Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A story of the west and a brave protagonist

Kevin Kerney is approached by his old friend and fellow officer, Terry Yazzi, to help find Terry's son, Sammy. Kevin is Sammy's god-father but Kevin has no love for Terry. Terry's problem with alcohol is the reason why Kerney had no backup on a criminal apprehension case. As a result, Kerney was shot and had to take a disability retirement from the Santa Fe Police Department.

Kerney accepts the case for Sammy's sake. He learns that Sammy was stationed at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Kerney knows that the military brass at the missile range won't reveal anything to a civilian. He needs more authority. So he visits another friend, Sheriff Andy Baca. Learning the situation, Andy assigns Kerney as a temporary lieutenant. This way he'll have more authority in the investigation.

There is also a romantic side to the story that shows more of the human side of Kerney and helps develop him as a character. He meets with Captain Sara Brannon, the military investigation officer and soon they both decide to work this case together.

Kerney travels through the mountain trails in spite of his injury. He and Sara discover something that adds to the interest of the story.  The area in which Sammy disappeared is rich in Indian and U.S. Cavalry history and something is found that relates to the investigation.

The story is well told and includes colorful characters. There are a number of surprises along the way and we also learn facts about the history between American Indians and the U.S. Cavalry.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

In an original story that captures the reader's attention from the start, we see a situation in Ireland just before President Kennedy is scheduled for a visit.

Kennedy is returning to the land of his ancestors but a German man is murdered and on his corpse there is a note for Otto Skorenzy, a German with a bad reputation during WWII. The note tells Skorenzy "We are coming for you."

This is the third foreigner to be killed within a few days in Ireland and Lt. Albert Ryan of the Directorate of Intelligence is asked to investigate. Officials don't want the world to know that the three men killed were Nazis who were granted asylum by the Irish government after WWII.

The action is intense and the author's writing style brings the reader close to the action.

Ryan seems like the Everyman of the story-a good man, just trying to do his job. Otto Skorenzy, true to his reputation as Hitler's favorite commando, is a ruthless person, easy to dislike. There is also a Mossad agent and other sinister characters ready to kill at a moment. Officials become more and more nervous that Kennedy might call off his trip and they'll do almost anything to whitewash the situation.

I found the story to be original and interesting. Ryan is a refreshingly human character with flaws and strengths that are admirable.

Readers who pick up this book won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

There's a man in the funny papers we all know, Big Dave, Big Bad Dave Barry

This zany novel takes place in the Coconut Grove area by Miami, Florida.

Two high school boys are playing a game called killer-where one shoots a fellow student with a squirt gun and the other confirms the 'kill.'

The high school student who is the target, Jenny Herk, is the step daughter of a man who is a gambler and embezzler. The picks the wrong people to attempt to steal from and they place a 'hit' on him.

A vagrant named Puggy has been living in the tree house on the Herk property.

With the real and pretend hits at the same time, a hilarious mix up occurs with no harm to anyone but the Herk's TV screen, shot by one of the true hit men who was distracted by Herk's dog burring its head in the man's crouch.

Puggy had been hanging out in a bar called the Jolly Jackal  It's really a front for arms dealing.  Arthur Herk goes there to buy a missile he can use in revenge for the high school boy who embarrassed him.

One thing leads to another and culminates in a wild chase to the Miami airport.

This novel is one of the funniest stories I've had the pleasure of reading. Wonderful, off-beat characters and a picturesque setting.

Don't miss it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity." Hunter Thompson


In "The Thieves of Legend," Richard Doetsch provides a well written story about greed, master thieves and family relationships, set in the exotic worlds of Beijing and Macau.

Michael St. Pierre is a daredevil and thief. Promising each other a better life, he and his girlfriend  KC, vowed to give up the dangerous life of stealing. However, he gives in to his friend, Simon, and, for what he promises will be his last theft, agrees to steal back a document from an Italian castle.

KC's faith in Michael is ruined when she learns of his latest episode. She decides to leave him but she's waylaid by a woman who persuades her to accompany her. What KC thought would be an adventure, was a kidnapping and she's informed that she has to steal a part of an ancient puzzle or Michael would be killed.

Michael is set up in what appears to be a murder. The leader of a rogue U.S. military unit orders him to help steal another part of a puzzle or KC will be murdered.

In a fast-paced action thriller that the author makes quite believable, we learn of Chinese history, particularly after the Japanese defeat in WWII and the ransacking of the Country by Japan-to steal many treasures.

We also have the joint conspiracy of two avaricious brothers who are competing for the treasure. The fast moving plot leaves time for the author to describe the historical elements of the story and with the author's skillful storytelling, this is a very entertaining read.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

P.I. Charlie Parker is living in Maine with his lover, Rachel. Rachel is happily pregnant with Charlie's child.

Charlie is asked by Elliot Norton, an old friend, to help in a case in Charleston, South Carolina. Elliot is defending a black man accused of the rape and murder of his white girlfriend. She also happens to be the daughter of one of the richest men in the area. Elliot is afraid that his client will be taken out of custody and murdered before he can come to trial.

Elliot wants Charlie to help protect the man and gather evidence of his innocence.

Charlie is joined by his friends Louis and Angel. One thing they discover is that the girl's family and the man's family have a hatred and rivalry that predates the Civil War.  Two women from the man's family have been missing for years the the investigation reveals evidence of wrong doing among a surprising group of men.

John Connolly is an excellent storyteller who knows the way to his reader's heart and mind. There is enough of legend and history of racial tensions in the South so that the reader is immediately captivated. In addition, Charlie Parker is a wonderful character who tries to find truth and defend the innocent, even if they are beyond the grave.

The novel is skillfully plotted and is a first rate thriller.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Roses are red, my love." Song lyrics

Sometimes a book is so well written that it is easy to review.

Debbie Macomber's plot is well conceived and executed. "The Inn of Rose Harbor," is the story of healing as much as anything else.

Jo Marie Rose comes to Cedar Grove, Seattle, after the death of her husband while on active duty in Afghanistan. She is deep in grief but when the insurance money arrives, she feels that her late husband, Paul, was giving her a sign to start over.

Jo Marie purchases a B & B and renames it The Rose Harbor Inn. When she gets to know her first two guests, she can tell they both are missing something in their lives.

Joshua Weaver's reason for returning to Cedar Grove was because he was notified that his estranged step-father, Richard, was near death. Although Richard shows only disdain for Josh, Josh's former high school friend and neighbor, Michelle, has been looking after Richard and is able to intercede.

Abby Kincaid hadn't been back to Cedar Grove since a car accident in which she was driving, ended in the death of her best friend. Now Abby's brother is getting married and she is in the wedding party.

The story shows how all three people meet others who appreciate them for who they are and are sympathetic for things in their past.

Debbie Macomber makes the reader care as she helps each of these three people come to appreciate life and what they love about it.

The characters are enduring and the story is one that the reader will remember with fondness.

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Humor is the pursuit of a gentle grin, usually in solitude." Frank Muir


This is the 4th Steve Berry novel to profile Cotton Malone. He's a former Justice Department agent who is said to have retired and is now a bookseller.

