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I do not normally read crime fiction, and only chose this book when I ran out of other reading material... I did not realize what I was getting into! Stroud is very witty and has a narrative style unlike I've ever read. He writes in such a way that you understand exactly what words sound like coming from the characters' mouths, and he captures the essence of internal thought and turmoil like they were your own thoughts.
The action of this book is very fast-paced, and he endears you to the characters very quickly. The plot is sinuous and keeps you guessing until the very end. This book has everything from romance to the Mob, from bad-guys who turn good to good-guys who turn bad, and revenge coming out the wazoo (technical term)! I recommend this book to anyone!!
Most highly recommended.
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Aside from all the above assets, the author's feel for place is so powerful that Montana comes alive in its vistas, its climate and its denizens. There's also a lot of native American history, integral to the plot, that isn't sentimentalized but made to come alive--via hero Beau McAllister's sensibilities.
A good author always, always leaves the reader wanting more. Lizardskin is a signal accomplishment in that it practically begs for a sequel. Stroud has gone on to write other, equally fine books, resisting the temptation to overwork a winning hand. Smart fellow, first-class writer.
My highest recommendation.
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I found myself wondering many times how a certain character knew what had happened to another character when he/she wasn't present. One is left to assume that at some point character A briefs character B. Another disturbing thing is that none of the characters ever need sleep.
One really annoying thing about this book that is set in and around the waters of Cuba is that the Spanish dialogue (which the author uses often) is grammatically incorrect, misspellings, etc. Sometimes he writes words that are supposed to be in Spanish but look like French (an "L" apostrophe which is not used in Spanish.) He uses the word "ocha" instead of "ocho" referring to the number 8. etc.
The book got my attention early but then left me unsatisfied.I just felt like there was no climax. The resolution is 9 pages (out of 418) in which two government agents reveal everything the main character didn't know which is substantial (including a discrediting of one the important premises upon which much of the action is contingent). I wanted to like this book more but it needed a good editor and a re-write of the ending.
The character, Rick Broca, is lured into a deadly scheme that reaches international proportions - all from risking his life to save another man whose identity is shrouded in complexities and unknowns. Broca becomes entwined in a net of unsavory intrigue with no apparent escape.
Stroud has an uncanny ability as a storyteller to combine personalities and action into a blend that keeps you turning the pages, wondering what will happen next. "Cuba Strait" is a complex story, which comes together in a convincing way that perfectly fits the age of mass terror.
This is the first novel I have read by Stroud, and it definitely will not be the last. If you enjoy action, adventure, and intense stories, Stroud is a writer worth remembering!
Carsten Stroud's sixth novel, grabs readers from the opening lines with the appearance of Charles Green, an American pilot with a "loaded Glock strapped to his thigh and the fifty rounds of nine mill tucked in the breast pocket of his brown-leather bomber jacket." A former Navy man who was sent to Hawaii in 1969, he's now about to take off on a dangerous and mysterious flight. His plane, a Kodiak, is flawless; the weather is not. The cargo is unknown to him, as is the lone passenger who keeps an assault rifle pointed at Green's kidney.
Protagonist Rick Broca is a former New York State Police officer who quit the force after a glitch in the chain of command stopped him from saving lives during a school massacre. He is tending to his employer's boat, cruising off the Florida Keys before returning to his new job as a Hollywood technical consultant. When Rick sees the small Kodiak go down, he's all action.
There is a chilling underwater rescue attempt interrupted by an enormous female tiger shark dubbed Maybelline by Floridians. She is 500 pounds of "gouges and badly healed wound" with "an ugly puckered furrow carved into her snout." Maybelline has the unknown passenger for a starter, and wants Green who is trapped in the cockpit for her main course. However, Rick manages to save the pilot who claims to be a navy flier.
Rick's move to return the pilot to Miami is thwarted by a raging fire fight with another vessel - some no-holds-barred Cubans want Green and the cargo back, and they want both now. Obviously, Rick is on to the fact that Green is more than an ordinary charter pilot but no information is forthcoming.
The author's penchant for dark humor comes to the fore when Rick forgets that he has left the half-eaten remains of Green's passenger in the refrigerator of his employer's boat. So, when the boss goes out on a fishing expedition he is taken prisoner in Cuban territorial waters and charged with murder.
Aware that his error may well cost his boss his life Rick finds himself in the middle of a complex miasma of international intrigue. Rick doesn't know who to trust nor do listeners as suspense escalates to a startling finale.
- Gail Cooke
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Sniper's Moon, Stroud's first novel, is like a fireworks display. It starts off with a bang, then dazzles one with bursts of patterns against a night sky. This look at the inside/outside life of an NYPD sniper, a second generation cop, is a stunning piece of work--insightful, compelling and melancholy.
Managing with great skill to weave together simultaneous plot lines, the narrative takes off in high gear and doesn't let up for a moment. All the characters are fully three-dimensional, even the most minor, and while there is a great deal of violence it doesn't get in the way of the story. And when, roughly at the midpoint of this book, the hero Frank Keogh is accused of killing two fellow cops and takes off to try to unravel things from a distance, there ensues what is one of the best hide-and-pursuit segments I've read in a long time.
While I guessed who was the villain of the piece early on, the author manages to pull off a nice surprise ending that is unexpected.
Some of the writing is beautifully lyrical; the insights into the minds of the men and women involved is refreshingly honest. This is a terrific book.
Very highly recommended.
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There have been a great many books written about the experience of the infantryman through history, many of them excellent; what Carsten Stroud brings is a perspective over time. He's a combat veteran of Vietnam and a student of history, and he understands what it is that is common to the experience of the foot soldier throughout history. He takes pains to show how it it is that experiences of individual infantrymen through history constitute an unbroken thread across nations and through time. Stroud's description of the advance of the US 1st Armored Division through Iraq and his parallels to the WWII battle of the Kasserine Pass is particularly illustrative.
While not a scholarly history, neither is this the typical I-was-there story. It's a unique way of telling the infantryman's story, and as such, of interest to readers of both combat stories and military history.
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