2006: #96 – When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Lawrence Block); #97 – The Kill Artist (Daniel Silva); #98 – A Dangerous Fortune (Ken Follett)

ginmill.gifBook #96 was When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, the first book in Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder series. The back of the book reads:

In the dark days, in a sad and lonely place, ex-cop Matt Scudder is drinking his life away — and doing “favors” for pay for his ginmill cronies. But when three such assignments flow together in dangerous and disturbing ways, he’ll need to change his priorities from boozing to surviving.

I decided to start this series from the beginning because I read All the Flowers are Dying, the 16th book, and enjoyed it.

If I had read this book without reading #16 first, I probably wouldn’t read any others. I found the Scudder character to be very rough around the edges, though by the end of the book I could see a little of the Scudder from later in the series. The mysteries were interesting, but I had one of them figured out early. None of the characters were particularly likable. I’ll continue the series based solely on #16 and hope for quick improvement!

Book count: 96

Pages in book: 384
Page count: 40,288
Words in book: 75,933
Word count: 11,968,428


Book #97 was The Kill Artist, the first book in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series. The back of the book reads:

Former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon is drawn back into the game to take on a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions…

Super, super book. I’ve been listening to this in the car, and at first I was a bit concerned that I wasn’t going to like it. It took me a few hours to get through the set-up. However, once the “action” started, I was hooked. Gabriel is the moodiest spy you’ll ever fall in love with, and I hope there is more of Jacqueline later in this series. The information about the Israel/Palestine conflict is as timely as ever. If you like espionage, intrigue, and international politics, you must give this a try.

Book count: 97

Pages in book: 448
Page count: 40,736
Words in book: 106,043
Word count: 12,074,471

fortune.gifBook #98 was A Dangerous Fortune, by Ken Follett. The back of the book reads:

In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves… From the exclusive men’s club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world’s wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy… men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped, or not just one man’s dreams, but those of a nation, will die…

Loved it. This was a nice change from the WWII era Follett that I’ve read. However, there’s one thing that ties all of his books together for me — his characters. They are always captivating and complex and interesting. The banking stuff is even written in a way that I can understand! The book covers 26 years in the life of a family, and in the end, the good and the bad both get what they’re due — just the way it should be!

Book count: 98

Pages in book: 568
Page count: 41,304
Words in book: 165,499
Word count: 12,239,970

1,000,000 words surpassed — 2/2/06
2,000,000 words surpassed — 2/14/06
10,000 pages surpassed — 3/10/06
3,000,000 words surpassed — 3/16/06
4,000,000 words surpassed — 4/3/06
5,000,000 words surpassed — 5/30/06
50 books surpassed — 6/12/06
20,000 pages surpassed — 6/29/06
6,000,000 words surpassed — 6/29/06
7,000,000 words surpassed — 7/21/06
8,000,000 words surpassed — 8/18/06
30,000 pages surpassed — 9/3/06
9,000,000 words surpassed — 9/6/06

10,000,000 words surpassed — 9/27/06
11,000,000 words surpassed — 10/9/06
40,000 pages surpassed — 11/3/06
12,000,000 words surpassed — 11/4/06

Holy crap, I’m almost to 100 books!

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