Thursday, February 19, 2015


I have now read 3 of the 4 books by Bill O'Reilly in his assassinations series.  The latest is Killing Patton, which works on the theory that Patton's death by car accident was, in fact, no accident.

All three books read like fiction.  They are fast paced and character driven.  They are not complete biographies, they cover the last few years of their lives, leading up to their deaths.  The slowest one for me was Patton.  The war scenes dragged on and Patton was a bit... unlikeable.

My favorite was Killing Kennedy.  I think the authors' memories and emotions of that time were reflected in that book.  However, you will also find their political leanings coloring the description of Kennedy and his administration.  This seems to be the biggest criticism of these books from other reviewers.  Additionally, the authors suggest a conspiracy and cover up of his assassination. 

These are easy to read and move at a fast pace.  I recommend these to fans of popular history, though some on the left might not be pleased. I have not read Killing Jesus, the other book in this series. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Beat the Reaper

I occasionally will foray into the world of fiction and sometimes I am forced, like when my book discussion group chose Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell.  Most of them didn't like it, but I actually did.

Beat the Reaper is about a man in witness protection who chose to become a doctor.  He is known as Dr. Peter Brown and works at "Manhattan's worst hospital."  Through a series of flashbacks, readers learn of Peter's past as a hitman for the mob.  I found it a stretch to believe that a hitman who killed dozens of people ended up a Dr. in witsec, but I went with it.  The flashbacks were full of violence and action which I don't particularly like, but I tried to imagine the scenes as a movie, like Goodfellas.  For some reason, that made the violent scenes easier for me to swallow.

In the present day, while under witsec protection, Peter walks into a patient's room only to discover that it's his former colleague from the mob.  One that wants him dead.  Peter promises to do his best to keep Eddie Squillante alive, but only if Peter's own life and new identity is spared.  However, chances of Eddie's survival are slim and the mob doesn't always stick to its word. 

This is a fast paced book filled with action and dark humor.  As with most fiction books, I skipped to the end to see what would happen, and still found myself engaged in the story.  I recommend this to readers of action novels, but beware of the graphic violence and strong language.