Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne

Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne

A rather odd book about a British commune told mostly from the perspective of a child raised there.  Not the best I’ve read, but by far not the worst.  Some truths are told.              2 1/2 Stars.

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The Reversal by Michael Connelly

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

A Harry Bosch investigation story. Defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to become a special independent prosecutor in a reversal case. After 24 years convicted killer Jason Jessup is freed by new DNA testing. Most everyone but Jason thinks he’s still guilty, DNA or not. Jason has a plan and it’s not good for anyone but him. Excellent story and Harry Bosch never disappoints, even though in this story, he is pretty much a secondary character. The others take up any slack just fine. Read it. 4 Stars.

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Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru

Pretty good novel about (maybe) alien contact in the Mojave desert told from several personal viewpoints and from several timelines, 1700’s through 2009. The main storyline revolves around missing children who have disappeared around The Pinnacles. The main (or modern) one is Raj, an autistic boy who disappears from his stroller while his parents aren’t watching. Where do these kids go? Why do they come back sometimes years later? Not sure if these questions get answered properly, but read it anyway. 3 Stars.

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Power Play by Ben Bova

Power Play by Ben Bova

Ben Bova writes some great Scientific Fiction, Sci-Fi, but always with real  serious science bent, in this one, MHD – Magnetohydrodynamics, generating electricity with a plasma stream interacting with a superconducting magnet. Lots of cutting edge science here, but presented as a integral part of the story, not just a pile of facts. My only ‘trouble’ and it’s not much, is the young Adult (YA) tone of the novel. Just a shame that this wasn’t in the YA section of the library, not sure if it was due to not knowing it was YA or whether it was too adult for the YA section in light of modern attitudes towords what is appropriate for teens and tweens. Nevermind, still 3 Stars.

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Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

I guess you could call this a P.I. procedural. It follows Jack Morgan and his security business Private. A different type of story than Patterson usually does, like the Alex Cross physiological thrillers. Though well written I did not get the same level of enjoyment I get from other books he has written. Not saying it’s bad, just different.  2 Stars

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Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey

Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey

The newest in a long series of stories about Serge A. Storms and his sidekick Coleman set in the ‘real’ Florida. Which looks a lot like where I live and not a lot like the tourist posters and ‘Come to Florida’ ads. In this book Serge decides to deviate from his career in Freelance Law Enforcement and swerve over into Freelance Spy Work. With just a bit of Law Enforcement thrown in as a favor to an old friend. As in all Tim Dorsey’s tales, it is told with tongue in cheek and pokes for all. Bad Florida drivers, tourists, local merchants, the government, litterbugs, domestic abusers, all purpose idiots, they all get their fair share. There is no sense trying to explain the details, we don’t have all day. Just read it, you know you’ll like it. 5 Stars.

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D.C. Dead by Stuart Woods

D.C. Dead by Stuart Woods

I like all of Stuart Woods stories. He has several series, including Holly Barker ( a female police chief), Ed Eagle (Native American lawyer in Santa Fe), Will Lee (a lawyer), and Stone Barrington (NYC ex-homicide cop turned lawyer’s lawyer) of which D.C. Dead is the latest. He also writes some free standing novels, which often have cameos by his series characters. One of those got me hooked on Mr. Woods.

In this ‘episode’, Stone and his pal Dino Bacchetti (A Manhattan murder squad lieutenant) are recruited by the President (via the CIA) to investigate a year old White House murder. As usual Stone and Dino fine dine, drink Knob Creek bourbon, screw every woman they cross paths with and investigate (almost incidentally to the real business of bedding every woman they meet, did I mention that?) to a successful conclusion. Though in this case with several false conclusions until, finally, the murderer is revealed. 3 Stars.

 

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Rust by Julie Mars

Rust by Julie Mars

Rust is the story of Margaret Shaw, an artist slightly outside the mainstream of society. After reading a story in a travel magazine that there are coyotes on the banks of the Rio Grande in the middle of Albuquerque she decides to pack up and move there from NYC. She is also determined to switch from oil painting to metal sculpture thus requiring welding lessons. She is able to get lessons from a local low rider welder with his own troubles. I found this an interesting and compelling story that I enjoyed quite a bit. You should read it. 4 1/2 Stars.

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77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

I will read anything written by Mr. Koontz. Even his grocery lists – LOL. This book is an example of why. It starts out like a horror type novel with possible hauntings and apparitions. But the source of this weirdness is not the graveyard as per usual. I will not tell more, get this book and read it. All the best of Koontz, great characters, some friendly dogs, possible heroes and/or villains. And of course an captivating storyline. 4 Stars.

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Cloudland by Joseph Olshan

Cloudland by Joseph Olshan

I read this because it was set in Vermont, where I spent ALL my summers with my family when I was a kid. I read it even though the protagonist was a household hints column  writer. These sorts of murder mysteries are usually not my cup of tea, you know the type. With recipes at the beginning of each chapter, or something similar. This is not that sort of book, Catherine Winslow is not that sort of column writer, she is a ex-investigative reporter turned college professor who had a affair with an younger ex-student that turned bad, so she retired to her old home in Cloudland, an area in NE Vermont. This book covers all that detail and the hunt for a serial killer who has struck too close to her home. The story is interesting with many suspects and kept me page turning right to the end. 3 Stars.

