Monday, November 24, 2014

"A" is for Alibi by Sue Grafton 307 pages

This is the first in Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone Mysteries series.  We meet Kinsey, a woman who quit the police force because the politics and restrictions limited what could actually be accomplished for the sake of justice.  She has been working as a private investigator for a while, mostly for the insurance company with whom she shares office space.  Running down false insurance claims is quite a bit different from the case presented to her by Nikki.  Nikki has just finished serving time for her husband's murder and she wants Kinsey to find out who really killed him.  Kinsey is intrigued.  If Nikki had really murdered him, it seems unlikely she would bother hiring a P.I. to track down a phantom murderer.  Unfortunately, every time Kinsey follows a good lead, someone else dies.  If she makes it out of this alive, she might make it to "B" is for Burglar.  This is a fun little book and I like Kinsey as a character, especially as the series matures.  I listened to this book on CD read by Mary Peiffer, who was adequate, but nothing special as a reader.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To all the boys I've loved before by Jenny Han 355 pages

This is a young adult novel.  Sixteen- year-old Lara Jean has written love letters to 5 boys.  Boys she, at one time or another, thought she was in love with.  Letters she kept, never intending to mail. Now, her younger sister Kitty, as an act of revenge, has mailed the letters.  Whoa!  It took me a really long time to get into this book.  It ended up being a story about high school reputations.  Are you a cool jock?  Are you the school slut?  Are you a quirky nerd?  Are you the mean girl?  What happens when the quirky nerd starts going out with the school jock, the ex-boyfriend of the mean girl?  Can she swim with the sharks?  It also illustrates how easily a good reputation can be ruined by a mean rumor.  Will I recommend this  book?  Doubtful.  It was okay, just not something to get real excited about.

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams 307 pages

It had been years since I read this book, but I remembered it so fondly, I had to have a go at it again.  It did not disappoint.  Adams has a way of writing that feels like you're just sitting listening to someone tell a funny story.  Dirk Gently and his holistic detective agency were on the case when one of his clients ends up beheaded.  The plot got thick as jam when Thor, god of thunder, etc., got involved...not with the beheading, but with a massive explosion at Heathrow, which resulted in a ticket girl (Dirk's ex-secretary) being turned into a soda machine.  Is this book silly?  Oh, my, yes.  Is it a rollicking good time?  A million time, yes!!!  If you like a funny, irreverent mystery, and especially if you enjoy British authors, you must read this book.  I give you this colorful sentence to prove a point: The daylight shouldered its way in like a squad of policemen and did a lot of what's-all-thising around the room, which, like the bedroom, would have presented anyone of an aesthetic disposition with difficulties.

It's true love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout 178 pages

Finding myself without an audiobook to listen to while I did dishes, I turned to recent purchases from our library book sale.  Hooray!  I found a Nero Wolf book I had forgotten I'd purchased.  This one was not read by Michael Pritchard, who is my favorite reader of these books, but it was still very good.  Nero is hired by a woman to get J. Edgar Hoover's FBI men to leave her alone.  Her crime is that she bought many copies of a book called The FBI Nobody Knows and distributing them to people she thought should read it.  Wolf's ego can't turn the job down and the massive payment check piques his interest, as well.  It turns out that he may be able to accomplish the job for his client and solve a murder in the process.  Only a genius like Wolf would be able to bully the FBI into doing as he wished, but he couldn't be the effective genius he is without wise-cracking Archie Goodwin doing all the legwork.  As always, an enjoyable book from the Nero Wolf series!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Faithful Place by Tana French 400 pages

Faithful Place is the name of a neighborhood in Dublin and this novel is a book about going home. Frank Mackey is a Detective in the Undercover department of the Dublin police.  Back when he was 19, he made plans with his girlfriend, Rosie, to run away to England.  You see, theirs was a Romeo and Juliet romance.  The Dalys hated the Mackeys and visa versa.  But on the night they were to leave, Rosie disappears.  Everyone assumes she went on to England without Frank.  Frank does not return home either, choosing to make his way in life on his own.  Fast forward 22 years.  The old house where they used to meet is being torn down and a suitcase is found stuffed up the chimney.  Frank is sucked in to the investigation although no one really wants him there.  The "Place" does not like cops, the Dublin police think he will choose loyalty to family and community and Frank's dysfunctional family holds too many secrets to want a cop hanging around, even if he is a long lost son.  This is another great Tana French novel.  I am hooked!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sight Unseen by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen 324 pages