Cotton had known that his father, Forrest Malone, died when the experimental sub he captained, sunk in Antarctica with no survivors. Now Cotton calls on a favor and gets the records of that ship so he can learn more.

In a quick succession of events, with numerous deaths, Cotton ends up working with twin sisters whose father was also on that sub and they want to know what happened. These attractive, middle aged sisters have been given a challenge by their mother, who governs the family wealth with an iron hand. Since the son of one of the sisters died in an auto accident, there is no male heir to the family fortune. The twins' mother has promised to bestow the family money on the sister who can learn what happened to their father, first.

There is an excellent sub story of the other person interested in the last mission of that sub. This man has high influence with the Department of the Navy and will do whatever he can, including murder, too keep the truth of that mission secret.

There is a puzzle that must be solved and ancient history comes into play. From that point of view, it can be compared to the "Da Vinci Code" and "The Rule of Four." However, this is a more exciting book with real drama. I like Cotton as a character, he gets out of trouble and yet seems like a regular guy, he fits the image of a book dealer very well. The twin sisters are also well described but their mother is a psycho and it is hard for me to imaging that she could do the things she does.

There are many things to like about this book and for the reader looking for an exciting read and a trip through history, I definitely recommend it.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir are alerted about a dead body found in a cloistered monastery.

In a departure of the Armand Gamache mysteries, this novel doesn't take place in the area of Three Pines where most of his mysteries are centered. Instead, the monastery is in a wilderness area of Quebec.

One of the monks has been murdered and a complication is that the monks have taken a vow of silence, except for when they do their chanting. This chanting has been recorded and brought a welcome income to the monastery.

Armand and Jean-Guy meet the leader of the community and he shows them the body.  It's a good example of a locked room mystery where all of the suspects are in this wilderness area and one of them must be the killer.

Two other stories are interwoven into the mystery. Jean-Guy is in love with Armand's daughter, Annie and plans on asking Armand for her hand. Also Chief Superintendent Francoeur arrives at the scene. He is a rival of Gamache and seems intent on causing harm to Gamache's career.

Much of the story after Francoeur's arrival comes from his antagonism for Gamache and Jean-Guy's defense of his future father-in-law.

This novel is very well done and one of the few books I've read where loyalty and brotherhood take such a role. The cast of characters are well developed and the author does a fine job describing the monastic life and how that was changed when the public learned of the monk's Gregorian chants.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In a fast moving, noir, crime novel, the action begins with a dance hall girl having a romantic meeting with Sir Alex Bolton. Sir Alex is a wealthy politician who might be the next leader of his political party.  Kinky sex occurs and only later do we learn that someone was taking photos in order to blackmail Sir Alex.

Bella is the dancer and her boyfriend is Martin, they take the photos and deliver them to a woman named Mona Chapman, who learned of Sir Alex's perverted sexual ideas by sneaking a look into Margot Peterson's files. Margot is a shrink who Mona was having a sexual encounter with.

In a world dominated by evil people and escaped cons, we learn that Bella's husband. Joey,  just ratted on the two men he robbed a bank with so that he could get out of jail sooner.

Now these men have a grudge against Joey and break out of jail to even a score.

The story reads in a realistic manner and is certainly imaginative and has a unique plot. The setting in the London area is well done and the police officer attempting to put all of this together is Detective Chief Inspector Preston who is a knowledgeable  forceful character and yet has a vulnerable side. It is easy to feel empathy for him and hope he can put all the pieces together.

I had to shake my head at some of the things that went on in the story but still felt that it was worth reading, if dark, sexual packed stories are your taste.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Four strong winds" song lyrics

Tom Sullivan is about to graduate from Princeton. He has an obsession inherited from his father about the book, "Hyperotomachie Polyphile" which was published in 1499.

Tom and his roommate Paul are both extremely interested in finding the secrets of the book. Tom couldn't understand the effect of the book on everyone who read it.

This is a very analytical book that is advertised as being similar to the "Davinci Code" The book is coded in seven languages and the text is a passionate love story and a mathematical labyrinth.

The authors went to a great deal of work doing the research for this book. However, I found the reading dry and although there was a great deal of work establishing the characters and their personalities, I didn't find them interesting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Neil Cross is the creator and writer of the BBC crime series, "Luther."

"Luther, The Calling," is the first book in a series that stars no nonsense Deputy Chief Inspector John Luther.

As the story opens, of of Luther's friends on the department has been roughed up by  two thugs who work for a desperate property developer who is on the downside of his career. He needs one more person to sell his home so the developer can  have the area developed. Luther's friend has taken the side of the home-owner, an old sailor living alone.

The central part of this compulsively readable story involves a killer who murders a young husband and wife and steal their infant.

Luther is a workaholic who puts himself so much into the investigation that it's affecting his marriage. His wife sees that he's acting irrationally and not sleeping. She wants him to take time off...but there's always another victim to save.

The characters are described to perfection with Luther being easy to feel empathy for and hope he can solve the case and save his marriage. The antagonist is a sociopath who doesn't care what the effect of his crimes on others. Seeing him in action would make most readers check the locks on their doors.

The plotting is clever and this is an extremely enjoyable read.

"Swannie, how I love ya" song lyrics.

Henry Swann is a skip tracer which would mean he finds people who have jumped their bail.

A wealthy attorney hires him to find his rebellious daughter who he hasn't seen or heard from. She's living someplace with her boyfriend. The attorney believes that the boyfriend is of questionable motives and is after the attorney's daughter's money.

Swann decides to take the case and becomes more and more suspicious of the boyfriend as Swann finds of the boyfriend's activities as a graduate student. He seems like a very clever, thief and makes profits by selling well done imitations of classic books.

I enjoyed the story and found Swann to be refreshing as a character but found significant resemblance in the plot to "Gone," by Randy Wayne White.

In "Gone" a fishing guide who learned detecting from her uncle, is hired by a wealthy man to find the man's daughter who is with her boyfriend who the client feels is unscrupulous and dangerous. Although the daughter  cashed a monthly check, the client hasn't seen or heard from her.

In "Swann Dives In" the skip tracer is asked by a wealthy attorney to find the man's daughter who is with her boyfriend who is after her money and the client hasn't seen or heard from her.

There was excellent parts of the "Swann Dives In" novel" that goes into book collecting and this was very interesting but I thought the plot too similar to "Gone" to catch my interest.

Friday, November 9, 2012

For a photo, she would do anything

Photographer Cassie Cassidy goes to a rendezvous where she hopes to get photos of American Indians in action.

Unfortunately, she meets a reporter who gets into an argument with her. Cass had proven that a photo used by the reporter had been doctored.

Soon after, Cass comes upon the body of a man killed with a tommy hawk.

When she gives her statement to the deputy sheriff, she can tell by the man's aggressive behavior that he sees her as a suspect in the murder.

The writing is colorful as we learn of Indian traditions and the realism that re-enactors feel about the rendezvous and their outfits.

Cass has few friends who take her side and we follow her attempt to prove her innocence.

