September 6, 2018 at 00:20 #435
BROKEN PREY #16 In The Prey Series
Sometimes it pays to be lucky rather than smart. Well, actually I’m not sure what smart would have to do with it but. . .
I had finished the last but one of books on my nightstand and I started that one but just couldn’t get into it. So I went to my bookshelves and looked over several assuming that I had read them all. I kept coming back to Sandford and finally reached up and randomly selected Broken Prey. It turns out that I hadn’t read it! Therein is the luck.
I don’t remember when I first began reading the Prey series or what book I started with, I know it wasn’t the original, Rules of Prey. (Interesting fact; Dennis Rader, the BTK killer of Wichita, Kansas used Rules of Prey as a guide when he began killing.) I do know that I became an instant fan and nothing has changed in my fandom since.
Broken Prey is one of the best of the Prey series and I hesitate to say that for fear that it denigrates others in the series. Perish the thought! Sandford writes with an attention to detail and a bam, bam style that continues through his novels. You never get a chance to catch your breath until you put the book down. Nor do you want to. Each paragraph leads you into wanting more, and so you don’t put the book down until you fall asleep and it falls onto your face. (Why yes, I do read in bed, how did you know?)
Lucas Davenport, the protagonist of the Prey series, starts out as a Minneapolis cop, leaves the force for a bit and then rejoins it on a consultant basis, leaves it again and joins the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the law enforcement arm of Minnesota. There he is a big wig, a supervisor with a team of detectives and a couple who are more adept at enforcement than detecting.
In this novel Lucas is faced with a serial killer; one who tortures his victims before cutting their throats and Lucas knows he has to find and stop him before he kills again and again.
One of the things that I appreciate about Sandford’s writing is his attention to details large and small. He uses small details the way a cook will add a spice to enhance a dish; his details may have nothing to do with the story but they do enhance. One example from this book is when he pulls into a trailer park and a cat comes out from under one of the trailers and pauses with one paw raised (a very cat like pose if my cat is an example). It has absolutely nothing to do with the story and once it’s mentioned the cat disappears from any further involvement. But it has added that touch of spice, that flavor, a distant bird painted in a landscape, a making it whole and especially making it real. That’s John Sandford and one reason why I am a fan.
If you are squeamish, don’t read Sandford because his crime scenes are not for the faint of heart. If you prefer dull, stories in gray instead of vivid colors, pass him by. If the mundane is to your taste. . . well, leave him to those of use who enjoy a tale filled with wit, reality, action, familiar characters, because that’s what Sandford writes. And he’s damn good at it.
OBAMA is not a foreign born, brown skinned, anti war socialist who gives away health care. YOU'RE THINKING OF JESUS.
December 29, 2018 at 07:32 #7446
From Trivia Today; People who read books live an average of almost 2 years longer than those who do not read at all, a Yale research found.
Trump should feel very sick about now.
OBAMA is not a foreign born, brown skinned, anti war socialist who gives away health care. YOU'RE THINKING OF JESUS.January 3, 2019 at 10:29 #7622
STRANGE WEATHER by Joe Hill
One of the differences between Joe and his Dad is that Stephen King seldom has an ending that will make you smile. While Joe does have endings that are less than happy he also has those that make you feel good. Sure, King does too but typically at the cost of many dead bodies in the wake of that good ending.
In this book of 4 short novels Hill gives us love stories, not always requited but love stories none the less. Three of these have a somewhat happy ending and one had an ending that hurt me to read. I was absolutely stunned. . . and hurt. Which one you ask? Read the book, no spoilers here.
Each story is told mostly through the eyes of the main protagonist. Each deals with a love, not always the conventional man loves woman type of love that the Hallmark Channel would have us believe is the norm. (If ever there is a sugar shortage just tune into Hallmark to get your weekly dose of empty sugar calories in a 90 minute movie.)
I fell in love with Joe’s work in reading Heart Shaped Box. It was confirmed in Horns and then again in 20th Century Ghosts. He had two more blockbuster novels after that, NOS4A2 and The Fireman. Now comes Strange Weather and that love and respect continues and maybe increases a bit.
A lot of Joe’s personal politics are shown in these 4 stories and it helps that he and I are quite alike in many respects. For those that drink the orange flavored Kool-Aid, you can either read this to become more outraged or pass it by because you don’t care to learn. (End of political rant.)
The end of the book contains a prologue that I found interesting to read. It has the usual acknowledgements but also details some of the thought that went into each story.
