Member Spotlight: Suncoast

By Simon McDonald, Editorial Manager |

Suncoast joined TheReadingRoom in August 2013 and has since reviewed more than 200 books, including recently The Catch by Taylor Stevens, One Kick by Chelsea Cain and The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty. He’s written over a hundred more on his website, too.

Suncoast is currently reading Tom Clancy: Support and Defend by Mark Greaney Suncoast is currently reading Tom Clancy: Support and Defend by Mark Greaney, the latest ‘Campus’ novel.[/caption]

What book(s) are you reading right now? Tom Clancy: Support and Defend by Mark Greaney – to see if the late Tom Clancy’s last co-author can continue the Clancy tradition. Also, Tanamera: A Novel of Singapore by the late Noel Barber – I haven’t been well and chose to revisit this 1981 historical family romantic classic saga about Singapore in the 1930s and 40s as a comforter.

What book will you read next? This is one of the hardest things to decide as my TBR list is very long. I want to find time to read the second book in the Sean Duffy trilogy about the Northern Ireland “Troubles” by Adrian McKinty,  I Hear the Sirens in the Street,  because the first, The Cold, Cold Ground, was excellent.

What has been your favorite book of the year, so far? So far a dead heat between two very different books. The Rosie Project by  Graeme Simsion – an entertaining and amusing feel-good story about a man with Asperger’s syndrome that made me laugh, and sometimes cry, and looked at love, personal relationships and self-discovery in a very different way. The Catch  – #4 in Taylor Stevens’ excellent series about Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, one of the most complex, violent but compelling characters in modern adrenaline-filled action packed adventure fiction.

What book are you most looking forward to this year? Definitely The Heist by Daniel Silva, #14 in his long running Gabriel Allon series about a unique fictional character who is a world renowned art restorer but also top Mossad agent, assassin, and spy.

What makes you love a book? Two sometimes conflicting things – when it is a page-turner that I find hard to put down and when it has an emotional content that tugs at your heartstrings.

Is there one book you would recommend to everyone? I often recommend Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. While it is frequently harrowing, it is a story full of emotion and human philosophy – I would give it 6 stars if I could.

The next novel in Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series - Suncoast's favorite - will be published July 15 in North America.

The next novel in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series – Suncoast’s favorite – will be published July 15 in North America.

Is there a book you love that nobody else seems to? I have recommended Shantaram to several friends and they don’t like it (but most reviewers do). Maybe it is because it is too harrowing and they haven’t visited Mumbai where it is set.

What is your favorite genre to read? Most thrillers but probably politico/espionage/covert ops is my favorite. I have a fond place for Classic Epics (e.g. most James Michener, War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk, Exodus by Leon Uris, Churchill’s memoirs, God is an Englishman series by R F Delderfield, etc.)

How often do you agree with critics about a book? Most times but there have been a couple of worrying times in the last few months when others loved a book that I couldn’t finish or I only gave it a couple of stars.

How do you feel about giving negative reviews? If I have purchased a book after checking out the reviews and it doesn’t meet my standards (especially if it blows my believability barometer) I have no hesitation giving it a negative review. I am hesitant when the book is not my normal genre or subject. If I have been gifted the book for review I am hesitant to write a review if it would harm the author or publisher.

Have you ever been intimidated to start reading a book? I don’t remember being intimidated, but I admit to wanting to read a book that I would not normally choose to see what the hype is all about. For example, The Cuckoo’s Calling  by Robert Galbraith (a very ordinary vanilla thriller) and even Fifty Shades of Grey to find out why so many people loved such erotic nonsense.

What was the last book that you couldn’t put down until you finished it? The Catch by Taylor Stevens.

What is your favorite book series? Gabriel Allon by Daniel Silva. Runners up (not in order) include Jack Reacher [Lee Child], The Camel Club [David Baldacci], Jake Grafton [Stephen Coonts], Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller [Michael Connelly], Richard Sharpe [Bernard Cornwell], Phryne Fisher [Kerry Greenwood] etc, etc. The rank outsider is Dan Kane by talented Indie author Steve Gannon.

Who is your favorite book character? Gabriel Allon [Daniel Silva] (and the other runners up from the previous question).

Who is your favorite author? Probably Daniel Silva.

What is your favourite book of all time? Shantaram for modern fiction, Centennial by James Michener for modern epics, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy for Classics.

You can follow Suncoast’s reviews at TheReadingRoom.