Wednesday, February 27, 2013

As in all of the books I've read by Elmore Leonard, the story gets rolling immediately and the reader's attention is caught and held.

Jack Delaney has been working at his brother-in-law's funeral parlor after his brother-in-law helped with an early release for Jack, from Angola.

Jack is ordered to remove a body from a hospital dealing with people who had leprosy. He's also asked to bring another person to the removal. This person turns out to be a lovely ex-nun who is trying to help hide the woman who they pretended was deceased.

Jack wasn't privy to this information and when he arrives and finds that the woman was alive and hiding from  a Nicaraguan colonel who wants to kill her for trying to infect him with leprosy.

In a wonderfully plotted story, the colonel is in New Orleans to raise money that is supposed to be used to fight in Nicaragua. However, Jack and a number of his colorful friends want to get this money to help the ex-nun build a hospital in Nicaragua for caring for people with leprosy.

The characters are well described and realistic and the dialogue is masterful.

A well written mystery that shouldn't be missed.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Novel from the creator of PBS series DCI Banks

I have greatly enjoyed the PBS series DCI Banks based on the novels of Peter Robinson so I decided to read one of his books.

I chose "Before the Poison" which is a recent stand alone which I found to be a most entertaining reading experience.

In the story, Chris Lowndes was a successful movie score composer in Hollywood. He decides to relocate to the Yorkshire area of his younger days.

Chris purchases an old mansion and later, finds that many years ago, this was the setting of a crime. A doctor's wife was accused and found guilty of the doctor's murder. She was executed for her crime.

With time on his hands, Chris begins looking into the facts surrounding the case and the story follows his search to see if the woman was really guilty.

We follow the events of her trial and then see the edited version of her diary. She had been a WWII nurse who served in Singapore and other places. She was even in a boat that was sunk by the Japanese  leaving few survivors.

This is an excellent book rich in the history of WWII and the extreme horrors that some of the military nurses endured.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Edgar Award nominee

The protagonist of this story is a mother trying to make ends meet. She also has a secret that cannot be revealed.

When her husband tells her that he has a business opportunity to work in Europe, she is surprised. However, since it would mean much more money to the family, there isn't any reason not to accept.

Once they arrive in Luxembourg  her husband begins working long hours and goes on trips across Europe for his company.

Then, she meets a couple who are also from America. These expats become friendly with Kate and her husband. They are so often together that Kate doesn't think too much about it.

Eventually, Kate does want to know more about her husband's job and why the couple have such an interest in her and her husband.

There are many twists to the plot, which is cleverly written.

The author has been nominated for an Edgar Award for best first novel and I recommend the novel which shows Kate's resourcefulness and the degree that she would go to in order to protect her family.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bad men; good book, excellent suspense

I enjoyed reading this stand alone novel by John Connolly.

His characters are well described and believable and the setting, an island off the Portland coast of Maine, is easy to imagine as is the incidents that take place there.

A number of evil men are intent to do something on the island where, long ago, a massacre had taken place. The spirits from this incident have the ability to rise up when something of evil nature is going to take place on their island.

The protagonist, Joe Dupree, a giant of a man, is the protector of the island's secrets.
He's almost a God-like figure in  his care for the members of his community. He's definitely the kind of character that the reader would become interested in and want him to succeed.

There are also a number of surprises with Connolly's characters and I felt the influence of Stephen King in this work.

This is a highly entertaining novel that will catch the reader's attention from the start.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Powerful story. Timely and deserving of praise

There have been many excellent comments by reviewers about Derek Nikita's first novel so I decided to read the novel which has been published for a few years.

I'm glad I did. I found the story unique with memorable characters and a plot that caught my interest from the beginning.

A sixteen-year-old girl asks her professor father to take her to the local mall. She steals a couple of CD's and is almost caught. When she rushes back to her father in his car, she's in the backseat when a gunman knocks on the window and demands her father's wallet. When her father tries to get away, the gunman shoots and kills him.

Another example of gun violence and senseless killing.

In another part of the story, a young, pregnant woman has a minor car accident while bringing money[ to the bank for her boyfriend. It is easy to observe her distress and fear of her boyfriend's reaction.

When the world of these two women collide at a desperate time, they must figure out a way to get out of a hellish situation in the midst of a gang of ruthless thugs.

The local police detective seems the only person willing to pay the price to  save the teenager who had just witnessed her father's murder.

This is a literary story with suspense well described characters and settings. It shouldn't be missed.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Next review and health update

Health update:  We made it through the storm with between 2 1/2 to 3 feet of snow. Then the town plow did the roads and dumped another two feet in front of our driveway.

Luckily, the person we use for plowing was able to get a backhoe at a large expense to us, but who cares, we're plowed our.

Now we have freezing rain and ice on the roads and our town has imposed a traffic ban.

I'm supposed to have my second chemo tomorrow and we're trying to reach the hosp to reschedule but haven't heard anything back.

My review:

Bonita Faye is a country girl from Oklahoma with dreams of having a better life and some day going to France. The time is sometime prior to the Korean War.