If you are a fan of suspense, of (mostly) man made horror, if you bemoan man’s inhumanity toward man, you will appreciate this book. I can’t say like, there is that one ending that caused me great pain, but nevertheless it’s a very well written, intriguing book to read. Even when it hurts.
OBAMA is not a foreign born, brown skinned, anti war socialist who gives away health care. YOU'RE THINKING OF JESUS.January 12, 2019 at 15:13 #8207
THE THIRST (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbo
Nesbo continues his winning ways with The Thirst.
The story continues where Police left off with confirmation about what happened to Aurora it wasn’t pretty, but then we’re used to ugly events coming about in a Nesbo book.
I wonder that I like the Harry Hole books. I have never liked, and usually disliked books whose protagonist was an alcoholic. I can’t explain why, I just don’t like them, and when Harry is off the wagon it bothers me in this series of books. However; Harry is a complex enough character . . . well, I was about to explain why Harry is that exception but I realized that I can’t explain it so take this portion of the review and dump it into the delete basket.
I enjoy visiting Norway in Nesbo’s books and I enjoy seeing how police procedures happen in Norway (as well as other Scandinavian countries). I enjoy the weather – yes, even the winters and blizzards. I know, I know, I’m weird and if you don’t believe me you can ask my ex wives. I enjoy all of their four seasons and seeing how different people are in various areas in a relatively small country.
Specific to this series, I enjoy seeing characters I’ve come to know from previous books, how they interact and at times act out. I enjoy their feelings, happiness, angst, all of it. I enjoy how Nesbo creates his characters, the good, the evil that they do. He takes a scene filled with indifference, maybe even a bit of fun and then with the ease of mother mixing Nesquick into a glass of milk he changes that scene by injecting terror, pain and often death.
Nesbo has created one of the great characters and an excellent supporting cast in the Hole series. (Remember, that’s pronounced Holy.)
Mystery, suspense, characters who seem so real; they’re all in Nesbo’s books. If that suits your taste, read, enjoy.February 2, 2019 at 07:53 #9812
THE OUTLAW DEMON WAILS (The Hallows, #6), Kim Harrison
It has taken me forever to slog through this book. I know one reason that slowed me down; I upgraded my cable and my internet but still, this book took way longer to read than I would have expected and it’s the second one of The Hollows series to do that. I enjoyed the book, found it interesting, fun, intriguing, all of the things that I like about this series. Still, I was glad to read that final page.
Rachel Morgan is a favorite character of mine as are her partners, Ivy and Jenks. Their world of The Hollows, Cincinnati, OH becomes real through the pen (more likely a word processing app on Ms. Harrison’s computer) of Harrison and she drags us, kicking and screaming from the Hollows to the Ever After using ley lines and demon magic. It’s not a comfortable trip in our imaginations but it’s an exciting one and one that I enjoy sharing with Ms. Morgan.
If you have read any of this series, this is more of the same and that’s a good thing. If you haven’t read any of the series but you enjoy fantasy, the supernatural, werewolves, vampires, witches, elves, pixies, then you should enjoy the series.
In this novel we get to meet much more of Rachel’s mother than we have before. We find out some things about Rachel’s past and how that past could very well affect her future. . . or deny her any future at all.
Twisting plots, interesting characters, a world that, with just a bit of use of the imagination we can see, feel, share with Rachel and her friends. . . well her enemies too; this series, and this book has it all.
Slog or not, I enjoyed it and I will be reading more.February 5, 2019 at 04:20 #9999
HEXED, (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #2) by Kevin Hearne
I began this novel for a couple of reasons. I had just finished The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison and it was an very good read but a hard read. It took me a long time to get through it and so I wanted to see if it was the genre, fantasy, magic, witches, vampires, etc. that had caused that book to be so hard to get through. Turns out, no, it wasn’t at all. This was an easy read, not a light book in the manner of The Cat Who mysteries but witty, exciting, suspenseful. The other reason was because I had loved the original of this series, Hounded and wanted to see if Hearne could follow that up with another very good read. He can and he did and I’m very much looking for more to come.
As in Hounded I loved the supporting cast of characters, most notably, Oberon. He’s smart, strong, dogly (as opposed to manly) and loves sausages as do I.
Mr. Hearne writes a story set in modern day Arizona, the Phoenix suburbs but filled with witches, vampires, ghouls, werewolves and shape shifters of various kinds, as well as the last surviving Druid. Oh, and Goddesses who tend to run around with little or nothing left to the imagination.
