Saturday, May 31, 2014


Gone, Baby, Gone (audiobook) - Dennis Lehane

"Kids forgive, they don't judge, they turn the other cheek, and what do they get for it?"

Lehane takes on his darkest subject matter yet - and with gusto. This one is as well crafted and driving as the previous, and as always, not for the squeamish.

The Narrows (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"I knew I would be more comfortable studying the blood and madness of some other person and time"

Suicides that turn out to be murders ... a murder that just may be ...

It can be so rough when the murderer knows all the ways to evade capture, because he used to be in charge of the pursuit.

Prayers for Rain (ebook) - Dennis Lehane

"Nobody's ever liked me," Devin said, "but most of them are scared of me, so that's just as good. You, on the other hand, are a renowned cream puff."

Lehane's novels are always relentless, and this one is no exception. But after the last one (Gone, Baby, Gone) he seems to have let up just a bit (but not that much).

Moonlight Mile (ebook) - Dennis Lehane

"All the stuff our fathers took for granted as long as you worked hard, the great safety net and the fair wage and the gold watch at the end of it all? That's all gone around here, my friend."

The danger is closer to home than ever, forcing some realizations and a few hard choices. Oh yeah, and murder and stuff.

I hope that wasn't too spoilery.

The Closers (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"Without a doubt," Pratt said, "this squad is the most noble place in the building. A city that forgets its murder victims is a city lost. This is where we don't forget. We're like the guys they bring in in the bottom of the ninth inning to win or lose the game. The closers. If we can't do it, nobody can. If we blow it, the game is over because we're the last resort. Yes, we're outnumbered. We've got eight-thousand open-unsolveds since nineteen-sixty. But we are undaunted. Even if this whole unit clears only one case a month—just twelve a year—we are doing something. We're the closers, baby. If you're in homicide, this is the place to be."

Harry left the police department for three years, but now he's back as the world's oldest rookie.

He has matured a bit, and learned that he has to level with his partner. But as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Echo Park (ebook) - Michael Connelly

"As the ascended, the Hollywood sign atop Mt. Lee was directly in view through the windshield. It had been put up on the next ridge more than eighty years ago to advertise the Hollywood Land real estate development at the top of beechwood. The sign was eventually shortened and now advertised a state of mind more than anything else."

They say it's best to be careful which dog you feed. Is it too late for Harry Bosch to heed that advice?

The Big Sleep (audiobook) - Raymond Chandler

"Being a copper I like to see the law win. I'd like to see the flashy well-dressed mugs like Eddie Mars spoiling their manicures in the rock quarry at Folsom, alongside of the poor little slum-bred guys that got knocked over on their first caper amd never had a break since. That's what I'd like. You and me both lived too long to think I'm likely to see it happen. Not in this town, not in any town half this size, in any part of this wide, green and beautiful U.S.A. We just don't run our country that way."

When I ran across this title I thought it would be great to revisit some of the original noir that inspired many of my favorite authors. I was wrong.

I guess I no longer have much tolerance for the misogyny, bigotry, general disrespect for mental health issues, along with profound misunderstanding of many medical issues, that pack this novel.

These aren't plot points to be dealt with, they are personality traits - of the hero. I got real tired of Marlow smacking a woman (any woman) because she was hysterical (of course) at least once a chapter.

Am I being too sensitive?

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."

I read this book because it was the only one of "America's Top 10 Favorite Books for 2014" that I hadn't read.

I had never been drawn to the story because the main characters all seemed quite self obsessed. It turns out I was right. I really ended up despising these people.

I admit though, the guy could write.

On the bright side, I can now say that I have read all 10 of the books on the 2014 list of America's favorites.

Double, Double (ebook) - Ellery Queen

"There are always," said Ellery, "two possibilities."

When it comes to outside the 'coffin' thinking, Ellery Queen has always been one of the best.

I had an idea who the murder was, but I couldn't make the facts as I saw them fit my supposition. As it turned out, I was right, but for the wrong reasons. Go figure.

The Missing Madonna - Sister Carol O'Marie

"Born with the gift of laughter, and the sense that the world was mad."

Sisters Mary Helen and Eileen are back at it. Having sent my kids to a parochial grade school, I understand the discomfiture of the detectives they end up 'assisting,' but they may as well give up and accept the inevitable.

Nuns are made of iron, at least the nuns that I knew, iron and compassion.

Murder in Ordinary Time - Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

"Of course I will, dear," Mary Helen said.
And at the time she said it, she really meant it.

Mothers and their children are at the core of this entry of the Sister Mary Helen series, in their manifestly different incarnations.

And the old girl just can't stay out of trouble.

The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress (audiobook) - Ariel Lawhon

"She bristled at this but hid her frustration behind a cool smile. "It’s inevitable, you know, women in politics."

The story not only moves between the three narratives, but back and forth in time, and can be occasionally disorienting.

The mystery spans more than thirty years and traces the characters involved in depth, but offers few surprises. Well, alright. There are a few surprises.

Butcher's Hill (audiobook) - Laura Lippman  

'"You made his day," the doorman said. 
"By taking his soda and scaring him with my dog?"
"By letting him do something for someone else. Nobody wants to be on the end of the receiving line all the time, you know. Howard smuggles bread out of here every day, just so he can feed birds, just so somebody will need him."
Sure enough, Tess saw him standing in the middle of a flock of birds as she turned east on Bank Street. The pigeons and seagulls circled close to him, but he wasn't scared, she could tell. He cooed at them in their own language, crumbling the slices of bread and tossing them into the air like bright white pieces of confetti.'

Tess is getting better at what she does, and this is good because things are not as simple as they seem,  and they are getting worse.

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