Friday Book Whimsy: Run Rose, Run

Ok. Sometimes we’re not in need of great literature. Sometimes we just want a story with likeable characters and a plot line that isn’t too ridiculous and moves along at a brisk pace. Sometimes, when everything in life seems so complicated, you need a little Dolly Parton.

Run Rose, Run, a novel co-written by the world’s most prolific author James Patterson and the world’s most famed (and perhaps the nicest and most generous) singer and songwriter Dolly Parton, fits that description to a T. I don’t know how much James Patterson wrote or how much Dolly Parton wrote. She, of course, is a phenomenal songwriter and lyricist, so there’s reason to think she contributed a fair amount. All I know is that it was a briskly-paced novel that kept me reading.

AnnieLynn Keyes has escaped her difficult past and hitchhiked her way to Nashville. She knows she has talent, but everyone who moves to Nashville thinks they have talent. AnnieLynn is quickly discovered by country music queen Ruthanna Ryder in an offbeat bar where her last-minute performance is overheard by the right people. Despite the fact that Ruthanna Ryder has quit the music business for good — or so she says — she still is a well-respected voice in the country music world.

While AnnieLynn seems to be moving quickly towards a career as a singer/songwriter, her past begins to catch up with her. Will she make it in the world of country music, or will she fail to outrun her past.

The story is loaded with lots of kick-ass music lyrics, likely contributed by Ms. Parton. There are a fair amount of holes in the story line, but I will not hesitate to recommend the book to lovers of country music and fairly nonviolent thrillers.

God bless you Dolly Parton!

Here is a link to the book.

Friday Book Whimsy: The President is Missing

Call me crabby, but I stopped reading James Patterson a long time ago. Oh, I made an exception sometime in the recent past to readĀ I, Alex Cross, one of the series of over 25 books about fictional detective Alex Cross. I read that particular book because the series was selected in the PBS-sponsored Favorite Book Ever Read as one of the 100 chosen by readers. Upon reading the book, I remembered why I’d stopped. I found that book, like others in that series, to be predictable, and more graphically violent than I’d remembered. I’m getting old.

Having said that, I was intrigued last year to learn that Patterson had teamed up with President Bill Clinton to write a mystery/thriller involving the president of the United States. I don’t know how much involvement Clinton had in the writing The President is Missing, but I’m sure he contributed to the details involving the presidency.

Enjoying this novel (which I did) requires an incredible amount of suspension of disbelief. Most significantly, a reader would have to believe that a president could hide from everyone — even his own Secret Service. But I think many novels require a suspension of disbelief.

President Duncan faces a threat more serious than any threat faced by a past president. The bad guys (who are unbelievably smart and computer knowledgeable ) have created a computer virus that will shut down every segment of the United States, from security to finance to airports and highways. Through this virus, life as we know it will come to an end.

To prevent this from happening, Duncan (who happens to have been a special forces agent in his past) goes rogue. He hides where no one can find him and works with other really smart computer guys to stop the virus using intelligence rather than brawn. During this period of three or four days, the world faces disaster, but is ultimately saved. I don’t think that’s a spoiler.

The novel is long, and I approached it with some trepidation. To my surprise, I found the writing to be rather driving, and the story — though unrealistic — to be interesting. The villain behind the virus caught me by surprise.

The President is MissingĀ ends with a speech by President Duncan to Congress that I found to be a bit political for my taste. However, I recommend the book with no hesitation.

Here is a link to the book.