Archive for the 'Mystery & Detective' Category

June 1st 2011

May’s Reads

I spent way more time watching House and Stargate SG1 and The Big Bang Theory than I did reading.  Still, I did finish a few (a pathetically few) books this month.

Hallowed Circle by Linda Robertson: This is the second in the Persephone Alcmedi series, and every bit as enjoyable a the first.  She’s a solitary witch who’s been talked into competing for the position of High Priestess of the Cleveland, Ohio, coven.  Those trial and tribulations are a large part of the book, but let’s not forget the werewolves and vampires that return from the first novel.  Oh, and her cantankerous grandmother, who is both annoying as all get-out and oddly likeable.  This book adds in the Fae, as well.  Ah, urban fantasy!  How I love you when you’re well written!

The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde: Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall, and it’s up to Detective Inspector Jack Spratt and his new partner, Mary Mary, to solve the crime.  Fforde is a genius at taking unlikely characters and ever-so-slightly out-of-kilter settings seem absolutely normal.  I’ve read nearly everyone of his books now (one more Thursday Next and a new one called The Last Dragonslayer that isn’t available at the library yet), and every one of them is extraordinarily fun for this English major turned computer programmer.  If you’ve never read one of Fforde’s books… what are you waiting for?

Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff: Have I mentioned I’m a language buff?  Language and linguistics fascinate me even more than database design.  If you’re interested in language, and particularly cognitive linguistics, this is the book for you!  It’s meant as a guide for Progressives to frame the various issues that are “hot button” topics in our society in ways that are not merely reactionary to the Conservative talking points.  I was vaguely disappointed in the very subtle “us versus them” tone of the book.  Yes, Progressives and Conservatives have basic, fundamental mindsets that cause them to generally take polar opposite stands on a number of issues.  And yes, Lakoff does provide suggestions for ways Progressives and Conservatives can converse without the usual nuclear reactions that seem to happen when people of differing viewpoints try to converse.  If you’re a Progressive, it’s likely you’ll enjoy this book.  If you are Conservative, you should probably skip it.  If you’re somewhere in the middle… well, give it a shot.  I am glad I read the book, but I suspect I might enjoy his more thorough and scholarly book, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning: Not everyone can see the Fae… in fact, it’s a pretty rare talent.  After her sister is murdered, MacKayla Lane leaves her home in a tiny Georgia town and travels to Dublin, Ireland to prod to local police in being more aggressive in the search for Alina’s killer.  There, she learns that not only is she a sidh-seer, but so was her sister… and that’s why she was killed.  Fine urban fantasy made even better by the fact that it’s set in Ireland!  (Have I mentioned that I love all things Irish?)  The next four books in the series are already in my request list at the library!

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January 1st 2011

December’s Reads

December brought 11 extra days off work… not bad.  Of course, it also brought a funeral and visits with out-of-town family, Christmas Eve dinner with in-town family, and the yearly “pig out on a TV show over Christmas break” festival (this year it was Star Trek: The Next Generation).  So not a whole lot of reading got done.

Fade Out by Rachel Caine: This is book eight in the Morganville Vampire series.  Claire and her pals get into — and out of — another scary situation involving vampires.  You can say that about every one of these books, but each one is just as interesting as the last.

Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Here’s what I love about this series… I can get my police procedural fix (I am a Law & Order junkie, after all) and my otherworldly weird things fix all in the same book.  This time, we meet the creepiest vampire ever and some new fae.  Ah, and the walking stick is still following Merry around.

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs: This is book four in the Mercedes Thompson series; each one just gets better and better.

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs:  This is a wee little novella that introduces the concept of the Omega werewolf, and the character of Anna.  Oh yes… I’ve got the library looking for the next book.  I never fail to get thrown by Briggs’ description of the Marrok (the alpha of the all the Alphas) as a kid in his early 20s.

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton: This is the sixth book in the Merry Gentry series, and she’s finally pregnant.  And there were only two sex scenes in this book, which meant there was a lot of action.  I like that.  We also got to see just how bat-shit crazy her uncle — the King of the Seelie Court — is.

Swallowing Darkness by Laurell K. Hamilton:  And the seventh book in the Merry Gentry series… again, with less sex and more action, which is the way I prefer them.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the sex… but if that’s all the story is about, then it isn’t terribly interesting.  So many things happen in this book, it’s like Hamilton was making up for the books that were nothing but sex.  There’s even an fairly happy ending.  Of course, since there’s at least one more book after this, there’s bound to be more unrest ahead of Merry.  Her aunt lost the crown of the Unseelie (it seems Fairie thought Merry should have it, but she gave it back to save Frost… aww, isn’t that sweet?), her psychopathic cousin is dead, but her bat-shit crazy uncle is still around.  Stay tuned for book eight.

