Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Just City by Jo Walton

The Just City              

A puzzled Apollo is confused when Daphne turn herself into a tree.  Why would she do that? Didn't she want to mate with him?  When he asks his sister Pallas Athene, she tells him that regardless of how many women might have wanted to mate with him in the past, obviously Daphne did not.  

He tells her that it is a game.  He chases a woman, catches her, and mates with her.  That is the way it has always been, it's fun, a kind of mutual foreplay.  The women have always desired him--so what's up with Daphne hating the idea so much she would rather be a tree?

Athene tells him that although Apollo had chosen Daphne:
"... she hadn't chosen you in return.  It wasn't mutual.  You decided to pursue her.  You didn't ask, and she certainly didn't agree. It wasn't consensual.  And, as it happens she didn't want you.  So she turned into a tree,"  Athene shrugged.
Apollo considers this--the idea of volition and equal significance.  Still a bit confused about these ideas, he tells Athene that he has been considering spending some time as a mortal. He realizes there are some things he could learn.

Perfect timing.  Athene has been considering a surprising experiment.  Some people throughout time have prayed to Athene to set up Plato's Republic.  She has decided where and some ideas about how to go about it.

Apollo decides he will become a mortal and be a part of this grand scheme.  

And so begins the idea of the Just City as Plato described it (mostly).

The beginning chapters are a little slow as characters are introduced and some basics of the plan for organizing the city are put in play.  And at first, I thought the book was going to be a treatise about the place of women over time, their rights, their abilities, societies limitations, but it expands to raise questions about...well, about all the big questions people have.  What is just, what is good, what is right--almost any philosophical question people wonder about is considered.

Mortals are mortals, however, and agreement isn't always easy; even the gods are not always right in their beliefs and efforts.

I ended up reading this as if it were nonfiction, not rushing through the book eager to find out what happens, as I do with most fiction.  I'd read a chapter and stop and think-- sometimes stopping several times within a chapter to "voice" my own opinion about the topics and about how things were proceeding.

Highly recommended if you are interested in mythology and/or philosophy!

Read in Oct.; blog post scheduled for Dec. 30.


Philosophical Fiction.  Jan. 13, 2015.  print length:  368 pages.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Fourth Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay

The Fourth Rule of Ten

I've read all of the Rules of Ten now, thanks to NetGalley.

Book description:  Ex–Buddhist monk, former LAPD detective, and current private investigator Tenzing “Ten” Norbu knows Bill Bohannon as many things: loving husband, devoted father, police administrator, former partner, and best friend. But then an uninvited guest from Bill’s past upends the Bohannons’ Fourth of July barbecue....

Ten finds himself disappointed in his best friend, trying to unravel a human trafficking organization, traveling to Sarajevo, and finally, hopeful about the return of an old flame.

Of course, there are the recurring voices of Ten's old friends from the Tibetan monastery and frequent references to Buddhist philosophy as he attempts to untangle all the twists in this tale.  

How does an ex-monk manage his philosophical beliefs with the violence often required in his role of private investigator?  

I really like this series, but although I enjoyed this latest installment, this is not my favorite.

NetGalley/Hay House

Mystery/Action.  Jan. 5, 2015.  Print length:  344 pages. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recent Reads

Crash and Burn by Lisa Gardner is a review I will save for later, as it isn't to be released until February, but I am going to mention that I liked it a lot, and just returned from the library with a couple more books by Gardner.  Crash and Burn is a page-turner from NetGalley.

My name is Nicky Frank. Except, most likely, it isn’t.  

Nicole Frank survives a car crash...that may not have been an accident.  In fact, Nicky has had several mishaps recently, and Sergeant Wyatt Foster finds a number of things problematic about Nicky's accidents.

An intriguing mystery with lots of suspense; I can't wait to get started on my library copies (Say Goodbye and Catch Me) from two different series by Gardner.
NetGalley/Penguin Group

Mystery/Suspense.  Feb. 3, 2015.  400 pages.

The Red Room:  A Risk Agent Novel by Ridley Pearson is the third in a series featuring John Knox and Grace Chu, operatives for Rutherford Risk, but this is the first one I've read.  Hmmm.  Knox and Chu are assigned to a case/mission that is considered NTK (Need to Know), and nobody seems to know much.  Danger-Escape-Danger-Escape, and so on. 

I gather that fans of Pearson's other series were not impressed with this one, and I can see why.  Maybe I'll try one of his other books at some point, but this one didn't do much for me.

