Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Before the Last All Clear by Ray Evans

Before the Last All Clear is the personal memoir of Ray Evans, who was one of the millions of children (yes, millions--what a remarkable undertaking!) evacuated from London during WWII.  It was an ARC from Mr. Evans.

Product Description

Some recall it as the greatest adventure of their lives. For others, being a wartime evacuee was a nightmare. These are the witty yet deeply poignant memories of a man still haunted by the cruelties he endured. During World War II, around three and a half million British children were evacuated away from possible air raids in the big cities in one of the largest social upheavals Great Britain has ever seen. One of those children was Ray Evans. This is the story of a young evacuee from Liverpool sent to live in the Welsh town of Llanelli. Separated from his mother, brothers and sisters, six-year old Ray was dispatched to a series of families who ignored, exploited and brutalised him. Pushed from pillar to post, he finally finds happiness with a family who make him so welcome that he is reluctant to leave when war ends. Set in a world of ration books, air-raid sirens and ever-present danger, this is a candid and direct account of wartime Britain as seen through the eyes of a child.
 Evacuated in 1939 with his mother and brothers and sisters, Ray and his brother Frank originally shared the same billet with a family in which the husband was kind, but the wife was totally insensitive. 
The written rules Mrs. Jones handed to Ray and Frank when they first arrived included:  No relatives or friends to be invited into the house at any time; Do not enter the house by the front door; Upstairs bathroom is out of bounds, use the sink in the scullery; The Parlour and Dining-rooms are out of bounds; The pantry is our of bounds; Every morning, empty and clean chamber pot...and more.
Eventually, Frank got a new billet (after an accident with the chamber pot), and six-year-old Ray was left alone, especially after the husband died.  While it is difficult to see how anyone could be so callous concerning such a young and helpless child, Ray had a hard time convincing the woman in charge of finding homes to move him.  There simply were not enough homes available.

After about two years, Ray is moved.  However, things go from bad to worse... 

Ray does, eventually, have some better experiences and finally arrives at a home that truly takes him to their hearts.  It has, however, taken years, and without doubt, Ray's sense of trust has been damaged by his experiences, but he blossoms when he finally receives loving care.
Ray Evans is not a professional writer, but he has written a touching memoir concerning his experiences.  It is the only first-hand account I've read about the evacuees and was informative in both the general and the particular.
Above are posters from the era.  And below a photo of some of the children as they leave for their new homes.       
      More about the evacuations can found in the following links.
"Keeping control of the whole thing became a joyless task. 'The trains were coming in thick and fast,' says Geoffrey Barfoot who had been seconded from the town hall to act as a billeting officer in Weston Super Mare. 'It was soon obvious that we just didn't have the bed space.'"

"I'll Take that One

As a result of the mismatches, selection was made according to rudimentary principles. Billeting officers simply lined the children up against a wall or on a stage in the village hall, and invited potential hosts to take their pick. Thus the phrase 'I'll take that one' became etched on the memory of our evacuees.

Steve Davis, a clinical psychologist specialising in the study of war trauma, says this was the first of many moments that caused upset and humiliation for the evacuees and put their welfare under serious threat. 'It was little more than a paedophile's charter', says Davis, whose work involves counselling former evacuees."

For some children, the experiences were wonderful, but for others, devastating.  While the percentage of misery may have been small in numbers, the effects on the children were large and long-lasting.

Has lots of links and articles.
Destinations included Wales (where Ray's family were), Canada, and Australia.
Many children remained in their new homes for six years.
Nonfiction.  Memoir/History.  2006.  228 pages.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg

 Another Scandinavian author, Camilla Lackberg is Swedish, and The Stone Cutter is the third book featuring Patrik Hedstrom and his partner, Erica Falck.

Patrik is under stress at home and at work, as Erica is suffering from post-postpartum depression.  When the daughter of one of Erica's friends is found murdered, Patrik has to find a delicate balance in his investigation.

There is also a story that begins in the past, and initially, it is difficult to see just where it is going.  Of course, you know it will tie into the current case, but through which character?

I enjoyed The Ice Princess (which mostly featured Erica), but have not read the second book, The Preacher.  The Stone Cutter is a suspenseful novel that examines the secrets of families and the damage that can be carried from one generation to the next.

