18 Dec, 2015

Mini Review – Excavation

/ posted in: Reading Mini Review – Excavation Excavation by James Rollins
on July 3rd 2000
Pages: 448
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in Peru

High in the Andes, Dr. Henry Conklin discovers a 500-year-old mummy that should not be there. While deep in the South American jungle, Conklin's nephew, Sam, stumbles upon a remarkable site nestled between two towering peaks, a place hidden from human eyes for thousands of years.
Ingenious traps have been laid to ensnare the careless and unsuspecting, and wealth beyond imagining could be the reward for those with the courage to face the terrible unknown. But where the perilous journey inward ends—in the cold, shrouded heart of a breathtaking necropolis—something else is waiting for Sam Conklin and his exploratory party. A thing created by Man, yet not humanly possible. Something wondrous . . . something terrifying.



I read this book for the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge.  It has been sitting on my shelf forever.  I don’t know where I got it.  I’m sure I picked it up because of the author.  He’s a veterinarian when he’s not writing and I have to support my people!

High in the Andes an Incan temple has been found with an intact treasure chamber.  An attempt to loot it sets off traps and then it collapses on the archeologists who go in to investigate the break in.  They are only able to escape by work their way through the puzzles built into the temple.  It is very Indiana Jones.

At the same time, a mummy removed from the area turns out to be not Incan but a Spanish priest.  Inquiries lead to the kidnapping of the lead investigator by a group of priests.  Seriously, if priests or monks show up in a contemporary story is it ever a good thing?  These guys have a wacky theory about some metal hidden in the temple and go about trying to steal it too.

I’ve read several other of his books and enjoyed them.  This isn’t one of my favorites. It can be a fun read but nothing memorable.

15 Aug, 2015

The Swede

/ posted in: Reading The Swede The Swede by Robert Karjel
on July 7th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

A Swedish security agent is summoned to interrogate a terror suspect in this sophisticated, fast-paced thriller—but the prisoner isn't the only one with something to hide. At a remote military base in the Indian Ocean, the CIA is trying to get a prisoner to confess. But the detainee, a suspect in an terror attack in the United States, refuses to talk.

Ernst Grip, a Swedish security officer, has no idea why he's been dispatched to New York City. The FBI agent he meets on arrival, Shauna Friedman, seems to know a little too much about him. And when he arrives at his real destination, the American authorities have just one question: Is their terror suspect a Swedish citizen?


Ernst Grip is a man leading a double life.  His superiors don’t know why he has insisted on becoming part of the bodyguards for the Swedish Royal Family.  They know he likes the extensive vacation time but they don’t know what he is doing with his time off.  They think he is wasting his skills guarding Princesses on the French Riviera.

He is sent to New York to meet with law enforcement officials.  No one knows what these people want with a representative of the Swedish Security Force.  He is told to enter on a tourist visa and then taken on a mysterious trip with an unknown destination.

Once on the tiny island of Diego Garcia he is told to talk to a prisoner.  Find out if he is Swedish.

There are three stories going on in this book.

  • A group of people who survived the tsunami in Thailand decide to use their missing person status to their advantage
  • What does Ernst Grip do in his weeks off duty?
  • Who is the man in the cell?

The three stories weave around each other and eventually tie together.  My only reservation about the book is that one of the main pieces of evidence that ties it all together isn’t satisfactorily explained.  I understand what happened but I’d like to know more about how it happened.  I can’t be more specific without major spoilers so I’m turning the text white. Don’t look if you are in a reader that doesn’t show different text colors. Highlight the rest of the paragraph if you’ve read the book. —  How did N get Ernst’s bag?  I get that there was major chaos after the tsunami but who was in charge of that?  Where was it found?  —

I heard of this book in the article A Thriller with a Bisexual Male Hero? American readers can’t handle it. The point of the article is that some reviewers were upset that nothing on the book jacket or blurb says that the hero of the book is in a relationship with a man.  That made me decide to read it.  I think that it is a bit spoilery to know that ahead of time.  His attraction to men is a slow realization on the part of the character.  Letting that build naturally would have been an interesting to see without knowing about it.  But, if the author is writing about it then it must be ok to talk about.  It is getting more publicity for the book too.  I wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise. (And no, the fact that he is with a man isn’t the whole answer to what the main character is hiding.)

This also fits into my goal to read more translated fiction.  I seem to be ending up with many Swedish books.


About Robert Karjel

“I was born in 1965 in Gothenburg, Sweden. My mother is Swedish, and my father Estonian.

At the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, I majored in Applied Physics.

After graduation, I entered the military. At first I flew fighter jets, and then helicopters. I became a Lt. Colonel in the Swedish Air Force. I’m proud to have trained with the U.S. Marine Corps and flown its attack helicopters.

I’ve written four thrillers, and I’m finishing a new one now, sequel to The Swede/ My Name Is N. This next one, based on my experience with the Swedish Air Force, is about pirate-hunting in the seas near Somalia.” from his website