MixedThe Columbus Dispatch... isn’t as accomplished as the 2018 bestseller from Bill Clinton and James Patterson, The President is Missing, but faithful Patterson fans should enjoy it ... The plot is all action, with a lot of coincidences and less-than-satisfying character development. Matt Keating is a cliche good guy, more believable as a Navy SEAL than a political animal who made it to the White House. Not much time is spent fleshing out Samantha Keating but Mel Keating is nicely developed, evolving from a prickly teen into a resourceful young woman who remembers and employs some of the things she learned from her father ... a tightly paced, sometimes brutal and rather routine thriller. The book is out on whether or not Patterson and Clinton will team up for a third novel and, if so, whether they will revisit either of their first two American presidents or create a new one.
RaveThe Columbus Dispatch[Isaacson] profiles the brainy, good-natured, competitive and thoughtful Doudna, who became fascinated with biological science as a girl. At the same time, he defines and explains the complicated science behind the gene-editing tool CRISPR ... As riveting as the science is behind gene editing, so too, in Isaacson’s narrative, is the competition in advancing it ... Isaacson spends many pages posing important and often unanswerable questions, especially as they pertain to modifying and enhancing the genetic makeup of humans ... In these days when paying attention to science is vital, Isaacson gives us an important and stimulating new book.
PositiveThe Columbus DIspatchIn her debut novel, Prescott...has achieved a page-turner that is at once a spy thriller, historical fiction and heartfelt romance ... Most readers, if they haven’t read Doctor Zhivago, likely have seen the movie but might be unaware of the machinations that brought the story to worldwide attention. The Secrets We Kept is a way to learn that history and enjoy a thumping good story.
RaveThe Columbus Dispatch... a lovely, heart-wrenching coming-of-age story that spans generations ... [a] remarkably economic narrative ... As the years pass, the desires, ambitions and foibles of all the characters emerge gently but persistently. Woodson’s writing is so lyrical and touching that it can make a reader ache ... a beautiful analysis of adolescence, sexual desire, parenthood and self-discovery through the lens of one American family.
PositiveThe Columbus DispatchThe novel moves quickly, but with the graceful character development and lyrical descriptions of rural and small-town West Virginia that readers have come to expect and appreciate from Keller ... Whether Elkins is tramping in the woods near what is left of the old Wellwood Hospital or hunkering down for coffee and pie at the diner with Fogelsong, the sense of time and place is beautifully and evocatively expressed.
MixedThe Columbus DispatchThe glimpses of early automobile travel are fascinating ... Guinn’s book is more of a chronological report than a stirring narrative. Descriptions of the excursions become too detailed and repetitive, prompting one to wish that instead of a 320-page book, the author might have considered a hefty New Yorker magazine article. Nevertheless, The Vagabonds is an interesting glimpse into a slice of these inventors’ lives not often seen.
PositiveThe Columbus DispatchAlthough in hindsight it is easy to condemn those who perpetrated the Red Scare and vehemently chased after suspected Communists, David Maraniss brings a clear eye and balanced reporting to his book. His parents were not perfect, nor were their accusers perfect villains. Most were Americans pursuing what they believed was truthful and moral ... heds light and empathy on a troublesome period of national history that shows how flawed, dysfunctional and problematic this country can be. In doing so, it spotlights the affliction and misfortune that can happen to a single family.
PositiveThe Columbus Dispatch\"Lke The Underground Railroad,, The Nickel Boys is a thoroughly unsettling read, a sharp stick that reminds all Americans of the prolonged injustices inflicted upon its African American citizens. Whitehead based the Nickel Academy on the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida ... Whitehead employs fiction in important ways. Though The Underground Railroad offers sci-fi inventions (beginning with an actual railroad that ran below the ground’s surface), The Nickel Boys paints a realistic portrait of the Jim Crow-era reform school and the tolerance that allowed it to exist for so long.\
PositiveThe Columbus DispatchOne of the darkest novels you will ever read ... readers seeking heroic characters will find none in My Lovely Wife. Nor will they find a completely plausible plot, especially in the startling ending ... But they will find a disturbing portrait of the dark depths that humans can reach. The novel is difficult to put down because of the action, which is surprising and relentless. Yet the pace seems moderate. There are many details of the crimes to include and the novel may seem even slower because its events are so excruciating. And not just the murders. As it follows the couple, the crimes and the community, My Lovely Wife has much to say about marriage, infidelity, family life and the media—and just about all of it is dark.
PositiveThe Columbus Dispatch... reads like a detailed novel, introducing dozens of spies and double agents with whom Hall came into contact as well as a colorful roster of resistance fighters, including resourceful prostitutes of Lyon ... The irony of the book’s title is that without Hall, many of the Allied victories of World War II might have been greatly delayed or never have been achieved. Purnell’s fascinating book supports her description of Hall’s life as a \'Homeric tale of adventure, action, and seemingly unfathomable courage.\'