Library copy.

Thriller?  2014.  400 pages.

Last year, I received The Ninth Girl by Hoag from NetGalley.  The suspense and the characters both appealed to me, so when the publisher offered Cold, Cold Heart, the latest from Tami Hoag, I was up for it!

The detectives I liked in the previous novel make only a brief appearance in this one, but the mystery and suspense are every bit as engrossing.  Dana Nolan was an aspiring television reporter before her abduction by a serial killer.  (Her abduction is mentioned in The Ninth Girl as a kind of side-bar.)  Her horrific injuries include brain trauma, and even after a long recovery, she struggles with the after-effects of her experience.  There was the Before Dana, beautiful, cheerful, confident, and going places.  And there is the After Dana, suffering from the effects of PTSD and brain trauma, scarred, dealing with gaps in long and short term memory, and angry.

The residual problems from her brain injury feel real and watching Dana struggle with her memory is intense in itself, but as Dana finds focus in her determination to discover what happened to her high school friend who disappeared the summer of their senior year, the tension increases. What happened to Casey?  What she an early victim of the serial killer who later abducted Dana?

Just a warning, though, the prologue is violent; it sets the scene for the injuries (physical and psychological) that Dana will have to live with after escape.

Another compelling suspense novel from Tami Hoag.

NetGalley/Penguin Group/Dutton

Suspense/Mystery.  Jan. 13, 2015.  390 pages.

The Second Guard  from NetGalley won't be published until April, and my review will be scheduled for closer to that time, but it was a YA fantasy from Disney-Hyperion that I enjoyed.

Another NetGalley offering that I'll review later, Doctor Death is a historical mystery by Lene Kaaberbol.  Kaaberbol is the co-author of several novels with journalist Agnete Friis, including The Boy in the Suitcase which won a number of awards:

The New York Times Book Review Notable Crime Book of 2011
Strand Magazine Critics Award Nominee
Indie Next List November 2011 Pick
Barry Award Nominee for Best First Novel
Harald Morgensen Award for Best Danish Thriller of the Year
Glass Key Crime Fiction Award Nominee

She has also written a number of children's fantasy novels and won the Nordic Children's Book Prize in 2004.

Set in 1894 in Varbourg, France, Madeline Karno is the daughter of an early forensic pathologist and assists her father when he deems it appropriate.  Not even her father feels that a young woman should be involved in some of the aspects of his work.  A mysterious death of a young girl, the murder of a priest, and several unusual characters.  

NetGalley/Atria Books

Historical Mystery.  Feb. 17, 2015.  304 pages.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Broadchurch by Erin Kelly

OK - Broadchurch isn't exactly an Erin Kelly novel, and yet it is.  The series was created by Chris Chibnall for British television, and Kelly then turned it into a novel.  Although I didn't see the television series, I loved the novel that examines a community in the aftermath of the murder of eleven-year-old Danny Latimer.

I was so totally satisfied with Kelly's novelization that I have no desire to see the British drama or the American version titled Gracepoint

Kelly's characters are strong, well-defined, and entirely human--I'm not going to mess with the images I took from the novel.

Detective Ellie Miller is personal friends with Danny's parents, and her son Tom and Danny were best friends.  On returning from a vacation, Ellie discovers that the promotion she thought was a sure thing has instead been given to Alec Hardy, a man whose last case was a disaster.

Ellie is still coping with her disappointment when she realizes that the body found on the beach is Danny's, and then the gut-wrenching discovery that it wasn't an accident.

The small community of Broadchurch is stunned--an eleven-year-old boy murdered and the murderer must be one of them.  As you can imagine, the town will never be the same.  Danny's family is devastated.  Ellie struggles with her own sadness, the close connections to the Latimers, her initial refusal to suspect anyone she knows, and the aloofness of Hardy, who leads the investigation.

Who killed Danny and why?  The suspects--friends and family--have secrets and pasts that are coming to light for the first time.  There are also comments about the press and the way the media can influence an investigation.

The writing is succinct, the setting is vividly depicted, and the characters are treated with a kind of empathy that is touching.  

Excellent.  If you have the chance, do read Broadchurch, you won't regret it.

Library copy.

Crime/Police Procedural.  2014.  448 pages.

The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

The Accidental Alchemist is a light-hearted romp about an alchemist who survives the Salem witch trials and inadvertently makes herself immortal with her alchemical experiments.

After years of traveling, never staying long in one place lest someone realize she doesn't age, Zoe Faust arrives in Portland, Oregon where she has bought a house and hopes to make a home for the first time in years (and years).  

