Friday, December 27, 2013

Hi ho the cherry o, a hunting we will go.

"Hunting Shadows" is a police procedural in which two murders take place outside of London at the end of WWI. The action is at the end of the war but has connections to the battlefield.

Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard is sent to investigate. One death takes place at a wedding where the victim was a guest. The other person shot with a rifle was a politician about to give a speech.

There are many people to be interviewed with both men killed in the same manner. However, Rutledge can't find anything connecting the men. He thinks it might be connected to the war and asks local police to gather the names of war vets.

The story follows Rutledge's investigation and we learn more of the population and habits of the time. At one point Rutledge is in a village and there is a copper, a hurdle maker, and an ironmonger among other occupations and businesses.

The characters are unique and refreshing as is getting a literary picture of the life at that time in history.

The story moves along at a liesurly fashion which is appropriate. In some stories it's easy to guess who the villain might be but Charles Todd keeps the reader guessing to the conclusion. I enjoyed the novel and recommend it to historical mystery fans.

Friday, December 20, 2013

You'll be gone on this tragedy

Details in "Tragic" are what I would imagine if I were reading a New York newspaper and an article about the happenings of a union of dockworkers.

Robert K. Tanenbaum gives a good description of the characters as we learn of three men who were part of a 'hit' on a union official who felt that the last union election was rigged and he wants an audit of union funds.

Gradually, we learn of the victim's life and his wife and infant son. We also learn of the hit men, in particular two men who were talked into joining the third who is a half crazy Russian mob wannabe.

There are many characters in this complex novel and the crooks try to save face and turn on each other when things go badly. We read of the police evidence and justice is served. In developing the characters two of the men who were persuaded to join the Russian are well described as we follow their journey from a small time hood to a part in a murder.  Their descriptions are done so well that it makes them someone the reader really gets to know about their motivation.

The courtroom scenes are also very realistic and filled with legal details but the chief antagonist is described in a way that makes him seem stereotypical.

Because of the temperament of the thieves, there really wasn't much suspense in the story and the outcome was predictable. However, the readers who enjoy legal mysteries should enjoy this book very much.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Police as you've never seen before.

In a suspenseful novel, we find Harry Hole who was seriously wounded at the conclusion of the last Jo Nesbo novel and some readers couldn't tell if he survived.

In this story, someone is killing police officers at the scenes of a murder they had investigated but not solved.

Surprisingly, Harry doesn't make an appearance until well into the story.

He is now a lecturer and in love with Rakel. He seems torn between devoting himself to her or, continuing policing investigations and putting evil people in jail.

The bodies pile up as more police officers are killed. Additionally, these murdered officers are killed in vicious ways. Finally, Harry is enticed to join the investigation.

Also, there is a badly wounded man in a hospital under police guard. It is not until deep into the story that who this man is and why he's being protected by the police.

The story is set is Oslo, Norway with author Jo Nesbo doing an excellent job in keeping the reader guessing as to who is the murderer. We also feel the tremendous tension as a new target is chosen by the killer.

"Police" is an excellent, multi-layered crime story with characters who are well described and an exciting plot. While the story is complex, it is believable and written by an author who is one of the best at his game.
His writing has been compared to the great Steig Larsson and I believe that the comparison is justifiable.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Murder in London at the start of last century.

 This story is set in London and takes place at the turn of the 20th century.

At a party at the Spanish Embassy, a confrontation takes place resulting in a young woman falling to her death.

Later, we learn that one of the guests' wife was raped and appears to have been murdered.  Thomas and Charlotte Pitt investigate along with his former boss at Special Branch, Victor Narraway who is now a member of the House of Lords.

 This story is cleverly written. Pitt must prove that there is a connection involving England's benefit since his department handles state issues.  The woman who fell to her death is the daughter of the Portuguese ambassador.

We also learn of other rapes that have happened. At this point in history women seemed afraid to report rape because they would be held to blame and their reputation ruined.

There is also a connection to Leander Starr Jameson's raid in South Africa and money spent in financing the raid.

 The end result is a well plotted, complex mystery packed with historic and interesting characters. The conclusion is well done and clever.

Anne Perry is a master of this genre and this is the 28th novel in the series. I enjoyed her writing style and the story which held my attention throughout.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A ride and a love story

Ninety-one-year-old Ira Levinson crashes his car going around an icy curve. His car goes down a snow packed embankment and his injuries make him unable to get out of the car. Besides the snow, the road is isolated and Ira fears that he won't be found.  He feels helpless but is visited by the spirit of his late wife, Ruth.

 The novel tells two stories that are interwoven around each other. In the second story, Sophia Danks, a college student interested in art history falls in love with a cowboy who is a bull rider. His name is Luke and these seemingly unlikely pair fall in love.

Like many of Nicholas Sparks's books,. there is detailed descriptions of the characters and their lives. In Ira's case, we observe his father's haberdashery business and how Ira falls in love with Ruth from the moment she comes into the store to buy a hat for her father. Her family was from Vienna and we also learn that those who were left behind were facing the persecution of the Jews under Hitler.

Many of Sparks's novels have been turned into films and it is easy for the reader to close their eyes and imagine the action unfolding on a screen before them.

There are no surprises and some of the action seems like it's been done before but still an enjoyable novel and a fine romance, just right for romantic literature fans.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A mystery that stands out and is perfect for the holidays.

I was enchanted with this book as soon as I saw the cover with the tall spruce trees lining a snow packed road and a lone vehicle traveling with what appears to be flashing lights. Was it traveling to some mysterious setting?

The story has two parts. In one, the wife of a powerful, arrogant judge disappears and her car is found abandoned in a snowbank. The judge is not well liked but could he have been behind his wife's disappearance? What could be his motive? There is evidence that shows something is amiss.

In the other portion of the story, someone seems to want to harm Cork O'Connor's son, Stephen,  or his girlfriend. The youngsters car is practically forced off the road and skids into a possible life or death situation.

Everything is shrouded in mystery and Cork, the former sheriff, now a P.I. is asked to assist in the investigation because the sheriff's investigator is on vacation.

Cork is a returning character who is the protagonist of William Kent Krueger. He is part American Indian from the Ojbwe tribe and we experience the mysticism and spirituality of the Indians and Cork's daughter who was planning to become a nun.

Cork follows the investigation and someone goes to Stephen's girlfriend's home and kills her dog. She and her mother were minding the dog until a relative got out of jail in the near future. Cork analyzes the occurrences and begins to see a pattern. But who could be doing these things?

The setting is just before Christmas and perfect reading as we get ready for the holidays.

The characters are unique and wonderful. The area of the crime is in Minnesota just outside of an Indian reservation and the author's descriptions are vivid and memorable.

