Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Don't be cruel, to the one you love." Song Lyrics

In another story of Chief Inspector Gamache of the surete du Quebec, the reader is taken to the colorful, wintry village of Three Pines, a forgotten village like a Canadian Brigadoon (without the singing.)

The story opens as the villagers are getting ready to celebrate Easter and having an Easter egg hunt. Then they decide to celebrate Easter and the renewal of life, with a seance. It is to be at the Timmer Hadley house which brings up bad memories for at least one villager.

The headlines of the paper the following day after the seance is that a woman is scared to death at a seance.

Gamache is sent to investigate and he must find if there is a crime and then find a possible murderer, all the while where is office is filled with intrigue and the prior superintendent is serving time in jail thanks to Gamache's diligent work. However, this man had friends and they aren't the type to forget Gamache's actions.

Even in his own family, there are things he must deal with with his daughter and son-in-law living in Paris and Gamache's wife, wanting to spend more time with them.

The characters are wonderfully portrayed and memorable and Gamache is a legend.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Wind, rain, sleet or snow, I'm gonna be wherever you go" song lyrics

A reader knows what to expect when they begin reading a Brad Thor thriller--the unexpected!

In "Code of Conduct" ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath is sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to learn what happened to a WHO health clinic..

He and his team discover that the health clinic is empty but has been sanitized. Further investigation shows that there had been a blood bath. They search the area and come upon a father and his blind son and learn what transpired.

In a linked story, we learn of a beautiful woman who was trapped in a sex slave operation and what happens when she's had too much to bear.

As the action continues to fire up the pages, a billionaire maniaz feels the world's population is too vast and will destroy the world. He conspires to set up a plan to drastically lower the population of the world.

With nervous hands turning the pages I feared for the world and follow as the plot moves to the United States. People begin to become sick and die.

An African fever -African Hemorrhagic Fever- (in the Ebola family) is set loose and more and more people become affected.

How will anyone stop the virus from wiping out large segments of the world? Then a twist that couldn't be foreseen changes  the direction of the story...

Sounds terrifying....let me catch my breath.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Crazy, I'm crazy for thinking about you." Song Lyrics

I enjoy novels of the American West. After seeing the cover blurb in "Crazy Mountain Kiss," that the story would be perfect for fans of Craig Johnson, I was sold.

A member of the Madison River Liar and Fly Tiers club comes to a rented mountain cabin in order to work on his manuscript. Wanting to warm the cabin up, he checks the chimney and finds a Santa hat there. Then he climbs on the roof of the cabin and finds the body of a teenage girl wedged in the chimney.

How could the teenager get into this spot? What caused  her death? These are questions that on again off again private investigator Sean Stranahan is hired to find out.

The story moves at a liesurly pace as we learn about the characters and life in the Montana mountains.

The deceased, Cindy Huntington is well described. She seemed so full of life and ready for the happiness in her future that her untimely death hits the reader and the other characters hard.

Stranahan keeps at his trade and discovers that there is an adult couples club that would rent the mountain cabin from the Forest Service. Sean begins interviewing the members of the club and comes across a group of wacky characters. Then he begins to get closer to the person responsible for Cindy's death.

It is easy to see why there is a comparison to the work of Craig Johnson. One of the characters is a consultant for a modern TV show about the American West. The show has an American Indian as the sidekick to the sheriff and the sheriff himself, being a tall man who has to duck his head to enter rooms, good comparison to Johnson's TV show, "Longmire".

The life of the characters is well portrayed but the action suffers and it is drawn out before Stranahan makes further headway into solving the crime.

McCafferty is skilled with the character descriptions and tales of their adventures but I would have enjoyed it more if he got right to solving the mystery.  In addition, some of the characters seemed to be right out of a Hallmark TV movie.  However, "Crazy Mountain Kiss" is an enjoyable read and excellent for a book to read on a vacation.

I received a copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Young blood, I can't get you out of my mind." Song lyrics

I was really in the mood for a good book when I began "In the Blood."

The complex story tells of Lana Granger, a college student who has a limited trust fund. The manager of the trust advises her to get a job to supplement the trust income, something easy to do while she continues her studies.  She sees a notice about a babysitting job and accepts the position.

Luke is the boy Lana will be taking care of. He's age eleven and has a troubled past. He's been expelled from numerous schools and is a demanding and controlling boy.