To her chagrin, one of the first things she discovers when unpacking is...a gargoyle.  And not just any gargoyle, but a living, talking gargoyle with the skills of a great chef.

Dorian Robert-Houdin desperately needs Zoe's help to translate an ancient text that will not only explain how he came into existence, but will help him continue to live, and there is an ever lessening time frame to save him.

Well, OK, Dorian is the reason to continue the book.  He is the star, the most interesting character, and is quite most charming gargoyle-chef I've ever encountered.  

But, of course, there is a murder, an attempted murder, some underground tunnels, a couple of kids (well, three), a handsome cop, and some delicious sounding recipes.

The book is a fluffy concoction, but between Dorian and the descriptions of food, I wouldn't have missed it.  A souffle of a novel, all air and kitchen aroma and savoriness.  The plot?  I don't care, I love Dorian and would welcome him in my kitchen.

Read in Aug.; blog post scheduled for Dec. 17, 2014.

NetGalley/Midnight Ink

Paranormal/Mystery.  Jan. 8, 2015.  Print length:  360 pages.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World  

I read These Broken Stars, the first in this YA trilogy in December of last year and enjoyed it.  

You don't have to read the books in order, however, because the stories are different.  These Broken Stars features Tarver Merendson and Lilac Laroux;  This Shattered World has Captain Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac as protagonists on a planet on the verge of war.  There are connections, to be sure, and Tarver and Lilac make brief appearances, but TSW belongs to Jubilee and Cormac.

Avon is a planet that is stalled in a number of ways:  the terraforming projections just never seem to happen; the military presence is oppressive; a mindless rage called The Fury eventually affects new recruits--and as quickly as the condition is discovered (often too late) those who are affected are shipped out--this means military personnel is in constant flux;  the rebels are divided between wanting to be treated fairly and wanting to wage war.

For some reason, only Captain Jubilee Chase seems to have a resistance to The Fury, and has therefore, been able to remain on the planet much longer than is commonly the case.  Flynn Cormac is a rebel, but his goal is to avoid war and regain schools and hospitals for his people.

I can make pretty much the same comments about TSW as I did about TBS:  the pov shifts from Jubilee to Flynn and back again; present tense; more telling than dialogue; interruptions in the story to insert dream sequences (in TBS, it was interrupted by an interrogation); likable characters; and plenty of action.

Another similarity, the characters in both novels are 16-18, but the personas seem much older and more experienced.  

I like the characters, the action, and the fact that, although part of a trilogy, the plot begins and ends within the novel.  The connections to the first novel are present, but This Shattered World  functions completely independently and has a conclusion.  (I do get tired of cliff hangers, so Yay for Kaufman and Spooner intertwining the novels without resorting to the frustrating cliff hanger.)

I'm assuming next December will bring the final book, and I will be looking for it!


Science Fiction/YA.  Dec. 23, 2014.  Print length:  400 pages.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister

The Magician's Lie 

I must admit this novel came as a surprise.  I'm not sure just what I was expecting, but as I read, I felt as if I were listening to Scheherazade.  I was as intent on the story as was the young policeman.

Set in 1905 in Waterloo, Iowa, the beginning didn't really grab me.  Not the style and not the content: Virgil Holt, a young, small town policeman attends a magic show and when the Amazing Arden takes an ax and cuts a man in half, the audience is horrified.  Even after the man emerges, healed and whole, the audience, including Virgil, is still shaken.

When the body of the Amazing Arden's husband is found after the show, it appears that perhaps the illusion was actually a murder.

When Virgil inadvertently runs into the illusionist, he takes her into custody, and using several sets of handcuffs (he fears she may be an escape artist like Houdini), secures her in the jail.  He asks her to tell him of the murder.

Arden asks who was murdered, then denies responsibility.  Each time Virgil presses her to confess and tell him about what happened, Arden resorts to the story of her life.

And this is where I got caught up; not only does the style change drastically, but so does the complexity of the plot.  As Arden tells her story, trying to convince Virgil of her innocence and to persuade him to let her go, the reader is pulled in to a fascinating tale that begins early in Arden's childhood.

Parts are chilling (when Arden speaks of Ray), but all of it is fascinating as Arden explains the remarkable circumstances of her life.  From wealth to struggling to get by, from home to the Biltmore mansion, to New York as a chorus girl, to Vaudeville as a magician's assistant....