This novel is the latest in the Kendra Michaels series.  Kendra was once blind, but due to an experimental surgery, has regained her sight.  However, she has kept her heightened senses and extraordinary powers of observation.  She is invaluable to law enforcement.  However, this most recent case is like a blast from the past, a blast into hell, that is.  Someone is committing murders that mirror Kendra's most notorious past cases.  She is forced to re-live those horrific crimes and the pain they caused the families.  The closer she gets to discovering who this sicko is, the closer the danger comes to her family and those she cares about.  Can she solve case before it is too late?  You will have to read to find out!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen 342 pages

This is the story of a young orphan who is purchased to take part in the most dangerous scam imaginable.  Sage has been at an orphanage for years and is only about one year away from being able to strike out on his own, when a nobleman, Connor, purchases him.  This is an outrage for Sage.  He is extremely independent and self-sufficient.  Connor's plan is an attempt to thwart civil war by masquerading Sage, or one of the other 3 orphans he has acquired, as the country's long-lost prince.  Sage learns too soon that the losers in this game are doomed, but he doesn't want to be a part of it.  In the end, he decides that some prizes are worth fighting for and the truth is sometimes the hardest battle to fight.  This was a really solid story.  The characters were believable and the story was engaging.  I enjoyed listening to it as an audiobook read by Charlie McWade.  This title is a current Truman Award nominee and book one in the Ascendance Trilogy.

The Likeness by Tana French 466 pages

You know, they say everyone has a twin in this world.  Cassie Maddox discovers hers murdered, in an abandoned cottage in the country.  Not only that, she has an ID with Cassie's undercover name on it.  You see, Cassie is a Detective in Dublin and she used to work undercover.  Her undercover name was Lexie Madison.  Now, Cassie is asked to go back undercover, again as Lexie, to try and flush out the murderer.  She manages to return to the dilapidated country mansion Lexi shares with 4 roommates.  It is a complicated life full of complicated relationships.  Cassie finds herself becoming emotionally involved with this group of misfits while the investigation goes on, not only trying to discover just who killed Lexie, but Lexi's true identity.  Tana French weaves a great mystery, and seduces you into her tale with wonderful descriptive phrases.  Her pen is like a paintbrush.  I have found a new favorite author!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, 304 pages

Death Comes to Pemberley is a murder mystery written by the famous British author, P.D. James.  It is also a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

It is six years since the marriage of Elizabeth Bennett to Fitzwilliam Darcy.  They are happily settled on Darcy's estate Pemberley, with two young sons.  There is a murder on the estate the night before an annual Fall Ball and the still dastardly George Wickham is the prime suspect.

This was my second listen of the book because the Downtown Library Book Club will be discussing it in November.  I could barely finish it the first time but did better this time.  I expected it to be more Jane Austenish than it was and found the "stiff upper lip" dialog got old quickly.  However, it is a good story and I kept my ear out for the irony this time and found more of it.  I would recommend this book to fans of P.D. James but tell Jane's followers they can pass on it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Charleston by Margaret Bradham Thornton 320 pages

This was a lovely book.  The story revolves around the city of Charleston and anyone who read and loved Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might like this book as much.  There is so much history of the city, the families, the houses, and the customs of Charleston in the pages of this book.  Many of the characters remind one of the characters in Berendt’s book.  If they were not actual living citizens of Charleston, Margaret Bradham Thornton has done a wonderful job in making them seem as if they were.

In the book Eliza and Henry meet again after being apart for ten years.  They were madly in love until Henry made an error in judgment which caused Eliza to leave him and Charleston.  Both of them have matured and led full lives but in reuniting they find that they have not grown apart and the story continues from there.

The author does a good job of putting the reader into the spirit and atmosphere of Charleston.  I really liked this book.