Category Archives: out of things to read

The Monday Book – on Tuesday

Jack is doing the Monday Book – so of course it’s late –

The Room where it Happened – John Bolton

Well – Bolton comes over in this as quite the piece of work. A hard line hawk who clearly believes in using force and any kind of underhand shenanigans to promote US policies around the world.

The book covers his time as part of Trump’s White House team and he portrays himself as the cleverest one in the place. He describes Trump as a kind of ‘useful idiot’ and the others as lightweights to be manipulated. Further, he describes a President “addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and who was deeply suspicious of his own government”.

In his dealings with world leaders there’s little attempt at normal diplomacy or compromise. There’s a particularly chilling passage where he describes quite matter of factly undermining the elected government of Venezuela and the country’s economy. At the same time he is supporting the attempted coup by another, more US friendly politician.

When Trump moved to reduce or remove US troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and S. Korea, Bolton wasn’t in favor. This didn’t play to his hard man image or his vision of US domination around the world.

There are some references to his time as US ambassador to the UN in George W Bush’s Presidency which show how his attitudes hadn’t changed much over time.

The book is quite well written and doesn’t appear to have been ‘ghosted’. I got the impression that it was probably based on a diary or written notes made over his time with Trump.  Of course that means that insights he displays are what he observed and experienced personally, so not so much three dimensional chess but more chequers!

Can I recommend this book?

If you want one man’s perspective on a very dangerous time in which he played a prominent part then you might find it intriguing. I found it scary!

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Filed under book reviews, Life reflections, out of things to read, reading, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table

The Monday Book: THE DISAPPEARED by CJ Box

Paul Garrett, a regular contributor to THE MONDAY BOOK, reviews The Disappeared. It’s not his fault it’s appearing on a Tuesday.

My introduction to C. J. Box was his 2013 thriller The Highway, a book about a semi-driving serial killer. I picked up the book around ten-thirty one morning and the world stopped until 11:30 that night when my wife admonished me to put the book down and go to sleep. Since then, I have read several of his novels.  While he once produced a book about every couple of years, lately he has been pumping them out at a brisk pace, James Patterson style.

 In Disappeared, he continues the story of Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game Warden. Over the years we have become familiar with Joe, his wife, who is a librarian and sort-of silent partner in his investigations, and his two daughters, one adopted.  Along with the investigations, we have followed their personal difficulties.

Joe once again teams up with Nate Romanowski, a renegade and former special operator (think Jesse Ventura with an even bigger attitude). He once yanked the ears off a recalcitrant perp.

When A British celebrity and a fellow game warden both go missing at about the same time, the new governor sends Joe out to investigate.  Joe sets off on a search that jeopardizes his career as well as his life and that of his adopted daughter. On the trail of the missing, he crosses paths with the [PG1] standard variety of ne’er-do-wells and unique characters who populate his stories.

Like most of the Pickett stories, this is a procedural, wherein we follow Joe as he chases clues and goes down various blind alleys and switchbacks on the way to solving the crime. Picket stories take place in Northwestern Wyoming, and as usual the breathtaking and often desolate setting, brutal weather and environmentalism play important roles. Joe’s workmanlike prose gets the job done without flourish or extravagance.

The story develops like an avalanche crashing down Gannett Peak; slowly at first but gaining speed and momentum until reaching a final deadly crescendo. Though I consider myself adept at prematurely guessing the outcome of these types of stories, I was totally unprepared for the final plot twist that put everything in perspective.

The Disappeared will not disappoint C. J. Box fans. For those new to Joe Pickett, it will be a satisfying intro.


 [PG1]

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