The setting is picturesque and I compliment the author on an original story filled with historical images. In addition, the author gives a good example of a female character, in a male dominated society, bravely fighting to prove she isn't a killer.

I enjoyed reading this story and hope that it serves to give the author a wider following.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Death mirrors art


Sometimes it's obvious that the author is having fun with a particular story. Such is the case with "The Death Dealer" by Heather Graham.

The Ravens are members of a society dedicated to reading and studying the works of Edgar Allen Poe.

When one member of the society is murdered and another survives a serious auto accident, Genevieve O'Brien asks her friend, P.I. Joe Connolly to investigate.

Genevieve knows about horror and killing since she survived being held prisoner by a crazed killer.

The newspapers refer to the case as the Poe Killings and Genevieve fears that her mother could be the next victim.

To add fun to the story, the author uses phrases and titles of Poe's works as she takes us through the story. In one scene, a psychic tells of imagining a man who caused the auto accident and concludes her statement to the police. A word came to her, "Nevermore."

Joe works on the case and also gets help from a number of people who had died, including his cousin and his cousin's fiance.

The story is a quick read and doubly entertaining due to the author's play on words, telling a story that mirrors Poe's story and weaving together interesting characters.

There isn't much suspense but the story is well written and worth reading.

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b. use above link to read Amazon review and at the end of the review, indicate "yes" helpful
c. leave email address and indicate step a and b were completed
d. Giveaway is for a signed hard cover edition
e. giveaway ends November 20th.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Night Blind" by Michael W. Sherer

Bravo!  I loved this book.

This excellent story begins with enough information to solidly grab the reader's attention. Then, the tension grows with the exquisitely developed plot with interesting characters acting in ways that make the reader want to learn more.

The story opens in France where a French rogue agent knows it's time to leave the country. He wants to go someplace where he is unknown and make a big score.

In Seattle, Blake Saunders was a public affairs official but lost his job and family after a financial scandal. He's haunted by the suicide of his son and subsides by delivering newspapers.

Normally, a person would be crushed by the magnitude of his misfortune. In Blake's case, it seems to have given him more empathy for others. His part of the story begins with him talking a woman from taking her life by jumping from a bridge.

The last stop on his newspaper delivery route is an elderly woman. Blake often stops in and has tea with this woman, who seems lonely.  This night, she is murdered and the killer attempts to set Blake up.

There is a side story of a bequest to an order of nuns and mineral rights to a piece of land. Seattle is now building a tunnel and there is a connection to what is under the land that is owned by the sisterhood.

The author has a gift for pacing as action moves at a rapid pace, followed by segments of needed background.

Readers looking for an excellent story and well written literature will be rewarded with this edge of seat thriller.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bill Kaiser is a man motivated by social justice. He also possesses a unique set of skills from computer knowledge to chemistry and explosives.

Bill has a particular love for the historic Carnegie-Hayden Center in New York. This was one of his favorite places when he was a boy and his mother would tell him that this was a building that was meant for the people. However, now there is a chance that the building might be turned into one of the first nor profit prisons.

When Bill breaks into a building housing influential people, he's caught and brought to a psych hospital where he meets Sharon Blautner, a psychiatric nurse who is assigned to evaluate him.

Sharon works with Bill and when he's removed to a police psychiatric unit, she unwittingly helps him escape.

Edward Mackinnon is the corrupt exec of the company that wants 'for profit' prisons. He earns Bills's resentment for this and for his past actions against Sharon's father who was a business partner.

This is a finely crafted story with sympathetic characters, good pacing and excellent descriptions of old New York and the building of the Carnegie-Hayden Building.

I was drawn to the characters of Bill and Sharon and became more and more absorbed with the story as it played out.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Death be not proud

A quick read concerning a body found in a Florida nature area.

Police ask the media to help because they aren't sure if it's homicide or a killing by a non-human, a Florida panther.

Emotions run high as sentiments differ TV reporter, Matt Barnes, who conducts his own investigation in this story.

He has a relationship with a girl nickanmed Cat. Is this a play on words with the story about the panther? Cat seems to manipulate Matt who shows a lack of being able to stand up to a number of people in the story-lowering my opinion of him as a strong character.

I found the story to be predictible. I would hope that in future work, the author would have more develped characters.

I do credit the author with presenting a story about an animal that is endangered.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"I want to walk away too. But I want you to say you're sorry." Lyrics

This is Australian author Michael Robotham's eighth novel and once again he shows his skills in creating suspense, building memorable characters and  writing a captivating story.

Two teenage girls go missing outside their homes in the outskirts of London.

Various theories arise but with no positive results until three years later when there is a double murder in the same house where one of the girls lived. This was during a blizzard and police couldn't react to the 911 call in time.

Soon after, the body of one of the girls is found.

Police ask clinical psychologist and Parkingson's disease sufferer Joe O'Loughlin's help in explaining the connection to the home and about what may have happened to the first teenager.

This is a very readable book where Joe peels down the layers of mystery and connection to the two murders  Since Joe has a fifteen-year-old daughter of his own, he adds an extra step in his vigilance in finding the missing child. He brings in his friend and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz to help the investigation and to provide some promised law enforcement money for his friend, as an incentive for Joe to take on the case.

I enjoyed the story and was totally surprised at an event late in the plot which was extremely well done. The author is quickly building up his reputation as one of the world's most acclaimed authors of thriller fiction.

Highly recommended.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too."

Douglas Brunt delivers an expose of the activities that were taking place at Bear Stearns prior to that firm being prominent in the mortgage collapse that caused bank failures.

Nick Farmer is a successful trader and as an income in the millions. We witness his lifestyle and those around him and his company refuses to accept the reality of bundled mortgages.

His work includes keeping the people he supervises happy and willing to work their fingers to the bone for Bear Stearns. Their lives are made up of their work and after duty celebrations that include alcohol, strip joints, cocaine and prostitutes. Eventually  this takes its toll on Nick's marriage. His wife wants the old Nick back, the Nick that wasn't corrupted by money and drugs. Eventually, Nick sees that he wants that too.

Fred Cook is a nerdy risk market analyst who predicts doom for Bear Stern's high mortgage backed securities  He is one of the few honest people in the story.

When Nick adds support to Fred's theories, no one listens.

The author has stated that the characters are a conglomeration of people he knew. His view of what was going on at his company paints a dismal picture of the live the employees experienced.

From the point of view of showing what was happening at Bear Stearns, this is a well done work and one with an important message.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings." Salvatore Dali

Maggie Mahoney is a partner at one of the top Wall Street firms.

She is an advocate for women's equality in her law firm but has senior partners blocking this from happening and acting as if any sexual activity is acceptable..

Maggie and her husband were on a skiing trip when her husband and another partner from the firm, died in an avalanche.

When she returns, one of the first people to seem to offer condolences is really making a sexually suggestive comment. She's still thinking about this when a senior partner asks her to look into he Gender Equity Committee and the treatment of women in the firm. What makes this seem less than sincere is that the committee is chaired by a man who is a noted womanizer.