There are occasional breaks in which the story returns to the jail and Arden's attempts to convince Virgil, then back to the enthralling story of her life.

All the time, the reader is as unsure as Virgil, wanting to believe in Arden, but uncertain about how much of what she says in true.

Recommended if you want a book with complex characters and a suspenseful plot.  Magic or illusion; truth or lie.

Read in June; blog post scheduled for Dec.  

NetGalley/SOURCEBOOKS, Landmark

Lit. Fiction.  Jan. 1, 2015.  Print length:  320 pages.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Life or Death 

Australian author Michael Robotham has a new stand alone! My first book by Robotham was Watching You, released early in 2014, and I was hooked.  I've now read five of the ten novels he's written.  

Although he has been a journalist and a ghost writer, it is his psychological thrillers that have garnered him so many fans. Some of the Awards he has received:
  •  3 Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing (Best Novel in 2005, 2007, 2008) 
  • 2 Crime Writer's Assoc. (UK) Steel Daggers (2007, 2008) 
  • 1 Crime Writer's Assoc. Gold Dagger (2013)
In the ten years Robotham has been writing psychological thrillers, he has achieved some impressive stats.  Perhaps I was late to the game because he is better known in the UK and Australia, but better late than never.

Life or Death, his latest release, is a stand alone novel and not part of the O'Loughlin/DI Ruiz series.  It is set in Texas, not London, and is the result of a news article that he'd been thinking of for nearly twenty years.
 In 1995, Tony Lanigan escaped from prison only a few days before he was due to be released on parole.  Why would a man escape from prison days before release?  Robotham says that he had to "find the answer--even [he] had to make it up."
Thus was born Audie Palmer, a man sentenced to ten years in prison for a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing.  Slowly, slowly we fall for Audie, who has achieved a sort of mythic regard in prison, surviving numerous attempts to murder him.  Then, the day before his scheduled release, he stages a daring escape from prison.

Why would a man escape the day before release?

The forces that paid for attempts on his life in prison are still determined to see Audie dead.  The reader wonders how this man with an IQ of 136 and a nature both noble and sorrowful wound up in prison in the first place.

Robotham unwinds the story slowly, but with escalating tension.  Audie Palmer feels Job-like as he endures and survives despite the odds.  Robotham keeps the reader on the edge, unsure about what will happen next and praying for Audie and Moss.

This novel is different from (and even better than) the O'Loughlin/DI Ruiz series which I've so enjoyed.  Written in spare, but evocative prose, the novel has a wrenching humanity.   Life or Death is a compelling psychological suspense tale about a protagonist who has a promise to keep and a reason to survive.

Highly recommended!

NetGalley/Mulholland Books

Psychological Suspense/Crime.  (Amazon has this available for Jan. 1 ??); NetGalley lists publ. date as March 10, 2015.  Print Length:  448 pages.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of Tearling  

I have to admit that I enjoyed this book, but opinions voiced by readers run the full gamut.  Loved it!  Hated it!  The reviews on Goodreads are more outspoken than those on Amazon, but both sites have the same dichotomy.  

On the positive side:  I mostly liked the characters and found it an engaging read with plenty of excitement.  These are pretty important positives for me.

On the negative side:  The world building was insufficient--all kinds of vague hints about the history, but they remain vague; there are parts of the book that feel didactic, a bit preachy, and a little politically inclined; the unanswered questions are tedious: "I'm not gonna' tell you what you need to know about how to save your life, how to save the kingdom, who your father is, etc.  I promised I wouldn't tell";  the "historic" connections to real places like America and Europe--especially as they are left vague--I would have preferred a new fantasy world or at least one with a more developed past; and the Red Queen is...over the top in all kinds of unpleasant ways.

Some elements place the book in the YA fantasy category, but other elements are a bit raw for YA.  Don't look at the comparisons to others in the fantasy genre--especially the Game of Thrones series.  It isn't The Hunger Games, either.  Johansen is a debut author who can tell a story, but still has time to learn a lot about the best ways to do so.

Although I had a some problems with this book, I found it engaged my interest and, I sped through it.  I nitpicked (frequently) along the way, but that doesn't mean I won't be eager to see if the next book in the trilogy eliminates some of the problems that occur in this one.

Emma Watson is set to play Kelsea in the film version; some books make better movies than books and that may be the case with The Queen of Tearling.  

Library copy.

Fantasy.  2014.  448 pages.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Last Week's Reading

Head in the Sand by Damien Boyd.