Another minor subplot deals with Erica's sister Anna.  It barely gets attention, but since I was interested in this subplot in The Ice Princess, I would have liked more than the few paragraphs allotted here.

Fiction.  Mystery/ Crime.  2010.  480 pages.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Zor by J.B. (Ray Clements)

Zor is a strange little book, a parable about finding enlightenment.

"The avatar, Zor, knows the quest for enlightenment must begin with the unification of Philosophy, Spirituality, and Science. To that end, he guides Jonathan Brewster on his path to self awareness; deftly balancing quantum physics, religion, Zen, reductionism, multi-dimensional reality, Einstein, chi, the power of thought, post death experiences, Newton, Pavlov, the Big Bang theory, relativity, pantheism, space/time travel, peace, love, and understanding."  --from  this page; the page also contains some great links on some of the above subjects.     

This little book, a relatively short read, covers so many things that I've come across in books on yoga, spirituality, and neuroscience.  Although the subject matter is deep, J.B. keeps us from getting lost by using lots of illustrative examples and the enforced parable technique.  

The story of Jonathan Brewster and his chance (?) meeting with the Haitian dwarf Zor provides a way to think about the way interconnections of philosophy, spirituality, and science are perceived.

I enjoyed the book very much, partly because so many of the names and philosophies were familiar from other reading, including the "brain books" -- the books I've read about neuroscience.  However, I also liked it because the book takes it so much further, linking everything together, much like the neurons in our brains..

Fiction.  Philosophy/Spirituality/Science.  2010.  268 pages.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

I've been reading Nesbo's Harry Hole series, set in Oslo, Norway.  I went back and picked up Nemesis, even though I thought I'd skip it since I'd already read The Devil's Star

I'm glad I did, even if it was out of order.  (The English translations were published out of order.  The correct sequence is The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil's Star, The Redeemer, The Snow Man, Headhunters (not yet translated), The Leopard.)

When a bank teller is murdered during a robbery, the only clue to the murderer's identity is a video tape that reveals little.  The robber had set a time limit.  She was 6 seconds too slow.

Harry Hole examines the video over and over trying to find something, anything, that might lead them to the killer.  Finally, he and Beate Lonn begin to make some assumptions that may develop into leads.

In the meantime, Harry accepts an invitation from an old flame (his significant other, Rakel, is in Russia).  When Harry awakes in his own bed the next morning, he remembers nothing other than arriving at Anna's.  He is an alcoholic that has fallen off the wagon; blank spaces after excessive drinking are not unfamiliar to Harry.

On arriving at work, he discovers that Anna has committed suicide.  No one knows that Harry was there or that Harry even knew Anna.  Harry has difficulty believing Anna would have killed herself.

When he begins receiving threatening emails, he realizes that he is being set-up for Anna's murder.  The sender seems to be playing a game with Harry, giving some hints and possibilities, but always threatening.  Now, Harry must work on both cases, the murder/robbery and Anna's supposed suicide.

Jo Nesbo skillfully intertwines the two plot lines that may have an important intersection.  A complex psychological narrative, Nemesis is an engrossing read.  I am definitely hooked on this series!

Next in line:  The Redeemer.  Then I can finally get to The Snow Man.

Fiction.  Mystery/Crime.  2009.  480 pages.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

the map of true places by Brunonia Barry

The map of true places takes place in Salem, Mass., as did Barry's previous novel The Lace Reader.  I received the Lace Reader as an ARC in 2007 and liked it very much, so when I saw the map of true places at the library, I grabbed  it.

   Zee Finch is a psychotherapist in Boston who seems to have everything together, but who has become too involved with one of her patients.  She fears that Lilly Braeddon is being abused and that she has stepped over the line by offering advice.  When Lilly commits suicide, Zee suffers guilt and  self-doubt;she questions her career choice and her prospective marriage.
On a brief visit home, Zee realizes that her father Finch, who suffers from Parkinson's, has gotten much worse.  He has been hiding his decline from Zee, and he has told his long-time partner to move out.
Taking a leave of absence, Zee becomes her father's caretaker and in doing so, learns a great deal about herself.   Yet even removed from Boston, she finds that Lilly's case pursues her.  Zee struggles to understand her relationship with her father and her relationship with her mother who also suffered from bipolar disease and committed suicide.  She attempts to discover why Finch has broken with Melville, his long-time companion.  And she begins a new relationship.
All of things are intertwined in intricate and surprising ways, and there are several little plot twists that keep things very interesting.

