#BookReview: A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee

Solid, But With A Glaring Error Early. As a romance between an amnesiac assassin and an undercover FBI agent, this story works great. As a continuation of this new Richter series (which is apparently a spinoff from the First Wives series, though I did not know that until perusing the reviews on Goodreads for this book), this works quite well. As a forced-proximity romance, this is actually fairly inventive, as the leading couple is not alone in the house… *and* there are cameras and sensors (almost) everywhere to boot!

But there is one *blinding* in its glaringness issue that needs to be mentioned, even though it isn’t objectively strong enough to remove a star over (though I know some who would likely 1* the book on this issue alone). And that issue is the very moment the assassin becomes an amnesiac. When she is shot on a crowded Las Vegas street in a drive by shooting with a “silenced” weapon. That nobody hears.

Why is this so glaring?

Because I know from both handling firearms and speaking/ listening to others who do that suppressors – they aren’t actually called “silencers”, for one – don’t actually silence a weapon, unlike what happens so often in Hollywood. Depending on several factors such as barrel length of the gun (usually shorter, in drive by situations), temperature, humidity, etc – all of which would be known and factored by professional hitmen/ security / assassin types – a suppressor *at best* takes a gun shot from sounding like you’re standing beside the speakers at a rock concert to sounding like your is using a chainsaw to cut down a tree on the other side of the fence you are standing beside.

In other words, for the shot not to be heard by *everyone* nearby – inside or outside – is so implausible that it brings the reader out of the story if they know the realities of these devices *at all*.

And since Bybee herself noted during the discussion of her Canyon Creek series that she knows her way around a shotgun, it is implausible that the author is not aware of these issues directly. Which makes them being written this way even worse. Though again, because it was a singular point in the book and not a recurring problem, it isn’t a star-deduction level error.

Ultimately, this is a quite solid book for what it actually is, and I’m still very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes from here. (And I’ll need to go back and read the book this series spins off from, since I bought it years ago and have yet to read it. :D) Very much recommended.

This review of A Thin Disguise by Catherine Bybee was originally written on May 27, 2021.

#BookReview: The Guns Of John Moses Browning by Nathan Gorenstein

Remarkable Biography Of One Of The Most Influential Men Of The 20th Century. In this, the first biography of John Moses Browning ever written by anyone other than a descendant (and only the second ever written, period), Gorenstein does a truly remarkable job of showing the life, times, and inventions of a man who could arguably be said to be more actually influential on the 20th century than even Thomas Edison or Henry Ford. Yes, Edison revolutionized how we are able to see and gave us the truly 24/7 world, and Ford revolutionized both transportation and manufacturing more generally, but Browning revolutionized how we *kill things* – animal or human – and that alone has driven many of the most important issues of the 20th century. It was Browning’s early rifles that may not have won the West – but certainly made it even easier to live there. It was Browning’s (then-Colt) 1911 that is *to this day* one of the most popular types of pistol in the world, over a century after Browning won the competition for the US Army’s new service pistol (a contract it would keep for over 70 years and through both World Wars, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War). Indeed, that very model – the Colt 1911 – played a legendary part of the lore of one Lieutenant George S Patton and the first motorized military raid in the 1916-17 Punitive Expedition. In WWII, many infantry units – very likely including both of my grandfathers’ own units – carried up to four different Browning guns into battle, between his 1911, his Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and his “Ma Deuce” Browing M2 .50 caliber machine gun.

And Gorenstein does a phenomenal job of showing the development and importance of each, including Browning designing the gas-piston system of modern automatic and semi-automatic rifles *in a single day*. Gorenstein shows how Browning, of truly humble beginnings, designed his first gun from scraps laying around his dad’s engineering and repair shop – just to hunt small game to help feed the family. Gorenstein shows how these humble beginnings played such a role in Browning not even really beginning to invent until at or beyond the age when others in more academic professions say genius decays – and how this “lost decade” played such a role in Browning’s later drive and inventiveness.

It doesn’t matter what you think of how Browning’s designs and their derivatives over the last 100+ years have been used. You know about Edison, or can. You know about Ford, or can. You deserve to educate yourself about this genius as well, if only to learn the lessons of his genius. And this book is the very first time you really can. Very much recommended.

And here are (most of) the guns in question, just to show how truly prolific this amazing man was.

This review of The Guns Of John Moses Browning by Nathan Gorenstein was originally written on March 27, 2021.

#BookReview: The Enemy of My Enemy by Richard Bard

Excellent Continuation. This book continues the storyline and pacing from the previous book and raises the stakes quite a bit in the process. If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll enjoy this one, but as this is the second book in the series, you really do need to start from the beginning.

I wound up dinging this one a star because of the author’s continued miscommunication about guns. The vast majority of which do not have “clips”, they have “magazines”. And there are *few* fully automatic pistols, virtually none of which even military contractors would be allowed to have on the streets of the United States. So while the author continually refers to characters having “automatics”, they really should be “semi-automatics” or even just “pistols” or “sidearms”.

All that said, this series is a solid thriller with elements of scifi – if you like either genre, you may well like this series and I absolutely recommend checking it out.

This review of The Enemy of My Enemy by Richard Bard was originally published on October 25, 2018.