This is the second in a series of police procedurals featuring DI Nick Dixon.  After the brutal murder of an elderly woman, Dixon and his partner Jane Winters discover a parallel case from 30 years earlier.  Could it be the same killer?  If so, why such a long gap?  Is it a copy cat?

Two murders, thirty years apart, and then a third with the same brutal elements.  

Dixon and Winter must discover all the connections because this killer isn't finished yet. The pace is fast and the investigation is full of interviews, checking facts, making connections, reading files--old-fashioned police work.

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer

Police Procedural.  2013; Jan. 20, 2015.  Print length:  228 pages.

End of Secrets by Ryan Quin.  

An interesting premise involving the loss of privacy that has evolved through social media, CDC cameras, and cyber spying.  Our personal information is out there.  And there are ways to access it, both legal and illegal, for purposes we may or may not approve of.

Kera Michaels is a CIA agent on a special assignment away from the "Company."  Her task is to discover what has happened to a number of individuals, mostly artists, that have disappeared--leaving no digital footprint.  

Entertaining enough, the book does cover some of the risks of living in the digital age.  (I read recently that anyone born after 1985 is a "digital immigrant," an interesting concept, and when one looks at children under six playing on their iPads--one that is easy to accept.)

Somehow the book fails to become anything more than mildly entertaining.  The concept deserves a more complex and detailed investigation, but the book falls short in that regard and remains a pretty typical suspense/mystery with fairly stereotypical characters.

NetGalley/Amazon Publishing

Mystery/Suspense.  Dec. 1, 2014.  Print length:  400 pages.

Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes

Literary hoaxes have always intrigued me, especially the case of Thomas Chatterton, and I suppose that is what I was looking for in this novel.    This, however, is a hoax of a different nature, one involving the supernatural or science fiction.  

The novel is a wild concoction that has the mysterious Cannonbridge visiting Byron and the Shelley's on a stormy (!) night as they are recounting their ghost tales, rescuing Polidori from thugs, rescuing Maria Monk (was Maria the book that Maria wrote another literary hoax?), a brief interlude with the Brontes; oh, and Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Oscar Wilde get thrown in, too.  But did Cannonbridge ever really exist or is he a hoax?

The story moves back and forth from present to past--from Oxford don Toby Judd, who finds himself believing that Cannonbridge never existed (and in great danger because "someone" doesn't want the hoax exposed), to Cannonbridge and his various appearances through the ages.

Huh?  I kept reading, not because the work is really compelling, but because I wanted to find out what the heck was going on.  My initial pleasure at having literary giants included in the plot diminished rapidly.  The conclusion, unsatisfactory.


Mystery?  Feb. 10, 2015.  Print length:  272 pages.

Bonfire Night by Deanna Rayburn.

This is the second offering from Rayburn through NetGalley that turned out to be a short story or a novella.  The NetGalley description doesn't indicate that it is a novella, but.... 

I'm not a fan of short stories or novellas, but I may also just be tired of Lady Julia and Brisbane.  I loved Silent in the Grave, the first book about Lady Julia Grey, but haven't loved anything since in this series.  Doesn't mean that I hated them, just that the what followed didn't live up to my expectations.

I mean, who would not be curious about  a novel that began with this statement: 
 "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."   
--from Silent in the Grave
If you like short stories/novellas, you might be happy with this latest work featuring Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane.  


Novella.  Nov. 3, 2014.  Print length:  56 pages.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Two Books for Young Readers

Years ago, when my children were young, I read two mystery books with them that I loved as much or more than they did.  I've thought of both books fondly many time over the years.

Finally, I decided to follow through my frequent intentions to reread both books and actually get new copies that I could give to the grandchildren--after rereading them myself, of course!

One held up beautifully, making me appreciate again the skill of Zilpha Keatley Snyder and the creative imagination of children.  First published in 1967, The Egypt Game  won a Newberry Honors Award and is included in NPR's 100 Must Reads for Kids 9-14.  We read it in the mid-1980's, and on rereading it this year, the only thing that dates the book is that children today are not allowed the same freedom to roam away from parental oversight as they were in the past.

The Egypt Game  

There are books written for children that may be loved at the time, but that are soon outgrown.  Then there are the books written for children that remain as enthralling at 60 as at six, or nine, or 12.

The Egypt Game deserves its role as a classic.  Z.K.S. has created kids that jump off the page and into your imagination and heart, and you find yourself wishing you could play with them, be a part of their games and, like Peter Pan, never grow up.

