Primates of Park Avenue

Primates of Park Avenue, by Wednesday Martin, was a hard book for me to read. Martin is a humorous writer and her quirky anthropologic observations of Upper East Side (UES) women amused me. But there’s just something hard for me to stomach about how much these women invest in their appearance and their children, which just seem to an extension of their appearance.

At one point Martin roughly calculated what an average UES women spend yearly on their appearance…$95,000. Which is insane!! These women are highly educated, run charitable organizations, and are married to extremely powerful men and they value how they look more than any work they can do. And the men are ok with this. The worst is that the women don’t seem to be enjoying themselves after spending this much money on themselves.

This novel made me value the people I surround myself with so much more. If I wear the wrong yoga pants, or do the wrong work-out, or really choose to sit around and get fat, no one will judge me as harshly as these women judge each other and themselves. Again, these are highly intelligent women who get lost in their crazy world and just don’t seem happy. Or maybe they are. I really hope they are.

Interesting read.

Read April 2016

The Book of Souls

What happens when a convicted serial killer is murdered in prison and then victims murdered with the same MO are found? But instead of one a year, now the victims are killed within weeks of each other?

That’s the premise of James Oswald’s The Book of Souls, but with the added complication that the convicted killer’s last victim was Detective Inspector McLean’s fiancé. Its a pretty dark, cold novel with lots of layers to the story. The police are separately investigating a drug ring, an arson, and now the new serial killer. With limited resources to be shared, there’s a lot of volatility within the department that lead to some great police interactions.

Good read. Really liked to setting of Scotland since I don’t think I’ve read anything set there before.

Read May 2016.

A Voice from the Field

Neil Griffin’s main character, Tia Suarez, is one of the most interesting detectives I’ve read in a long time. First, she’s a woman and most of the interesting characters in crime novels are men. She’s also a Mexican-American who in the past year was shot on the job and had a public mental breakdown in a courtroom.

At the beginning go A Voice from the Field Suarez is working undercover as a prostitute who is the only only who sees a hispanic girl tied up in the back of the guy that gets away. With her past, no one believes that the girl was really there and Suarez starts spiraling into a drunken stupor. There are many other complications to her investigation, including a white supremacist organization, a drug operation, and the multiple other government agencies vying for the score.

Great read! I’ll look out for another Neil Griffin.

Read April 2016.

The Inspector and Silence

Several years ago I started writing down all the books I’d read so that I wouldn’t accidentally read a book more than once. About 2 1/2 years ago, I moved it to a blog to make it easier. This is my 147th post documented on this blog.

The entire time I was reading The Inspector and Silence by Hakan Nesser, I felt like I knew the story. In fact, I checked this blog multiple times to see if I entered the name of the novel or author incorrectly. It was nowhere to be found, so I kept reading thinking that I’d read too many mysteries and they started blurring together.

This is a great novel about how cults can rule their followers, how great detectives have a hard time getting over their own prejudices, and how the murder of young children can devastate a community. And again, the whole time the novel felt familiar. I guessed the killer when I didn’t think there were any clues pointing in that direction. But I kept going because this writing style and social critique was such a joy to read.

I finally pulled out my handwritten book journal and surprise, surprise, I read this book back in September 2012, over 3 1/2 years and more than 150 books ago.

Still a great read and I really should trust my instinct more.

Read again April 2016.

Shopaholic and Baby

Shopaholic and Baby is another Shopaholic novel where I’m horrified by Becky’s purchases and her need to have absolutely everything for her soon-to-be baby. So much so that she buys 5 prams…short note, I really get a kick out of the British term pram. Its so quaint compared to our stroller or even carriage.

Of course, Becky is surrounded by her loving friends and family, but its her need for a celebrity level OBGYN, that brings Venetia Carter into her life. Or more importantly, her husband Luke’s life. The need to hide her extravagant purchases and Luke’s sudden secretiveness, fuel Becky’s paranoia about Venetia.

All of these problems could be solved by open communication, but of course thats not he world this novel’s set in. This is a cute novel with great friendships and an easy read.

Read March 2016