Most businesses would show compassion when an employee's spouse died but life with this law firm isn't always fair and one of Maggie's husband's best clients takes their business to a rival firm without giving Maggie a chance to show them why it would be beneficial to work with her.

As Maggie spends more time with the Committee, she learns horrendous things that are happening to the women, some, beyond comprehension.

Maggie is the wrong person to make an enemy of and she documents the wrongs that are being done and approaches a condescending senior partner in a manner that exposes the firm for what it is.

The writing is well done without many additional flourishes and the plot moves along nicely. Maggie's actions at the concluding scene is something the reader will feel satisfied about.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

"From this valley they say you are going...just remember the Red River Valley


R. L. Stine is a household name to teen horror genre and his "Fear Street" is the best selling horror series of all time.

With "Red Rain," he moves into the adult horror genre and continues to give his readers edge of seat suspense.

Travel writer Lea Sutter is at a small island off South Carolina, Cape Le Chat Noir. Her husband, Mark, is at a book signing on Long Island.

Lea is a blogger and through her postings, the reader views her thoughts. "Here I am on the island everyone calls mysterious and dangerous."

Lea meets an island resident named Marguerite who reveals that in 1935, before hurricane's were given names, there was a tremendous storm that left many dead on the island. However, it was only later that the nightmare took place.

The island returned to normal soon after the storm because the "old dead-those of centuries past-returned to help build the island again." These undead had no eyes, rotting flesh, bones that were yellow and broken, floated up from rain filled graves and went to work.

Just as shocking, the dead enjoyed the sunlight and it made them look almost normal. They blended in and remained roaming the island.

Lea is flabbergasted by this information and shocked further to learn that a new hurricane, Ernesto, is heading to the island. The storm is truly terrible and when it ends, she meets two twelve-year-old twin boys, who seemed to have survived the storm but tell her that their parents did not. In a compassionate move, she brings the boys back to Long Island, processing adoption papers as she goes.

This is a well written, nail biting horror novel with characters who are powerful, scary and frightening because we aren't sure who is undead.

The story is a quick and enjoyable read. The author provides a surprise ending that will make the reader recall such classics of horror as "Rosemary's Baby" and some of the Stephen King horror stories.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Most people who have achieved success have found themselves, at times, on the brink of failure.

The book started off with a bang. A foiled robbery attempt at the Library of Congress where robbers attempted to steal a document where our Founding Fathers foresaw the economic collapse of the country.

The scene shifts to Mexico where a number of people are meeting to discuss Japan's suit against the United States to have the United States redeem the bonds Japan has purchased from the United States. The payment must be in gold.

There is conflict with the members and we notice that outside the  area of the meeting, Texas Ranger Danny Cavanaugh is in Mexico contemplating suicide after being wrongfully accused of the murder of an FBI agent who Danny knew was dirty.

Danny is thinking of his own troubles when he sees Sydney Dumas trying to escape from a gunman. Danny helps her and learns of the economic plot against the USA.

Are these events connected? There is a lot going on and many characters seem to change their loyalty either to those wanting to benefit from the overthrow or to the United States.

The middle of the book is a cat and mouse chase with Danny and Sydney the targets, hunted by the evil forces who are members of The Group.

Things get more complicated when officials in Washington D.C. find a number of dirty bombs and learn what country was responsible for those bombs.

It is a highly puzzling plot where it is easy to get lost in the various ins and outs of the story.  I enjoyed the story but wasn't convinced of the likelihood of it being true or the coincidences that I found in the story.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Did I chase the glitz and glamour money fame and power?" Quote

Written by one of the masters of mystery literature, Elmore Leonard, "Glitz" tells the story of a Miami Beach cop, trying to find a killer in Atlantic City.

As the action begins, a gunman attempts to rob a man carrying groceries to his home. The thief didn't realize he was dealing with a cop and in the shootout that followed, the cop was injured and the robber died from his injuries.

The injured Miami Beach police officer goes to San Juan, Puerto Rico to recuperate  He spends much of his time with a lovely  but innocent prostitute named Iris. Iris has aspirations of moving to Atlantic City to be a hostess in a casino.

While the police officer is recuperating  another man arrives, hires a taxi and begins following him. He poses as a tourist and takes many photos. The cab driver thinks the photos are of the prostitute and when he wants to help the man, the killer realizes he's seen too much.

Teddy Mazyk is a deranged killer, recently released from jail and intent on gaining revenge on the cop, who was the man who caught him raping a senior citizen and caused his jail time.

We are able to follow the story as if it was unravelling right in front of us. The author's use of dialogue and condensed language makes it seem like we are in the midst of the action.

This is a carefully crafted novel that will entertain the reader right from the first page.

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Our founders got it right in the Declaration of Independence, that our rights come from nature...and God.

James Wesley Rawles is a talented author and survivalist with a story to tell.
He believes that the world is heading for a financial disaster that will have cataclysmic results.

The plot incorporates the elements of the disaster. He describes the situation in Chicago, Washington D.C. and other cities as the price of oil becomes so high that it is unaffordable  The U.S. dollar falters and electricity goes off the grid, permitting gangs and outlaws to band together and law, as we know it, disappears.

Groups of people have prepared by having disaster action plan get together at various places to defend their freedom. Friends and family become two of the most important criteria. Other things that these people all seem to have in common are a faith in a higher being, a belief in freedom and a desire to do what is necessary to bring law and order back to where our founding fathers wanted.

The plot is complicated but well thought out and authentic. The author also provides hints of survivalist ideas and needs for people to consider.

The author has the unique ability to take characters from around the United States and weave them together into a story that will entertain the reader.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Killing me softly with each word." Song Lyrics

Once again, John Connolly gives his readers a unique and frightening story.

A construction crew unearths an unmarked cemetery in the upper Regions of Maine.

In that area, there had been a sheltered religious community a number of years ago. When the members weren't heard from for years, officials assumed that the community had moved to a different location.

PI Charlie Parker is hired to look into the death of a college student who was doing her thesis on religious groups in the area in northern Maine. The Aroostook Baptists history fascinated her. Claire had been to the offices of a religious community called the Fellowship. Shortly thereafter, the girl, Grace Peltier was found dead in her car, believed to be a suicide.

Charlie has had personal tragedies and hasn't taken cases like this since the loss of his wife and child to a deranged murderer in New York but is persuaded to do so.

The characters who he comes in contact with would make Bella Lugosi look like a librarian.  The story moves along nicely and we learn of the philosophy of the original Aroostook Baptists and their unrelenting leader, Rev. Faulkner.

The story is certainly original and Parker is a character who the reader can appreciate for his courage, bravery and as one friend says, he represents the dead as well as the living.

This is a captivating story that will hold the readers attention and be stored in their memories on those dark and stormy nights...perfect for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The words pierced his heart


This story is a follow up to the gripping masterpiece, "Burned" which featured investigative crime reporter Henning Jull who is still dealing with the death of his son and his desire to find his son's killer.

In  modern day Norway, Jull gets a call from a man in jail. The caller, Tore Pulli, tells him that he (Pulli) was framed and if Henning can get him released from prison, he'll tell Jull what he knows about the fire that killed his son.

