Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket." Song lyrics

A prospective client comes to P.I. Jake Desmond's office and wants him to find her husband. Jake learns that her husband is wanted by the police as a suspect on the killing of the man's partner who is Jake's friend and mentor.

To get by in the private investigator world in San Francisco, it is important to have many contacts, both legitimate and people outside the law. Joe knows many police officers and mobsters. He's also done many favors for people and getting information from them is a means of payback.

Joe's investigation is mildly interesting but I had the feeling that I've read books like this before. Perhaps that is part of the interest to the reader. For instance, as I read this novel, I was reminded of one of the leaders in P.I. writing in California, Philip Marlowe and the author Raymond Chandler.

I also loved the cover of "Catching Water in a Net." It seems to have a story in itself. I would have loved being in the room and see what the author was writing and try to learn why the author took one step rather than another.

This is a new author and I look forward to other books by him in the future.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Playing with cards can be deadly

Fans of Elmore Leonard's "Get Shorty" will enjoy "Drawing Dead."

Con men Tommy campo and Ben Fink operate the Tom and Ben Show speculating in comic books. They profess to sell collectible comics and one buyer is mobster Joey C. (Joseph Battagno). The comics are enclosed in a Stasis Shield and aren't supposed to be opened since it would destroy their value.

Joey C's girlfriend wants to read one of the comics and Joey relents. They find empty pages inside the cover. Joey sends his henchman  to find the con men and pay them back for making Joey look bad.

The search takes the henchman to Minnesota where Joe Crowe is a former cop. Joe is hired by stockbroker Rich "Dickie" Wicky to find out if Dickie's wife is having an affair and to buy the person off.

Dickie gets involved in the comic book scheme and goes overboard in selling them to his clients.

The author does a good job in describing his characters and providing them with unique characteristics so they'd be interesting to the reader.

I enjoyed reading about Joe and his girlfriend, Laura, both who seemed to have turned their lives around after being involved with cocaine.

The novel is well written, besides the comedic aspects, the reader knows they are getting a good story.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Touch me in the morning" Song lyrics

Charlie Lawson joined a Franciscan order and became a Monk serving in Brazil.

Bill Hill is a former minister who currently sells R.V.s. He used to run the Uni-Faith ministry in Georgia.  Bill happens to see a young man named Juvenal touch a woman who had been blind for over fifteen years. Suddenly, the woman regained her sight.

Later, Lawson tells the reader that when he joined the Franciscans  they gave him the name Juvenal. Bill is sure that Juvenal has the healing touch and Bill feels that if he could get Juvenal to join a TV healing ministry, it could be a financial boom.

When Bill has trouble contacting Juvenal, Bill recruits Lynn Faulkner to help. She had been part of his Uni-Faith ministry.

The characters are well drawn and unique. One of the very different characters is August Murray who is part of a group called Outrage. They want the Church to return to the old ways and have Latin be the language of the Mass.

Very different from Leonard's standard novels and I enjoyed the image of Juvenal helping to heal the afflicted children. Coming from a procedure at the Smilow Cancer Clinic today, I wish Juvenal had his magic healing hand on the 8th floor.

Overall, this is a pleasant novel to read with interesting characters and a well described setting.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Riding, riding down the river

Raylan Givens is a U.S. Marshall in Florida. He has a strong moral code and is loyal to his friends.

Harry Arno is a retired gambler who had a recent DWI and so his ex-girlfriend, Joyce, has been relegated to act as his chauffeur  Joyce has been dating Raylan for a while and they've become accustomed to each other.

Harry uses a number of men to collect gambling debts when necessary.  One of the people who owe Harry a great deal of money is Chip Gantz and when he's visited by Bobby Deo to collect the money he owes Harry, Chip offers Bobby a job.

This is an interesting story with good character development and is entertaining. One of the entertaining characters is a young woman, Rev. Dawn Navarro, a psychic. Surprisingly, she may actually have some psychic powers.

As usual with Elmore Leonard, the story is original and entertaining. There is excellent dialogue and scene descriptions that help the reader feel as though the action is taking place right in front of them.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pulitzer Prize winner and a book somewhat forgotten

1928 was a significant year in history with conflicts between China and Japan, with Germany gearing up their military and in Italy protests against Mussolini.

That was also the year in which Peterkin wrote "Scarlet Sister Mary" which won the Pulitzer in 1929.

The story details Southern Life with a setting in South Carolina.

Mary is a former slave who still lives in the plantation of her younger days. The Blue Brook Plantation is the name. Maum Hannah and Buddah Ben were as close to parents as she ever had.

The novel should be of interest to readers who enjoy Southern Literature with excellent dialogue and setting to help visualize the story even more.

