The Backlog Is Even Bigger

It’s one of those times when my book backlog keeps growing and growing and growing.

As I’ve said many times already, I don’t necessarily view this as a bad thing. The few times I haven’t had a big backlog are times when I scramble around for new books. If I find a new book in a time without a backlog and it turns out to not be very good, then I have to scramble anew.

Yet if I read a backlog book and that turns out subpar, then, well, I can just grab the next book out of that. And frequently that turns out a lot better than the previous one. I try to balance my book purchases, even within the “cheap thriller” types so that I don’t get too overloaded by any one genre. It may be counterintuitive to have a big pile of unread books, but it works for me.


Five Thrillers

I’ve read so many cheap thrillers that arrowing it down to just five I’d recommend right off the bat is difficult, but here they are:

Team Yankee by Harold Coyle

This is one of the best Cold War hot books I’ve read. It showed me the perils of box-check thinking, because on paper it has every indication of the kind of “Boom boom goes the tank” clunkfests I’d read on the internet. Yet in practice, it’s a smooth-flowing tale that illustrates the best possibilities of the genre.

The Alpha Deception by Jon Land

All right, so most of Jon Land’s books, especially the Blaine McCracken ones, are goofy, crazy, ridiculous and fun. It was very difficult to select the goofiest, craziest, most ridiculous, and most fun out of them. But if I had to, I’d say The Alpha Deception, because Land pulls out all the stops, even by his standards.

Burmese Crossfire by Peter Nealen

Take a love letter to the “Men’s Adventure” books of the past. Now instead of a revolving door of  for-the-money ghostwriters who glanced at one issue of Guns And Ammo, take a veteran with heart and a knowledge of when to be grounded and when to be bombastic. The result is something excellent.

Tin Soldiers by Michael Farmer

Ok, so this is driven up by context, because a 2000s technothriller is surrounded by mediocre-to-terrible neighbors. It also has its share of problems. But it manages to do right what a lot of other thrillers did wrong. This is no small feat, and it’s the technothriller book from that time period I’d be the likeliest to recommend.

Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

A military science fiction book that has almost none of the baggage associated with the genre. This, apart from being good (if a little derivative-you’d know the movie/historical battle it’s inspired by very quickly), is one of the best cases of a fresh face revitalizing a genre.


The Megabinge

Around this time last year, I began reading Total War, the first book in Jerry Ahern’s incredible, and incredibly ridiculous Survivalist series. I ended up wolfing down all of the 27 numbered books there. Since then, the closest I’ve come is Jon Land’s Blaine McCracken series, but that’s eleven books and I read them over a (somewhat) longer period.

I’m wondering if I’ll ever megabinge something like the Survivalist series again. I’d need a series that, besides being long, had these factors.

  • Was well written enough to keep me following it.
  • Had a serial format and a overall plot interesting enough to keep me following it.
  • Didn’t face competition from another author/series.

So I haven’t slopped into the mood, but you never know…

Finishing A Series

Almost by coincidence I just finished all the currently written entries in two semi-similar series. Those series are Jon Land’s Blaine McCracken and Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer’s Black Eagle Force. (Many entries from both have been reviewed on Fuldapocalypse).

Unlike my 27-book megabinge with The Survivalist, it took me getting about halfway into the Blaine McCracken series before I started reading the books sequentially (it “helped” that some of the books I read that I thought would be more grounded as a contrast turned out to be just as crazy in some ways). The BEF books I never read more than two in a row.

There are more differences-McCracken is an individual action hero, while the Black Eagle Force series is, as I put it, “More Mack Maloney than Mack Maloney” and focuses around units and super-aircraft. But their structural similarities are clearer-they’re both series whose literary “fundamentals” aren’t the best (although Land is considerably better than Stienke and Farmer in that regard), but which have a knack for crazy action. Thus, their weakest entries are the most mundane, and the strongest the most crazy.

I benefited from reading both these series in all their “amazingly stupid to stupidly amazing” glory, and it always feels bittersweet to conclude something that I’ve enjoyed.


Fuldapocalypse Anniversary-Out Of The Ashes

Fuldapocalypse’s first anniversary is this month. The planned reviews to celebrate that include the promised The Sum Of All Fears, plus some more actual World War III (imagine that) novels. However, I also felt that the best and most fitting place to start was at the very bottom.

So I thus reviewed William W. Johnstone’s Out Of The Ashes, the inaugural installment in what could quite possibly be the worst sustained series made by a mainstream author/publisher.

Skeleton Coast reviewed on Fuldapocalypse

So, I’ve finally reviewed Clive Cussler’s Skeleton Coast on Fuldapocalypse.

Cussler was one of my favorite authors growing up, and the first real cheap thriller author I read in bulk. I read lots of Cussler’s (even if, by this point in his career, most of the actual work was done by other people), and a book review is long overdue. So why not choose one of the most memorable?