Other Reviews:  The Zen Leaf,   GenPlus, Wordsmithonia,   
  Fiction.  Contemporary Lit.  2010.  406 pages.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Week's Mail

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  I ordered this based on Carl's review and have noticed more reviews lately.  Can't wait to get to it!

In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan.  Thanks to Kay who reviewed it here and kindly sent me her copy!

Goodie One Shoe by Roz Siegel .  An ARC from Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. and published by Hilliard & Harris, a small publisher specializing in mysteries.  Oh, yes, I do love mysteries, and thanks, Meryl, I'm sure stilettos make an excellent weapon!

I'm almost through scheduling reviews.  I'd like to get all reviews written and scheduled so when we take off on July 1 for a few days, I won't feel guilty.  The trouble is that just as I think of myself as almost caught up, I finish another book or two.

And then there is the blog visiting and the growing list of titles I want to read.  And the library visit yesterday.  And the TBR stack that is separate from the library books.

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

Evidently the last of the Kurt Wallender series, A Troubled Man kept me involved from beginning to end.  I hate to see this series end, but perhaps Mankell will give Kurt's daughter Linda a chance to exhibit her abilities on the police force.

Aside from the mystery involving the disappearance of Linda's partner's father, the novel is a reflection on aging.  It is always on Kurt Wallender's mind.  In fact, there may be too much of it. 

Although I enjoyed the novel, there were several things that bothered me about it.  Aside from Wallender's thoughts of aging and death, the anti-American sentiments grated a little.  While the book was definitely much better than The Man from Beijing (a stand-alone, not a Kurt Wallender mystery), some of the same attitudes bothered me.  The conclusion of the crime/mystery portion of the novel seemed incomplete as well.

Nevertheless, I like Kurt Wallender and am sad to have the series concluded.

Other Reviews:  Euro Crime, The Book Catapult,

 Fiction.  Crime/Mystery.  2011.  384 pages.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hardest Thing To Do by Penelope Wilcox

The Hardest Thing To Do was an ebook from NetGalley

Product Description

This latest in Wilcock’s The Hawk and the Dove series takes readers into the world of a fourteenth-century monastery struggling to forgive an old enemy seeking refuge. 

The first of three sequels to the celebrated The Hawk and the Dove trilogy takes place one year after the end of the third book, in the early fourteenth century. A peaceful monastery is enjoying its new abbot, who is taking the place of Father Peregrine, when an old enemy arrives seeking refuge. Reluctantly taking in Prior William, the upended community must address old fears and bitterness while warily seeking reconciliation. But can they really trust Prior William? 

In her fourth book in the series, Penelope Wilcock wrestles with the difficulties of forgiveness and the cautions of building trust. Taking the form of journal entries, her story will delight the imaginations of readers captivated by a time and place far distant from our current world. Her timeless themes, however, will challenge our prejudices today as we, along with her characters, are forced to ask ourselves, “What is the hardest thing to do?”

I enjoyed this book very much.  I like books set in the medieval period and for some reason, I'm always fascinated by monasteries.  There isn't a lot of physical action.  The plot involves relationships and internal conflicts as the monks must decide whether or not to admit a new member, the former prior of another monastery, known for his arrogance and and past offenses against their own previous prior.

I didn't know this was part of a series, but it easily stands alone.  Nor did I realize that it was considered "Christian literature," but the themes of practicing what you say you believe and of forgiveness are universal.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan

Jane Was Here is an ARC from Kelly & Hall.

Product Description
A mysterious young woman calling herself Jane turns up in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Upon her arrival, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town's inhabitants. As Jane's memories reawaken piece by piece, they carry her back to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide. 

I'm not really sure what to say about this book.  It is a ghostly/reincarnation story, but none of the characters are particularly likable.  While I was quite interested in discovering who was responsible for the earlier Jane's demise, I just couldn't connect with the characters.

Sarah Kernochan's documentaries have won her two Academy Awards.  She is a screen writer of many films, including Nine and 1/1 Weeks and What Lies Beneath.

