Tag Archives: John Grisham

A good book — The Capitol Game

I just finished a pretty good book, The Capitol Game, which is the latest from thriller author Brian Haig. The summary from the fly-leaf describes the plot as well as I can.

“It was the deal of the decade, if not the century. A small, insignificant company on the edge of bankruptcy had discovered an alchemist’s dream; a miraculous polymer, that when coated on any vehicle, was the equivalent of 30 inches of steel…Jack Wiley, a successful Wall Street banker, believes he has a found a dream come true when he mysteriously learns of this miraculous polymer. His plan: enlist the help of the Capitol Group, one of the country’s largest and most powerful corporations in a quick, bloodless takeover of the small company that developed the polymer. It seems like a partnership made in heaven…until the Pentagon’s investigative service begins nosing around, and the deal turns into a nightmare…”

I have been a Brian Haig fan since I read his first novel, Secret Sanction, several years ago. The Capitol Game is Haig’s eighth book. While he has never achieved the acclaim of a Nelson DeMille or John Grisham, his books are just as entertaining. The protagonist in his first several novels is an Army JAG lawyer, Sean Drummond. If you overlooked the books’ covers, you might have thought you were reading Nelson DeMille (who, by the way, is one of my favorites.) Drummond could just as easily have been one of DeMille’s frequent protagonists under a different name — Army CID investigator Paul Brenner (The General’s Daughter and Up Country) or former NYPD detective John Correy (Plum Island, The Lion’s Game, Nightfall, etc.)

In The Capitol Game, Haig breaks away from the Sean Drummond formula and creates an entirely different set of characters and a story type. This book reads an awfully lot like a Grisham novel. The somewhat mysterious main character is obviously working some kind of scheme, but the reader isn’t quite certain what it is. The protagonist, Jack Wiley, is a charismatic, young investment banker, but Haig only reveals his actions, not his inner thoughts. Not until the last few pages does the plot come to light and the motivation become known.

All told, The Capitol Game was a fun book and I recommend it. If you enjoy Grisham and DeMille, you should enjoy this and the rest of Haig’s books.

A good read

I stayed up too late last night finishing a book. Both Mrs. Poolman and I read for pleasure, she more than I. Mrs. P can knock of a standard paperback book in a single off day.

The book I was reading, The Time Traveler’s Wife, was not my typical fare. I tend to lean more towards action fiction and historical non-fiction. I enjoy authors like John Sandford, James Patterson, W.E.B. Griffin, Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell. I also have a spot in my heart for Andrew Greely. On the non-fiction side, I consume history, especially military history. And if it flies and shoots, I’m all over it.

Time Travelers WifeAll of that is just a way of setting up that I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife. I have always been intrigued with the fictional treatments of time travel, starting with HG Wells’ The Time Machine and working on up through Michael Crichton’s Timeline (another really outstanding time-travel book, by the way). Before reading it,  I suspected The Time Traveler’s Wife was a literary version of a “chick flick.” You know what I mean – a movie that deals mostly with relationships and emotions and one of the endearing characters dies at the end, usually of a long lingering illness. (See Steel Magnolias, Terms of Endearment, Fried Green Tomatoes, and others.) While The Time Traveler’s Wife does have many of those characteristics (I won’t spoil it by being more specific.) those are balanced out by the fact that it is still an interesting, well written story that moves along.

The story is about Henry and Clare. Henry has a genetic abnormality that causes him to involuntarily travel in time. One moment he is here, and the next, he is stark naked in another place and time. The author, Audrey Niffengger, avoids the cliché of many time-travel authors by not inserting her  character into any historical settings. This is not a story in which the protagonist performs any great or historical acts. Henry’s time travels are much more personal.

Very early on, Henry and Clare meet. Clare is a stranger to Henry, but Clare has known Henry all her life. An older Henry was repeatedly transported back in time to Clare’s childhood. So when they meet, Henry is Clare’s long-time visitor and friend, while Henry has yet to meet Clare in his “real life.” The book develops their relationship, more or less following the chronological pace of Henry’s “real life.” There are lots of adventures and a couple of mysteries.

All told, it was a good book and I’m really glad I read it. It is definitely worth the effort. We didn’t see the movie when it was at the theaters. I’m looking forward to it’s release on DVD in a few months.