Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Number Eight

The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen is not a recent novel, but it's the last one I got in my book swapping at work. It's a good action/adventure story, and if I'd been in a different mood, I would probably have loved it. Following Franny & Zooey in my reading though, it just fell flat. If you enjoy mysteries and action drama books, you'll enjoy it, and I don't hesitate to recommend it.

The story centers around Nell Calder, the shy, mousy wife of a rich, successful, handsome and dominating businessman. Attending a big, formal business party on an exotic island is one of her worst case scenarios in life, and it's made even worse by an armed attack on the party. Nell and her daughter are attacked by a knife wielding man. Nell is thrown over a balcony, and her daughter is killed. A mysterious man, Tanek, who holds an interest in the party's host, rescues Nell. Her face has been hideously disfigured, and this man arranges for her to have plastic surgery to restore her face and enable her to rebuild her life after the death of her husband and beloved child. The plastic surgeon with the advice of his housekeeper, another one of Tanek's rescued victims of circumstance, transforms Nell into an "unforgettable" beauty with Helen of Troy and Galatea as his inspiration. In her recuperation, she learns of the death of her child and begins a quest for vengeance on her murderer and his boss that makes her question her choices throughout her life. Tanek both helps and restrains her in this quest. The book takes you from a Mediterranean island to a western sheep ranch to a commando training camp in Florida to Paris, so the armchair adventurer can feel satisfied with the locales. It also holds enough twists and questions about the character's trustworthiness to keep you engaged. That's why I'll recommend it.

Now why I didn't really get into it is easy. If you had top of the line organic, hormone free sirloin for dinner, a Big Mac for lunch the next day just won't satisfy. Now if you really want a Big Mac read, get The Ugly Duckling. If you're in the mood for some good fluff, this is choice.

I've just had my fill for awhile. My friend at work has passed on two more novels, but I need a change of pace, and the fiction I'll read next is going to take some thought. The womanchild brought me a non-fiction book last weekend, and I plan on starting it tonight. Good fiction is calling me though, and that's going to take some thought.

3 Comments:

Blogger marigolds2 said...

Do you want any suggestions?

February 23, 2010 8:39 PM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Definitely.

February 24, 2010 5:01 AM  
Blogger marigolds2 said...

So, okay then. I've just sent you an email with a list of stuff I've read and enjoyed recently. It seemed an easier way than putting it all in a comment. Hope something on the list will strike your fancy.

Mary Ellen

February 24, 2010 11:16 AM  

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