Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Never trust a husband too far, nor a bachelor too near." Helen Rowland

Jason Kolarich feels lucky to be assigned as second chair in defending Senator Hector Almundo from a charge of murder. The case dealt with Almundo's alleged deal with the Cannibals street gang. They were shaking down businessmen for contributions to Almundo's election campaign and splitting the proceeds. Almundo is charged with conspiracy and the chief witness against him is his chief-of-staff, Joey Espinoza.

One night, Kolarich is waiting for a call from a confidential informant, Ernesto Ramirez. The call is important so Kolarich's wife takes their infant and drives to her parent's house without him. In a double tragedy that changed his life, his wife and child are killed in a car accident on a slippery road. Later, he learns that the reason that the informant's call didn't come in is because he was murdered.

After a period of mourning, Kolarich returns to work and is approached by Essie Ramirez, Ernesto's widow. She wants Kolarich to find her husband's killer.

Since Kolarich feels responsible for Ernesto's death, and because he also feels that he is the cause of his wife and child's deaths,he accepts. He feels that if only he can find Ramirez's killer, he would somehow make up for his failure.

In this psychological novel, we experience the pain and loss that Kolarich feels with the tragic loss of his family. He decides to investigate. Without a proper plan, he attempts to ingratiate himself to the politicians and behind the scenes friends of Almundo. However, his actions are caught by the FBI who are investigating corruption from the governor's office down to the local administrators. Kolarich can't prove that he was innocently pretending to work for these officials and to prove himself to the authorities, he agrees to go undercover and help with the FBI case.

Kolarich is a heroic character who is just a man, trying to do the right thing. Unlike some of the super heroes of thrillers, he makes mistakes and isn't able to overcome the strength of his foes. But, he has determination and the feeling that he's righting a wrong and doesn't let anything stand in his way.

This is well done novel that was an interesting character portrayal as well as a fine and all too believable thriller.

See my Amazon review and if possible, after reading the review, please indicate "YES" it was helpful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow." Mark Twain

Ray Quinn is a former homicide detective who had to retire when he was injured. His injury necessitates that he use a cane while walking. He currently runs the Night Watchman Detective Agency.

Ray is hired by Armon Mayer to find an ex cop named Logan Ramsey who has stolen some of Mayer's client's personal and investment information. Since Mayer's firm is based on confidentiality of information, he wants Quinn to find Ramsey and return the information without publicity.

Accepting the job, Ray works with his young assistant, Crevis, who Ray is training to become a cop. Ray also has a part time employee, Pam, who tries to teach Crevis enough grammar to pass the written test for the police academy, which he has failed two times.

Conveniently, Ray is able to pull some favors on the case and is appointed a consultant by the police. Not long after this, Ramsey's body is found. Now the question is, who murdered Ramsey and what happened to the material he is supposed to have stolen from Mayer.

Ray is somewhat an interesting character. The story is like having the main character from TV's show, House. However, it is difficult to see how this man with a cane is able to get out of certain situations such as going to a clubhouse of a gang of bikers with Crevis but no police backup.

I enjoyed the novel but found the writing style lacking and some of the plot too convenient.

Check out my Amazon review and if possible, indicate the review was helpful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Insects, weeds and lawyers will inherit the earth." Oliver Webb

Mickey Haller seems to be a good man. Like anyone, he has his flaws and he does what he can to make a living as a defense attorney. At one point, he confides that his father, who was also an attorney, had a place in his heart to help the less fortunate. Many of these clients were women who resorted to prostitution as a desperate choice to survive. Mickey tries to follow his father's worthy example.

Mickey does much of his work from the back seat of his Lincoln. His driver, Earl, is working off his fee for Mickey's successful defense of a case against him.

As the story progresses, Mickey is asked to defend the wealthy Louis Roulet from the accusation of aggravated assault and attempted rape against Reggie Campo, a woman he had met in a bar.

From the start, Mickey is skeptical of Roulet when he catches the man in a number of lies about his past. Then, when Mickey sees a photo of Reggie, she bears a close resemblance to a woman that Mickey's former client Jesus Mendez, was sent to prison for killing.