Very entertaining.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Action in East Texas at the turn of the 20th Century

Sixteen-year-old Jack Parker has seen his parents die of the smallpox epidemic and his grandfather killed by an outlaw. When the outlaw kidnapped Jack's fourteen-year-old sister, he couldn't let the outlaws get away with it. He's determined to rescue her and his actions reminded me of Huckleberry Finn. There is a comparison to Mark Twain in Joe R. Lansdale's writing.

Action takes place in East Texas at the turn of last century. We follow Jack's narrative and his amazement with some of the new advances such as the telephone and automobile.

Jack has a group of men who agree to go after the outlaws. He has land from his parents and grandfather and offers that as an incentive. Among the characters who accompany Jack is a black man who was a grave digger, a dwarf who had been in the circus, a whore, and a sheriff who had been a bounty hunter. The men are also accompanied by a hog and this reminded me of the piglets who followed the cattle drive in "Lonesome Dove."

They follow the trail of the outlaws and one of the outlaws, Fatty Worth, has escaped from jail and is on the trail to join the outlaw gang. This man is a cold blooded killer who was reminiscent of Blue Duck from "Lonesome Dove" in the multitude and heartlessness of the people he meets along the trail and kills.

Along the way, Jack's friends talk about their past adventures and in this manner we learn of Shorty's meeting Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley among other notables of history. This adds to the interest in the story.

The Thicket is a wooded area where the outlaws are hiding. This area is populated by murderous men and when peaceful people try to exist among them, many of the law abiding people are killed.

The story moves along swiftly with images of  Texas and life in a wild area at a momentous time in history.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Wasted days and wasted nights, but not if you have a good book

We go back in time for "W is for Wasted." It's 1988 and Kinsey Millhone is age 38.

There are two parallel investigations that PI Kinsey gets involved with. First there is a homeless man who had Kinsey's name and phone with him when he died. Through the investigation, Kinsey learns that the man was a former convict whose conviction was overturned. He was ostracized by his children and was a long lost relative of Kinsey's. She learns that the man had made her the executor of his estate.

The second story involves a shady police investigator, Pete Wolinsky who tried to take advantage of every situation. He gets involved in a marital investigation and it develops that there is a chance for Pete to make extra money through blackmail.

This is an enjoyable novel with a contemporary plot in that it deals with the homeless and medical experiments. The Wasted in the title appears to be about the lives of the homeless and in particular, Kinsey's relative who wasted his life when he had the brains to make something of himself.

Kinsey's relative, R.T. Dane was tried and convicted of a crime that a fellow worked committed. Only when the other man was on his death bed was Dane's conviction overturned and Dane freed. By that time, his family didn't want anything to do with him.

The action moves along nicely and Kinsey's dealing with Dane's children is interesting to follow. We come to feel that the children were only looking for what they could get from suddenly seeing something in their dead father that they liked.

I found the book entertaining but not one of the author's best works. I appreciated how  the author wrote about the homeless and how they might have become more if their situations were different.

Monday, November 4, 2013

'Tis a tale of the old country

"Buried in a Bog" is Sheila Connolly's charming story about a young woman from Boston who goes to her ancestral home in Cork County, Ireland.

The author states that she has a fondness for genealogy and this novel demonstrates her interest and passion. The story follows Maura Donovan who comes to a small village, Leap, in County Cork. Her gran, Nora raised Maura and her dying wish was that Maura return to the village where Gran lives in her younger days.

The picturesque village of Leap is made up of many people named after their relatives so we see a number of characters with the same name. This is confusing to Maura but she is enchanted by the tradition. She is told to go to Sullivan's Pub and will receive directions to the friend of her grandmother's who corresponded with her, Bridget Nolan.

Soon after Maura's arrival, a body is found in a bog. The person might have been there for half a century and is the talk of the town as to who it might be.

The owner of the pub had recently died and Maura takes a job there as she tries to learn more about her family and the land surrounding them.

Many people come to Sullivan's to interact with each other and share the latest gossip. Maura meets them as they arrive and interacts with them.

A man is murdered in the neighboring town and this becomes a bigger source of interest. Then, Maura finds a letter in the bar's papers. This is from a man in Australia trying to find about his ancestors and his missing uncle. Maura thinks that this might be the man in the bog and brings the info to the police but someone tries to run her car off the road and intimidate her.

Many people are related to each other and befriend her. Two managers of the pub ask her to remain in Leap until the ownership of the pub is determined.

This is a delightful story of identity and life's goals. Maura has nothing to tie her to Boston and comes to love the area and its inhabitants. She fits into her new surroundings easily and stands up for herself with the person trying to scare her into leaving.

I enjoyed the story and Maura's infatuation with the land and people who we find were related to her in distant ways.

Highly recommended.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A love story in cattle country and the threat of wolves

In the ranching community of Hope, Montana, wolves make their presence known by killing a number of the ranchers' cattle.

The ranchers, led by the powerful Buck Calder, would like to exterminate the wolves but the wolves are protected by government laws.

Helen Ross, a wolf biologist, is sent to the area to tag and protect the wolves. She is provided a cabin in the mountains so she can do her work in the area that is closer to the wolves trails.

Buck's son, Luke, is an eighteen-year-old who dislikes the idea of killing animals. He and Helen form a relationship that becomes romantic. They both attempt to protect the wolves from the ranchers' hatred.

The story presents both points of view, the care for an endangered species that had roamed this area, and the survival of the ranchers' cattle.

Among the unique characters we meet is J.J. Lovelace, a wolf catcher. He seems to have no love for anyone but is captivated by a one-year-old child he comes across at Buck's ranch. This encounter seems to open an area of Lovelace's soul.

Helen is a character the reader can empathize with, trying to do a job surrounded by ranchers who hate what she's doing. The pacing of the story is also well done as we get to see the town folk deal with the elements of a snowy winter.

The story is based on relationships and Luke's development as a character is well documented. He had been under his stern father's rule but even as a young person, he is strong enough to make up his own mind about the wolves and his future.

The story was enjoyable and it leave a good memory of Hope, Montana and make us wonder what the community might be like today.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jo Nesbo writes another excellent thriller

Harry Hole returns to Oslo to attempt to clear the name of the boy, Oleg, who he helped raise. Oleg is accused of murder and is being held by the police.

To follow the trail of the murderer, Harry becomes involved in the Oslo drug trade. He has learned that the murdered boy, Gusto, was known as a drug dealer.

There is also a side story with an alternative point of view as the reader experiences Gusto's life and how he came to his death.

In the story, Harry deals with a number of memorable characters and it is difficult for the reader to determine who is honest and who is not. Even members of the police are suspects.

Since the police could be involved, it is difficult for Harry to find someone to trust and to help him. The reader has to feel for his plight and wonder how he could succeed.