As we follow the story, a side story is of a TV cameraman being manipulated by someone. The man's girlfriend tells him that she was interviewed by someone (a supposed reporter) who asked, how far she would go to protect her family.

As Pulli is being interviewed by TV concerning his appeal, he dies but with his death Jull continues to search into the facts of his case and speculate about what Pulli may have known about the arson fire in Jull's apartment.

The intense story will have the reader postpone whatever they are doing as try to find how the story concludes. With this centering on an investigative reporter in Norway, I saw similarities to Steig Larsson's novels and the terrific suspense in them.

There is a cat and mouse chase and another death results but Jull keeps on, even though his life becomes at risk.

The characters were excellently drawn and very realistic and the plot was absorbing. The author has a knack for dialogue and the conclusion was excellent.

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2. Use above link and read the amazon review, at the end of the review, please indicate "YES" it was helpful.
3. Leave email address for contact purposes and indicate steps 1 and 2 are completed.
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5. Please don't enter if you have won a book from this site in the last 30 days.
6. U.S. and Canada
7. Ends October 19th.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"You set yourself on fire, you're still not as hot as me." Song lyrics

In 1914, newspaper war correspondent Christopher Marlowe Cobb "Kit" goes to Mexico to report on that country's Civil War.

President Woodrow Wilson had sent U.S. soldiers to Mexico and interest in the war by people in the United States increased.

This is a time in Mexico that things are exciting and Kit comes across other dignitaries such as journalist and novelist Richard Harding Davis.

The Germans seem to be helping the Mexicans who have a number of people trying to take over the government.  Poncho Villa was the best known and Kit is trying to write a story about Poncho Villa.

After a coup by Huerta, Poncho Villa formed his own army to oppose him.  He was originally a bandit and still robbed trains to get the money to fight the war.

Kit spots a spy and learns something about the German's wanting to support Villa and hope that he might invade the United States.

Kit is a swashbuckling type of person, he thinks nothing of grabbing a gun to help his cause and falls in love with a Mexican woman who was originally a laundress.  While Kit is not trying to get information about his stories, he tries to get closer to this woman.

The story is written in a literary manner with good descriptions and keen dialogue. The short history about the Mexican Revolution is informative and the plot is compelling and the conclusion is highly satisfactory.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Moody River, your muddy water took my baby's life." Song lyrics

Set in a time around the Great Depression, with many people dissatisfied with their lives, there is great movement of people in the country. Perhaps the people are looking for a better way of life and lower the pain that has existed in their lives.

The story opens with two teenagers fishing with one of the teens father and the man's brother. They come across a body which turns out to be another teenager who was a friend of these teens. May Lynn was age sixteen and murdered.

The central character and narrator, Sue Ellen, lives by the river with no communications to the outside world and few friends. However, the two close friends she does have, Jinx, a sixteen-year-old colored girl, and Terry, the same age, decide to make May Lynn's wish come true. She was beautiful and dreamed of going to Hollywood.

The three teens dig her body up, cremate her and place her ashes in a jar. While they are digging up May Lynn, they find something that was hidden in a grave. Sue Ellen's brother was a robber and must be where he hid something.

The beauty of the writing is with the characters who are very memorable and with the story and its pain.

The three teenagers try to travel down the Sabine River to get to a town with a bus stop so they could travel to Hollywood.  Their travels reminded me of two of the great stories that had a similar theme.

In "Lonesome Dove," Captain Gus McCrae is dying from gangrene poisoning. He persuades his best friend, Captain Woodrow Call, to bring his body back to a place on the San Antonio River where Gus had the happiest moments of his life.

In "Cold Mountain," after being released as a Confederate prisoner, Inman sets out on a search to find Ada through the mountains and back roads of the south.

Both stories as well as "Edge of Dark Water," have obstacles in the path of the travelers, it is the determination and the desire to do bring happiness to another, that keeps them going.

The concluding moments in "Edge of Dark Water," enable the reader to catch their breath and nod in agreement that this is the only way that the story could have ended.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"We were more than friends." song lyrics


This is a pleasantly surprising story. I read that it begins with the killing of Bin Laden and thought it would continue with that theme but it is a psychological novel that goes into the thoughts of the two men who gave the U.S. the information on the compound and their ideas of living in peace.

After a U.S. Naval SEAL team killed Bin Laden, members of al-Qaeda discover a detailed map of the inside of the compound where Bin Laden had been living.

This could only mean that there was a traitor in their group and al-Qaeda became intent upon finding out who it was and then punishing them.

The story moves to London whee we meet the two idealistic Palestinians. Malik and Chaudhry. Their handler in British Intelligence is Dan "Spider" Shepherd.

Malik and Chaudhry how terrorism is hurting Pakistan and the worldwide image that people have of Muslims. Both Malik and Chaudhry have dreams, Chaudhry wants to be a physician and help others while Malik intends on going into the restaurant business. In other words, these two young men are very similiar to others at college campuses in England and the United States.

The center of the story is that al-Qaeda intends on a major operation in England. The young men are nervous after Bin Laden's death and wonder if they are suspected of being traitors to al-Qaeda. Shepherd is aware of the danger but feels that he needs them to stay in place so authorities can learn the details of the terrorist operation.

There is a side story where M15 is also working undercover on a group of right wing fanatics who want to purchase guns in some sort of movement to rid England of Muslims.

Even though parts of the story had flaws, I was entertained by reading it. Reading the dialogue of the moderate men of the Muslim faith made me glad that there were people such as this who are striving for peace and friendship between people of different religious faiths.


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2. use above link and see the Amazon review and at the end of the review, please indicate "YES" helpful.
3. leave email address and indicate steps 1 & 2 are complete
4. giveaway ends October 10th.
5. U.S. and Canada only-sorry, postage
6. Good luck.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"I'm back in the saddle again." Sony lyrics

Ramsey Hunt is gunned down outside his home in San Francisco. As a judge, he was in the early stages of a murder trial for Clive and Cindy Cahill but things were delayed when the prosecuting attorney disappeared.

Ramsey is a close friend of FBI husband and wife team, Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich.

In this taut and stimulating plot, a back story is created when someone delivers a message to the FBI headquarters, addressed to Savich, "For what you did, you deserve this." No other explanation was enclosed.

FBI officials assume that this is in the relation to the shooting of Judge Hunt but, to be sure, go back to the records for the criminals that Sherlock and Savich have been responsible for convicting to see if these people recently finished their sentences and were released from prison.

 The central part of the story continues as the FBI tries to break down Clive and Cindy for their crime but the back story explodes and sets up the last part of the story in passionate suspense as one exciting and unpredictable scene follows another.

I enjoyed the story and found the characters and plot to be appropriately portrayed. There were a number of clever surprises that were entertaining and added to the pleasure in reading the story.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Song about a girl up to a point" Song title

Val McDermid has written a number of psychological novels with characters so memorable that they could be studied as examples of writers should consider in writing literary novels.

"The Vanishing Point," opens with the kidnapping of a child at the busy O'Hare Airport in Chicago.