Mendez maintained his innocence and now Mickey wonders if Mendez could really be innocent. Mickey visits Mendez in jail and brings a number of photos, one of which is Roulet. What Mickey learns is that he is now dealing with a truly evil person.

The novel proceeds as the author, Michael Connelly, sets the parts in motion as if he is directing a play. Roulet is able to create a special reason for Mickey to win the case and set him free but he also admits his past. Since there is attorney client privilege, Mickey cannot use this against Roulet.

To say the novel was well done is an understatement. The reader becomes involved in the story as it goes to trial as if the reader was sitting in the jury. We watch Mickey master the case breathlessly move on, wondering how he will provide justice to Roulet, a man he is defending.

This is a can't put down novel that has just opened as a movie.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." Calvin Coolidge

In the close-knit community of Chatham, MA, young men are being murdered without logical reason and with nothing, other than location, to tie them together.

Martha "Marty" Nickerson is an assistant DA in Cape Cod. She feels a high level of accomplishment when the jury finds Manuel Rodriguez guilty of killing college student Michael Scott.

With the guilty verdict in, there is a sigh of relief within the community but before Marty can relax another young man is found murdered. When an autopsy is done, this body has a roman numeral @2 on his chest. But how could this be, with the killer already in jail?

In close communities, sometimes the connections between victims and attorneys are too close and in the second case, Marty has such a close a relationship with the victim's family that someone in her department was assigned the case.

Wondering where the story would go, Marty is asked to accompany the defense attorney to visit the man accused of the second killing. When Marty gets the details and informs her boss, Geraldine Schilling, Schilling is furious and the next day Schilling accuses Marty of working with the defense to undermine the prosecution's case.

Since Schilling has a goal of running for higher office, we now have politics involved. But as to who is killing the men, the author keeps the reader in suspense.

There is a good description of the internal politics of a prosecuting attorney's office. It is also admirable to see that Marty's first obligation is not to put someone in jail for the crime. Marty tells the reader that her first obligation is to justice.

I enjoyed the story but found it more cute than suspenseful. Marty was somewhat unique for a prosecuting attorney but much of the material here has been done before.

Please check my Amazon review and at the end, if possible, indicate that the review was helpful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"I should have been a general...But thanks to a...master sergeant, I had a career reversal." Phil Hartman

The perceptive voice of defense attorney Mickey Hatcher leads the reader into a case of kidnapping and murder that occurred twenty-four years ago. Most of the witnesses and trial officials are deceased or mentally unable to remember the details of the case.

Mickey, who has been a well thought of defense attorney, crosses the aisle and is hired by the prosecuting attorney, Gabriel Williams, to work on this case as prosecutor. Jason Jessup has been in prison for nearly a quarter of a century for his crime but is granted a retrial based on new DNA evidence.

To recreate the case, Mickey is joined by Harry Bosch of the LAPD.

Harry must review the evidence and attempt to find a key witness, the victim's sister, Sarah, who was age thirteen when the crime was committed.

Celebrity defense attorney Clive Rivas defends Jessup and relishes his every moment in front of TV and news reporters. Jessup feels that he will be set free and make millions of dollars from a book deal. Clive Rivas doesn't mind bending the rules while defending Jessup.

The novel does a nice job in dealing with the grievous subject of a child kidnapping and murder. The reader experiences the attitude of law enforcement officials when dealing with a subject of such a heinous act.

The enticing story mixes the history of the crime, and the surroundings of the time. We also see the present and Mickey's attempt to prove that Jessup was guilty in a second trial.

Harry, Mickey and Sarah are sympathetic characters who are well described and generate feelings of hope for the reader. I enjoyed the story and felt that the outcome was logical and justified.
Check out my Amazon review.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Live is not lost by dying, life is all the small, uncaring ways." Stephen Vincent Benet

"Worth Dying For," is more than just another thriller. In a sense, is a morality tale with good against a despicable evil.

The premise of Jack Reacher arriving in a small Nebraska town and helping the defenseless residents was alluring.