The author has many surprises and where some readers are able to guess at who the killer might be, this novel is unique that it is impossible to tell who is Gusto's murderer.

The conclusion is powerful and the reader is left with the uncertainty of Harry Hole's fate.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Murder in Sydney in a suspenseful plot.

Harry Hole, inspector from Oslo is sent to Sydney to observe a murder investigation of a case involving a high profile case of a young woman from Norway.

He is assigned to work with the Sydney police but not take an active role. Andrew Kingston of the police unit will act as his escort during Harry's stay. Andrew is an Aborigine who has overcome much in his life. He is also a story teller and tells tales of the history of his people during the downtime in the investigation.

As the men work with other members of the crime squad they come across a number of interesting characters. In particular, I enjoyed a man who was a transvestite who worked in a traveling circus.

The investigation uncovers that other women in the same description of the Norwegian girl have been murdered in the same manner so that they believe a serial killer is at work.

We learn more of the Australian history and legends during the story and this adds to the interest and lessens the suspense that is mounting.

The pacing is swift and Harry meets a young woman and they form a romantic relationship. Harry tells her of his days in Oslo and the reason that he has to stay away from alcohol since he was driving a car after drinking and his partner was killed in the accident that followed.

I enjoyed the story and felt that the info on Sydney and the history of the people was very well written. I was disappointed to see that Harry wasn't able to live up to the heroic person I imagined he would become. The frailty of Harry's resolve and the human failings of other characters is well played in the novel.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Serial Mystery that's fun

"Inherit the Dead" is a serial novel with twenty bestselling authors adding their input to the development of the story.

The cast of mystery writers is impressive with such notable writers as John Connolly and Mary Higgins Clark. Reading their take on the progress of the story is an interesting concept.

Disgraced former NY Homicide detective turned PI Pericles "Perry" Christo is hired by a Manhattan socialite to find her missing daughter, Angel. The daughter needs to sign forms for her inheritance prior to her twenty-first birthday. The socialite also hasn't had a relationship with her daughter and tells Perry she wants to reconcile.

The daughter has been living in Long Island with her father and has been missing. The father lives in the Hampton s and doesn't seem worried, neither does a number of her past boyfriends. At the same time, someone is following Perry with an deadly agenda of their own.

Perry has a daughter about the same age as Angel and feels empathy for Angel but knows he's not being told the truth by the other characters. He's pulled deeper into the plot and only has one old friend from his New York police days who helps.

The plot has been done before but seeing the various authors input into it is fun.

I enjoyed the descriptions of New York and the social scene, even one of the characters who had a butler named Jeeves.

I think mystery fans will enjoy this book.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Well written literary mystery

It is a joy to pick up a book and enjoy an excellent reading experience from the first page to the conclusion.

Being an author and attempting to have a second novel published, I understand the difficulty in finding an agent and publisher.

In this story, Jo Donovan is the owner of a successful literary agency. One day she is stopped on the street by a man calling himself Sam Spade. He demands her attention and promises that his novel is the new big thing, the best novel in ages and that she will be overwhelmed by its excellence.

The man is so pushy that one of Jo's employees has to help her remove herself from the man's assertive manner and he threatens the employee because of it.

Later, Jo attends a literary function and her laptop is separated from her baggage for a time before it is located. Soon after, many of Jo's clients begin getting letters that their novels have been approved or other good news, all of this written by someone wanting to do Jo harm. This is also humiliating and disappointing to the clients.

Other events follow and Jo comes to fear for her safety. She brings the police into the investigation and a friend who is a FBI profiler. Then a murder occurs and the suspense escalates.

The author, Barbara Rogan has an excellent feel for New York and what goes on in the publishing industry.

The plot is refreshing and the characters are just what a reader would imagine would be in the publishing industry with the gala events and buildings with doormen. The entire story was a joy to read.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Left me hanging

This was my first experience with reading a Matt Hilton novel and the suspense was breathtaking. However, there is such a reliance on the evil of the villain, Tubal Cain, a.k.a. Martin Maxwell, a.k.a. The Harvestman, that I had a feeling that he would be like Freddy Krueger of the Halloween movies and somehow survive. His character also reminded me of Hannibal Lecter.

The writing was crisp but the dialogue seemed done before and it was difficult to see the difference between characters since they all had a similar speech pattern.

The central character, Joe Hunter, was likened to Jack Reacher on the jacket cover  but I failed to see the resemblance. Hunter is a much more flawed character, his reflexes are sometimes less than what a reader would expect and he seemed gullible at times. Reacher is the ultimate professional.

I enjoy reading thrillers but the group of evil men in this book were unintelligent and foolish in much of their behavior in leaving themselves open to attack and failure to anticipate consequences.

Up to the conclusion, the plot did get my attention but the conclusion was disappointing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Ferry nice mystery

"The Sound and the Furry" is a new mystery with private investigator Bernie Little and his intelligent canine partner, Chet.

The story is set in the bayou area of Louisiana. Bernie is asked to find the missing brother of a man he, Bernie, helped put in jail. The brother is as straight as an arrow. He's the one good thing in the mixed-up family but now he's missing and the family fears the worst.

When Bernie and his partner arrive in this town outside of New Orleans, we also find that there is a type of clan war between that family and another which dates back to the Civil War or before.

This is a closed family and the reader is made aware of the struggles with shrimp fishing and dealing with the rival family.

There is also the fact of dead birds being found on the bayou and the new oil platform getting ready to go into production.

The book gives a good look at the backwards community, their politics, their love of music and the corruption existing around them.

Bernie is an interesting and unique private investigator who is smart and has integrity. What makes the story different is Chet, the canine, interpreting what action is taking place and Chet's ability to understand people.

I enjoyed the story and the characters. The conclusion was appropriate and I look forward to more adventures of the Little Detective Agency.

Monday, October 14, 2013

About me

In my fight against lung cancer, last Friday was a high and low point.

Began a new series of treatment at the Smilow Cancer clinic in New Haven but was at the hospital from 10:45 until almost 7 pm.

First saw the oncologist and learned that my tests from earlier in the week, looked good, no cancer growth in the bone.
Next up to the 8th floor:  first give blood and urine so they can test bodily functions
                                      then after analysis by doctors, they contact the pharmacy
                                      the pharmacy puts together the meds on this new program, takes over an hour
                                      two hours for the infusion and then, since this was the first time on this med, had to stay and extra hour for observation. They wanted to make sure I didn't go into shock or anything....

Very unnerving and I ended up as the last patient there.

Glad it's see about the side effects of the new meds.

Timely thriller

Readers looking for a page turner with an up to the minute topic should enjoy "Hidden Order" by Brad Thor. The excitement and contemporary story will have the reader jump with excitement.

CIA operative Lydia Ryan meets with the deputy chief of Jordan General Intelligence and learns of a plot being hatched against the US FED.

