 Women’s Murder Club series novels.  Book number 17 The 17th Suspect was published this year.

I prefer to read mystery genre.  I enjoy historical fiction.  I’ve found dystopian science fiction and fantasy fun too.  We all have our preferences.  How do I measure quality mystery?  Read anything by John D. MacDonald and you will know my idea of quality.  The story surrounds a female homicide detective in San Francisco and three women whom she confers with regarding an investigation.  The four women form her unofficial murder club.

What I liked

Four professional women meeting and brainstorming a difficult criminal investigation.  What’s not to like about that?  The setting is San Francisco, which I know very little about.  Either it’s not a very fascinating location, or the author has failed to capture it in a manner that has enthralled me.  I like the fact that it has potential so I’ll leave it there for now.

The plot keeps you guessing, and you can guess right yet still enjoy the story.  That means the writing is fairly satisfying in it’s own right.  The protagonist, Inspector Lindsay Boxer, is a well fleshed out character.  However, as told through her first person perspective, I did not get to know enough about the other three female characters (there were actually four others).  I did like them.  They were written to be likeable.

The relationship between Lindsay and her partner John Raleigh was great.  I could get into any number of cases involving these two and appreciate how they approach challenges.  Very refreshing.

What I didn’t like

I did not accept the author’s premise for the John Raleigh character at all.  It was a terribly simplistic view of life.  It did not work at all for me.  So I can’t see any point in reading anymore books in this series.  Sorry.  Something else that really bothered me.  Why in so many police mysteries are the cops all good – like this one – or completely bad? Can’t anyone write a mystery where the cops are mostly good accept for a few exceptions?  That would be too realistic I guess.

The ending.  If there was any possibility at all that I would read another Women’s Murder Club novel, the ending guarantees that will not happen.  Too bad for me.  The idea of these four women supporting each other in their professional ambitions and their personal struggles, is such a good one.  I will miss out since I think this first one misses the mark.

 

Recommendation:  Maybe Read

A8C0FB21-DD5D-4972-9D01-13F8B4DDC82D.jpeg

Book Review: The Palace Job, by Patrick Weekes

Book Review: The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic book 1), By Patrick Weekes

Nice magical adventure

What you should know

The fantasy primarily revolves around magic. A quite imaginative repertoire of charms and gifts are displayed not only to add entertainment, but also to stand in for modern earthbound technologies. So with magic, the society was advanced yet preindustrial at the same time.

In a realm where one part of the world is governed by an empire, and the other a republic, a dispossessed aristocratic ex-military vet of the republic serves as the heroine who seeks out vendettas against those whom she thinks have taken what she seeks to restore.

What I liked

From the beginning I found a steady plot development with pleasant surprises in every chapter. The level of intrigue was fairly high, with plenty of conflict between multidimensional characters. And there were multiple characters with multiple conflicts between them. Fiction writing is part gift, part skill, part craft, and part discipline. What I mean by that is I can pretty much divide fiction writers into two camps. Those that write great dialogue, and those that don’t. I appreciate quality dialogue in a novel. While tastes differ here, I found Weekes in the former group. I found chapters full of very smart dialogue. These conversations were intertwined around decent action set pieces, which were handled skillfully. As for the romantic readers, there was enough sexual tension to heighten the interest.

What I didn’t like

The passage of time and events is narrated by a plot device. The author used a puppet show as the form of official news media. During a time in a place most closely identified as medieval, where there is no written newsprint, crowds gather in the public square to hear the news told in the form of puppets on a stage.  The  players are composed of standins for the actual political rivals and are represented by a griffon, a manticore, and a dragon. While they are certainly inventive, I found myself straining to follow these vignettes. We never find out who the sources were for these pundits. Perhaps that could have helped.

Just a lot of fun reading.
It’s hard to imagine how the author could follow this effort up with something equally entertaining. Since this is book one, readers will have a chance to find out the answer to this proposition. My curiosity was perked concerning the political rift between the republic and the empire as little was explained about the structure of the republic and nothing at all about the makeup of the empire. Perhaps Book two answers a few of those questions. Let’s hope my curiosity will be satisfied by another good read

Recommendation: Good Read

EA0F8332-7D70-4604-8F54-E7D40B6AB54C.jpeg

Book Review: Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr

Author Philip Kerr died a few months ago. In honor of his passing I wanted to include a review of his latest novel, Greeks Bearing Gifts.
First, I confess I am a biased. I think the Bernie Gunther novel series will at some future time be recognized as one of the significant literary contributions of this era.