Lana's own life has been a nightmare. There is a major memory of her mother's death and now her college roommate, Beck, disappears. Beck (short for Rebecca)  is also Lana's best friend.

The reader learns that Lana is a habitual liar so it's difficult to know when to believe her. There are questions about Beck's disappearance and that of another girl a few years before. Lana's reaction to these incidents don't seem to make her very upset. She comes across as a self centered and selfish woman. She is also hard to like.

However, as the reader learns more about her past, feelings change. There are some surprises to the story and one of them had me wondering how it could be possible.

Luke, although only eleven, seems to make Lana do his bidding and I found this unlikely.

Overall, not many likable characters. The story does move fast but I wish there was more to it.

Retribution or justice?

In this fine novel which was nominated for the Anthony Award for the Best First Mystery Novel, a predator stalks and rapes law student Chloe Larson and escapes.

12 years later, a string of murders has occurred in the Miami area. The killer is dubbed, cupid and the cupid killer. A policeman pulls a car over for a traffic offense and when the driver refuses to allow the author to check his trunk, a K-9 unit is called. The dog whiffs something. On popping the trunk, they find a dead girl with a missing heart. William Bantling demands a lawyer.

He's brought before the court and prosecutor C.J.Townsend. Is Bantling the serial killer or a copy cat? Then, C. J. hears the man's voice and remembers it. Even though it's been 12 years, C.J. remembers the attack, the break-up of her relationship and her nervous breakdown.  She had moved to Florida, changed her name and passed the Florida bar exam. She's able to survive with drive and periodic visits to her analyst.

When C. J. recognizes the voice she becomes more determined than ever, to make sure that the man who raped her and killed the woman in his trunk gets what he deserves. C.J. must walk a thin line between justice and retribution.

This is a wonderful plot driven novel. C.J.Townsend is a first rate protagonist, sympathetic yet strong in her resolve. The author adds an interesting but somewhat predictable plot twist at the end which heightened the enjoyment.

Film rights have been sold to Warner Brothers and John Wells Productions, the film is currently under development.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucious

Det. Lt. Lindsay Boxer, SFPD is with friends from the women's murder club when her former partner tells her that there is a lead on a vehicle from the scene of a murder. After a chase of the vehicle, a shootout ensues. Lindsay and her partner are both shot, one of the two teenagers in the car is killed and the other injured.

After Lindsay's release from the hospital from her injuries, she learns that the father of the twenagers in the chase is suing her for wrongful death, excessive use of force and police misconduct.

This is a very timely topic. If only the teenagers were black the headlines would have been horrific. However Lindsay is put on leave while the case comes to trial.

During this time, she travels to her sister's home not far from San Francisco. While there a true policeman's or policewoman's holiday takes place. A number of murders take place in Half Moon Bay and Lindsay offers her expertise in an attempt to solve the murders.

This is a great book for a summer read. Fast moving action, a good protagonist, her dog, Penelope, a large Vietnamese potbellied pig and a number of murders.

Not much character development but it's not really necessary, most of us have read of Lindsay Boxer and the women's murder club. (Although they aren't a factor in this story.) Some well placed surprises and a clever novel to read.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Life is worth living and fighting for

Don Winslow has created another edge of seat thriller with "The Cartel." I was totally captivated by the story and rate it among the best novels I've read this year.

In a story that seemed so true that much of the action could have been taken from the pages of the newspaper, DEA Agent, Art Keller is up against Adan Barrera, the head of El Federation, the most powerful cartel. Barrera murdered Keller's partner and betrayed Keller's friendship.

As I was reading the story, the news of El Chapo's escape from prison brought this story home with a wallop. In "The Cartel," Barrera, like El Chapo" breaks out of prison and resumes his active leadership of his cartel.

We see the other cartels in action in most parts of Mexico and their unstoppable rise to power.

Barrera and the leaders of the other cartels are utterly brutal. They think nothing of killing innocent women and children in horrendous manners. As their power grows, the cartels between to clash and a war between the crime families ensues. Neither the local police nor government forces seem able to stop their rise to power and the spread of their empires.

The characters are colorful and well drawn. Anyone picking up this massive novel and expecting an easy read will be disappointed. Instead, it is a powerful expose of the Mexican cartels and the manner in which they become so powerful. Art Keller is an excellent protagonist, true to life, with flaws but heroic.

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