Hearne causes me to use my online dictionary and Wikipedia quite often and I like that; I enjoy learning.
The book has a lot of . . . uhh, let’s say adult activities, but that doesn’t make it erotica. Hearne can write a sex scene without it seeming sleazy or contrived, a talent that not all successful authors have. He makes them part of the story, a natural fit, not something put in for titillation. But he does the same with witches whose wombs are filled with demon spawn, with a dog (our trusty Oberon) who has a thing for poodles of the female persuasion.
And did I say that this setting was in modern day Phoenix? Well it is, but Hearne has the ability to drag events from millennia past or more recent history such as WWII. And it all makes sense. Now THAT takes talent.
Whether your interest is in a sword fight with a demon, how a coven of witches was formed, the ancient Gods of Celtic, Roman, Christian lore, or even Mobil i Tea (read the book to find out what that’s about), you will find something to enjoy in this novel.February 5, 2019 at 09:50 #10004
THE GUNSLINGER (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King
It was shortly after the book first came out that I ordered it and began reading what I consider to be one of, if not the penultimate classic fantasy/horror series of all time. Monsters, lovers, love, hate, despair, joy; heroes and villains; this series has it all, plus King’s masterful writing.
The series took decades for him to complete and in the middle of the series King was hit by a drunk driver while walking along a road. He nearly lost his life and when he did begin to recover they questioned whether he would ever walk again. But he lived, he walked and what’s more, at least for the benefit of the Constant Reader, he wrote.
It is hard for me to pick a favorite of the 7 book (original, 1 additional) series but the fourth, Wizards and Glass has a beautiful love story between Roland and Susan Delgado.
Without giving a spoiler, the last line of the 7th book, The Dark Tower, gave me chills.
This is an excellent series but I caution you, don’t start reading this if you don’t have time to devote to it. It will draw you in and make you oblivious to all else.February 6, 2019 at 09:36 #10037
POWER DOWN (Dewey Andreas #1) by Ben Coes
1 Star and overrated at that
I read a bit over 100 pages before I said enough is enough.
Mr. Coes has penned a Mitch Rapp wannabe and if the rest of the book and subsequent novels were like those 100 pages, well let’s just say that I could have read a Daffy Duck comic book with more substance and lest divisiveness.
There are more than enough books out there showing a nationalistic view for the United States and to demonize Muslims. That is not to say that I don’t think well of my country but I don’t believe in the old saying “My country, right or wrong.” No. When my country is wrong good men, true patriots will do their best to make that wrong into a right.
So too, there are many Muslims that are bad people, just like there are many Christians that are bad people, many Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, atheists and agnostics who are bad people. But when you demonize a particular religion as being of the devil you must make sure your religion is perfect with no bad apples. That is not the case and I don’t need some hack writing a novel telling me that it is.
Enough of a rant. Mr. Coes is off of my To Be Read list.February 11, 2019 at 14:56 #10310
COLD WING (Joe Pickett #11) by C.J. Box
What is normal? Well, if it’s a C.J. Box penned novel, it’s a good read; that’s normal.
This book is normal for a Box novel. It is a bit longer than most but not too long. I’ve read novels that should have ended a hundred pages before they did but this doesn’t fit Cold Wind.
Joe Pickett is a man of his word, a man who believes (mostly at least) in the law, who respects and is respected in return by those with character. He has a family he’s devoted to and misses Sheridan, the oldest as she starts her freshman year at UW (go Cowboys). He has April, an adopted daughter who has problems one would assume that stem from her early life, raised in a cult for a bit and then raised in a foster child ring devoted to insuring funds to the foster parents and little if any nurturing. Yet Joe is still devoted to her. And Lucy, the pretty middle schooler who will be the star of the family when she grows up. Oh, and we can’t leave out Marybeth, Joe’s wife who is as devoted to him and the girls as Joe is to her and the girls.
And then there’s Nate Romanowski. How does one describe Nate? Bad ass comes to mind but so does principled.
Joe isn’t perfect, he doesn’t win every fight, he has a realistic amount of angst. So in this novel when he’s asked to help clear his mother in law, whom he has little love for, for the killing of her husband (#5 I think it is) he’s torn. He would like nothing more than for Missy, his mother in law, to be out of his life forever. But she IS the mother of his wife and at Marybeth’s behest he does what he can to find out if she’s innocent or guilty. How that turns out is. . . well, here it goes. . . READ THE BOOK.