What I liked
Bernie Gunther detective prose is compelling reading. If you have never read one, I recommend you start with book one, March Violets. You can decide then if you’d like more. These are genre books and as such they will not appeal to all tastes. They are very sober subjects. The setting is Nazi Germany. That creates a convenient opportunity for some very brutal conflict, murder, mayhem, deceit, the double cross, the triple cross, and a constant reminder of what happens to a society when it sacrifices legitimate moral authority in favor of brute force.
Because of the premise of his books, Kerr was more than able to provide story arcs that placed situational ethics at the forefront. Sheer reading enjoyment is here for you if you appreciate engrossing tales with unpredictable outcomes and fascinating characters.
The hero, Bernie Gunther, is one of the most complex you’ll ever find. This is a man with the fiercest of survival instincts, who never ceases to communicate his antipathy for the Third Reich. Greeks Bearing Gifts finds him enjoying himself more than anytime in his previous travels. Which is logical, when you consider by this time, 1956, the Nazi regime and its aftermath have reached an historical conclusion for the most part.
His biggest conflict seems to be an internal one. Because he has learned to succeed numerous life threatening battles involving duplicitous and unprincipled people at every turn, he finds himself incapable of trusting anyone. You really get to explore what it would be like to try to have a normal life under such circumstances. It is a powerful study of how the environment we evolve in can make an indelible impact on our ability to appreciate life’s wonders.

clear blue sea
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What I didn’t like
Greeks Bearing Gifts was probably my least favorite Kerr novel. Perhaps because I felt it had more of an educational bent than a provocative noir foundation. However, the plot itself should have gravitas enough for the typical reader. The pillaging of the entire wealth of an ethnic community, a targeted race, and the desperate pursuit to keep the stolen treasures by the vanquished. Add to that the mass escape of untold numbers of Nazi war criminals from the reaches of justice.
However, I was fascinated by the prospect of the next novel. Which is hinted at quite a bit. I understand this final posthumous publishing with take place next year. Because the books have reached such significant depths and spanned over three decades, the final entry has the potential payoff of a genuine master stroke. Bernie Gunther has lived a memorable life, made serious mistakes, suffered consequences few could endure, and grown in ways we ourselves often wish we could.

low angle photograph of the parthenon during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What you should know
There is much more In the Philip Kerr novels to be appreciated than a well told tale. My apologies for not sharing them. I hope you find out for yourself firsthand.

Recommendation: Must Read

B54B7556-ECCD-451D-ABE0-51CBDBC6147B

Book Review: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

What you should know

Missing, Presumed is essentially about how absence impacts the lives of people. How the void filled by people in our lives becomes fully appreciated in their absence. Our personality and behaviors are shaped by relationships, and by the dynamic of how we interact with one another. The feelings and impressions caused by what others do around us. What we do with these feelings creates a persona from which we view our environment, make our decisions, and it influences how we categorize our efforts, positively, negatively, or with indifference.

In the setting we find Manon, who is very fearful of intimacy, having suffered the death of her mother at the age of 14. She also witnessed her grief stricken father sleepwalk through his responsibilities only to replace their mother with a new wife whom she does not accept.

Another player in this drama is Manon’s partner Davy, who is in a relationship with a depressed girlfriend. Davy needs the to be with someone, anyone, more than he actually needs her.

Then there are the three people affected most by the missing person, Edith. Her best friend Helena, who’s fragile in so many ways that without the presence of the dominant Edith in her life, she might not be able to handle it. Next is Ian, Edith’s overbearing father, now distant from her mother Miriam, is it because she is the missing link that connected them? Finally we have Miriam, who suffers the most when her daughter goes missing. We see every ramification of the effect it has, on her thought life, her daily routine, her belief in herself as a parent, and her relationship with her husband, as well as with the outside world in general.