Fiction.  Supernatural/Mystery.  2011.  330 pages.


It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  -- is a weekly feature at Book Journey.

This past week, I finished:

Zor: Philosophy, Spirituality, and Science by  J.B.-- A parable of sorts that deals with all of the things mentioned in the title by applying them to a fictional character.  Many of the theories, advances, and individuals in neuroscience are included.   Although it is a fictional story, the information is authentic, so I'll probably include it in my "brain" book category.
Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan -- ghost story, reincarnation, karma

before the last all clear by Ray Evans -- a memoir of a WWII evacuee.  Operation Pied Piper planned to move 3.5 million children in 3 days in Sept. 1939.  While one source says that the actual number moved by Pied Piper in the 3 day deadline ended up being 1.9 million, many more were evacuated later.  The war ended in 1945...

Here is a link that gives more information about the evacuations.  Many of these children were separated from their parents for 6 years.

I'm still trying to get the backlog of reviews written and scheduled.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Closer Still by Jo Bannister

Closer Still continues Bannister's Brodie Farrell series.

From Publishers Weekly

In British author Bannister's absorbing eighth Brodie Farrell mystery (after 2007's Flawed), Farrell continues to juggle the two men in her life: Det. Supt. Jack Deacon of the Dimmock police, who's the father of her young son, and Daniel Hood, the lovelorn math teacher who helps run Looking for Something? Farrell's finding agency. The murder of Joe Loomis—pimp, drug dealer, racketeer—is almost cause for celebration until the victim's dying utterance results in Deacon's removal from the case. When the investigation uncovers a suspected terrorist plot with Dimmock as the unlikely target, the focus shifts to preventing panic by foiling the terrorists. Farrell also becomes embroiled in the hunt for Loomis's killer. Bannister's portrayal of the town's response to a possible attack shows how easily mistrust can mushroom into violence. Readers will relish Bannister's well-plotted solution and the revelation of unexpected depths and facets in her series characters. (Aug.)

As I try to catch with reviews, I'm resorting to summaries from other reviewers.

It should be no surprise that I enjoyed Closer Still, as I always enjoy Brodie, Daniel Hood, and Jack Deacon and their adventures in Dimmock. 

Fiction.  Mystery/Crime.  2008.  336 pages.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Damage by John Lescroart

I love this series and was glad to find a copy of Damage at the library.

Dismas Hardy takes a back seat in Damage, and Wes Farrell and Abe Glitsky share most of the action.

 Ro Curtlee, convicted of rape and murder ten years earlier, is released from prison when an appeals court orders a new trial. Soon after Curtlee is released, the chief witness against him is murdered.

New DA Wes Farrell finds himself in a difficult situation -- pressured by the wealthy and powerful Curtlee family, who want their son free on bail until the trial, and by Abe Glitsky, chief of homicide, who fears precisely the kind of retaliation that Ro Curtlee begins to exact.  

When the wife of the head juror in Ro's trial is murdered, there is no evidence gainst Ro, but the similarity to his earlier crimes is unquestioned.  In their attempts to have Ro's bail revoked, Wes and Abe must fight the influence of the Curtlee family, who in addition to having powerful friends, own one of San Francisco's newspapers.

Both sides are looking for the last available witness from the previous trial.  Her whereabouts are unknown, but her court appearance will be required for the re-trial, and without this witness, Ro Curtlee could gain permanent freedom.

Lescroart's main characters are trying to get through ethical and legal dilemmas as best they can.  They have lives outside of the court room and the police department and are three dimensional with flaws and strengths and peculiarities.

  A large cast of recurring characters and Lescroart's ability to create a San Francisco populated by people and places that are familiar help the reader to move into the novels with ease on each return visit.  

While each book can stand alone and each one gives a little back-story to both people and places, you may find that you, too, will want to return to Lescroart's San Franciso.

Fiction.  Legal thriller.  2011.  416 pages.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cellar Door

This article in the New York Times discusses words that people find beautiful.  I read Tolkien's remark about "cellar door" years ago, but was surprised to find that those words have been mentioned by many others.

Beautiful words that I can think of right off-the-bat...murmur, wander, meander, peregrine, lilting, moonlight.  Poets and fantasy writers are especially likely to use and coin beautiful words, which may explain my love of both.

