The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton book review

The Outsiders

The Outsiders

S.E. Hinton

Gang Violence/Realistic Fiction

180 pages

 

I’m sure many of you have read this book previously, but for me, this was a first time. And, I know there is a movie, and I plan to see it as well, but as of yet, I have not had the opportunity. One thing I thought was interesting that I found in the back of book in an interview from the author is that her publisher thought that people wouldn’t believe a girl could write this book, which was why it was published under the anonymity of S. E. Hinton. I couldn’t care less whether a book is written be a girl or a boy, and I thought it was a great read.

 

The novel doesn’t say an exact date in it, but it seems to take place sometime in the 60’s. It was published in 1967, if that is any indication. 14-year-old Ponyboy and his gang are in constant conflict and trouble with the Socs, a rival gang of well-off kids. The Greasers always seem to be on the losing end of the battle, and are the frequent victims of jumpings from the Socs. After a Soc is accidentally killed during a scuffle, Ponyboy finds himself on the run to hide out with just one other member of his gang.

 

Events lead them on an adventure that eventually returns Ponyboy back home, but now he faces new problems. Will he be able to stay with his two brothers or be sent to a home for orphans? The story reaches a climax when the Greasers and Socs get together for one final winner-take-all rumble. Will Ponyboy stay in the slums and be like the rest of his gang or will he rise above the odds and make something of himself?

 

I thought that it was really interesting to read about the gang life during this time period, although I’m sure things are very different nowadays. It kind of reminded me of the movie Grease, but without all the singing. Ponyboy got to a point where he could see the Socs’ point-of’-view and it changed the way that he looked at things himself. I think overall it would be appropriate for just about anyone to read, and it has been around for a long time, so it is a well-respected novel.

caught book review

Caught book

Caught

Harlan Coben

Mystery/Suspense

438 pages

 

Here is another classic Harlan Coben novel that I enjoyed reading. It follows news reporter Wendy Tynes who is famous for bringing down sexual predators. She has always found satisfaction in her job and felt that she was doing the right thing. However, how would it feel to suddenly have doubts about one of the predators that you exposed? That is what Wendy begins to experience during this novel, and she decides to backtrack through her own investigation to make sure that she is right about the alleged pedophile Dan Mercer that she has exposed.

 

There are intertwining stories in this novel as the police are working simultaneously as Wendy is searching for her own answers. It gets even more complicated when the phone of a young girl who has gone missing is found in Dan Mercer’s hotel room. The evidence is stacking up against Dan, but Wendy still isn’t sure about the results of her initial investigation. She seeks out Dan’s friends for help and discovers that there seems to be some connections between his scandal and other roommates that Dan had while in school. Wendy will come to realize that her instincts may not always be as accurate as she thought as she delves into her own investigation to uncover new discoveries.

 

One thing I really like about Coben’s books is that there are familiar characters spread throughout them. Some of my favorite Coben books are the books in the series that feature Myron Bolitar. Characters from those novels have passing roles in this one that make it more fun if you are familiar with his work. This was another one that wasn’t my favorite from Coben, but I definitely enjoyed reading it. There aren’t a whole lot of authors whose books I will just buy without worrying about reading the back or something, but Coben is one of those authors who I feel has earned that. He is an amazing writer and even a decent book from him is better than a great book from other authors. As with his other novels, this one is full of twists and suspense, and was exciting to read through.

 

Although this book is about a reporter who tracks down pedophiles, there wasn’t anything overly graphic or descriptive; nothing I think most people would find offensive. It is a good book and you are into this genre or especially a fan of Harlan Coben, I would suggest picking it up.

The Face of Fear book review

The Face of Fear

Dean Koontz

Horror/Suspense

306 Pages

 

This is one of Koontz’s older books, first published in 1977. It is about a man with a clairvoyant ability to see visions. Harris had a head injury, and since then has been blessed with, or cursed with, the ability to see sometimes very disturbing visions. He can see murders, sometimes as they are taking place, and can gain impressions about the killer. He doesn’t like his gift, and often finds himself watching the life drain out of a person as they are victims under their killer’s hands. Harris has been consulted by police on different occasions to help them solve crimes of murders. In this story, the police are seeking his help to identify a killer terrorizing New York known as “The Butcher.” However, as the Butcher starts to fear that Harris is getting too close to discovering him, he becomes the killer’s next target.