What I liked

Often it’s the little gems that you discover in a novel that you appreciate most. All of us suffer loss and the grief associated with it. For me this passage struck a chord. On grief –

Manon knows what lies beneath, how people can seem normal and yet grief swirls about like an unseen tide working against the currents of life, the mourner wrong-footed by its undertow. The bereaved should  wear signs, she thinks, saying GRIEF IN PROGRESS – for at least a couple years. (page 275)

As a law enforcement professional I am always aware when something genuine pops out of fiction. Here is one I am especially fond of:

He thought it would be one long arse ache, that pint with the boss, but as they sat at the small round table, he found he was too tired for toadying, so he looked Stanton in the eye and told him how rotten he felt…and how responsible. Stanton licked the foam off his upper lip and said, “If you can keep those feelings, Davy lad-and let me tell you, every minute in the police will chip away at them-but if you can hold on to those human feelings, you might just make a good copper.” (page 270)

What I didn’t like

I think one reason we read fiction is because it can take us to far away places and provide experiences unavailable in our everyday lives. Since police investigations are something I know well from first hand experience, I have found a great entertainment out of exploring police stories in foreign lands. Vikram Chandra provided that for me in Sacred Games. But my absolute favorite is Tana French. This book brought me to England, and the tiny community of Huntingdon.

ancient architecture bricks british
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sadly, the course of the missing persons case was all too realistic. I have always argued that real police work is unbearably dull and unimaginative, a far cry from the famous fictionalized super sleuths of the traditional detective novel. I found it an accurate rendering of how cases are worked, but how many people find these things great reading? I sure don’t. That’s my paradox. Until I figure it out I won’t be able myself to endeavor to write similar stories with any confidence that an audience is waiting to appreciate them.

Recommendation: Good Read

878F3E54-2A38-47C0-A8D0-C3F749960064

 

Book Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I read Small Great Things during a time when racial animus seemed to be causing so much harm in America. I did some research before choosing to read it. I needed the book to have value to me, for the time and effort I planned to commit. I wanted the book to make me better somehow. If it could do that, then perhaps I could recommend it to others for similar reasons.

What I liked.

This is a book about consequences. I call it a picture book. For it depicts how we can take people, make negative assumptions about them, hinder them from having prosperous lives, limit their educational potential, send them countless messages to convince them they are inferior, and create a system that severely punishes them, whether they deserve it or not.

By depicting this, the book allows us to ask ourselves why does this happen? How could it be tolerated? The author tells the story from points of view that enable us to think about ourselves, critically, and determine if we are part of the problem, part of the solution, or both.

The first person POV forces you to engage in the story, doesn’t allow you to remain on the sidelines as a bystander, watching others passively. It makes you uncomfortable, forces you to feel the emotions, the guilt, the pain, anger and frustration of being lost in a world that appears to provide little more than wrong answers. Choices between lesser evils.

baby birth born care
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

What is the message? Somethings are very wrong here. This should not be. This need not continue. It will, unless.

The 3 main POV characters are very real, well fleshed out human beings whose thoughts and beliefs are given great attention. Their family and friends are well developed and multidimensional too. This is a world you will recognize, as all too familiar. Just as much attention is paid to the thoughts as it is to the words that are spoken and the actions taken by the victim’s family, the accused, and the legal professionals handling the case.

I believe this is a courageous piece of fiction by Jodi Picoult. My hope is that more talented authors have the desire and willingness to do something like this. Make a real contribution to the reading community of something that they can use to improve their knowledge, their understanding, and their ability to grow morally. To find the difference between right and wrong, and choose justly.

What I didn’t like.

I have personally seen many people stand up and defend others who have been mistreated. So I know first hand what good things we are capable of. Yet why does it seem that the world around us is getting worse? Why do things appear so hopeless? Small Great Things is stuck in a world doomed to repeat its failures, with the resulting damage to our culture, our economy, and our future. Not good. Yet I can’t so much blame the book as much as I can recognize that the fault lies with the society that the book explores. If this is an accurate reflection of the world we live in, maybe the best thing to do is for us face the reality that our ship is taking on water. So let’s figure out how best to bail while we form a plan to plug the leak.

What you should know.

Jodi Picoult has mastered her craft. She is famous for the research she does into each novel. You will learn something. Will you like it? Will it entertain you? Should these be your main considerations? If the hardest things in life require the most effort, if they can only be achieved by having all available gifts and talents working together in a cohesive team with a common objective, what is your role? What are you doing about it? How much damage is your inaction causing? This book may help you find these answers.

695FD12F-E1C9-4822-B1E4-03918AF909DE

 

Book Review: The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Book Review: The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

What I liked.

This is a smart story. It’s action packed for those who like the genre. It is also suspenseful and stuffed with dramatic confrontations. It isn’t just smartly told. The prose is easy to follow with a good bit of humor for such a serious subject, an act of cyber warfare on the United States. This is one of the highly charged current topics up for debate as the modern world becomes more and more dependent on artificial intelligence and we realize how much of the essentials we take for granted are interconnected in an invisible cyberspace that has little, if any, existence in a tangible form.