I also enjoyed the way that faith comes into the story where Mary develops a wild side but eventually comes back to having a stronger faith.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Roses are red sorrow is near

This literary novel reminded me of the book of Job.

Like Job, Eric Moore, had pretty much everything, a good job, good finances and well thought of in the community and a happy family.

One night, his teenage son, Keith, is asked to babysit for their eight-year-old neighbor.  Keith comes home on time and nothing seems unusual until the next morning when the neighbor calls to tell them that their daughter is missing.

The story deals with mistrust, and doubt where everything points to Keith and police look for little else.

Then, Keith's computer is confiscated by the police and he's brought in for questioning.

All this is told to the reader in literary style and when another character does something drastic, the girl's father tells Eric that this doesn't change anything.

The conclusion is beautifully done and leaves the reader thinking how one man can endure so much.

Highly recommended and deserving of the literary awards of winning a Barry Award and being nominated for an Anthony Award.

Please see my Amazon review and leave comments about the review under that section. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A nice mixture of cultures

Toshi Okamoto was born on a Japanese Island. He had a fascination with American things, particularly, movies, the culture and Audrey Hepburn.

As he was taking a course in the spoken English, he was seduced by his teacher. At the time, Toshi was still a teenager and didn't really know what to make of this.

Later, he goes to a city and meets Paul Swift, an American living in Japan. Paul is a homosexual and had recently lost his partner to AIDS.

The author writes in a lyrical manner and tells the story of the relationships between the cultures of the United States and Japan. One segment that was particularly entertaining was when a cab driver exclaimed "look at the foreigners." Although it was only three people from Australia, it was still sufficient to cause a stir.

This is a carefully crafted story that is a pleasure to read and teaches the reader how one culture can relate to another.

The conclusion is somewhat in the Hitchcock mode in that something changes and gives the reader new perspective on preceding events.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A very dark book

A very dark mystery that tells of Michael Forsythe coming to the U.S. because of troubles in Northern Ireland.

Once in the U.S. he joins a gang under Darky White where stealing, drugs and murder are part of the routine.  Things aren't bad enough but he falls for the boss's girl and a complication is added.

After a major job, members of the gang go to Mexico and Michael is arrested. What happens in the prison and how he escapes will be left for the reader to learn.

Back in the U.S. and wanting to lay low, he's contacted by a rival gang leader to act as his bodyguard.

Michael feels betrayed by his friends from what happened in Mexico and retribution becomes one of his motives.

I disliked Michael as a character and didn't see any redeeming characteristics.  It would be difficult to recommend this book other than it describes a slice of life of Irish gangs in Brooklyn and New York.

This man knows how to be a spy

John Wells is a CIA agent who has penetrated al Qaeda.

He is able to prevent a number of attacks against Americans in Afghanistan but then is informed by bin Laden's assistant that they have a mission for him in America.

Upon his return to the U.S. some members of the CIA appreciate the years he spent as an undercover operative, others wonder if he might have gone over to the other side.

Terrorist activity in the U.S. has intensified and Wells and his CIA operative attempt to discover what the target of a main strike might be.

Wells is a well developed character. He's a man of strong beliefs and is trying to prevent another tragedy from happening in the post 9-11 time. The reader has to feel sympathy for him since he missed a number of major family events in the time while he was undercover.

Wells is an original character in a story packed with suspense and nonstop action.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

You can run but you cannot hide.

Kate Randall is a member of a musical quartet scheduled for a tour of Poland and Belgium.

She has been seeing Michael Lester, an environmental journalist.  He also takes photos of well-known people, and one, of a politician who thinks the photo Michael took would be damaging to him (the politician).

The relationship between Kate and Michael is often acrimonious and she vows to end it. When the tour is cancelled due to one of the other members sudden sickness, Kate stops at Michael's cottage. She feels that this would be a good time to end the relationship.

They have an argument and inexplicably decide to have sex one more time. Soon after, Kate finds Michael murdered and covered with blood. When she tries to see if she can help, she becomes covered with his blood. 

Police arrive and soon view Kate as their main suspect. She gets the idea that the cards are stacked against her and escapes from the police to find evidence that will prove her innocence.

I found the story and Kate's actions improbable. She is a cellist in a woman's musical group and to have the backbone and resourcefulness to take the actions she does, seemed out of character.

I didn't like Kate as a character and didn't feel sympathetic for her, instead I wondered why anyone would want to know more about her.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wonderland, Spenser's back!

Spenser's old boxing trainer is a proud man but when three thugs try to get him to change his mind about selling his waterfront condo, he asks for Spenser's help.

He tells Spenser that there are also others in his condo who don't want to move and are being strong armed.

Spenser and his apprentice, Z, find out who is responsible and bring both sides together for what should be a peaceful solution.

Then, the story takes a major turn and Spenser's investigation moves in a different direction.