The head of the FED has died and there are five candidates for succession. Who is selected could change the US monetary system and payments to other countries. The stability of this organization could maintain the status of the world economy.

The five candidates become missing and Lydia Ryan and Bob McGee, agency operative, try to find them and stop any plot.

Scott Horvath is assigned to look into the missing FED candidates and  finds the first victim's body was located at Jekyll Island. He found a book on the island and learned some secrets behind the FED and why it is disliked by many people.

The plot moves along intelligently with enough facts about the Federal Reserve to make the story believable and worthy of our attention. Readers are made aware of the powers of the Fed and what would happen if the plot were to succeed. We also learn the connection to leaders of the Revolution and this glance at American history enhances the story even more.

The story is a thriller, yes, but also a look between various intel agencies. I enjoyed the characters and the look at history and reading a very exciting story.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wonderful descriptions of Vermont and Hurricane Irene

This is an excellent book that I can't say enough about.

Having gone to college in Vermont, long ago, and lived there for five years, Archer Mayor's depicts the life and area as if I was back in college and experiencing everything first hand.

If the reader is looking for something where characters are getting ready for an approaching disaster, they'll find it in "Three Can Keep a Secret."

As the first part begins, we see that the disaster readiness people are going through but as waters rise, some people begin doing foolish things.

Water causes a cemetery to be upturned and one grave is found with a coffin filled with rocks and not a dead body. This is the first portion of the mystery.

In a side story, the state hospital has patients beginning to be evacuated but one patient walks off on her own. She's a simple woman but knows things about what happened in the state, long ago, and this involves some important people.

The characters are very real and it seems as if the reader is immediately immersed in the history of the state and the storm's effects on the inhabitants.

The conclusion is well written and intelligent. It is something the reader will remember.

Friday, October 4, 2013

An early work from one of our masters

In "Heaven's Prisoners" it is easy for the reader to picture the Louisiana landscape and the culture existing in the New Orleans and New Iberia area due to the wonderful writing and descriptions of James Lee Burke.

The characters Burke depicts rise up from the pages and it seems as if the reader is in the same room as they are, or sitting on a edge of a bayou, discussing the body of a young woman whose murdered body has just been found by a poor fisherman.

Dave Robicheaux is one of the most respected and admired detectives in modern mystery novels.  His belief in himself and his fellow men is admirable as is his goal of wanting to do well for the less fortunate.

Dave and his wife Annie are on their boat when a plane crashes into the water. Dave saves a little six-year-old girl who is the only survivor.  Dealing with the saved child and the circumstances in which she was aboard the plane make up much of the story.

There is excellent characterization in a well plotted story with a number of twists and surprises that the reader will never forget.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Don't miss this author with a long resume of excellence

This is my first taste of the quality of writing of Bill Pronzini. It opened the door to a writer who has been creating excellent mysteries for years.

It also is an excellent read for the end of the summer.

Assistant District Attorney Pat Dixon gets a chance for a vacation at Deep Mountain Lake. He has a friend, Private Investigator "Nameless Detective," to whom he offers a bargain.  Another friend is working on a case and won't be able to use his cabin. He'll offer it to Nameless for paying utilities and for driving Pat's wife and son to the lake since Pat won't be able to get away for a few days.

Nameless accepts but doesn't know that also staying at the lake is a recently paroled explosives expert set on revenge for the people who sent him to prison a number of years ago.

"Bobbytrap" is a colorfully detailed mystery where the author describes the mountain and the characters in dramatic fashion.

The story begins with experiencing the calmness of the lake and beautiful surroundings but with the demise of a number of characters, the suspense is created and continues to build.

I've missed out on this author for too long but would suggest for the reader looking for a fast-paced, seat of the pants thriller, check Bill Pronzini out.

A story of true life.  A disbared Philadelphia attorney is asked to find Daniel Wilson who has been missing for seven years and the family will be able to collect the insurance money.

The man's sister also has a feeling that there is something with the missing life insurance money.

Good characters and nice description of the area.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

January, June and July, I love the games we play

The January Corpse.  Well written.

I found the story to be well written. It's my first experience with Neil Albert and I can see his talent from the writing in this book.

In the story, a young, disbarred attorney from Philadelphia is hired to find Daniel Wilson.  Wilson is a dislikable person who has been missing for seven years and it is now time that the insurance company can certify that he is dead and so the family can collect the insurance money.

The question is who killed Wilson and why did they want to kill him if he'd make more money by being alive.

Wilson's sister, Lisa, is the person who hires P.I. Dave Garrett and she seems sincere in trying to find her brother and who might be responsible for his death. Then, a car is discovered with bullet holes in it.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it to mystery fans and fans of an intelligently written mystery novel.

Just tell the angel in the morning

In 1897 Stevie Tagget, a reformed street urchin is with PI Susan Howard when someone comes up to them in a frantic manner and tells them that her child has been kidnapped.

Her husband is secretary to the Spanish Consul and since the U.S.and Spain are close to war, they don't want to report a kidnapping in case it would worsen the relationship between the two countries.

The group asks their friends Lucas and Marcus Isaacson for help.

They learn that a woman has been attacked and they get a police sketcher to draw a likeness to the attacker.

They learn that a there was a nurse investigated in the past and she worked in a hospital where a number of infants under her care have died in similar respiratory ailment as a child under the nurses care now.

The book is extensive in detail, going through the steps to find the child, traveling through New York City and upstate. The characters are very realistic as is the authors descriptions of New York.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Everything isn't calm beneath the waters of the Long Island Sound.

"Silent Waters" is a mystery set in the world of submarines and the things going on under the metal framework of a submarine and closed to outsiders.  The book centers on the hijacking of a submarine and the suspense as the sub heads for a target where the explosive power of the sub could kill millions. The target is New York City.

The new commander of the ship is Commander Darius McCann who finds a person to help his fight against the hijackers, Amy Russell, who is the ship superintendent.

The suspense grabbed me immediately as I wondered who would attempt to hijack a sub and how would they try to get away with it. Then I followed the U.S. President and his actions to stop this potential disaster from taking place.

Jan Coffey creates realistic characters and combines it here with a surprise conclusion that will keep the reader scratching their heads at the possibilities and methods that the protagonists might use to prevent the hijackers from achieving their goals.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Only the shadow knows for sure.

Peggy Rothschild sets her new novel in the  California High Desert. This is the world of cactus, desert bushes and frigid mornings. Casey Lang has had the experience of firing her weapon on an occasion where a small child was involved. The memory of this has stayed with her.

In this incident, a six-year-old girl has disappeared from a summer concert and since Casey is the only member of her department with the experience of a child being kidnapped, she's placed in charge of the investigation.

I was captivated by the images of the abandoned mines caught my attention along with the cactus and sagebrush. The cover jacket was also well done and made me very interested in the story that was to follow.