Nate has a lover, Alisha, a member of the Shoshone tribe. How she dies and how Nate deals with that becomes an intricate part of the story. How so would require you to READ THE BOOK.
I feel I’m rambling and I’m not sure why. This is a typical (read that to mean very well done) story dealing with Joe and the usual cast of characters, good and bad. It’s interesting enough that you want to keep turning the page until the end. And you want to stay close to Joe and the rest of the gang because they are good people to be with.February 11, 2019 at 15:15 #10313
Fiction rules DF.
Where does he get the ‘reviews’ he posts as his?
"You have...so much hate that we can’t even have a reasonable discussion. You are the most hateful person I ever encountered. I cannot dignify your filth with refutations and normalize your hateful and extremely dishonest posts."
--- so sez Capricorn---February 11, 2019 at 16:09 #10321
Your facts are as true as the bullshit Harpo believes to be true; i.e. you have no fucking clue what reality is.February 13, 2019 at 16:40 #10465
FORCE OF NATURE (Joe Pickett #12) by C.J. Box
This is a reread. I don’t remember when I first read this but now I’m trying to read the Box novels in order. I think I have 2 more that were read out of order and I may reread those as well.
I enjoy finding minor mistakes that Mr. Box makes and hopefully he hasn’t called Nate Romanowski to confront me about that. If he does I can assure you that I will comply with any damn thing Mr. Romanowski tells me.
But until that visit. . . Nate stops at a convenience store in the middle of snow at night and buys some energy drinks and a few other snacks, paying for it with 5 each $20.00 bills. Now I know convenience stores are anything but thrift stores but $100.00 for some snacks? This is while Nate is trying to keep a low profile. You don’t keep a low profile by handing a convenience store clerk $100.00 in the middle of the night.
But as I’ve said before, these minor errors are amusing to me and hardly detract from the overall high quality of Mr. Box’s novels.
This is listed as a Joe Pickett novel and so it is, but it’s a Nate Romanowski novel as well and that’s not a bad thing. I enjoy a good dose of Romanowski (as long as he doesn’t come to talk to me about pointing out minor errors) and that’s what this book does; giving you a lot of him.
A caveat; I enjoy reading about Nate but I wouldn’t want to be his friend. Oh no, not because I would dislike him but it’s simply put, quite dangerous to be associated with him. The only one who seems safe (and that’s very relatively speaking) around Nate is Joe Pickett. Even then Joe and his family can be in a bit of danger by association. So suffice to say that I would much rather read about Nate Romanowski than talk to him face to face.
Reread or not this was an intriguing book to read. It is one of those page turners, meaning you can’t wait to get to the next page.
If you’re a CJ Box fan then this should be at the top of your read list of his books. You meet a bunch of new characters and you can say hello to a bunch of characters you’ve met before, most of whom you should like but one or two. . .February 19, 2019 at 21:42 #10797
RED DRAGON (Hannibal Lecter #1) By Thomas Harris
This is a reread. I read this well before I saw the movie, Silence Of The Lambs and then read that book. The movie was great, the book was very good, the first Red Dragon movie was OK but the second with Edward Norton was excellent. The second movie, Red Dragon came out after the success of Silence Of The Lambs and that may have caused them to do a remake but picking Edward Norton as the protagonist, Will Graham was perfect. I understand Norton is hard to work with. . . well, god knows if that’s true but that’s the social media take and the internet is never wrong, right? But Norton is an excellent, excellent actor. Don’t take my word for it, watch his debut film, Primal Fear with Richard Gere and Laura Linney. There were other actors who were or went on to great acclaim but in my opinion Norton stole the show.
But this is about the book.
It was pretty good too, both the first and the second time I read it.
Lecter’s part in this is a combination of a minor character on screen and in the present in the book and a more evil presence intimated off screen and the past in the book, having to do with Graham’s history with him. To me that is never fully explained either in the book or the movie.
This book is, in my opinion, the best of the Lecter series. As good as it was, the history that’s mentioned but not in great detail between Graham and Lecter would have made a good story in itself.
Graham is a profiler/investigator working for Jack Crawford who had a bigger, and better role in The Lambs. People are dying, not just people but whole families in gruesome, horrific ways and seem to be chosen at random. There are no clues left, or none that anyone can see until Graham comes along. Even then it takes a great effort on his part to begin following them to their end.