New June Mystery/Crime Releases that interest me:

Jan Burke - Disturbance (an Irene Kelly mystery)
Craig Johnson - Hell is Empty  (Walt Longmire mystery)

New ARCs that have arrived in the last several days:

Monoculture by F.S. Michaels

What I'm reading now:
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo

Books I've ordered:

The Brain that Changes Itself  by Norman Doidge (I read a library copy 2 years ago; want my own copy)

Chime by Franny Billingsly (recommended by Nancy the Bookfool)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (recommended by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings)

Awareness Through Movement by Moshe Feldenkrais

I have several reviews scheduled and a few more to write, but I'm catching up!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Three Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child

The Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1).  I've been catching up on this series. 

Jack Reacher, former military policeman, has been traveling by bus and on seeing a sign for Margrave, GA, he remembers that his brother had mentioned that Blind Blake, a famed blues guitarist, had died there.  On an impulse, Reacher has the driver drop him off, and he walks into town to see if he can find out anything about Blind Blake.

As he is eating his breakfast, the police storm in and arrest him.  He is suspected of a double murder that occurred the night before.  After establishing that he had nothing to do with the murders, he becomes involved with the case for a very personal reason. 

 Fast paced with some violent episodes, the Killing Floor is the first Reacher novel, and I'm glad I downloaded it to my Kindle.

 Die Trying is the second in the Reacher series.  Another Kindle read.

Reacher's helpful gesture outside a dry cleaner's results in his being kidnapped along with the woman he was helping.  Another example of freak chance, the incident leads to Reacher and FBI Agent Holly Johnson being driven to Montana, where they are kept captive by a militia group with a psychotic leader.

The leader of the group has a terrible plan for destruction, and he hopes to use Holly Johnson to set in motion.

The Enemy (Jack Reacher #8) takes a look back to Reacher's days as a military policeman.  

Reacher is suddenly and unexpectedly transferred from Panama to  Fort Bird in North Carolina.  In investigating the death of a two-star general, he discovers that some of the best MPs have also been re-posted at the same time to other locations.

He soon realizes that the general's death (and in another state, his wife's murder) and the agenda missing from his brief case is part of something much larger.  He needs to discover who is involved in moving around the MPs as a counter move to the "something bigger."  Who is the enemy?

This is one of the best Reacher novels and reveals some background that has not been available in prior novels.  

Only two more to go, and I'll be completely caught up with the series. The newest isn't even available yet.

  1. The Killing Floor*
  2. Die Trying*
  3. Tripwire
  4. Running Blind   *
  5. Echo Burning   *
  6. Without Fail   *
  7. Persuader   *
  8. The Enemy*
  9. One Shot   *
  10. The Hard Way   *
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble   *
  12. Nothing to Lose   *
  13.  Gone Tomorrow *
  14.  61 Hours *
  15. Worth Dying For *
  16. The Affair (to be published in September)

Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein

 Bad Blood is the ninth in the Alexandra Cooper series by Linda Fairstein, former chief of the Sex Crimes Unit in the  Manhattan D. A.'s Office.  She knows whereof she speaks. 

Amanda Quillian was found murdered and her husband is on trial for hiring a hitman to commit the murder.  Brendan Quillan is being defended by Lem Howell, the suave, charming, highly intelligent former mentor of Alexandra.  Alex knows this trial will be a challenge because she knows just how good Lem Howell is, and she knows her own case is weak.

The case, however, moves out of the courtroom and into mysteries from both the past and present.

The information about the sandhogs, New York's maze of underground tunnels, and the weaknesses of the water system was all new to me and quite fascinating. 

As usual, I enjoyed visiting Alex, Mike, and Mercer.

Fiction.  Mystery/Legal thriller.  2007.  480 pages.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier

Wicked Witch Murder is part of a cozy series by Leslie Meier.  I haven't read any of her other books.

Lucy Stone is a reporter for the weekly newspaper in Tinker's Cove, Maine.  She meets weekly with several friends for breakfast, and on one of these meetings, the ladies have decided to visit the new Wiccan shop and have their fortunes told.

Lucy is openly skeptical, but several of the predictions come true, and she must admit to some curiosity about the coincidences.