Why is this an important issue all of us should think about? Here are some reasons. How much money do you have? What is the source of your income? Your savings? Your investments? Your health benefits? What physical proof of them exists? How much of our basic needs, water, electricity, communication, depend on the electronic grids that help facilitate them? How vulnerable are we individually and collectively as a society if we do not protect them well enough from potential enemies?

white house
Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels.com

All of these ideas and more are addressed in this novel. But it’s all done in a very entertaining fashion. It doesn’t preach, lecture, or promote an ideologically biased point of view. It delivers the news. Then lets you, the reader figure things out for yourself.

On a deeper level the story is strong in the way it touches on key themes such as trust, integrity, political animosity, and prejudice. I applaud that effort because I think it’s true that if we don’t work on removing stereotypes and establish priorities that put the common interests of most people first so that we avoid trying to create winners and losers in every important area, we may wake up to find out that we have already lost what few other nations have ever had, a secure republic that works for every American who is willing to work hard to live with liberty and pursue what makes them happy.

What I didn’t like.

Some of the characters were not developed well at all. They were primarily present to move the plot along without delving deep enough into their motives or moral dilemmas. I’m not sure they even had any! So the problems a world power like the U.S. faces from external threats aren’t going to be fixed by such a simplistic worldview that is barely defined. I will admit that we have to figure out our internal problems before we can best understand foreign threats. So I hope the next novel following this, if there is one, makes an effort to look at where our enemies come from and what we can do to mitigate their creation.

What you should know.

This is a book for the average everyday reader. It isn’t full of technical, high level complexity. Although it has a message that everyone should consider. There is nothing wrong with simplifying things in order to make the story more enjoyable for most. If you are looking for the intricate details found in some of the more intellectual offerings from other authors, try not to be too disappointed. Think of it as a fun summer read.

Recommendation: Must Read

BE8DC84F-4228-47C6-81E0-B3362CD2181B

Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Vicarious Pleasure

Recommendation:  Must Read


What I liked.

This is a personal story.  One that explores the emotional turmoil that life’s challenges bring us.  Darrow au Andromedus is an agent of change.  A mole, a spy, a revolutionary, Darrow is innocence angered.  Driven by anger, he finds torment in the wake created by his wrath, by his folly, by his force of will.  In that wake, bystanders die; citizens, servants, slaves.  His friends die, enemies are born, vengeance is carried out, blood feuds perpetuate, and duplicity devastates those who trust.

For Darrow, whose existence is a bold lie as an infiltrator of Gold society,  cannot escape the irony that in order to find the truth that could create a better society, he must perpetuate the ultimate betrayal wrought by his dishonest manipulation.  His friends do not know him, his true identity, nor his ultimate purpose: to destroy everything they believe in, and take the privilege they know to be their right.

We see the effect it has on Darrow because in him is not the sinister power hungry tyrant.  We watch him wrestle more with the internal strife of how his actions cause others to suffer, than with the physical combat he engages in verses his external enemies personified.  To a large extent this is a study in how lies can enslave those who perpetuate them as much as they control and manipulate those deceived.  Honesty, loyalty, friendship, these are the themes given fair rendering by the author.

This is a personal story told about a public cause, for Darrow has been inspired by the actions of others.  By Eo, by Ares, by Dancer, by Virginia, and perhaps most of all by Nero.  The stakes could not be higher.  His entire civilization, billions of lives, the future of generations, entire heritages, all hinge on who wins the struggle and at what cost.  Passions run high right along with them.  So as we read along we have the experience of some vicarious pleasure, without the risk to life, limb, and everyone dear to us.

What I didn’t like.

I did not enjoy seeing Darrow go through the emotional anguish that came with each dangerous liaison, each painful decision, each hurtful act.  Perhaps I’m too sensitive.  It is part of the story.  It must be a reason why we say you have to take the good with the bad.  Or should it be the bad with the good?

I found it hard to accept that Darrow would forget about Evey and Harmony so easily, because it goes against his character. I didn’t.  The author apparently did. Along with the gift to Adrius.

What you should know.

Golden Son is part II of a trilogy and follows a few years after the conclusion of part I Red Rising.  Read it before you read Golden Son.  This is a balanced mixture of science fiction, suspense, war, and Shakespearean melodrama.  In my opinion it bends the traditional attempts to pigeonhole it into just one genre per se.  You wouldn’t enjoy this novel as much if you don’t find the fun in lines like this:

“If your heart beats like a drum,

and your leg’s a little wet,

it’s ’cause the Reaper’s come

to collect a little debt.”