Something happens to her abusive husband and a sympathetic Oklahoma State Trooper befriends her.  Eventually they form a romantic relationship and the first steps to a better life begin.

As she begins to shape her life and enjoy it, she follows her goal of becoming a better person.

After a number of years, she is able to follow her life goal of going to France even though she can't speak the language.  However, she meets a kindly man and he helps her, becoming one of her close friends.

The descriptions of small town life and Bonita Faye's determination to obtain her goals is well done and makes the reader applaud her courage. She's a good example of a country girl who is unafraid to take a chance to make sure her dreams come true.

There is romance, suspense, plot twists and excellent character development in the story with Bonita becoming a character who will stay in the reader's memory.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A look at a 1950's time in history in Hollywood.

Before this review, just a health update. Supposed to have my next chemo treatment this coming Tuesday but worry about being able to get to the hospital. Currently about 2 1/2 to 3 feet of snow in the driveway and the town began clearing the roads and dumped about another 2 feet of snow at the end of my driveway.
We have a person who plows but he can't get into the driveway due to the excess from the town and they aren't answering the phone.
More later....


My review:

"Die a Little" brings back the 1950's and  mystery solving that is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler.

Lora King, a school teacher, has always been very close to her brother, Bill, a young attorney in the DA's office.

Bill meets a mystery woman named Alice and soon, they marry. As Lora gets to know Alice, things about what Alice says about her past don't add up causing Lora to wonder what Bill has gotten into.

Then Alice introduces Lora to a good time woman named Lois and the three woman begin to socialize. Lora seems fascinated and yet continues to be protective of Bill.

The setting is Hollywood and is well done as movie studios are described and we meet people from the movie sets. We also learn of their lives and the things they get away with.

The reader will enjoy Lora and her mystery solving activity as she looks into the lives of Alice and Lois.

The story captured my attention from the start and I recommend it as a good subject of the noir novel.

Friday, February 8, 2013

There's a story in the mist

"In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" shows the spiritual and compassionate side of Det. Dave Robicheaux of the New Iberia Police Department.

As the story opens, there has been a murder of a nineteen-year-old prostitute. Her body has also been mutilated.

When Dave sees the body and notices the victim's purse is still in the nightclub she had been at, he assumes that she knew her killer and that it wasn't random.

We also see a childhood acquaintance of Dave's move back into New Iberia. Julie Balboni has ties to the mob and wants to become involved in a movie being made about the Civil War. The sheriff wants Dave to encourage Julie to leave New Iberia and take his mob business elsewhere.

As the movie is being made, Dave meets the star, Elwood Sykes. Showing his compassionate nature, Dave tries to help him, Elwood, with his alcohol difficulties. Through the story, Dave and Elwood form an interesting relationship.

The plot is excellently written with a number of plot twists that add to the uniqueness of the story and keep it unpredictable.

The story was written a number of years ago but demonstrates why Dave Robicheaux is such a popular character in today's detective fiction.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A medical thriller that gets political

Michael Palmer gives us a new case for Dr. Lou Welcome of the Physicians Wellness Center. He tries to help doctors who have gotten in trouble or have situations that need assistance.

He's called by one of his clients, Dr. Gary McHugh who tells Lou that he's about to be arrested for killing powerful Congressman Elias Colston. What's more, McHugh was intoxicated and doesn't really know what happened. Lou has faith in McHugh and starts working on a case that would seem helpless to many.

As Lou gets into the investigation, he works with Dr. McHugh's attorney, Sarah Cooper, a woman with no love of doctors.

The action is nonstop and the characters are well described, the reader will like the good characters and dislike those who are out for another purpose.

The plot moves into the area of arms and military activity with a number of surprises.

Lou and Sarah grow on each other and a number of Lou's colorful friends help out.

A very enjoyable story that kept my attention throughout.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mixing history and fiction in a political thriller

Brad Meltzer brings the Culper Ring in this story. That  is a group of spies first established by George Washington as his personal spy ring.

The story tells of fourteen attempts on the lives of the U.S. Presidents-with four being successful. It was thought that these crimes were random but what if they were part of a conspiracy and the organization responsible is in the process of a plan to assassinate the current President?

Beecher White of the National Archives leads the investigation into the conspiracy and to attempt to save the President's life.

The story is a nice mixture of history and fiction and the author makes the story seem possible.

The  characters are drawn out of the history pages and the story moves right along.

There are also a number of surprises to add to the entertainment value.

I was entertained by the story and a glance of what history might be.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A dark story with paranormal aspects

A relative of Charlie Parker's friend, Louis, is kidnapped off the streets of New York.

Louis was supposed to keep an eye on his relative and feels the guilt of her disappearance. His partner, Angel, and Charlie Parker offer their help.

Through their search, they find a link to a church of bones in Eastern Europe and an object known as the Black Angel which is worth millions but may have a life of its own.

John Connolly does a good job in making his characters come to life. In this story we observe the misery of many prostitutes in New York and how they are oppressed by their pimps and others.

There is quite a bit of violence but good descriptions of life and, in addition, Charlie Parker's humor helps offset the gloom and violence.

Not for everyone but I found the book enjoyable.

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Broken Promise