Casey Lang is an appealing character and one who the reader can feel empathy for. She leaves the big city and horrific incidents involving children and then, she's placed in a crime involving another child. She's placed in charge of finding a little girl who doesn't have anyone to stand up for her.

There was also a well done surprise toward the conclusion that stretched the entertainment and prolonged the memory of a well told story.

In short, Peggy Rothschild has put a nice mixture of suspense, interesting characters and a vivid setting that makes the reader want to learn more and more about the story.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ah, don't let the rain fall down.

Dave Robicheaux is a lieutenant in the New Orleans P.D. One day while Dave is fishing, he discovers a young black girl's body.

He attempts to get the local police to investigate and do an autopsy but in those days in Louisiana, spending time in this manner, with the body of a negro,  is not a priority for the local police.

Dave decides to follow up on his own and in so doing is warned by a man he helped in the past. He tells Dave that there is a hit put on Dave's life.

The story goes through the complexities of Dave's life, from being a Vietnam vet, to his alcoholism.

He learns that the gang responsible for the hit, deals with drugs and prostitutes and then Dave meets a young agent from the Bureau of Drugs and Alcohol to track down and arrest the gang leader. However, a frame is set up where Dave is forced to drink alcohol and his friend is in a car with him when the gang pushes it off the road, killing Dave's friend and making it look like he fell off the wagon.

James Lee Burke writes in a lyrical manner and sets the tone for his philosophy of protecting the poor and defenseless. Clete Purcel is Dave's partner and shows a glimmer of his humor and loyalty.

"The Neon Rain" is a wonderful start to an excellent series.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Orchardist

"The Orchardist" might be one of the most popular woman's reading group novels in a long time.

The book was recommended to me from someone who read it in a reading group.

Talmage and his family travel from the Oregon Territory to an area where he and his mother are able to successfully plant an orchard and exchange the products grown for the goods of others for barter for items needed for their livelihood.

Two young girls arrive at his orchard and one stays. A baby is born and the girl likes to go to the mountains with other men to capture horses. This woman's sister's daughter, Angeline, stays with Talmadge through the years.

The book is very literate and presents a realistic slice of life.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

There's no point in telling lies. The truth will always come out

Daniel Brasher comes from one of San Francisco's wealthiest families. Wanting to give back to the community, he leaves his high paying job as a money manager for a job as a community counselor.

He works in a tough neighborhood and his counseling is with ex-cons who have chosen his counseling group in return for a reduction in their jail time.

His wife, Christina, tries to help in the community when a large company tries to take over people's homes and replace them with a large building.

One day, going through his mail, Daniel sees a note to someone that they must do what the note demands or they will "bleed for the actions they have done." Later, Daniel learns that the time for the person's response went by and the victim was brutally murdered.

Two other notices are given in the same manner and Daniel tries getting the police involved but is too late. Then, a note comes for Daniel.

The suspense mounts as the reader tries to guess who the killer might be and with Gregg Hurwitz's writing skill, they usually guess the wrong person.

The story is timely and it seems as if events like events like these could happen to anyone.

Hurwitz describes his characters in a realistic manner as if we were sitting in the counseling room and trying to explain crimes we've committed.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This is a monkey I wouldn't want on my back.

I've enjoyed Carl Hiassen's work in the past and found "Bad Monkey" to stand right up with his better books.

This is a book that would appeal to readers of all ages.  It tells how wealthy land owners purchase homes in Florida that overlook the water. Then they tear them town and build mini mansions for speculation.

One of the people unhappy that his home was demolished is a man from the Island of Andros. His sister lives in Toronto and she completes the sale on her own. Her brother's part in the sale is a gain of over $300,000. His home is then demolished and his joy at sitting by the water and having a pleasant view is ruined.

He goes to see a woman known as the Dragon Queen. His name is Neville and he wants the woman to cast a spell on the builder. Neville has a monkey with him that he has been caring for.

When the Dragon Queen sees the monkey she is startled and asks Neville, what happened to his boy. His reaction is to tell her that this isn't his child, it's a money he was caring for and was told it's from the cast of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

I think that readers will enjoy the book and that Neville and his monkey will remain in their memory for a long time.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Red sails in the sunset

"Red Herring" tells of three unrelated deaths in Vermont and Joe Gunther and his team working together to solve them.

First there is a businesswoman, Doreen Frenc, she is a surprise victim because she is liked by everyone. There is also a school administrator who is hung and a young man who apparently drinks too much and is forced off the road.

The connection that Joe and his team uncover is intelligent and realistic. It is one of those moments in literature where the reader gives an "ah, ha."

The book also contains good descriptions of  the Vermont landscape and the relationship between Joe and a lady friend.

Enjoyable and recommended.

Red skies in the morning.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"You light up my life" Song lyrics

James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors and "Light of the World" is one of his finest books. The story takes the reader to the Montana countryside where Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell are vacationing.

Dave's daughter, Alafair,  is jogging on a mountain path when someone shoots and arrow that barely misses her. Other events happen which lead Dave to believe that
Alafair's life might be in danger.

Alafair is a writer who had interviewed mass murderer, Asa Surrette, when he was in prison. She wanted him to admit other crimes and lessen the grief of these other families who were Surrette's victims.

Clete's daughter, Gretchen, takes offense at a sexist comment made by a local cop and the consequences are severe.

Gretchen was filming a documentary about land use in Montana and those wanting to spoil it for their own personal riches.

Another character we meet is a brave man who works at a rodeo. He tangles with a wealthy family, the Youngers and the repercussions are elegantly described.

The setting is beautifully described with the mountain rivers and the land seen in its most lovely manner.  James Lee Burke also displays his characters in a way in which the reader gets to know them and for the reader to feel as if they are part of the action.

Highly recommended and in my opinion, a candidate for literary awards.

Monday, August 19, 2013

A stretch of the imagination

Four beautiful women go on a vacation to a luxurious spot in Monte Carlo. They all come from marriages where the spark of love is missing.

After enjoying the festivities, the women meet a number of men and continue their partying to a rich man's yacht.

They are unaware that their husband's have followed them and have their own plan to punish their unfaithful wives.

The women also are unaware that one of the men they are with is an influential politician in disguise.

Something happens and people are killed, the women end up on trial.

This is an entertaining read but, possibly since it was written by two authors, the story is disjointed and there are too many coincidences that seemed improbable. I could recommend the book as an easy summer read.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A novel dealing with mistreatment of teenage boys by adults

There are many aspects to this complex novel.

A quiet cul-de-sack in England is changed when a family named Pearson moves in. Something about the history of the head of the family is discovered and neighbors become merciless in their treatment of the family.