Reacher is pitted against the Duncan family who have strong-armed the local population into submission. The town sank into its sesspool of lethargy and neglect, so slowly that it happened before they were aware of it. There are no police in the town. The county police are sixty miles away and attempt to avoid the Duncan area whenever possible.

As the story continued, I began to feel that there was almost a Biblical component to Reacher. He becomes Sampson, using his towering strength to battle the Duncans who are the Philestines, utilizing a group of strong armed enforcers to guaranty their word was obeyed. Could this Sampson like character evoke his power against the Duncan gang that had caused such unhappiness in the community?

Once Reacher takes a stand against the Duncans, he is prevented from leaving the town. The goal of the Duncans seems to be to make him pay for daring to challange their supreme authority.

Further layers are revealed. The Duncans are awaiting a shipment of a commodity that is unknown to the reader but in great demand by the Duncans and those to whom the Duncans supply. Members of the supply group attempt to gain an upper hand and contribute to Reacher's capture and elimination.

The novel moves swiftly as Reacher attempts to have a small group of residents who have some backbone, stand up against their persecutors.

The scenario was well described and tension grew as the shipment was getting closer and the evil forces banned together against Reacher.

This is a well done novel that adds to Reacher's legend. Enjoyable to the end with some well placed surprises.

Check out the above Amazon review.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Blessed is the season which engages the in a conspiracy of love." Hamilton W. Mabie

This is a novel that captured my interest and entertained me with the history of London in 1719. The setting was so well developed that I felt that I could see the ravages of disease in the prisoners at Newgate prison and hear the crowd as they taunted a prisoner for being a Jacobite.

There are also lessons for today when we watch the news and see the political unrest in Egypt and Lybia.

Benjamin Weaver is a Jewish detective who is contacted by a snobbish gentleman named Balfour. This is a time when England is in fear of the French and their support of the deposed King James.

Balfour states that he questions his fathers suicide and that the person responsible for his father's death is also the person who murdered Weaver's father. This is an eye opener for Weaver who was not close to his father and had thought that his father's death was accidental.

Underneath the possible murders is the fact that Weaver's father was a stock trader and there may have been stock forgery that caused the crimes.

Weaver is hired by Sir Owen to retrieve some matters he lost when a whore got him drunk and sole his valuables. As Weaver finds the whore, we see the streets of London and the dangers of a city with little in the way of police.

Weaver proceeds with his task as the reader observes other facts. Weaver is a Jew and society feels that Jews are out to steal their money. At one time a character states, "...any man who has lost money in funds (stocks) can follow...the loss to the hand of a Jew."

I was totally entertained by this novel, the picturesque images of England, the well developed characters and the sophisticated writing style of David Liss. The book is in development for film and I look forward to seeing the author's magic on the screen.
Check out my Amazon review and if you agree, please indicate that the review was helpful.

Monday, March 7, 2011

"This love will last...I'll be faithful to you." Song Lyrics

With all of the publicity of Tana French's "Faithful Place," I was anxious to read it. The promise of a story based on a dysfunctional family in Dublin, Ireland, fascinated me.
This story describes a family with an abusive, alcoholic father and a mother who acts like a mob boss in her own home. There are antagonistic feelings between the adult children and everything is cloaked in the extreme poverty of suburban Dublin.
When he was age nineteen, Frank Mackey snuck out of his house and went to meet his girlfriend, Rosie Daly. The couple planned to travel to London and get married.
Rosie never arrived. Despondent, Frank couldn't face returning home and moved in with a group of rockers. Later he applied for cop college and went into training.
Since Rosie had left a note that she'd return some day, Frank kept her in his heart and never found anyone that he loved as much as Rosie.
A quarter of a century later, Rosie's suitcase is found hidden in an old house and Frank decides t look into the matter himself. Then, confirming his worst fear, a decomposed body is found.
As with the author's other work, this is a literary, plot driven novel. We observe life in a family that has more than its share of issues and see how Frank looks into his past while attempting to deal with his feelings toward his family and the life he could have had.
Even though Frank is a dark character and the novel slowed down toward the middle, I felt compelled by this story and wanted to see how the mystery was resolved.
Check out my Amazon review and if you agree that it is, please indicate that it was helpful.

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