In a dreaded scene that parents traveling with young children can relate to, the adult accompanying five-year-old Jimmy Higgins, Stephanie Harker, has a number of pins in her leg from an accident and knows she'll set off alarms with airport security.

She informs Jimmy that he'll have to go through a different line but then sees him go off with a security agent. When Stephanie shouts about her child and makes a commotion, she's looked on suspiciously and no one listens.

An officious TSA agent continues to confront her but she finally gets the attention of an FBI agent who looks at footage and sees the boy walking away with a man dressed up in a TSA uniform.

We learn the back story of Stephanie being a ghost writer and working with a TV reality star named Scarlett and how Stephanie came to have Jimmy.

The author creates suspense with a story and characters who are so real, it is easy for the reader to place themselves in the character's position. I felt for Stephanie and breathlessly followed her path as she explains to the FBI and tries to find what happened to the child.

The unique quality of McDermid's books is that she creates a superior thriller with excellent dialogue and memorable characters.

The conclusion to the story brings everything together nicely and is something that readers will want to discuss while reliving the excitement they had with this book.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

James Lee Burke writes another excellent story, reasserting his literary belief that wealthy individuals often take advantage of the less fortunate and government agencies do little to help.

Dave Robicheaux is recovering from a near fatal gunshot from action in a prior story.

He's been given morphine for the pain and as an alcoholic, he's having trouble with the medication. One night, a young woman named Tee Jolie visits and brings an i-Pod so he can listen to music. She tells him he's pregnant from a man who isn't divorced.

The next morning, Dave wan't sure if the events of the evening were a dream but the i-Pod is beside his bed. When he's well enough to leave, he learns that Tee Jolie has disappeared. Dave moves his recuperation up to high speed and is soon back to work, full time.

A professional killer comes to New Iberia. Her name is Gretchen Howowitz. As certain people threaten Dave's friend, Clete Purcel, Gretchen takes reprisal and Clete comes to feel that she is his daughter from a woman he hasn't seen in years. Gretchen doesn't admit this and the reader doesn't know for sure if she is the killer.

The story of why Gretchen is in town and Dave's search for Tee Jolie combine as a wealthy group of individuals seem to be behind a number of deaths and perhaps there is a connection to oil or art.

Burke's writing is always imaginative and eloquently descriptive. For example, "There was a Japanese tulip tree by the edge of the water...wind blew and a shower of pink and lavender petals on top of the water that slid in with the tide."

Dave and Clete are still haunted from events in Vietnam and the mere mention of a Vietnamese woman's name sets Clete off. Then we learn that this is the name of a woman he loved in Vietnam and was the only woman he really loved. These emotions seemed to make Clete a bigger person who could carry a love for so many years.

I was also entertained by the excellent characters and noted that as Burke ages, so do his characters. Not only are Dave and Clete older but two other major characters in the story are grandfathers.

A novel not to miss. It adds to Burke's legend as one of our greatest writers.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"I thought happiness was...Texas in my rear view mirror." Song lyrics

"Texasville," is the sequel to "The Last Picture Show." It picks up 20 years after the events in "The Last Picture Show." Now, the town of Thalia is getting ready for their centennial celebration.

Duane Moore is an oil man with huge debts. The town of Thalia exploded in wealth and growth after years of prosperity of the oil business.  Then OPEC cut prices and as we learn when Duane describes one of his friends, "Luther owns a small drilling company and is growing broke like everyone else.

Duane enjoys the easy life for himself and his family and does little to remidy the problem he has with the money he owes. The story opens with him in his hot tub, shooting holes in his dog house.

With the centennial celebration coming up, some people wonder who the town should select as special citizens to honor.

While little is happening other than planning for the centennial, Duane spends much of his time reminiscing about his high school days and the glory of small town football.

To top matters off, his old high school girlfriend returns from an acting career in Europe and things get complicated.

The characters are well described and easy to picture. The author has written many stories that have been made into film and he has a knack for describing events as if they were already on the screen.

I did enjoy the characters but never got excited about the book and found it was not up to the level of "The Last Picture Show."

Friday, September 14, 2012

"It's not the criminal things that are hardest to confess but the ridiculous and shameful." Rousseau

My blood pressure must have risen to dangerous levels as I read the terrifying sequents of events in "Criminal."

The action takes place in Atlanta, Georgia with much of the story taking place in 1974-75 and interspersed with scenes of the present day.

Two courageous female police officers, Amanda Wagner, daughter of a police captain, and Evelyn Mitchell, are at the heart of the story.

It's a time of racial unrest. Atlanta's first black commissioner of public safety is appointed. He replaces senior white Atlanta police officers with black police officers.

The white officers sue and while this is going on, Amanda, Evelyn and other women on the job were ridiculed and denigrated by their male counterparts who don't hide their feelings that women should be doing administrative things but not trying to solve crimes..

Amanda and Evelyn are sent to a case in a black dominated slum area where white women don't dare to go to. They learn that a number of prostitutes have gone missing. The missing women's bodies have not been found and it's difficult to get any help because no one cares what happens to prostitutes.  While at the scene, a pimp almost rapes Amanda but is eventually subdued by Evelyn and Amanda after they had been beaten by him.

In present day, Amanda is Will Trent's supervisor at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Someone is released from jail and soon after, a co-ed goes missing. Will learns something about his childhood and looks into the history of a children's home where he grew up.

I can't say more without revealing plot but get ready for a ride through scary city and be prepared for meeting characters who are gutsy, realistic and have one heck of a story to tell.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Help me understand, currency is a fistful of tears I can afford." Song lyrics


In a story involving a popular detective team, canine narrator, Chet, and his human companion, Bernie  have an adventure involving Hollywood film making and babysitting bad boy stars.

The mayor of the Valley, wants to generate income for his community. He and a group of backers persuade Hollywood bad boy, Thad Perry, to film Wild Horseman in the Valley.

With Perry's history of extra curricular activity, one prerequisite is that private eye Bernie Little and his dog Chet, watch over Perry and keep him out of trouble.

As Chet is the narrator, it's entertaining to be aware of his thoughts and senses as he tries to interpret a person's body language or observes actions that people aren't afraid to display in front of a dog.

One scene I particularly enjoyed was where Bernie and Thad decide to box each other. At the conclusion of the match, Thad's assistant asks if he can help him up. Thad is embarrassed by the beating that he took at Bernie's hands and shrugs off his assistant, snarling "...don't look at me as if I'm some kind of candyass." Chet believes that this would be an interesting idea.

This is a well written mystery. There are well placed plot twists and Chet's dog insights to human behavior were insightful as was his relationship with Bernie. Their communications with each other was so precise that there were times when I wasn't sure that I was reading the dog's thoughts.

Definitely recommended.

