9 Nov 2017

(A MAX BROWN NOVEL #4): HOW EXISTENTIALISM ALMOST KILLED ME.

HOW EXISTENTIALISM ALMOST KILLED ME by MICHAEL BERNHART.


Fourteen years after their (mis)adventures in the US Max and Sally are comfortably ensconced in Geneva and both wondering if their lives of comfort and privilege don’t require they make a contribution. They find token employment with the CIA. This converts to an assignment to uncover the source of counterfeit drugs in Southeast Asia that are killing thousands.

 Unprepared, and overly zealous, their every effort seems to result in the death of a friend or acquaintance. The trail leads to remnants of the Khmers Rouges – the quintessence of evil – in western Cambodia. The battle is waged on elephant back, in a Thai brothel, in Cambodian minefields, and in Khmers Rouges strongholds. Sally is wounded and Max is forced to carry on alone.

Obsessed with the existence of evil since childhood, Max discovers an unwelcome source of barbarity: within himself.
- Back Cover Blurb (Contains what some may consider spoilers, scroll over text to reveal the full synopsis if you so desire. TT)

Do you read spy novels?
- First sentence, Chapter 1: Revelation

I backed into the bathroom and peered around the corner of the door. One man turned; he was holding a pistol. The second turned; another pistol. I was armed with a toothbrush.
- Memorable Moment, page 126

SOURCE ... Received from the author with thanks.

READ FOR ... Not applicable.

MY THOUGHTS ... With characters with names like So Phat and events like that in my Memorable Moment you have to give it to the author, his tongue-in-cheek style of writing is spot on. 

But don't be misled ....

A wonderful husband and wife duo, action and adventure, some very modern evils (drug counterfeiting, genocide, corruption, anyone?) - to say nothing of an elephant - this isn't a madcap read without substance. 

A book that pulls you in and won't let you go until the very last page. Max and Sally that bit older ... and wiser? Hmm! M&M (aka the twins, Margaret and Mary) off to college. My only small gripe with this, the last outing for Max and co (or is it? I certainly hope not), I didn't take the secondary characters to heart in quite the the same way as I had those in book three, How Speleology Restored My Sex Drive.

Yes, How Existentialism Almost Killed Me is book four in the series. Easily read as a stand-alone novel but why miss out on the previous adventures of the intrepid duo (and their resourceful off-spring) when you can read books one, two and three?

A talented writer, what could be implausible somehow plausible in his capable hands. Whether or not this is the last we see of the Brown's - who knows we could  see M&M take over (now there's a thought) - fingers crossed it won't be the last we'll see of Michael Bernhart.

8 comments:

Kelly said...

I remember being impressed with this series when you reviewed the last one and I'm pleased to hear the entertainment factor is holding steady with this latest. Book one is currently on my wish list. Perhaps it's time to move it to my TBR.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds like a very entertaining read. The husband and wife team who solve crimes, goes spying or engages in adventures is an old plot device but that still can generate interest.

I would start at the beginning of the series.

Suko said...

Tracy, this sounds wonderful and I'm glad you've enjoyed this book and series so much! Excellent review! The title and cover of this book are terrific.

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
Thank you for your excellent and
enthusiastic review. I still would
start with the first book of the series,
but I will add this book to my list as well.
As a lover of elephants, I loved the
great cover.
Raven

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I’m sure I would have walked right past this in a bookshop, and yet you’ve made it sound both interesting and fun. I don’t think I will be adding it to my TBR list just yet, but I will certainly pick it up and read a few pages if I happen to see it in Waterstones. If I like those few pages, I might even buy it. :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Cute cover and this one sounds like something I would end up enjoying. I really need to look up the series but good to know I could read it as a standalone!

DMS said...

This sounds like a unique and interesting read. Loved your review. Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Gina R said...

Hmm, well it certainly sounds better than it looks, to me anyway. Still I'm not certain if I'll get tangled up in this one...thanks for sharing!