Eric Pearson has called police about evidence he has on a case of national interest but when police review his information they feel it is uncorroborated and insufficient for further action. Pearson also takes photos of the neighbors as they pick on his family.

His family lived in a commune called Children of Solomon Pearson is charged with inappropriate behavior there and so is asked to leave the commune. He is bitter about this and feels the action was taken without sufficient proof.

Meanwhile there is a man found guilty of crimes against children but claims others were also involved. The case doesn't seem to be going anywhere until the body of another teenage boy is found.

Besides a story dealing with a delicate subject, the author details the emotional toll this has on officials investigating the case.

I enjoyed the story but felt it was slow to get started and there were parts of the book that were difficult to read due to the subject matter.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"You're a devil in disguise" song lyrics


A thriller based on a true story, "Speak of the Devil" is a novel with much of the story taken from real MS-13 cases. There are villains in abundance with this particular gang reigning havoc in the Washington, D.C. area.

The story tells of a gutsy young woman, Anna Curtis whose position is a sex crimes prosecutor. Characters are the key to most well written novels and in this story, the characters leap from the pages. At the start of the novel, there is a horrific murder with men charging into a brothel and decapitating one of the employees. It seems like an open and shut case but witnesses are reluctant to come forward.

Anna's boyfriend is Jack Bailey who is at the U.S. Attorney's office, chief of the Homicide Unit.

There is biting social commentary on a legal system that fails to protect witnesses. We also have a love story between Anna and Jack and we become part of their wedding plans. The author writes an intelligent novel and asks about the ways that love can prevail over violence.

I don't want to get into the plot but found the story one I couldn't put down. It is an excellent read with real situations and mounting suspense.

4 1/2 stars.

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Interesting mystery that takes place in Vermont

A housebreaker is entering the homes of wealthy residents and leaving a note that they've been tagged. Then the housebreaker usually helps himself to a snack and leaves.

He picks the wrong home when he breaks into the home of a gangster and goes into the man's computer. Unfortunately for him, the gangster had a security system that filmed the housebreaker in action. When the gangster saw this, he ordered a hit on the housebreaker.

Another home he breaks into has an old suitcase that a man staying in the home had in the basement. The housebreaker spots evidence of what might have been mass killings that took place years ago but doesn't know what to do with this.

The thief uses the name Dan Kravitz and wants to return to this home a second time to see if he can get more information that might be useful to the authorities. However, the man is waiting for him and in a confrontation, Kravitz barely escapes.

The man who was doing the hit on Kravitz takes him too lightly and, what happens, brings the police into the story. The lead police officer is Joe Gunther of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. He and his men lead the investigation.

The suspense is properly maintained and the author provides good descriptions of the various cities in Vermont where the story takes place. The dialogue is also nicely handled.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Never go back", an excellent thriller.

I'm an avid Lee Child fan and was delighted to have the opportunity to review his latest Jack Reacher novel, "Never Go Back."

In this engaging thriller, Jack Reacher returns to his old unit from the snows of South Dakota to the 110th MP Special Unit in the Washington, D.C. area.

Things aren't what he expected. The commanding officer he wanted to see is in jail and there are charges against Reacher from when he was on active duty. Also, because of the current military situation, he's ordered back to active duty in order to face military charges.

The central story focuses on Jack proving these charges are wrong and getting the prior unit commander out of the difficulty she was in. Since there are members of her unit recently deployed to Afghanistan, Jack considers if any of her difficulties might relate to there with everything that goes with military downsizing.

The substance of the story still rests in Jack's ability to get out of difficult situations with his strength, bravery and knowledge of how things work and what is wrong with a current theory.

The descriptions of the land are entertaining as Jack and the former commander of the 110th have to avoid those chasing them including members of a moonshiner's family who they run into along the way.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A page turner not to be missed

"The Last Alibi" is the latest thriller from David Ellis, Edgar Award winner who has written 8 previous novels. Last year he wrote the "New York Times" bestseller, "Guilty Wives" with James Patterson.

Jason Kolarich is a hotshot attorney who has been on both the prosecuting and the defense side of courtroom battles. In this novel, he is fighting off the effects of his oxycodone addiction.

Maybe his mind wasn't as sharp as normal but he agrees to see a man who tells him his name and that he will be accused of murdering two women who he knew but had nothing to do with their murders. He's sure that he's being set up.  Jason tries to get him to go to the police but the man is unwilling to do so and Jason is bound by the attorney client privilege.

Two other women are murdered and Jason feels obligated to let the authorities know about this client. When police look into the client's activities, the client calls Jason and tells him that he betrayed him and that the result will be painful to Jason.

Jason ends up being tried for murder. He's defended by his best friend and partner, Shauna Tasker. From this point on, the novel moves from events at the trial to events leading to the trial. An additional character, court reporter Alexa Himmel approaches Jason and she and Jason form a relationship.

Although Jason is warned to be leary of Alexa, if she's all she claimed, it is Jason's own intuition to be weary of what is going on as Alexa becomes more assertive.

There are a great many twists and surprises in the novel which the author manages to create while providing the reader with a gut wrenching novel.

I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing and look forward to reading more stories from this excellent story teller.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My Antonia - classic

A classic story that tells of a family of farmers moving to Nebraska to start a new life. Young Jim Burden is on the same train as the immigrants. He's coming to live with his grandparents after his parents's death.

Jim is the narrator and in the Shimerda's we learn of the difficulties a family faces living in an area where no one speaks the language. The only person with a close resemblance to their language, takes advantage of them.

Antonia Shimerda is a teenager and yet she seems to have the common sense that helps the family through difficult situations. She and Jim build a friendship that lasts throughout the novel.

The story is told in five books that detail the early days on the prairie and continuing until Jim returns to town as a professional and visits Antonia and her family.

The elements that help classify the novel as a classic include the descriptions of life in Nebraska, the treatment that some immigrants received in farming communities and the descriptions of the land. We also explore family relationships and see how two teenagers can overcome obstacles and, as friends, while helping their families.

As this was told to the reader in five stories, some of which the author had written as independent pieces and descriptions of the west.

This was my second reading of the book. The first reading was as a student but in my retirement age, this reading was very enjoyable.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Girl, you're a wonder to me.


"This Girl," is the latest installment of the bestselling Slammed series. These YA novels have been extremely successful. They offer the author's fans, love and  heartache combined with some excellent poetry.

We meet Will Cooper, a high school teacher, caring for his younger brother after their parents untimely deaths. With caring for his younger brother, Will doubled up on his own courses and is working as a student teacher at a high school. He's fighting off depression due to his parents deaths and because his girlfriend doesn't want the responsibility of caring for a child (Will's brother), so she moves out.

The novel moves along gradually as a new neighbor moves in across the street. The new family consists of a mother, a daughter and a boy the same age as Will's brother.

