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.

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Broken Promise