Divine Misdemeanors by Laurell K. Hamilton:  In the eighth book of the series, Hamilton is back to throwing in a little more sex than is strictly necessary to forward the plot.  However, there was a fairly good plot tracking down a fae serial killer.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs: The fifth (and latest) book in the Mercy Thompson series in which Mercy attempts to return that book she borrowed from the old bookshop owner several books back.  The problem is that there are some really nasty fae type trying to find it, and Mercy has to keep it from them.  Also, the unrest in the pack over Mercy’s inclusion comes to a head.  Hell of a fun ride!

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs: The first full novel in the Alpha and Omega series has Charles and Anna off to find a rogue werewolf in the mountains of Montana.  They find something even worse.

Skin Trade by Laurell K. Hamilton: This is the 17th (and latest) book in the Anita Blake series.  In this one, Anita is off to Las Vegas to hunt down a vampire serial killer and teams up with fellow US Marshalls Ted (Edward), Otto (Olaf) and Bernardo.  She also gets into more trouble with men.  What else is new?  Also?  Marmee Noir has a starring role, as well.

The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage:  Despite the fact that I don’t cook much, sometimes a cookbook catches my eye and I just have to have it.  There are a lot of recipes in here that I plan to try out on my chorus mates at our potluck dinners, and even a few I can try on the family.  There are others that I’d like to try, too… but they make a whole lot more food than one person can reasonably eat.

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December 1st 2010

November’s Reads

The obsession with crosswords seems to have abated slightly, and with the long Thanksgiving weekend I had a little more time to read.  Of course, this month I also caught up on Seasons 2 and 3 of Eureka, watched a whole lot of Law & Order, and performed in two choral concerts, which took time away from reading.  Oooh, look… in December, I have a whole WEEK off!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I had heard from a few people that this was a good book to read, so I thought I’d give it a go.  The first few chapters were slow, but by chapter 4, I was hooked and could barely put it down.  Yes, yes… read it if you like mysteries!

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs: My new friend, Dee, told me about Briggs and said I should start with this book.  Whoa, Nellie!  Why had I not ever heard of Briggs before?  If you like urban fantasy and werewolves, you gotta read this one!

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton:  I’ve read Hamilton’s entire Anita Blake series and have no idea why I haven’t picked up her Mercedes Gentry series before this.  But, again thanks to Dee, I read the whole book in a single day.  Yes.  It was that good.

Kindred in Spirit by J.D. Robb:  Another fine murder mystery featuring NYSP homicide detective Eve Dallas.  I have enjoyed every one of Robb’s (aka Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas mysteries.  Robb just released another one last week, but then I’ll be all caught up.  That makes me sad, because Eve Dallas has got to be one of my favorite cops in fiction.

Cape Storm by Rachel Caine:  This is the eighth book in Caine’s Weather Warden series.  Again, we find Joanne on the wrong end of the stick, getting beaten and battered while trying to save the world.  She and David do get to finish their wedding vows though… eventually.  If you’ve read the other books in the series, you should read this one, too!  And if you haven’t read the others… what are you waiting for?

In the Woods by Tana French:  Ok, you had me at “Dublin.”  I’m a sucker for anything set in Ireland, and I’m especially pleased when the story turns out to be as good as this one.  You’ve got a psychopath and a murder and and old case of missing (and presumed dead) children all crashing together in Knocknaree, outside Dublin.  It’s a book with precise writing, full of details… so it’s not one to just skim through.  It’s well worth the read, and I’ve got the other two books in the series on my TBR list!

A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton:  The is the second in the Mercedes Gentry series, in which Merry and her band of merry men (heh heh heh) find and do away with some Really Bad Nasty Things.  Also, even more impressive, Merry is learning how to stand up against both the Queen of the Unseelie Court and the King of the Seelie Court.  The next one is waiting for me at the library!

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs: This is the second in the Mercy Thompson series, and every bit as good as the first one.  I’ve already started the next one and the one after that has been requested from the library.  Gads, how I love my library system!

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs:  Book three in the Mercy Thompson series, and they just keep getting better.  I hope book four arrives at the library soon!

Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton: The third book in the Merry Gentry series (the theme this month is obviously urban fantasy).  Paralleling the Anita Blake series, Merry seems to grow more powerful in each book.  This time around, she survives two (or was it three?) assassination attempts and wins a duel with another fae.  What kind of trouble will you get into in the next book?

A Stroke of Midnight by Laurell K. Hamilton:  The fourth book in the Merry Gentry series… and Merry is doing some serious work channeling the Goddess.  There was actually a mystery to solve, but they only got halfway done with the solving of it.  It’s interesting how an author can write 366 pages and only cover a couple of days.

