'Does Not Disappoint'--Far from It
"Does not disappoint." Such a mild phrase, but used so often in book reviews as high praise, as if the reviewer didn't want to jinx the book by saying "brilliant" or "inspired." "Does not disappoint" can be effective when evaluating a book in a series or a sophomore effort from a novelist, because the opportunities for disappointment are rife. This fall, I have read some books that not only did not disappoint, but that raised the bar for the next work from the authors.
Starting with Lee Child and The Affair (Delacorte), which is a prequel to his Jack Reacher series. Prequels are notoriously iffy, often just an attempt to cash in on popularity, but The Affair is top-notch--we see Reacher in the army, find out why he left, and why he travels with only a folding toothbrush. Last year, Bruce Machart came out with The Wake of Forgiveness (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a marvel of a book, and he's followed it with a story collection, Men in the Making (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), that is just as superb (see review below). December brings Egypt: The Book of Chaos by Nick Drake (Harper), which is the final volume in his Ancient Egyptian trilogy featuring chief detective Rai Rahotep of Thebes. The first two--Nefertiti, Tutankhamun--were fascinating mysteries based on historical fact, atmospheric, poetic and witty. Egypt presents the reader with a delicious dilemma: read it on one gulp or prolong the enjoyment over days? It may be the last of Rahotep, but the books are so good they warrant rereading. Another book that I will be rereading is Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur), a delectable mystery starring Max Tudor, late of MI5, now a vicar in an idyllic English village. Of course, the village is not so idyllic, and the ironic humor is dazzling. It's the first in a series that I am sure won't disappoint.
Do you have books that did not disappoint? If so, please send me an e-mail about them. --Marilyn Dahl