Giveaway rules:
1. There will be two winners, one hardcover copy, one review copy
2. Must be a follower of this blog.
3. Use above link and see the Amazon review, at the end of the review, indicate "YES" it was helpful.
4. Leave email address and indicate steps 2 and 3 have been completed.
5. U.S. and Canada
6. Giveaway ends Sept 28th

Good Luck

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Where have all the Flowers Gone?" Song lyrics


Hannah Smith is a fishing guide in Florida. She inherited the business and a home from her uncle, Doc. Ford. He was the father Hannah never had and Hannah was the son that Doc never had.

Things are tight financially in the fishing guide business. It's the end of the fishing season and Hannah understands that she'll have to get some part time work to pay the bills.

One of her wealthy clients asks her if she'd help locate his niece-who isn't exactly missing, but might be being held under the influence of an unscrupulous man.

Hannah had also helped her uncle with investigations and she accepts this offer.

The narrative displays Hannah's growth as a new investigator and cries out in protest because people don't seem to think she can do the job, either because she's a woman or because she's not adequately educated.

There's good dialogue, lots of action, a picturesque setting and a protagonist with a strong ethical center who will speak out to the reader.  This is a good addition to the Doc Ford series, taken to the next generation.

Giveaway Rules:

1. Be a follower of this blog
2. Use above link and see the Amazon review. At the end of the review, please indicate "YES" it was helpful.
3. Leave e-mail address and indicate steps 1 and 2 are complete.
4. U.S. and Canada
5. Advanced reading issue
6. Ends Sept 23rd.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

'How am I supposed to live without you?" Song lyrics

"Live by Night" is an incendiary story, spanning the rise in power of Joe Coughlin who is about to turn age twenty as the story unfolds.

The story is addictive as we watch Joe working as a minor criminal and member of Tim Hickey's mob.

There is a scene where Joe is in the hands of his enemies at the start of the story. It appears as if these are his last moments and we read in anticipation of how he came to this situation and if there is some way that he might extricate himself and survive.

Those who have read Dennis Lehane in the past, know how memorable his characters can be.  Just consider the grieving father, Jimmy Markum and his nervous childhood friend, Dave Boyle in Mystic River.

Here, again, Lehane returns to Boston to create Joe Coughlin, a strong, resolute, son of Thomas the deputy supervisor of the Boston Police Department.

The action begins in South Boston in 1926, Mobs ruled the city and Joe is the youngest member of Tim Hickey's crew. Most of the mobsters have a cruel streak and the taking of another person's life means little to them. However, Joe is an anachronism in that he cares for his friends and those around him.

As the story moves on, Joe moves up the mob ladder and as he is a leader of his own gang, waiting for prohibition to end so he can provide rum and open a casino, he does whatever he can, to avoid taking anyone's life.

After spending time in the Charlestown Prison and being there when Sacco and Vendetti are executed,
Joe makes his way to Tampa where his goal is to destroy a man who robbed him of his first love.

I was impressed to watch Joe's rise to power and the manner in which he demonstrated his strength and leadership ability. There was something inside him that made others want to follow him.

The prose is descriptive and vivid. We know who is talking and can describe them by their words and Coughlin will take his place as one of Lehane's characters that live on in our memories.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"You're gone from me...tragedy." Song lyrics

Dusting off the cover and re-reading "Tragic Ground," I found to be an entertaining read.

"Tragic Ground" is an example of the naturalistic style of American Literature where the character is placed in a situation beyond their control and the situation dictates the story.

Written in 1944, the story tells of Spence Douthit who moved from Beasley County to a Southern community to work during WWII.

During the war, people were recruited to this area to help provide things needed for the war. However, after the war, the manufacturing plant closed and work opportunities were slim. Many of the people were so poor, they didn't have the financial means to return to their original homes. The community where Spence lived became known as Poor Town.

Spence has two daughters, Libby, age twenty, and Mavis, age thirteen. Libby has a job and a boyfriend who is about to be discharged from a military hospital. Mavis sees how bleak the situation is at her home. She becomes attracted to boys and having a good time.

Since Libby men a man with money and prospects, Spence gets an idea of fixing Mavis up with a wealthy man to marry. His idea is that this would give the family the money to move back to Beasley County and everything would be fine.

The writing is in the fashion of the day with so little to hope for and dreams which will never come true.

A social worker comes to Spence's home about Mavis living at a place that is improper for young girls and this adds to the drama of the story.

I found the story to be interesting and compare it to Theodore Dreiser's work. The story provided a different look at a time and place in American history.

Reading the plight of Spence's family and those around him, makes the reader appreciate what they have and wish that things could have been better for those less fortunate.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Many a tear has to fall, but it's all in the game." Song lyrics


In this chronicle of faith, we follow a man on a mission.

Daniel Byrne is a lead investigator for the Vatican. His responsibility is to investigate and determine the truth of supposed "miracles." His current assignment is to verify phenomena to see if it's worthy of miraculous classification.The

He's assigned to travel to the U.S. and check out Rev. Tim Trinity, who seems to be able to predict the future. He's given this assignment because Tim Trinity is his estranged uncle and church officials feel Daniel can get close to him.

Also investigating Father Daniel and Rev. Tim's actions are a group of men who make their income from gambling and loan sharking. They figure that if Tim can predict the future, he could put them out of business.

Always skeptical about these so called miraculous happenings, Daniel looks into Tim's predictions and finds that they have all come true. The most startling is that Tim had predicted that something would happen to an oil refinery. He advises the employees not to go to work at a certain date. Daniel wants to warn the people at the refinery but his officials in Rome won't let him. They don't want to build Tim up in the eyes of the public.

The sorrowful events that follow, strengthen the legend of Rev. Tim. They also add weight to the possibility that Daniel sees that Rev Tim might have a message from God.

Daniel tells his story that he was raised by Rev Tim after Daniel's parents died. Daniel seemed destined for the priesthood from an early age. Now, he begins to have doubts that he made the right choice.

Rev Tim seems like a good man but with flaws. With his prior drug addiction and the fact that he had run a con-game there is a similarity to Elmer Gantry.

Tim cannot explain how he can forsee the future and becomes convinced that he is preaching the word of God. As the story moves to the conclusion, his followers crowd behind him as he prepares to relay what God has made known to him. Police in Atlanta, try to stop this march and I felt comparisons to Martin Luther King and his followers.

The story is well told with the various parts coming together at the end in a manner which makes the reader think about the message of the book. It is a strong story for people of Faith and those looking for a meaning from life.

Giveaway Rules:
1. Be a follower of this blog.
2. Use above link and go to the Amazon review, read the review and indicate "YES" it was helpful
3. Leave email address and indicate steps 1 and 2 are complete.
4. Giveaway ends Sept. 14th
5. U.S. and Canada only

Good luck

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is awaitin' for me." Song Lyrics

In 1866, there are a number of sightings of an unexplained object in the ocean.
Some of these sightings are far apart from one another. However, when no other explanation is given, some fear that it might be a sea monster.

An expedition is set with U.S. Naval frigate Abraham Lincoln, under Captain Farragut. They are firm in their resolve to find this monster.

Professor Pierre Aronnax of the Museum of Paris had written articles about this phenomenon of a possible sea monster and he is asked to join the others, as is Canadian harpooner, Ned Land.

