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The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories
Simon Rich
The Dog Stars
Peter Heller
The Signal - Ron Carlson The only thing going for this book was the fact that it's short in length. The back cover sells it as a love story, with intrigue, but the only mystery is why this couple -- who are already divorced, with one in a new relationship -- would agree to go camping together in the first place.

Mack, the annoying male lead in this melodrama, is constantly ragging on his ex, because of what her new beau purchased for her. "Oh, nice camera. Did Kent buy that for you?" "Those are expensive binoculars! Did Kent get those for you?" And so forth. I was ready to slap him.

Vonnie, Mack's ex-wife, makes a big deal out of having him turn away when she gets dressed in the morning. She refuses to get nostalgic with him, as they hike through familiar territory. She is insistent that she is solely along for the fishing. I wanted them both to get lost in the woods, and allow me to find my way to a better story.

There is also intrigue thrown in. I suppose because Carlson cannot come up with a meaty relationship between Mack and Vonnie, the two shallow main characters. It seems that Mack also does some work for a secret government agent, all on the Q.T.. He relays codes from remote locations. On this particular camping trip, his mission is to track a downed spy plane, using his government issue Blackberry. Throw into the mix a couple of meth addicted elk poachers, and you've got a mishmash that sounds like a bad movie pitch in some Hollywood executive's office.

On the plus side, I now know to avoid any books by Ron Carlson.