Additional study materials:                                                                                                           Video of Cloudland Road from a motorcycle.

 

 

 

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Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez

Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez

A rather odd space opera about a warlord mollusk, from Neptune who has conquered the Earth and now is bored. But then the Sinister Brain’s plots against the Earth become a problem. Along with Saturnites, Venusians and Mercurials. A rollicking shoot ’em up that rolls right along. You should read it.  3 1/2 Stars.

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AJ Speaks

Really, I do! I also read a lot. A whole lot. I had a bookshelf at my old shop. Customers were constantly amazed that I “really read ALL those books?”, said in a tone of disbelief like I had told them I had eaten a small car for breakfast. How much of a problem could reading a few books be? I got harassed all through school as a ‘bookworm’. Turns out I had a depth perception problem that wasn’t found until I was 18. So, I couldn’t catch or hit a ball, but I could read, so I did. It can always become a problem in my relationships. I have learned to judge the viability of a possible girlfriend by the initial reaction when they catch me reading while waiting for them. The ones that just whip out their own book and sit down next to me are the long term ones. And thankfully, you find constant readers everywhere.

I read out of the local public library nowadays, I can’t afford to buy even book club books anymore. This is why I talk about books being tagged Sci-Fi or Florida, for instance. They don’t have these tags at the bookstore, they have sections, which may work just as well.    You also won’t see too many bad reviews here, I only review the the books I finish and if I don’t like it, I don’t read it. So if it’s that bad, it’s not here.

 

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Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt

Heart of a Killer by David Rosenfelt

Jaimie Wagner is a lawyer. He is at a dead end in the firm he works for as he realizes he will never make partner. He is a Harvard trained underachiever who gets assigned a pro bono case that changes his life. The case seems sort of straight forward, a woman who murdered her husband who is approaching parole. Seems like a simple case. Not. The involvement of her late husband (six years dead) with a nationwide terrorist plot would be the first clue.  4 Stars.

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The Best Bad Dream by Robert Ward

The Best Bad Dream by Robert Ward

Jack Harper and Oscar Hildago are FBI agents and they are going rogue. They have just finished a tough case and it’s vacation time. However, Jack gets a call from his ‘girlfriend’, car thief Michelle Wu. Her sister, Jennifer, has been kidnapped in Santa Fe, NM. This turns into the rogue investigation I mentioned earlier. The story gets going pretty good and the plot twists get pretty involved. This is Sci Fi disguised as mainstream, which seems pretty popular nowadays. I don’t mind, but I would read it with a Sci Fi tag sooner than I did without it. 3 1/2 Stars.

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Paper Angels by Billy Coffey

Paper Angels by Billy Coffey

A bit of a spiritual story about Andy Somerville, who has a personal angel who he calls the “Old Man”. Andy met the angel when he was 10 and he prayed to the second star in the Big Dipper (like his Mom had told him to do) for help. Though I don’t usually like stories like this, I persevered and found it an enjoyable tale. 3 stars.

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Running The Maze by Jack Coughlin

Running The Maze by Jack Coughlin

Marine Gunnery Sargent Kyle Swanson is a sniper and part of Task Force Trident, a black ops, off the radar special operations team that answers only to the POTUS. This books goes right down the road you are envisioning. And it does it very well. No real surprises. None. Hard to believe, an action adventure story with no surprises. I still enjoyed it though. 3 Stars

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The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner

The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner

This is a story about an odd man, the man from Primrose Lane, a well known character in West Akron, Ohio. He is a reclusive man who always wore mittens, a different pair every day, even in summer. And on one summer day, he is murdered.

Four years later, soon after his wife’s suicide, David Neff is introduced to the story of the man from Primrose Lane. David is a best selling true crime author, and he decides to investigate him and his murder.  ‘Nuff said. 4 3/4 Stars.

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Hitchers by Will McIntosh

Hitchers by Will McIntosh

A interesting slice of life about Finn Darby and the loss in his life. Which started with the unrelated deaths of his wife and his grandfather on the same day, 2 years ago. He takes over his grandfathers comic strip (against his wishes). Then a terrorist attack on Atlanta. Soon things take a strange direction. A good direction, but I don’t want to ruin your enjoyment by telling you more. Just know it’s good. 4 Stars.

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Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham

Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham

Pretty good British psychological thriller whose protagonist is a psychologist who is trying to help his daughters friend Sienna who is suspected of murdering her father. Quite a few twists and turns. Sometimes, maybe,  a bit too much internal angst but it held my interest once it got going.  2 3/4 Stars.

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The Spy Who jumped Off The Screen by Thomas Caplan

The Spy Who jumped Off The Screen by Thomas Caplan

Former spook Ty Hunter is now a movie star. While attending the Cannes film festival, he befriends some folks that the US Government has an interest in. Naturally he is recruited back into service and his top secret clearance restored. While sort of a predictable plot, the writing is good and the story moves along well right to it’s happily ever after ending.   Includes a introduction by President Bill Clinton.   2 1/2 Stars.

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