When a burned body is discovered in the woods, everyone is edgy and being Wiccan in a small town might be a bit dangerous for Diana Ravencroft, the shop owner.

A light read.

Fiction.  Mystery.  2010. 304 pages.

Flawed by Jo Bannister

   Flawed by Jo Bannister continues the adventures of Brodie Farrell, Daniel Hood, and Jack Deacon. 

  Brodie is pregnant with Jack's baby and is concerned about how she will keep her business moving forward with the difficulties of pregnancy, and when the baby arrives, caring for a new born.

Brodie and Jack are no longer together, and Daniel Hood gives up the opportunity to return to teaching and volunteers to learn Brodie's business, Looking for Something, and manage it when Brodie is unable to do so.  This move is in keeping with Daniel's personality, and although he is giving up his dream, his love for Brodie provides a powerful motivation.

When Noah Selkirk, a twelve-year-old boy, shows up at Looking for Something,  Daniel begins to suspect that Noah is being abused by his father.  Unable to ignore the possibility, he pursues ways to help, but all is not exactly what it seems in the family situation.

In the meantime, Detective Inspector Alix Hyde arrives in Dimmock with the intention of bringing down Terry Walsh, a crime boss who has managed to elude all attempts to bring him to justice.  D.S. Jack Deacon, who grew up with Walsh (and bad guy Walsh is quite a likable character), assigns Charlie Voss to work with Alix.

As usual, Bannister's characters are well-rounded and engaging.  She skillfully  interweaves the various plot threads  in a perfectly paced novel that keeps the reader eagerly anticipating the resolution.

This series is a pleasure to read.

Fiction.  Mystery.  2007.  336 pages.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Reading and Eccentricity

Cycles come and go, as all of you know and many of you have posted about.  Usually I complain when I'm in a dry cycle and can't find anything that really calls to me, but I'm in a reading cycle right now, sometimes a book a day.  All pure escapism and lots of mystery/crime, particularly Scandinavian crime novels.  I'll never catch up on reviews.  I have ten books that I haven't reviewed and am almost finish with another.  

And I have a huge TBR pile.  These are just the ARCs that have arrived that I haven't posted about. 

I'm actually hoping this reading mania will end soon.  I don't want a dry spell, but just something more normal than what is happening now. 

The unreasonable heat and humidity and  a lack of energy for anything else figure into this cycle.  I'll read a little during the day, then for five or six hours at night.  

I have finished another Eccentricity.  He doesn't have a name yet, I just call him Red.  Suggestions?

We will be going to visit our daughter this weekend for her birthday.  Hoping that will lift my energy and enthusiasm level and break this incessant reading cycle.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Running Blind by Lee Child

Lee Child's Running Blind is the 4th in the series.  I started reading Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels last year.  I read everything the library had, and not in order, as these books are popular and often checked out.  Now, I'm trying to catch up on books with inter-library loan, used books, and kindle.

Jack Reacher is dragged into an FBI investigation, first as a suspect who matches the FBI profilers, description, and then, under pressure, to help find the killer when it is clear that he couldn't have committed the murders.

All of the victims are women who reported sexual harassment while in the military, and left the military after winning their cases.  There is a list and more women are scheduled to die.  Will Reacher discover the culprit in time to prevent more deaths?

  About half way through, I think there was a pronoun problem intended to throw the reader off the track, but I was too lazy to go back through and locate it, so I may be wrong.  I thought I knew who the killer was, but the pronoun threw me. 

All of Child's books read at such a fast clip and are full of adventure, but I've liked some much better than others.  This was not my favorite, but it did keep me turning pages.  

Here is a list of his novels in order.  The starred titles are the ones I've read.
  1. The Killing Floor
  2. Die Trying
  3. Tripwire
  4. Running Blind   *
  5. Echo Burning   *
  6. Without Fail   *
  7. Persuader   *
  8. The Enemy
  9. One Shot   *
  10. The Hard Way   *
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble   *
  12. Nothing to Lose   *
  13. Gone Tomorrow   *
Fiction.  Crime/Mystery.   2007.  544 pages.