This book is not for the squeamish, which should come as no surprise for anyone who has read Harris’ work. Complicated, intense, dramatic, (is there a difference between intense and dramatic?) and extremely interesting. If you like a strong story, you aren’t afraid of blood, you like a strong, even with his flaws, protagonist, then this is a story you can sink you teeth in. . . hehehehe (READ THE BOOK if you want to know why that’s a pun.)
Oh, back to the movies for a moment; this book and the remake were, in my opinion, equal. Usually one or the other and almost always the book is the better. That is actually reversed in Silence Of The Lambs where I thought that, though the book was good, the film was better.
Remember, if you read this and you are so scared you have to change your knickers, don’t say I didn’t warn you.February 28, 2019 at 21:30 #11447
THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN (Nero Wolf #2) by Rex Stout
I have read three of the Wolfe series including this one and I remember with great fondness the TV series on A&E in 2001-2002. Of all of those episodes and compared to the previous two books this hardly measures up. It plodded along and was barely saved by a decent if not great ending.
This book has made me hesitant regarding ordering more of the series. I imagine I will, but there are so many 4 and 5 star books by authors such as Sandford, Connelly, Deaver and so many more that I don’t care to spend time on books that are just adequate.March 3, 2019 at 02:47 #11532
NORTH OF NOWHERE (Alex McKnight #4) by Steve Hamilton
Hamilton’s books are not high brow literature. Nevertheless, they make for very good reading, at least for me and if that doesn’t apply to you then to each their own. There is no reason you should like everything I do.
Alex McKnight isn’t a super hero. He isn’t the best at martial arts though he can hold his own in a fight. He lives a quiet life, or rather tries to. It seems that circumstances all too often gets in the way of that quietness. He doesn’t live in a mansion, instead he owns several cabins which he rents out to people who come up to the UP (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for those not in the know) to enjoy the beautiful though short summers and the snowy winters making for good snowmobiling. He lives in one of the cabins, the smallest one and is quite comfortable. He’s single, doesn’t date much and enjoys the company of his friends, mainly Jackie, the Scottish owner of the Glasgow inn just up the road from the cabins.
Alex is comfortable in his life, until, that is, he attends a poker game and winds up with a gun pressed to his head as 3 home invaders come in to spoil the evening. Ha! A gun held to one’s head will do that almost every time.
And it gets worse from there.
What happens after that? Oh, a little murder, a little fighting, a little back stabbing, a little police harassment, a little of. . . but wait. Read the book.
Oh, did I mention that Alex isn’t a great detective? Well I should have. He isn’t great, but he has a doggedness that usually leads him to the right answer, sometimes, often, later than sooner.
Alex is a guy you can like. You don’t have to love him but you probably will like him. He has a good heart even with a bullet embedded in his chest next to it. If you like good guys, a bit of mystery, a decent amount of skullduggery, you should like this series. If you haven’t read one, pick on up, download it to your Kindle or other device, listen on your audio device; there are many ways to enjoy Alex and his friends. . . and enemies.March 6, 2019 at 05:09 #11596
POWDER BURN by Carl Hiassen and William Montalbano
It is a shock whenever I read a book from this decade, the 1980s or those surrounding it. It’s modern times but not quite. No cell phones, laptops, tablets. The televisions if mentioned are CRT, not flat screen, the car doors open with keys without an accompanying chirp and most of the windows go up and down with a crank instead of a push of a button.
This is the era of Crockett and Tubbs of Miami Vice. This was the era of marijuana and when cocaine began to become the prominent pleasure drug of choice, even before crack and well before we lucky Americans began the home grown opioid crisis so we no longer had to rely on imports from Latin American countries. Oh yes, America First! (Maybe that wall should be built around big pharma producers?)
I don’t remember when I first lucked into discovering Mr. Hiassen; somewhere in the 90s or possibly even the 2000s. I’ve only read his novels written by himself and dealing with Florida’s environment as much as crime, and with a wit that would have someone being decapitated in one paragraph and then cause you to roll on the floor in laughter in the next with Hiassen’s wit.
This book didn’t have that wit. At the most there were lines of prose that were amusing but hardly knee slapping funny. So that means this book isn’t as good as those; right? Welllllll. . . It depends.
It depends on your taste. You may prefer to read about a body found in the trunk of a burning car with no wit involved in the telling, or you might roar with laughter at Skink, the wayward ex governor in Hiassen’s later books and enjoy it more. Then again, you may be able to like both books, finding pleasure in reading either genre. I’m lucky enough to be of that later group.