Through the course of things, Will asks the girl out on a date and brings her to a poetry slam where he performs one of his poems.

Everything seems leading to a course where Will and the girl becoming a couple when he spots her at his high school where she is a new student and will be taking his class in poetry.

Even with strong feelings toward each other, Will understands that it is inappropriate for a teacher to date one of their students and a dilemma occurs.

This is a very enjoyable novel that is told from Will's point of view. The characters are entertaining and the plotting is appropriate.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Angel eyes, you are so heavenly. Song lyrics

This dark story describes the life and lack of anything beyond the job, of a contract killer. He fulfills orders to eliminate a person someone wants dead.

Leonard Carter, a former Special Forces member, has returned from overseas and has been working as a hit man.

He completes the hit on a mob figure who, at the time of the hit, was with Angela Tamanaka, a beautiful woman who worked as a prostitute at an escort service.

Carter doesn't harm Angela and tells her that she might be questioned about being with the man who was shot but she isn't to say anything.

The subject of the hit was Ricky Ditto and now his brother, Bobby, who is also a gangster, wants revenge.

The author is a former cab driver in New York and writes about the streets as if he was standing on the corner. He is also adept at describing the life of a hit man, the manner in which they get their subjects, and,. in this case, the moral side.

Carter and Angela end up working together to save Angela from the gangsters and we see two very different worlds come together.

I found the characterization to be insubstantial and the plot has been done before.

I have read other work by the author and enjoy his writing style but this book missed the mark.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To really accomplish something, listen to the whisper that is heard by Him.

The story deals with a family coping with a tragic situation. They receive help from a man, Tom Booker, who is able to communicate with horses and get them and people to form a bond.

A young girl, Grace,  brings her horse, Pilgrim, for a morning ride on an icy trail. She and a friend and their horses cross a road and are hit by a trucker trying to save time by using a back road. The friend and her horse are killed and Grace loses a leg. Pilgrim is severely injured.

Grace's mother, Annie, learns of a man who has a talent for dealing with horses that enables them and their handlers to have a new life together. Grace, her mother and Pilgrim travel to Montana to see if the man can save Pilgrim and renew Grace's life.

There is also a love story between Grace and Joe,  Tom's nephew. At the same time, a romantic interest develops between Tom and Annie.

The description of ranch life in Montana is visual. The manner in which Tom deals with horses to get them to be more manageable, is also magical.

I enjoyed my second reading of the story and the comparison of life in Montana on a range compared to Annie's job as an editor with the hustle and back stabbing she was experiencing at her job.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Almost Paradise

Archer Mayor explores the areas of home burglaries and jewelry theft in New England.

In Boston, three robbers invade the home of wealthy "Billie" Wilhelma Hawthorne and rob her of her valuables. When she confronts the men, one of them strike her and is left for dead.

With this entree, the reader is thrust into a world of home robbers and also an industry where valuable jewels are stolen and melted down, in this case, by illegals forced to do jewelry smithing.

Billie's granddaughter, Mina, finds Billie and gets her to the hospital but in critical condition. A Boston detective is assigned to the case but Mina wants to take her own actions to help the case.

In Vermont, wealthy homes are being broken into and in some cases, the homes are set on fire to destroy the evidence. Joe Gunther and his team of investigators are assigned to the case.

A side story tells the story of an illegal woman smuggled from Canada and forced to work with unscrupulous thieves, melting down jewelry for resale.

The author makes the reader feel empathetic with the victims of the crimes committed during the course of the story. Joe Gunther and his team of special investigators have a plan of action that has worked in past cases where various members of the unit are assigned tasks in tracking down known felons and their associates.

The book is descriptive of crime in New England and is irresistible to this New Englander but I think would be of interest to all who enjoy a good crime novel.

I intend to read more books from this author.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A slice of life of poor folk in Northern Mississippi

When I read Larry Brown's "Joe," I knew I was experiencing the writing of a first rate writer.

This novel describes a short time in the life of Glen Davis who just returned to his home in Mississippi after serving time for vehicular homicide.

The story is revealed gradual fashion as we see the destructive attributes of Glen and meet his father, a wounded WWII vet. Glen's former girlfriend and his son still live in town but Glen shows no love for his son and only aggressive behavior toward his former girlfriend.

The county sheriff loves Glen's old girlfriend and would like to marry her but her choice is still Glen.

The author does a good job in his descriptions of life in Mississippi in the 1960s and showing the relationship between white and black people in rural Mississippi.

This book won the Southern Book Award and is well written.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Corruption in New York City

This is as much a family drama as it is a murder mystery and thriller. The main focus of the story is a New York City detective, Boots Littlewood. He's skilled in using his resources to find the suspects he wants to interview. He also has a good relationship with his father, who is planning to remarry, and with his son, a college student and a skilled computer analyst.

The author is a former cab driver in New York and his knowledge and descriptions of the streets of Brooklyn, New York and surrounding areas is right on.

There have been a number of murders involving New York. One cop was on the job, investigating the Lipstick Murderer, a serial killer. Another police officer who was murdered was a captain who thought he was invincible.

Boots investigates these murders and, when one of his sources is arrested for one of the murders, he knows someone is trying to cover up the crime and he must take actions to prove his man was not guilty.

He's assigned a partner, Jill Kelly, the daughter of one of the murdered police officers and the niece of the chief of detectives.

Boots is also a gambler, mostly on Yankee baseball games and while going through the investigatory process, he listens to the Yankee games. He has a friendly bookie who also gets mixed up in the investigation.

I read this book in a couple of days and enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Memorable, readable picture of American West.

Craig Johnson's "As the Crow Flies" is a penetrating story of life on the Indian Reservation and the poverty and desolation of those living in the area.

Sheriff Walt Longmire is in the midst of preparing for his daughter's wedding. His good friend, Henry Standing Bear is acting as wedding planner.

The novel, written as if the author was standing on Sheriff Longmire's shoulder. The original location of the setting for Walt's daughter's wedding has met with a snag and Walt and Henry are looking for a new location when a woman falls to her death from a nearby cliff. Luckily, her infant survives.

Each character is finely drawn and their plight in the panoramic scope of the area is depicted as if the viewer was watching the action unfold before them. There has been a successful TV series based on Longmire's actions that has been very successful.

The list of suspects is long and Walt works with newly appointed Chief Lola Long, Cheyenne Tribal Police Chief, in attempting to find the killer.

This is a complex story, gradually unfolding before the reader. We wonder how some characters live in corrugated lined homes with the outside filled with broken down cars and maybe having electricity and water but reminiscent of Indian life many years ago.

Well done and brings back memories of the wonderful writer of American Indian life, Tony Hillerman.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Six years can pass swiftly

Six years pass since Jake fisher watched his love, Natalie, marry another without giving Jake any explanation other than getting his promise to leave her alone.  However, he never stopped thinking of her.