Mistral’s Kiss by Laurell K. Hamilton: The fifth book in the Merry Gentry series…  Merry brings magic back to the sithen.  I picked this book up at 4pm from the library and finished it around 9pm.  Yes, it’s that good.

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November 1st 2010

October’s Reads

October brought two out-of-town trips… a chorus retreat over a long weekend where fewer than usual books were read, and a week-long work-related training excursion where there was little to do besides read when I wasn’t in class.  But I seem to have been obsessed with doing crossword puzzles this month, so I didn’t wind up reading as many books as I otherwise might have.

Big Jack by J. D. Robb:  Another of the early ones that I missed… this one was right after Peabody made detective.  The bantering between Dallas and Peabody is completely mag, as Peabody or McNabb might say.  And I think this catches me up… I’ve now read all of the Eve Dallas books that have been published.

The Angel by Carla Neggers:  In search of some new authors on PaperbackSwap, I ran across Carla Neggers and requested this book.  It’s well-written and has lots of Irish and Ireland connections.  I liked it enough to request the other books in the series.

Compelling Evidence by Steve Martini: The first in the Paul Madriani series.  It’s not as well put together as some of the later ones, but certainly a good first effort!

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood:  Her latest dystopian novel is easily as good as her previous ones.  There is some overlap of characters between this book and Oryx and Crake, but it’s not necessary to have read the earlier book to enjoy this one.  I am a fan of Atwood, so this one is highly recommended!

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde:  His best so far!  Fforde has created a world where no one can see the full spectrum of color, and some people don’t see color at all.  The social constructs of such a world are fascinating to see laid out before us.  Add to it all a bit of a mystery, young lady who doesn’t exactly follow the rules and a young man who asks too many questions, and you have another book I’ll highly recommend!

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer:  A YA novel whose premise intrigued me.  It’s very well written, and I can see the pre-teen crowd thoroughly enjoying it.

The Widow by Carla Neggers:  This book precedes The Angel and gives the whole story of Detective Abigail Browning.  It’s a good mystery, despite the mushy romantic stuff.  ;)  I’d recommend reading them in the proper order.

Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine:  This is the sixth book in the Morganville Vampires series, and I must say that each one gets better than the previous.  Unlike vampires that sparkle, Rachel Caine’s vampires are downright vicious.  While that doesn’t bode well for the residents of Morganville, Texas, as least it’s doing a good job of washing the bad taste I still have in my mind from those Twilight books that I read last year.

Holly and Homicide by Leslie Caine:  The seventh book in the Domestic Bliss mystery series is just as fun and silly as the previous six books.  People die, crazy stuff happens and the mystery is finally solved.  This sort of thing seems to follow Erin Gilbert around like a plague for the past seven books; no doubt the “curse” will continue.  It’s a fun and quick read, and I recommend the series.

Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman: The subtitle of the book is Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them).  Many of the contradictions were not news to me.  The most fascinating part of the book was Ehrman’s discussion of the early days of Christianity, trying to answer the question of how Christianity developed in the first four centuries after Jesus’ death.  As a comparative religion student, I found that discussion even more interesting than the list of contradiction.  This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in looking at the Bible in an historical context.

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September 12th 2010

Update

Bad, bad, bad.  Look how long it’s been since I’ve updated.  Eleven friggin’ months.  And the books I’ve read since then!  Holy moly!  Here they are (at least the ones I remembered to record), pretty much in the order in which I read them.  I’d say read them all (except for the ones noted as not worth the time)!  Most are mystery or science fiction or urban fantasy, with a few other categories thrown in for variety.  Like spice.