So this was my first foray into Carl’s early work with the late William Montalbano. If I had to do more than flip a coin to say which I like best it would probably be the later books, but not by a lot. I enjoyed reading this novel. I enjoyed the intricacies of the plot, the mindset of the various characters both protagonists and antagonists.
So what is this book about? It is about characters with character and characters with no character. It is about death, sometimes of the guilty and sometimes of the innocent who die for no good reason other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that’s not a good reason at all. And it is about people who die because of poor relationship choices.
How does that work? Read the book and find out. If you like intricate plots, good guys who aren’t perfect, some bad guys who aren’t 100% bad and some who are, the you may well like this book. I did.March 10, 2019 at 13:25 #11755
THE GOLDEN CALF (Inspector Huss #5) By Helen Tursten
I was disappointed. This is my 5th Inspector Huss novel and it started off with a Joe Friday bent, dry, clipped, “Just the facts, ma’am.” prose. Not what Ms. Tursten has given her readers in previous books.
Then along comes just short of halfway into the book and the afterburners took over and Inspector Huss and her compatriots kicked in with a vengeance. We see Tommy and Brigitta and all the rest contribute as they normally do.
Krister and the twins weren’t quite as involved in this novel as in previous works but they were there. But as it was, Irene was quite busy investigating, traveling to Paris and dodging bullets, conducting surveillance and impersonating an assistant nurse. How does she do all of that? You need to READ THE BOOK to find out and if you are a fan of Ms. Huss as I am you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and there is ample Sammie, who according to the authors acknowledgements at the end tells us that Sammie is real, her own dog. Somehow that made me smile.
Huss has been involved in international crimes before (see The Torso, the third in the series and The Glass Devil, the fourth in the series) but not to this extent. Here we find not only Sweden’s involvement but France, Britain and even the USA. We have possible motives from money to sex to violations of the Mafia code.
It’s all too complicated to work. . . but then only someone who isn’t familiar with Ms. Tursten’s work would be so foolish as to think that.
I would say that my only complaint, and a mild one at that, is the ending, where it’s much as if Hercule Poirot were displaying his deductive skills in a drawing room explanation of the crime. Yes, you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean. Suffice to say it involves a black, statuesque, beautiful and tall special agent who, it seems, has captured if not the heart at least the physical efforts of . . . uhhhh, some physical exertion of. . . well. . . let’s just say Sweden and the USA had a very close relationship.
Intricate, mysterious, adventuresome, action, love, loss and more. If you enjoy Inspector Huss or you think you might then I urge you to read this and others in this series. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.March 12, 2019 at 20:12 #11878
THE MURDER ON THE LINKS (Hercule Poirot #2) by Agatha Christie
My second Hercule Poirot mystery and certainly not my last. I’m looking forward to more of the mildly OCD detective from Belgium who never seems to be home. I wonder if any future Poirot novels will tell us when and why he left the police force after what was indicated as a fine career?
Poirot and Captain Hastings, his friend and the novel’s narrator, travel to France at the behest of a rich man who is in fear of his life, but alas, when they arrive they discover that the man has been murdered.
And so the hunt for the murderer begins and it doesn’t slow down until the last page.
This is so typical Christie and that’s a very good thing. Twists and turns, red herrings and maybe herrings of various colors just to confuse the issue. Hastings is frustrated from the perspective of crime and love. You’ll need to read the book to see how that works out.
One thing I enjoy about these early 20th century books (this one published in 1923) is the language, both the syntax and many of the words themselves. It keeps me going to my Webster’s (one book that I use online rather than a paper and ink tome) to fully understand certain lines. It’s also very interesting to see things that were considered cutting edge of the day, whether forensics or psychological.
Christie weaves a tale that is quite complicated. So many authors do this and it just muddles up the plot. Good authors though, can give us a complicated plot and make it intriguing more than muddled.
My next Christie novel will be The Man In The Brown Suit, a stand alone novel. I’m looking forward to it. After all, it’s a Christie novel.March 14, 2019 at 14:21 #11933
BREAKING POINT (Joe Pickett #13) by C.J. Box
When I began reading this novel I was bothered by the way the EPA was depicted. Mr. Box showed them to be as evil as the Devil himself (or herself, just being fair). Then I read a bit on the Sackett vs. EPA case and was shocked at how an organization designed and tasked with protection of the environment could go off of the rails so much.