Excerpt From: Brown, Pierce. “Golden Son.” Del Rey, 2015-07-07. iBooks.
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/437DW.l

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

What I liked.

A visionary future with evolved humans creating civilzations on planets and moons in Earth’s solar system.  A caste based class system of colored humans.  The Gold class reigns at the top with intellect, fear, dominance, physical force, technology, and deception.  The Red class populates the bottom with massive slave labor that sustains the wealth and power of the society.  In between these two classes lies a myriad of colors whose genetic disposition and engineering match their respective roles in the hierarchy, from soldiers to law enforcers, entertainers, etc.  This is a fairly well described and detailed conglomerate.

Within the grander tale are individual stories about well developed characters who struggle with the same issues we humans have for generations; love, hate, purpose, honor, dignity, pride, trust, selfish verses selfless, mercy, family, friendship.  This is a shortlist.  Not a simple story here.

The drama is engrossing, the characters are inspiring, their plights compelling.  This book entertains on every level.  It gives visceral justified violence while decrying the consequences to both the victors and the vanquished.  It debates the alternatives with readers sharing the anguish inside conflicted protagonists.  It gives, and it takes away.  The passion runs high throughout the story and there are no lulls.  The flawed main character Darrow is not your stereotypical reluctant hero.  He is just a bit more than the everyman in us. We recognize his self doubts, his lack of ambition, his fear.  We see him in all his human frailty accompanied by his unlimited potential.

Along Darrow’s journey we meet many a villain, those whom we at first classify and assume have but one dimension.  When our first shallow impressions prove wrong, we  are forced to rethink people we wrote off as wrong headed bad guys/girls. It is at this point when you can really begin to appreciate what Red Rising offers.

As a first book in a trilogy, there is payoff on every level.  The climax is rewarding.  The creation of a desire to read more is strong.  The expectation that you will not be disappointed is high.

What I didn’t like.

The story begins slowly, without much buildup.  The science fiction has some nice twists of future and near future technologies, particularly bioengineering.  The depth of the technological descriptions are, shall I say, Star Wars light.  I had an off and on again struggle with how some aspects of human history and development are abandoned at the expense of others.  The strong storytelling overshadows various intermittent flaws.

What you should know.

This is one of the most gender balanced fiction offerings you will find.  Women and men are intellectually and physically parallel.  They are evenly represented in the telling.  You can have Game of Thrones.  I’ll take my political intrigue with fancy weaponry and high tech gadgets any day over the fantasy of magic.  And horses too!

Recommendation:  Must Read

Book Review: The Fungo Society by Jeff Stanger

What I Liked:
Stanger has a very easy writing style that calls to mind sitting with your best friend while they tell the most salacious tale they’d just had the pleasure of experiencing and can’t resist watching you react as they spin one shocking reveal after another. Very readable. He also knows how to wield humor. The dialogue is funny. The characters are funny. The situations are funny times three. That is a refreshing reward especially for readers who are looking for a good dose of humor. Quick is a likable main character. The Indiana Jones of sports memorabilia.
I appreciated the efficient writing style. You don’t get wasted wordy passages that cause you to want to skip or wonder what the writer was trying to accomplish. Stanger says what he means and means what he says. You are brought into the world of baseball with appropriate descriptions that move the story along, not an easy task. It’s one that causes more than a few authors to stumble, not Stanger.
What I didn’t like:

I confess that I am very much a baseball guy. So I can’t criticize the baseball and memorabilia laden story. My guess is that from an impartial or non baseball point of view you might not have any interest at all in the subject matter and therefore you wouldn’t enjoy the story. That is a guess. I could be wrong. If you are open to the idea, try a few chapters and see for yourself.
This is a wild story. The wilder it got, the less I liked it. Why? I found the baseball story interesting, the drug story not so much. I rarely read stories about drug crimes, and when I do it isn’t because of the subject. I did not think it added to the book so it didn’t seem necessary.
What you should know:

The Fungo Society is a group of retired Major League Baseball players. They have a relationship with a baseball memorabilia dealer named Jonathan Quick. Quick is a 30 something bachelor with a penchant for trysts with random women who gravitates towards dangerous encounters. This is a baseball story. Memorabilia is featured in detail throughout the story. There are good guys, bad guys, not so good guys and not so bad guys. Nobody takes themselves too seriously. Think of it as the jock’s version of cozy mystery.
Recommendation:  A Maybe Read