Once they are out to sea and have traveled far in search for this monster, something is sighted and Ned, Pierre and Pierre's man, Conseil take a small boat from the Abraham Lincoln. Ned tries to harpoon the item but their small boat is overturned and the men are picked up by the submarine, the Nautilus, under Captain Nemo.

They are kept captive as the Nautilus travels the world. They are anxious to go free and Nemo has constant proclamations of where they are and Pierre tells the reader things that are important from these things from history, such as a sunken ship that had riches in it.

The style of writing is dry and without much emotional comment. I found the writing to be so different from today that it was challenging to get into the story line and become involved with the story.

In addition, some of the findings of Jules Verne are impossible to accept, such as the 20,000 leagues that the submarine is said to go under the sea, and this is more than the circumference of the earth.  However, it was interesting to read this to view where literature and adventure fiction has come in the last one hundred years.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Seven lonely nights make one lonely me." Song lyrics

Deon Meyer is a story teller. His descriptions of South African life and philosophy is well described in this novel, "Seven Days."

Meyer isn't afraid to take on various aspects of the South African landscape. He digs into investments by black-only owned businessmen, politicians with links to the Communist Party and the difficulties seen by people fighting alcoholism.

The story begins with someone accusing the police department of a cover-up of the murder of Henneke Sloet-an attractive attorney who was stabbed to death in her luxury apartment.

South African homicide detective, Benny Griessel is assigned to the case but it seems as if there were no leads.

With the delay in the investigation, a sniper begins shooting policemen. He sends emails to the police that he will continue to shoot police officers unless they arrest the person who killed Sloet.

Benny is a member of the Hawks. This is a group of South African police officers who take on sensitive cases and high profile cases. Benny is a recovering alcoholic and as he begins work on the case, he is seeing a woman named Alexia. He met her after her husband's death, which she wrongfully felt she was responsible for. She is also an alcoholic and a singer. Benny is trying to get her back on the wagon but his time spent on the case, doesn't give him the time he needs to give Alexia the support to fight against the temptation of alcohol.

Benny's team learns that Hanneke worked for a law firm that was involved in a major transaction with a black owned business. Benny's team researches public pension funds and the manner in which people are selected to the boards of these funds and then add their other friends to the boards so when there are proposals, they are carried by a friendship rather than a business purpose.

Where so many protagonists of police procedurals are self assured, Benny has doubts about his abilities which makes him more normal and makes us want to support his effort to get the job done.

There is good suspense as Benny tries to find Hennek's killer before more police officers are shot and a secondary story of trying to find the sniper.

The story is told at a liesurly pace and this seems to represent the style of life in South Africa but underneath that relaxed pace, is the heart pounding effort to find a killer and learn the motives of why someone would kill a person as well thought of as was Henneke Sloet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"The Autumn leaves, we used to know." Song lyrics

Life for society women in the 1920s had its own constraints, the image of "family" was stronger than self, as was the idea of a woman's freedom.

In "Early Autumn," the Pulitzer Prize winner of 1927, we have a story of a wealthy family, it's place in the society of the times and the rigid rules of family members who were almost members of the aristocracy in  New England.

The story opens with the celebration of Olivia Pentland's eighteen-year-old daughter, Sybil, who is being presented to Boston society. Also being presented is her friend and neighbor, Therese Callendar.

It is evident that Olivia is the strength of her family. She hasn't turned age forty and doesn't seem to have time for herself. Her husband spends his time working with charities or on family geniality. He lives on an income from his elderly father-who doesn't trust him to run the family business.

At a time without television, one means of entertainment was for society women to spend their time going to various houses, to be entertained and to learn the latest gossip. This is the case for Aunt Cassie and Sabine Callendar. The women don't like each other and the author describes them as "...two hostile cats watching each other for days at a time, stealthily."

Bromfield's wit is in evidence when we hear Aunt Cassie talking about joining her late husband in heaven, while Sabine shares her thoughts with the reader, that the reunion might not be all that pleasant as his wife had anticipated.

Olivia seems forced to live in a world filled with traditions but little love. She does see her daughter trying to escape this family web and we see that it gives a small glimmer of life to her.

She meets a man who brings the thrill of love and a new meaning to life. But can a woman of society in the 1920s ask for a divorce? What if her husband refuses to give it?

This was a most interesting story of a woman and a wealthy family in New England, at this time of history.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Tell it to the Rain" Song Lyrics

This is a story about justice and friendship.

In the southern part of Texas, by the Mexican border, the sheriff's office is informed about shots being fired at a certain location the prior night.

Sheriff Hackberry Holland, a Korean War vet, discovers the bodies of nine Asian women. Later, he learns that they were carrying balloons of drugs in their stomachs. Not only were they being used as mules, they might have been traveling to a place of prostitution.

With James Lee Burke's keen ability to describe settings and provide unforgettable characters, we follow the trail of the killers. We learn that they want to kill the young man who called the authorities and the man's girlfriend. They fear that the man could identify them and that his girlfriend may have recognized one of the men also.

In typical fashion, Burke defends characters who are attempting to get out of a difficult predicament. He also shows the ineptitude of government officials to help or show any compassion.

The killers who come after the defenseless characters and soon begin to argue among themselves. Greed is extreme and it is well depicted in this story as if avarice.  Sheriff Holland is a genuinely good man and he shines above the other characters in the story.

The action is well paced so that the reader can observe what is going on with the criminals, the two innocent characters and with Sheriff Holland and his loyal chief deputy, Pam Tibbs.

The characters are well thought out and believable and the story is entertaining.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"We're going to be friends." Song Lyrics


"Going to the Bad" is a humorous mystery that is so visual it's as if the hilarious scenes were taking place on the TV screen before us and maybe Lucille Ball had returned to a younger life and become the protagonist.

The story opens with Lilly Hawkins at work. Her attention is centered when she hears a police frequency about a shooting and the address given is her home. She learns that her elderly Uncle Bud was shot and taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Zany things are happening at the TV station. The afternoon anchor is nervous about his first show where an animal shelter is bringing in some caged animals to show the TV audience and maybe have some of the animals adopted.

Lilly seems to have two reasons for searching for the person who shot her uncle. From one point of view, it would probably be a good story but after speaking to a person who was one of Bud's best friends, it appears like Bud may have stolen something valuable from him and maybe Lilly doesn't want to uncover any 'dirt' about her uncle.

Lilly is a spunky character who learns that the man accused of stealing these items from the wealthy friend of Bud's, lived on a farm with his sister. The sister is elderly and suffers from a form of dementia. Her daughter keeps her locked up in a mobile home. However, when Lilly goes to see her, she has to sneak in by a bathroom window. After the woman invited Lilly into the room, she forgot who Lilly was and began screaming. Lilly had to beat a hasty retreat.

There are some excellent characters in the story, led by Lilly. There's no stopping her and her actions and the situation she's in, make us want her to succeed.

The action takes place in Bakersfield, California and on a few farms in the suburbs - all in two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I also enjoyed the dialog and the various parts of the story that the author brings together in a tight and satisfactory conclusion.

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Currently Reading
Broken Promise