Much of the motives for what happened to Butch Roberson and his family in this novel is from the active imagination of Mr. Box but what happened to the Sacketts seems to be pure bureaucracy run amok. That is a tragedy that transcends political views, right, left, middle of the road. While I think the Sackett case is an extreme, that it exists at all is a travesty of justice and a mockery of our government and how it does versus how it should operate.
End of rant. . . maybe.
Joe Pickett is forced to cooperate with what turns out to be a rogue operation by the EPA. He is searching for an acquaintance, a man who he has never suspected of any wrong doing, a local business man and an avid and good hunter but now is suspected (and in the minds of many of the EPA, guilty and worthy of summary execution) of murdering two EPA agents (who carry guns? Why would an EPA agent need to carry a gun?) and now the manhunt is on.
How that manhunt came to be is told with Mr. Box’s usual flair for the dramatic, the wild and at times, the beautiful. It’s a story whose beginnings are based in fact and then Box elaborates on that to present us with a story of greed, hate, arrogance and family devotion. That’s a rather mixed bag but you’ll have to read the book to find out how that plays out.
We have the usual cast of characters with Joe, his family and Nate although he makes a late and rather minor appearance. Mike Reed, the paraplegic sheriff and friend to Joe is becoming a regular member of the group and a good addition at that.
It’s hard to say something new about a Joe Pickett novel. That doesn’t mean, however; that the novels are repetitious or in the least bit boring. They are not. They are filled with action, drama and certainly love and those are all detailed in the best possible way. It’s just that Mr. Box is a prolific author and thank god he is.
If you are a Joe Pickett fan and you haven’t read this one you need to correct that oversight soon. If you are a mystery fan who loves complex characters and situations, the great outdoors as well, then you are missing out if you haven’t found Pickett novels before now. I urge you to correct that oversight. You’ll be glad you did.March 15, 2019 at 15:19 #12020March 16, 2019 at 19:08 #12112
THE WAY I DIE (Silver Bear #5) by Derek Haas
The last Silver Bear book was published just 3½ years ago but it seems like I’ve been waiting on a new Columbus novel for far longer than that. I could grumble but having just finished The Way I Die and finding it well worth the wait, I’ll just be glad that #5 was written. I hope Mr. Haas has another in his fertile (and quite busy) mind.
Derek Haas is a prolific man of arts. He is credited with 7 screen plays, is a driving force behind 4 TV series and was the publisher of popcornfiction.com, a site for short stories. This is in addition to his novels of course.
I became addicted to the Silver Bear series with his first, The Silver Bear when it first came out in 2008. I have anxiously awaited the release of every new novel and they have all been worth the wait. After A Different Lie, released in November, 2015 I didn’t know if we would see Columbus again. You need to read that book to understand why.
An opinion; should these books be read in series? Yes, definitely. While each are more than good enough to be read as stand alones, from #2 on they all refer back to previous events. None more so than this one.
If you aren’t familiar with this series; Columbus is a contract killer. Haas lets us see inside the mind, the work ethic and the relationships his career requires. Gore? Yes, at times but that’s not overdone and much of it is suggested rather than overt. And if you’re wondering how a contract killer can be a sympathetic character enough to be defined as the protagonist of a novel, you must not be familiar with Lawrence Block’s Keller. Both Keller and Columbus are contract killers but they are quite different.
In this novel Columbus has been out of the game for some time. He doesn’t want to be in the game at all but then Archie, his fence, draws him into being a defender if not an attacker. Columbus defines a defender as being the suit of armor and the attacker as being the sword. Columbus has never been the armor before so this is a new dynamic for him.
We meet a man who has a contract out on his life but of course not all is as it seems. Columbus is charged with neutralizing that contract. He works with Archie and with a new partner of sorts, Payton, an ex LAPD or LACSD officer (a minor blooper from Haas, he has her describing her time with LAPD but then indicates she was with the LA County Sheriff’s as well) who may be a future permanent partner. You need to read the book to find out.
Complicating this is that the target is a father with 2 young sons. Why this affects Columbus is. . . well, you really need to read both this book and A Different Lie to understand.
Haas typically writes a well thought out scenario, full of thought and action. He doesn’t disappoint with this story.
I feel I am rambling so let me finish by saying that if you like mystery, action, drama, complicated characters, you should like this series and certainly this edition of the series.
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