    Saturday, June 04, 2011

    The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo

    I recently read The Red Breast by Jo Nesbo (reviewed here), and although I had some problems with it, I liked it enough to know that I'd be reading more by this author.  The Devil's Star provided a better look at Harry Hole as he pursues a serial killer through Oslo.

    There are two plots lines that intersect:  the serial killer narrative requires Harry to work with Tom Waaler, the cop Harry believes to be, not only dirty, but responsible for the murder of Harry's previous partner.

     Harry has spent quite some time trying to get evidence to prove his theories (Nemesis), and in the process, he has screwed up his relationship with Rakel and begun drinking again-- and he is in danger of losing his job.  Even the boss that has protected him from his unorthodox and problematic behavior in the past is about to give up on him.

    There are plenty of red herrings in the plot, and Nesbo has no problem keeping the reader's attention.  I read these first two books in order of their English publication dates, but then discovered that Nemesis (which should have been the second) wasn't translated until after The Devil's Star

    The actual order of the books in Norwegian:  1) The Red Breast, 2) Nemesis, 3) The Devil's Star, 4) The Redeemer, 5) The Snow Man, 6) The Leopard, 7) a new one is to be published this month .  The first two in this series have not been translated.

    I guess I'll go for The Redeemer next and just skip Nemesis.

    Like many of you, I enjoy Scandinavian crime fiction and am happy to add to my list of authors.

    Fiction.  Crime/mystery.  2009 (Eng. trans.).  474 pages.

    Thursday, June 02, 2011

    Thursday Thoughts

    More books in the mail and back to the library--lots to choose from.      :)

    Impossible to catch up on reviews because I'd much rather read and play with my little Eccentrics.

    Finished Theo and working on a couple more of my Eccentrics.  Theo is a Steampunk Victorian Adventurer.  She must have traveled by boat on her last journey and is waiting for her steamer trunk to be unloaded.  I've recorded her progress for the last 2 weeks or so on Bayou Quilts & Dolls.

    Must get to the post office to mail a birthday gift and to the grocery store, but with temperatures predicted to reach 100 degrees today, I will be back to indoor activities this afternoon.  I just looked at Weather at a Glance, and it is already 92.5 with a heat index of 103!  Not good.

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    Devoured by D.E. Meredith

    While I didn't much care for the title, I loved the cover of Devoured enough to look in the book jacket to get an idea of what to expect.  The blurb about London in 1856, specimen collectors, new theories of evolution, early forensics, and a pathologist was more than enough to pique my interest.  Into the book bag it went.

    This is a new series featuring Adolphus Hatton and his diener (morgue assistant) Albert Roumande, and I'm glad I overlooked the title because I really like the characters and have discovered a new series to enjoy and anticipate.

    I hope that the next in the series will put a little more emphasis on Hatton and Roumande, who could be developed into more well-rounded characters without much effort.  In this first novel, we get more of an introduction to two likable and interesting characters.  I've found that to be true with some of my favorite mystery/crime series authors. 

    I liked the original concept, the details about fossil hunters (collectors), the idea of forensic pathology in its infancy, the Victorian setting and references to the science vs religion conflict of the period, and the two main characters.

    More emphasis is on Alfred Russell Wallace than on Darwin (both are mentioned, neither is really a character), and there is a reference to one of my favorite poems when Benjamin Broderig writes in a letter to Katherine Blessing:
    But then what are we left with?  The ebb of a tide, our so-called faith, withdrawing.  A swirling vortex of nothing.  A world without God.
    The reference is to Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach (which I love).  The topic is, of course, the crisis of faith that many Victorians experienced.

    With scientific discoveries and Wallace and Darwin's theories of evolution, many Victorians decided it had to be one or the other:  the biblical explanation of creation or evolutionary theory.  The discoveries created a maelstrom of dissent that we find difficult to imagine today;  although the conflict still rages, it doesn't have the shock value it had in the 1800's.
    Several characters were a bit over-board and the plot, too, is one of those that seems to be in a contest to see how unusual and multiple you can make a murder.  I'm not fond of this trend, but it does seem to be the rule, rather than the exception in contemporary crime fiction.

    Nevertheless, I liked the novel, its concept, and the fact that it introduces a new series that will hopefully be one that continues to get better with each new addition. 
    Fiction.  Crime/mystery.  2010,  291 pages.