Home

In Home, two men with incredible wealth behind them are able to break into an underground sex business with a lot of death and explosions and leave completely unharmed. Harlan Coben’s characters are over the top masculine, with sensitive spots for the women they love.

Home was a quick, fun read where Myron Bolitar and his friend Win are able to rescue a boy kidnapped 10 years earlier and solve the mystery of what happened to his friend. They are able to do things outside the law without any repercussions and set things right according to what they deem is right. All the time, traveling on private jets and cars, they are whisked around the world to find out what happened to Win’s nephew and friend 10 years ago.

The whole story is so unbelievable, but an enjoyable read, even with the ridiculous masculinity oozing from the Batman-like characters.

Read April 2017

A Twist of the Knife

In Becky Masterman’s A Twist of the Knife, Brigid Quinn returns to southern Florida to visit her ailing father and her caretaker mother. While there, Quinn reunites with Laura Coleman, a former colleague working to free a man from death row for a possible wrong conviction.

There’s so much to like in this novel. Brigid Quinn is a carefully written character with flaws and depth to her. She unpacks her childhood baggage while dealing with her family and explores her own trauma while dealing with Laura who almost lost her life a year ago. All this while investigating an old crime for a man on death row whom she cannot determine if he’s sincere or just really charming.

And Florida itself plays a part. The weather, the heat, the stickiness of life in southern Florida invades Quinn’s life just as much as the people.

And randomly, I feel like this is the first novel in awhile that I’ve read that doesn’t jump from time period to time period, or character to character. The simplicity of the storytelling was soothing after reading books where every chapter is a different voice or purpose. It really allowed for detailed characterization that gets lost when there’s too many character’s perspectives to relate to. It was refreshing to have such a straight forward read.

Great read. Recommended.

Read April 2017

False Tongues

While False Tongues is listed as a “Callie Anson” mystery, Callie isn’t embroiled in a mystery. While she’s away dealing with her school friends, including her ex-boyfriend who dumped her and immediately married another woman, a young boy is murdered. The mystery of his death never touches Callie, but her new boyfriend deals with his family as his role in the police.

Callie and her dealings with her ex, aren’t very exciting or noteworthy, other than she is now officially over him. While back at school, her Principal, Margaret Phillips also must deal with her past before moving on. While thematically similar to each other, neither story comes close to the story about the murder.

I don’t know if its just my preference of storyline, but the whole Callie Anson part of this mystery wasn’t interesting and took away from the storyline of the murder and uncovering the secrets teenagers have. If Callie had been at home, and had dealt with the family or police officers in the murder investigation, then maybe this would be a more interesting book. As is, I didn’t like the parallel unrelated stories.

Read April 2017

Silver Girl

Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl is a fictional account based on the Bernie Madoff’s fleecing of his investors. In this world, Freddy Delinn plays the evil mastermind, but it’s his wife that the story centers around. Meredith Delinn hides from the public after her husbands arrest and seemingly knows nothing about any of her husband’s financial schemes. After loosing everything and about to be kicked out of her home, she begs her childhood friend to let her stay with her. Connie Flute, a widow, has know Meredith her entire life, but after  a falling out, they haven’t spoken in years. Connie agrees to allow Meredith to stay with her on Nantucket for the summer.

To Meredith is seems the whole world lost money on her husbands investment and she isn’t allowed to talk to her sons until they’ve all been cleared of wrongdoing. She and Connie work to rebuild their own relationship as Meredith is attacked from outside as a conspirator of her husband. Trying to lie low is harder than it seems, and Hilderbrand shows the anguish that Meredith is suffering at the loss of what was her whole world. Connie, while trying to help her friend, also suffers after the loss of her husband 2 1/2 years ago. Both woman need to find a way forward on their own, but aren’t yet sure if they can trust one another.

A great, emotional story of loss and friendship. And this novel has, like so many others, a friend who loves to cook wonderful meals without any help or resentment. I don’t know why so many novels have this “friend” in them, but I sure would want to go on vacation with someone like that!

Read April 2017

Revolver

What a great novel! Duance Swierczynski ties so many different things together in Revolver. This is a story about race relations in Philadelphia in the 1960’s, the evolution of criminal science, how family history affects everyone and their choices, overcoming racism in a race-seperated world, police officers relationships, Polish and Black culture in America, and so many relationships that are tied together between two different families.

Revolver is set in 3 different time periods and Swierczynski rotates between the 3 with 3 different narrators for each. In 1965, we meet Stan Walchek, a police officer, and hear his story that will lead up to his death. In 1995, we meet Jim Walchek, Stan’s son and also a police officer, who in addition to another major crime investigation, he is trying to revenge his father and partner’s murder. In 2015, we have Audrey Kornbluth, Jim’s adopted daughter and a Criminal Science student, who begins researching Stan’s murder as part of her final project. In each generation, intertwined are the stories of George Wildey, Stan’s partner; George Wildey Junior, George’s son; and Lieutenant Ben Wildey, George’s grandson. The Walchek and Wildey’s stories bounce off each other in ways that even the characters don’t know about. These families have been connected to one another for decades and both have police as well as criminals in them.

This was such an enjoyable book to read and to experience an intermingling of cultures during a turbulent time in American history.

Read April 2017

The Unlucky Lottery

After the thick, superficial novel I last read, it was great to dive into a great mystery by Hakan Nesser. The Unlucky Lottery follows a group of old friends who finally hit it big on the lottery on their celebratory evening. The next morning, one of the friends is dead, another missing.

With Chief Inspector VanVeeteren still on sabbatical and only offering occasional advice, Inspector Munson must work the case with his team with very little clues why one of the men was stabbed repeatedly and excessively to death in his own bed. When his wife pleads guilty, the pieces seem almost but not quite together and Munson keeps looking for further confirmation of the murderer.

As always, this Scandanavian mystery has a slow, steady pace with several turns along the way. I enjoyed the unveiling of the murderer but the inspector and the last vignette of peace.

Read April 2017

Three Sisters, Three Queens

I’ve read other Philippa Gregory novels and really enjoyed them. It was difficult for me to get through Three Sisters, Three Queens and I’m trying to determine what it was.

On one hand, Gregory takes the mostly unknown story of Queen Margaret of Scotland and makes her a feminist icon by having her marry whom she wanted, not who she was dictated to marry. She fought hard for the legacy of her son, the heir of Scotland and England and even battled against her 2nd husband for her reign.

On the other hand, Gregory makes Margaret out to be a petty, superficial, entitled brat who does nothing but compare herself to her sister, Queen Mary of France, and her sister-in-law, Queen Katherine of England, All of these women fought hard for their own rights, but are capricious with no further thought than themselves.

The story starts when Margaret is young and not married, and she shortly loses several members of her family. She’s married off, still quite young, to a much older King of Scotland to help broker a peace between the England and Scotland. Much of the history of this time period, that I know, centers on King Henry VII and his upheaval of the Catholic Church in England. Part of that story is in this novel, but more about what leads up to it from a Queen’s point of view. While I found many aspects of the period of time fascinating, I had a hard time getting past the pettiness of Queen Margaret.

Read April 2017