Spenser is a classic character who other authors attempt to have their characters emulate. However, there is only one Spenser. He is strong, a former boxer, he's brave and he's determined to solve whatever case he's on.

There is good suspense in the story, handled with the old Robert Parker undertone. In addition, the Boston setting with views of the Charles River and Boston Harbor, is well described.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

British Intelligence operation to stop the man responsible for modernizing improvised explosive devices.

This concerns a mission run by M16 to assassinate the engineer. He is the person with bottom line responsibility to make improvised explosive devices and keep them ahead of any United States attempt to re-engineer their procedures to make these devices less effective.

The explosives represent nearly 80% of the Allied casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The engineer's wife is suffering from cancer and she will be taken to a better medical facility by her husband. The assassination team want to learn their route so they can intercept them.

Danny "Badger" Baxter is on this mission with Joe "Foxy" Foulkers. Their team is in the desert and is subject to attack by thieves or their enemies.

This is a fast paced novel with lots of action. There is good character development as we learn of the assassination team and those supporting them.

The novel is complex and the reading of it is rewarding.

Please check my Amazon review with the link below and leave any comments about the novel at the end of that review.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Good characters/old time movie actress

Two of Elmore Leonard's most notable talents are demonstrated in this novel, his ability to develop rich and interesting characters and his talent for dialogue.

Ex-secret service agent and current photographer, Joe LaBrava gets involved with a friend who is a hotel owner. His friend is very fond of a former actress who lives at the same hotel as Joe's friend. She moves within reality and the world of alcoholism. She also lives in the past world of her former movies.

There is also a schemer, Richard Nobles, who has something planned with the actress.  While this is getting under way, he's trying to force his way into a number of businesses with a protection racket.

This is a lighthearted, fun read and enables the reader to think of old-time actresses who have been passed over by Hollywood and have the reader wonder what it must be like to go from the glamor of starring in a movie, to obscurity.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

One of the best thrillers of the year

I've read so many glowing reviews of this book that I was very anxious to read it.
The wait was worth the effort as this novel is one of the best books I've read this year.

Retired L.A. homicide detective, Jack Till, is hired by the parents of a young girl who was murdered and they want Jack to find the killer.

He learns that other female escorts have been killed in cities across the country and that a number of them have the same physical resemblance and that another murder happened in the same city, each time.

He deducts that the killer becomes friendly with the escort and lives with her as he plans his main target. Once he kills his target, he murders the escort so she won't be able to identify him.

Till shows a relentless in finding who is killing these women, in part, because he has a daughter the same age. His daughter lives in a group home and has Down Syndrome.

This is a well written story with good insight into a man's dedication to his job and the friends he's made while a homicide detective. It is also a warning of the danger of being a female escort.

The plot is carefully laid out and the story will catch the reader's attention from page one.

Please check my Amazon review with the link below and leave any comments at the end of that review.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A fun read about a woman who helps run a bookstore.

A man enters a bookshop where Jill is filling in for the owner and the man wants to sell a signed edition of a Jack London book.

Jill verifies the author's signature and buys the book for more than the man was asking.

Later, another book seller enters the store and asks if there's anything new and after Jill shows him the book, he buys it.  Jill has made a nice profit and calls the man she's been speaking to about buying a Honda and tells him she's ready to go ahead with the deal.

However, the man who first sold the book, who is a dwarf, returns to the store and tells her it was a mistake and wants his book back. She tells him she's already sold it and the dwarf returns with a man who tries to intimidate Jill.

The remainder of the story tells about Jill trying to locate find the man who bought the book, getting involved with a man making a film and Jill dealing with unscrupulous people in a lighthearted manner.

Jill is definitely a unique character and the story is fun to read.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tough subject, terminal cancer

This is a difficult book to read for a person suffering from cancer.

Dad Lewis gets the sad news that he has terminal cancer and not long to live.

When Dad's wife, Mary, is taken to the hospital due to fatigue and nervousness, their daughter, Lorraine, comes to help care for them.

The reader sees the kindness of friends and neighbors from the start. Later, we share the visits from and memories that others have for Dad.  Among the visitors is Dad's estranged son and a woman he has been kind to.

The hospice nurse has a minor role but as a person living with cancer, I appreciated her visits, her bright attitude and caring for Dad and Mary.

There are other members of the Holt, Colorado community who the reader learns of and this enables the reader to get to experience small town life and the outpouring of compassion for Dad Lewis. A memorable character is little Alicia, an eight-year-old living next door with her grandmother. She has lost her own mother to cancer and is very frank in asking Dad if he has cancer and if he's going to die.

This is a book that touches the emotions of the reader and makes other cancer victims look twice at their lives, their families and their friends.

Please see the link to my Amazon review and place any comments there, including if this review was helpful.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading
Broken Promise