Search This Blog

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three Reviews: Slice, Deja Vu, The Art Whisperer

Slice in the first in a new series that features Micki Li,  a Korean-American.

Book description:  Boston’s worst crimes have her name on them.

In Chinatown, she’s known as Hyun Sook. 

At her home, she’s Mom. On the inner-city ball fields, she’s Coach.  

To her Irish-cop partner, she’s Mick. 

At headquarters, she’s Detective Li. 

To the killer who’s carving up convicted pedophiles, and the mysterious man who’s trying to snatch kids off the city’s panicked streets . . . 
She’s trouble.  

Mary Jo Kim is the pseudonym of Jo Ann Ferguson who also writes as Jo Ann Brown and Jocelyn Kelley.  

I liked  Micki Kim and her partner, but wasn't much impressed with the mystery which didn't work for me in several ways.  Given that Micki Li was raised by American parents, her compliance with her Chinese mother-in-law seems a bit too much.  Micki agrees to an arranged date with a Chinese man because her m-i-l insisted, even though she is in a serious relationship with someone else.  Micki isn't even Chinese and did not grow up in an Asian culture, so that seemed a bit of a stretch.  

There are a couple of possibilities for the murderer, but it is easy to narrow it down to those two early on, so no great suspense in that aspect.  In fact, in general, the novel failed to provide a genuine sense of suspense.  You know it would be suspenseful if it were really happening, but it felt more like a mental exercise than a gut experience.  If considered a police procedural, one would have to hope that Boston has a better system than the one depicted in the novel.


Mystery/Police Procedural.  July 2014.  Print length:  223 pages.


Deja Vu   was first published in 2005 and is the first in the Saskia Brandt series.

Book Description:   It is 2023. Scientist David Proctor is running for his life. On his trail is Saskia Brandt, a detective with the European FIB. She has questions. Questions about a bomb that exploded back in 2003. But someone is hunting her too. The clues are in the shattered memories of her previous life. 

Déjà Vu takes the reader on a startling journey through a possible future, though digital minds, and through the consequences of the choices we make. It is the debut novel by Ian Hocking.

A science fiction/futuristic novel that involves mind control and time travel, Deja Vu has intriguing characters in David Proctor and Saskia Brandt.  On the other hand, the novel can be confusing and disjointed at times.  

I found myself intrigued with the novel, but perhaps overwhelmed with story lines, and time-travel always brings complexities that are difficult to resolve.  Overall, I found parts of the novel compelling and parts...just confusing.

NetGalley/Red Squirrell Publishing

Science Fiction/Futuristic.  2005 and July 2014.  

------ The Art Whisperer  

Alix London is an art conservator who has an eye for spotting forgeries.  When a museum pays millions of dollars for a piece of art, the results of discovering one to be a fake can have serious consequences.

Alix is already dealing with a smear campaign when she finds that something about a Jackson Pollack painting bothers her.  After mentioning her reservations, Alix is attacked in the cottage she is staying in while working on conserving paintings for the Brethwaite Museum in Palm Springs.  Was the attack directed against her personally or was it another robbery attempt by the thief that has been committing crimes in the area?

This is the third novel featuring Alix London, but is the first I've read.  It was a light read with some interesting information about conservation and forged art.

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer

Mystery.  Aug.  10, 2014.  Print length:  274 pages.


  1. A mixture read you've got here, Jenclair! :)

    Hmm... Don't think the first two intrigue me but there's potential in the third book. Forged art is always an interesting subject to read in my opinion.

  2. Melody - I'm a sucker for stories involving forged or stolen art; like you, I always find something interesting in books on the subject.

  3. The Art Whisperer caught my attention too, after reading your reviews, Jenclair.

    Slice intrigued me until I got to your questioning the cultural consistency as well as the lack of suspense. That's a key ingredient to most books, crime fiction or not.

  4. The Art Whisperer is a light read. The author of Slice has an adopted Korean child which makes the choice of a Korean American protagonist reasonable, but I don't know why she chose an Asian pen name; it just comes across wrong. And the way Micki concedes to her Chinese mil bothers me, too.