Then, he sees a notice that her husband died. He decides to attend the funeral but when the grieving widow turns around, it isn't Natalie.

Jake tries to get answers and returns to the Vermont area where he and Natalie were happy. However, her friends don't recognize him and are antagonistic. In addition, someone else is looking for her, aggressively.

Harlan Coben has woven an excellent plot where the main character searches for his love who seems to have disappeared without reason. The intricacies of the plot are masterfully put together.

Jake becomes a victim of those looking for Natalie but, again, he can't figure out a reason. In addition, there seems to be three groups looking for her, her old friends, a number of thugs, and the police.

The answers are provided in a wonderful manner and the well plotted novel will hold the reader grasping the book to the last page.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Southern literature with a flair

"Joe" is a story about life in Mississippi with down to earth people trying to eek out a living. The reader views the deserted shacks, privately owned stores where the owner shoots game to offer to his customers and a look at very real people that aren't seen every day.

Joe Ransom is foreman for a number of men working to clear land. He's also trying to maintain a relationship with his daughter.

Gary Jones is a fifteen-year-old boy who is with a family with no permanent ties. His father is a drinker and abusive. His mother is insane.

Gary meets Joe and Joe sees something in him, in Gary's work ethic and inner goodness. Feeling sorry for Gary, Joe decides to give him a chance.

This is a well plotted story with excellent descriptions of the life in the economically deprived areas of Mississippi in past years.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How a person with Tourette's can have a normal life.

As someone with a medical condition, (cancer), I'm appreciative of anyone who can overcome their own health setback.

Paul Skoglund has Tourette's and has had difficulty finding work. His aunt asks him to repair her hunting lodge in Hudson Valley which was damaged by vandals.

Mo Ford is a new trooper in the Lewisboro Barracks of the state police, transferring in from another agency. He picks up a number of open investigations including that of Richard Mason and the disappearance of three teenagers.

Mo is an appealing character. He's determined and compassionate. In his investigation, he finds a connection between the damage to the hunting lodge and the missing teens.

The story is interesting and unique in that we can see how a person with Tourette's can overcome their handicap.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Highway provides a reading reward

In this engrossing novel, two teenage girls set out to visit one of the girl's boyfriends in Montana but never arrive at their destination. Since one of the girls told her father she'd be somewhere else, the investigation is slow to develop.

Cassandra Dewell of the Montana Sheriff's Department runs the investigation.

This is an area of Montana where a truck stop is the base from which a man preys on his victims. Since many of them are prostitutes, their disappearance fail to get the attention that the teenagers now receive.

Another interesting character is Cody Hoyt who taught Cassie much of what she knows. However Cody has personal issues which are well brought out by the author.

There are twists and surprises that add to the enjoyment and the conclusion is something that will leave the reader thinking about the novel well into the future.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

International intrigue

In Uzbekistan, photojournalist Charlie Davis goes to a small village to take photographic evidence of atrocities of the ruler.

His pregnant wife, Julie, is also there and a protest erupts with Charlie and Julie barely escaping.

Six years go by and suddenly Julie disappears leaving Charlie with their two children.

Charlie begins searching for Julie and starts to unravel a secret world Julie was part of. After he is interrogated by government officials, he gets a feeling that she may be in danger and is certainly up to something.

In a very complicated plot, a college friend of Julie at Cambridge is now planning some kind of terrorist plot. He has taken Julie as a hostage.

Charlie must try to find his wife who he now thinks is some kind of government agent with the British government.

The author is the producer of the award winning TV hit, Without a Trace, and this work of literature demonstrates how well he can capture and maintain the reader's attention.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Nostalgic Noir Mystery

Philip Marlowe is a middle class PI who marries a millionaires daughter and moves to Poodle Springs and the world of the wealthy.

Marlowe wants his life to be as much the same as possible so gets an office in the middle class part of town and immediate gets a client who wants his health in a life or death situation. The man tells Marlowe that a man signed a note for a great deal of money and now can't be found.

It's a clash of cultures as Marlowe and his new wife, Linda, try hard to make their marriage work.

Marlowe introduces himself to the local police department and gets to work,  Linda would rather be at the country club but gives in to her husbands desires.

Soon Marlowe is involved in murder, lies, bigamists and gamblers. It's a world he's seen before but now, some of the participants are the wealthy, the friends of Linda's rich father.

This story grabs the reader's emotions. It's a story of life, of regular folk mixing with the wealthy and wondering who had a better life. Marlowe is an excellent character who carries the story.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Be careful when you pick your target

In a novel loaded with political intrigue, lost love, political ambition and revenge, Dewey Andreas has done his job so well that he becomes the target for assassination.

Dewey helps uncover Chinese intelligence's highest level asset in Israel's Mossad. The spy also has done damage to US and Great Briton. With Dewey revealing the man's name, Chinese authorities want to retaliate.

Fao Bhang is the head of China's state security and places an immediate kill order on Andreas.

Dewey is engaged to Jessica Tanzer a top state official. They are in Cordoba when the plan to target Dewey goes into action.  Unfortunately for the killers, they don't succeed in their goal.

This is a wonderful novel with many twists and surprises and is packed with suspense. The reader's attention is grabbed and held on to from the beginning. I enjoy Dewey as a character. 

Highly recommended.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Life in the outskirts of small towns in Louisiana.

Elvis Cole is asked to find a TV personality's biological parents.

He travels from LA to Louisiana and a southern land with their own way of doing things.  He learns what he has to with the help of an attractive female attorney, Lucy Chenier, in Baton Rouge.

The family connections to the TV star, Jodi Taylor, make her want to know more of the history of where she was born.

Elvis returns with his partner, Joe Pike, a strong, silent man who is a force within himself. The men learn about drug smuggling and illegal emigrants and a crocked philosophy of life.

A well done story that is original, moves along rapidly and provides excellent suspense.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

"You've gotta have faith and hope." This story tells why


In a fast paced, action packed thriller, a female US helicopter pilot is captured and is being held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. What is more gruesome is that the Taliban releases a film of the pilot being raped and then use this as the subject of a ransom demand.

There is only so much of a slap in the face that US SEAL Team 6 and Delta Forces fighters will accept.

Led my Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon, a force is assembled to rescue the downed pilot and punish the Taliban members for their crime.

To a former USAF member like myself, I found the book realistically told and included a cast of characters who seemed to be drawn from historical archives with their parts in the story well done.

The raid on the Taliban is done without Presidential authorization because the President seemed to fear on what a failed mission might mean.

The US Military was portrayed as characteristically brave and willing to do whatever is necessary to save a fallen comrade. The Taliban members were a bit prototypical with their arrogance and hatred for anything
associated with the US.

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Broken Promise