 

Harris is working late in his office at night, when he has a vision, for the first time, of himself being shot. He becomes worried, which fear intensifies further when he realizes that his phone lines have been cut and the elevators in his building aren’t working. Together with his girlfriend, Harris must find a way to escape the building that they are trapped in with a serial murderer. Unfortunately, they are on the 40th floor with no escape. Harris used to be an expert climber, but since a terrible fall and injury, has been too scared to climb again. However, with the killer closing in on them, Harris decides that the only escape may be to go straight down the building during a howling blizzard.

 

Koontz often has some sort of phenomenal quality within his books, in this case, Harris’ clairvoyant visions. They often make interesting reads because you never know what might happen. This isn’t my favorite Koontz book that I’ve read, but it was interesting to read. There was a lot of factual information about climbing, which I’m sure is now somewhat outdated, but not being all that interested in climbing myself, that part dragged on a bit for me. However, there was definitely tension and suspense while Harris and his girlfriend were devising ways to stay one step ahead of the brutal killer. Again, this isn’t a book that I would recommend for younger readers. There are some sexual themes as well as descriptive murders. Overall, I would say it is an OK book, but not the best Dean Koontz has put out by any means. If you are a Koontz fan, I think you will like it. If you are unfamiliar with his work, I think there are other, better ones out there that you could start with.

Rules of Prey book review

Rules of Prey

John Sandford

Crime Thriller

353 Pages

 

I have so many books I want to read that I don’t often reread any. However, I didn’t want to exclude this series of books from my review, or start at the end of it for those who are unfamiliar with the work of John Sandford. Rules of Prey was first published in 1989, and Sandford is still writing books in the same series today. It was interesting to go back and read the start of it all, after having recently read the latest ones as well. This series is awesome. If you are into cop/crime thriller books and you haven’t ever read Sandford, then you are missing out. However, a word of forewarning: his books are always filled with strong language, and often with sexual themes and descriptive violence, as they are usually about serial killers. So, if those things are offensive to you, stay away from the Prey series. I would definitely not recommend these books for younger readers.

 

This novel starts out by introducing us to the hero of the Prey series, Lucas Davenport, who is a detective in Minnesota. Lucas is investigating a series of murders by a man who refers to himself as the maddog. In this book, we get to look inside the maddog’s head and understand how he sees himself and the things that he is doing. I think this was one of the first books I read where I got to really see the psyche of the killer and how they justify their actions. The maddog is hunting down the “chosen ones” and slaughtering them brutally. He has the police department stumped so it is up to Davenport to anticipate his moves and catch him before he kills half the women in St. Paul.

 

Sandford uses the knowledge he acquired during years of being a crime journalist to give unique perspectives within the police department as well as aspects of the media that most of us would never think about. Davenport does what he can to control the media and help bring out the desired outcome while he is hunting this killer. Davenport is so fun to read about because he will do whatever it takes to catch the killers he is tracking. His methods aren’t always purely ethical, but he doesn’t let anything stand in his way. If I were a criminal, I would be terrified of a man like Davenport trying to bring me to justice.

 

Things really start to heat up as the maddog focuses on a reporter for the news as his next target. The police watch and covertly guard her, but he wants his next prize. As he plans his attack, will Davenport be able to beat him at his own game?

 

If you are looking for an awesome series to begin in this genre, look no further than Sandford. He has enough books to keep you going for a while, and I have enjoyed them all. I recently finished the 20th book in this series, and I think his writing has improved greatly over the years. So, if you give this one a shot and like it, you’ll love all of his other ones in the Prey series as well. He also has other books that branch off from these ones as well. Sandford is a skilled writer with a lot of books and a lot of experience. Again, if things like violence, language, and sometimes sexual themes are offensive to you, don’t read these. If not, crack one open and check it out!