Monday, November 4, 2013

In Honor of Jenny and Katie, I Have 2 Reviews for You - and Both Are 3.5's

We all know that Mitch Albom and Jeffrey Archer are world-renowned authors and storytellers.  Mitch struck it rich with Tuesdays with Morrie and, many years earlier, Jeffrey Archer with Kane and Abel.  But, like any author who has written a lot of books (31, in Archer's case), some are better than others.  Let me take each one's latest separately.

I have read all of Mitch's books:  Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Have a Little Faith, For One More Day, and The Time Keeper.  I've liked all of them, except The Time Keeper, a lot.  The Time Keeper was just okay.  This latest, The First Phone Call from Heaven, is definitely my favorite.  Here is a very short synopsis from Goodreads:   

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out.

Let me mention a couple of features of this book, without giving anything away, that stood out for me:

1.  There is quite a bit of history surrounding Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray (who?).  I love history.

2.  There is a scene a little over half way through in which one of the people receiving calls from heaven reacts in a very surprising way.  My mouth dropped.
3.  It's just flat-out well-written.  I connected to the characters immediately which, as many (some? few? none?) of you know, is crucial to me.

This is a book that, I think, most everybody would enjoy (a candidate for FFTNFR VI, perhaps?).  

There are Jeffrey Archer books that we all know and love - Kane and Able, The Prodigal Daughter, and A Prisoner of Birth, among many others.  But I think that his current series, The Clifton Chronicles, is among his best work.  I just read book 3, Best Kept Secret, which follows book 1, The Sins of the Father (review on 10/29/11 - a 3.0), and book 2, Only Time Will Tell (review 6/6/12 - a 3.5).  

Book 1 starts shortly before WWI and goes through the war.  Book 2 takes up the story shortly before WWII and ends after that war.  And book 3 starts right after book 2 ends.  The opening few pages of book 3 focus on the resolution of a lawsuit that began at the end of book 2.  Archer does a masterful job describing how the lawsuit gets resolved.  I was fascinated by all of it.  

Once again, I really care about the characters.  No series is going to last if you aren't anxious to find out what happens to them next.  It will, and I do.


  1. Somewhat off topic, but I just have to say that the cover of Archer's book is outstanding! I'd buy it for that alone. But after reading your review, I'll read it, too. LOL

  2. Interestingly enough, Cheryl and Steve Hare, the owners of VHOB, bought a lot of books based on the covers. They wanted the books to look good in the individual cubbies. And they do!

  3. I loved Tuesdays with Morrie, but the two after that were just okay for me. Since this is your favorite I'll make sure to give it a try.

  4. I liked his next 2, but I don't think you'll be disappointed in this one.
    P.S. Did I tell you that I bought Rebecca (sometimes I tend to repeat myself)? It's sitting in a TBR file with 24 others.