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The Sentry

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I finished Robert Crais’s latest crime novel last night. The Sentry. It was released last Tuesday and I had pre-ordered the Kindle version, so first thing Tuesday morning, I had a copy on my iPad. It is the 14th in Crais’s series of Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels (see here for the complete list). As I have explained before, most of the books focus on Cole, with Pike as a secondary character. I started reading Crais in 2008 with novel #12, featuring Cole, then read #13 last May, as I wrote in a post in early June. It was the second novel featuring Joe Pike, and led me to go back to #11, the first Pike novel, which I read in Nantucket in September.

Crais wasted no time writing yet another Pike novel — The Sentry — and I wasted no time getting it. But I didn’t start it until I went to bed two nights ago. Less than 24 hours later, I had finished it.

Maybe reading three of them in 6 1/2 months wasn’t such a good idea. I didn’t enjoy this one as much. I don’t feel that I learned much more about Pike as a character, and I didn’t find him so interesting anymore. The plot drove me along. Crais is pretty good at that. But even that wasn’t so interesting. What was good was the use of the Venice area of Los Angeles, or Los Angeles as a whole, as the backdrop for the story. I wandered around Venice with Gail a little over a decade ago on a trip down there, so I had some picture in my head of the neighborhood, but now I’m curious to return and get a better sense of it.

Next up: Paul Clemens’ Punching Out: One Year in a Closing Auto Plant, which will be published tomorrow. I pre-ordered it over half a year ago for my Kindle. I must have read some short piece by Clemens at the time that mentioned the upcoming book, and ordered it immediately. I wrote two Junes ago about Clemens’ previous book, the superb Made in Detroit: A South of 8 Mile Memoir.

Maybe I should add a few words about e-readers. I started The Sentry Sunday night on my iPad, because it’s what I happened to have at hand. But yesterday, when I set about reading the book in earnest, I switched to the Kindle. It’s still my preferred e-reader, unless I actually want the distraction of being able to check my email and the blogs every few minutes. But distractions aside, it’s so much easier to hold for extended periods of reading. Holding an iPad with one hand isn’t feasible. Holding a Kindle and turning pages with one hand makes a huge difference. And just imagine how much better the experience must be with the third generation — lighter still, better contrast. In two days, I won’t have to imagine. My new Kindle will arrive.

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