It is interesting to see the ethnic diversity Snyder includes in a book that is nearly 50 years old.  She explains the various "roots" of her ideas in the introduction, and  one of the roots of her story involves  children she taught in Berkely, CA--a mix of "American kids of all races, as well as a few whose parents were graduate students from other countries."  

While her idea for the Egypt game played by the characters in the story had roots both in her own childhood and that of her daughter, the characters in the book, she admits freely (and with pleasure) are loosely based on students she taught.

Book Description:  "The first time Melanie Ross meets April Hall, she's not sure they'll have anything in common. But she soon discovers that they both love anything to do with ancient Egypt. When they stumble upon a deserted storage yard behind the A-Z Antiques and Curio Shop, Melanie and April decide it's the perfect spot for Egypt Game.

Before long there are six Egyptians instead of two. After school and on weekends they all meet to wear costumes, hold ceremonies, and work on their secret code.

Everyone thinks it's just a game, until strange things begin happening to the players. Has the Egypt Game gone too far?"

The book is beautifully illustrated by Alton Raible with just the right amount of detail.

It is a pleasure to read, whether you are a child or an adult, and I recommend it highly!

The Westing Game which we also read at some point during that period, didn't hold up as well for me.  It is also a Newbery book and one still beloved by many.  

Book Description:  A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

The mysterious game, the clues, the reasons these particular sixteen people were chosen as heirs--I still like the idea.

However, in rereading, I found the most of the characters to be thinly drawn  and the writing  lackluster and overly complicated--this opinion is based on my second reading because all I remember about reading it the first time with my kids --is that I loved it.  

Because the book remained such a fond memory for so many years, I recommend that you read it for yourself, especially if you have kids.  The number of people who have read and loved it (and even reread, and loved it) far outweighs my opinion on this one.  

Have any of you read either of these books?  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Burning Room and The Night Ferry

The Burning Room by Michael Connelly

It has been several years since I've read a Harry Bosch novel, and I'm not sure why because I've always enjoyed them.  The Burning Room did not disappoint.

Detective Harry Bosch is with the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit now and nearing retirement.  When a man who was shot nine years earlier dies from complications of the bullet that lodged in his spine, the case is determined a homicide.

Harry and his partner Lucia Soto, a rookie detective are assigned to the case.  The shooter was never caught, but the case was sensational for several reasons, and although the victim survived for years, the Open-Unsolved case in now considered an open homicide investigation.  Harry and Lucia are faced with a case that is nearly ten years old and that continues to be of high media interest.

Harry and Lucy do their best with the twists and turns that develop in their investigation, but they also, in their spare time, work on another cold case, a fire that resulted in the death of several children at a daycare facility.  Lucy is one of the survivors of that fire, and she is determined to see if she can find the culprit responsible for the deaths of her friends.

Two cold cases keep the book moving.  Two great characters keep the reader emotionally involved.  Connelly remains at the top of his game.

read in Nov.

NetGalley/Little, Brown, and Co.

Police Procedural/Mystery.  Nov. 3, 2014.  Print length:  401 pages.

The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham

I read my first book by Michael Robotham as a NetGalley selection this year, and I was suitably impressed!  When NetGalley generously offered Suspect and Lost, the first two in the series, I was all over them.

Robotham has a unique method in his series that features the psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and/or D.I. Vincent Ruiz. Both characters may appear or only one, but in most cases, neither will be main protagonist.  There is always another character, the character whose story the novel presents.

In The Night Ferry, the third in the series, the story belongs to Alisha Barber, a detective with the Metropolitan London Police.  D.I. Ruiz has a small role and is the link that continues to connect the novels in the series, but Ali is the protagonist.

Ali receives a note from her best friend Cate, from whom she has been estranged for a number of years.  The note says that Cate is in trouble and that she wants Ali to come to their high school reunion.  At the reunion, Cate tells Ali that she needs her help, but the two are interrupted, and Ali is not able to get the details.  Before Ali can talk to Cate alone, Cate and her husband are hit by a car--the husband is killed and Cate never regains consciousness.  

The plot involves illegal immigrants, human trafficking, forced pregnancies, and illegal adoptions.  Ali is an intriguing character: a modern Sikh with a relatively conservative family, a dedicated friend, a dogged detective, and often, too impetuous.

Not without its flaws, I nevertheless was immersed in The Night Ferry from beginning to end.   I did find the conclusion a bit too ambiguous, but it was a great ride.

Library copy.  

Crime/Mystery.  2007.  384 pages.