Thursday, July 31, 2014


A note about

These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews. They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book, and give my honest core impressions.

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful Stuff."

The Glass Devil (ebook) - Helene Tursten

"She soon realized, though, that she could forget about devoting herself to tranquil contemplation. People swarmed everywhere. The magnificent domes, arching shockingly high over her head, made her feel like an insignificant miniature."

An abrupt ending caps a frustrating search for the real truth.

In Big Trouble (ebook) - Laura Lippman 

"I hate to think how many minutes of my life I've spent on goddamn hold. I want those minutes back. When death comes for me, I want back every minute I was on hold in traffic jams, and behind people with eleven items in the ten items or less line."

Tess ventures to Texas and challenges entrenched money, entitlement, and power to save someone she cares about.

I'm not sure I could do that.

Texas scares me.

Blood Shot (ebook) - Sara Paretsky

"To entertain myself while I waited I tried calculating the expenses I'd incurred since starting to look for Caroline Djiak's old man. I've always been a little jealous of Kinsey Milhone's immaculate record keeping; I didn't even have receipts for meals or gas."

You can actually go home again; it's just not very healthy for you.

Night Rounds (ebook) - Helene Tursten

"For a moment she imagined that the crisp, sharp air she drew into her lungs was totally pure and clean, like the air near her parents-in-law's summer cabin deep in the forests of Varmland."

There are many kinds of ghosts and ghost stories.

Burn Marks (ebook) - Sara Paretsky

"I don't have a long enough lifeline right now to learn new tricks, Mickey, and even if I did, yours just purely make me throw up."

Politics or family, it's hard to tell which is more dangerous.

Upon the Dull Earth and Other Stories (audiobook) - Philip K. Dick

"The war grew; it didn't begin." 

"I should have had it looked at before it was too late."

In PKD's world, reality and normalcy are always subjective - at best.

I've often thought that those who write Science Fiction have a clearer vision of society's hidden realities that the rest of us.

Lancelot - Walker Percy

"I like your banal little cathedral in the Via care'. It is set down squarely in the midst of the greatest single concentration of drunks, drug heads, hoars, pimps, queers, sodomists in the hemisphere, but isn't that where cathedrals are supposed to be?"

The prattling on of the protagonist (Lancelot) about himself and his thoughts was not engaging or even very interesting to me, and I found no surprises in the story.

Not quite Dead Enough & Booby trapped (audiobook) - Rex Stout

"Wolfe pronounced a word. It was the first time I had ever heard him pronounce an unprintable word, and it stopped me short."

With Archie in the Army and not around to keep Wolfe in line, things get terribly out of whack.

"Archie. I submit to circumstances. So should you."

Fritz works wonders within the constraints of wartime rationing, the sign of a true master.

In the Midst of Death (audiobook) - Lawrence Block

"On the corner an old woman scattered bread crumbs for the pigeons and cooed to them as she fed them. I believe there's a city ordinance against feeding pigeons. We used to cite it in the department when explaining to rookies that there were laws you enforced and laws you forgot about."

This one was not as good as the first two. Scudder just seemed to walk through the story, following behind all the happenings.

It was not bad enough to keep me from moving on to the next one, but I'm not raving.

A Stab in the Dark (audiobook) - Lawrence Block

"The memory is a cooperative animal, eager to please. What it cannot supply it occasionally invents, sketching carefully to fill in the blanks."

Aren't we all powerless at one time or another? (better than the last one)

Cat of Many Tails (audiobook) - Ellery Queen

"This will have to be done from home. I've got to have a place where I can sit and feel safe when, the ax falls. Executions brought to your door - at no extra charge."

Although it was an ingenious idea of how to kill off unconnected people, this was not one of my favorite Ellery Queen Novels. Ellery did a lot more wheel spinning than actual deduction.

But hey, a bad Ellery Queen is still better than the best of many others!

Tunnel Vision (audiobook) - Sara Paretsky

"Let's go see what's in the hanger."
"You are the original action woman, aren't you? If someone is waiting in there to jump us, I'm awfully exposed if I carry this camera."
"Hit him with it. I'll cover you anyway. In fact, when we get there you let me go around to the entrance. If someone jumps me, I'll holler and you can come video us."

One thing is sure, I'm glad I don't live in Chicago.

But if I had to live in Chicago, I'd want Vic on my side.

The Golden Calf (ebook) - Helene Tursten

"If I knew that, we'd know it all."

Another interesting story featuring people solving crimes instead of plot points dropped in between action sequences.

It is the puzzle solving that most attracts me to murder mysteries, I think, and these novels focus on the puzzle.

Stalking the Angel (ebook) - Robert Crais

"There were several ways to locate the Sun Tree Gallery. I could call one of the contacts I maintain in the police department and have them search through their secret files. I could drive about aimlessly stopping at every gallery I passed until I found someone who knew the location, then force the information from him, Or I could look in he Yellow Pages. I looked in the Yellow Pages."

Occasionally, stereotypes turn out to be just masks to keep others from seeing what is really inside.

This series has fast turned into one of my favorites.(dark, yes, but also intriguing)

The Sugar House (ebook) - Laura Lippman

"The truth was, she couldn't imagine any assignment more dangerous than being a teenage girl, at large in the land with an overripe body and a face full of yearning. Bring on the globe trotting psychopaths. They couldn't be anywhere near as terrifying as adolescent boys."

The appeal of this series has actually increased with each new novel. Tess is growing and evolving as a character, as are the people who surround her.

In a Strange City (ebook) - Laura Lippman

"It doesn't ring a bell, but I am an old woman. There are many bells that don't ring in my belfry anymore."

Just a thought, but I think Tess would benefit from reading Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.

But if she did that, maybe the novels would be reduced to Novellas, or even Chapbooks.

Never mind.

The Last Place (ebook) - Laura Lippman

"But at the time, everything had made sense. Sort Of."

These novels seem to get better with each new offering.

This one is more personal than the earlier books, and brings together a number of strings we didn't know were connected.

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