Wolf Hunting by Jane Lindskold
Wolf’s Blood by Jan Lindskold
A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King
125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson (highly recommended)
To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King
Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn
The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu
Night Work by Laurie R. King
The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King
Darkness Calls by Marjorie M. Liu
Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C. Hines
Promises in Death by J. D. Robb
Queen of Dragons by Shana Abé
The Dream Thief by Shana Abé
The Godmother by Carrie Adams
But I Trusted You by Ann Rule
Death by Inferior Design by Leslie Caine
Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Saint City Sinners by Lilith Saintcrow
Power Play by Joseph Finder
Run for Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
Hand of Evil by J. A. Vance
The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine
Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
False Premises by Leslie Caine
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton (highly recommended)
Death by Inferior Design by Leslie Caine
Manor of Death by Leslie Caine
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
Killed by Clutter by Leslie Caine
Fatal Feng Shui by Leslie Caine
Creative Paint Workshop by Ann Baldwin
The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton (as you will see, I’m rereading this series)
Learning to Stand by Claudia Hall Christian (highly recommended, as are her other books)
C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton
Justice Denied by J. A. Vance
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn
Poisoned by Gilt by Leslie Caine
To Hell and Back by Lilith Saintcrow
Blood Sins by Kay Hooper
Guilty as Sin by Tami Hoag
Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
The Creative Edge by Mary Todd Beam
E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton
F is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton
G is for Gumshoe by Sue Grafton
H is for Homicide by Sue Grafton
I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
J is for Judgment by Sue Grafton
K is for Killer by Sue Grafton
L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton
N is for Noose by Sue Grafton
O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
Mark of the Demon Diana Rowland
Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine
First Family by David Baldacci
Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
P is for Peril by Sue Grafton
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
S is for Silence by Sue Grafton
T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
Partnership by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball
Poison Sleep by T. A. Pratt
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (if you like True Blood, you should read her books!)
You Slay Me by Katie MacAlister
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
The First 48 by Tim Green
Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister
Stone Kiss by Faye Kellerman
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (American history + vampires = WIN)
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow
Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson
The Camel Club by David Baldacci
Holy Smokes by Katie MacAlister
Black Blade Blues by J. A. Pitts (excellent!)
Fatal Cure by Robin Cook (don’t bother)
U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
18 Seconds by George D. Shuman
Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills (good,  but not as good as his previous books)
The Final Planet by Andrew M. Greeley
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb
Intervention by Robin Cook (his worse ever – DO NOT READ)
The Arraignment by Steve Martini

I have this plan to update more regularly.  If I commit to once a month, I might just be able to do it.  I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?

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August 4th 2009

Another Update

These are the books I’ve read on the fabulous Kindle I got for my birthday in April:

Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways by Traci Hall

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Justify the Means by Madison McGraw

Killed by Kindle by Madison McGraw

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Paranoia by Joseph Finder

Persuader by Lee Child

Serial by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

I’ll say two things about the above:

  1. Read everything you can get your hands on by John Scalzi
  2. Read Paranoid

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July 1st 2009

Catching Up Again

I’ve been reading a lot.  These are just the ones I can remember reading since my last post.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Spending by Mary Gordon

Tips for Your Home Office by Meredith Gould

Irish Whiskey by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Mist by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Eyes by Andrew M. Greeley

Irish Stew by Andrew M. Greeley

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Ergonomic Living: How to create a user-friendly home and office by Gordon Inkeles

How to Plan Perfect Kitchens by Kathleen M. Kiely

The Telling by Ursula K. LeGuin

Through Wolf’s Eyes by Jane Lindskold

Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart by Jane Lindskold

The Dragon of Despair by Jane Lindskold

Wolf Captured by Jane Lindskold

The New Smart Approach to Kitchen Design by Susan Maney

Gone, But Not Forgotten by Phillip Margolin

Body Count by P. D. Martin

Shadow of Power by Steve Martini

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Darkness Falls by Kyle Mills

Perspective Made Easy by Ernest R. Norling

The Last Victim by Kevin O’Brien

Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly

Wool Pets by Lauri Sharp and Kevin Sharp

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Zen Brushwork by Tanchu Terayama, Thomas Judge and John Stevens

Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy

Live Bait by P. J. Tracy

Dead Run by P. J. Tracy

Snow Blind by P. J. Tracy

Abstract and Colour Techniques in Painting by Rolina van Vliet

Critical Conditions by Stephen White

Embracing Encaustic by Linda Womack

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December 10th 2008

Blood Dreams

The latest from Kay Hooper in her Bishop / Special Crimes Unit collection is the first book of a new trilogy.

Bishop and his people work for the FBI hunting really bad guys.  The twist is that Bishop and his people are all psychic.  In some ways, this gives them an advantage over the bad guys.  There are clairvoyants who can see what’s going to happen and mediums who talk to the dead.  The telepaths certainly have an advantage in the communications department, especially where cell coverage is spotty.

But even with the advantages psychics have, they still need to do old fashioned police work… and that’s the fun part!  I like Hooper’s books… well, most of them.  She does write romance novels which aren’t as interesting to me as the detective novels.

The next book in this series comes out this month… and I’ll be searching for it.

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November 25th 2008

Death in Paradise

This is the first book I’ve read by Robert Parker.  It was a recommendation from Booksfree based on some of the other books I’ve rented from them.

I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m utterly delighted with Parker’s style of writing.  The dialog seems more real than many of the authors I’ve read lately.  Someone ought to tell other authors what Parker has discovered… real people don’t always talk in complete sentences.  No, seriously… they don’t.

In this book, we have a murder mystery.  I seem to read a lot of those.  There’s a dead girl… who is she?  Who killed her?  There are interesting interpersonal relationships… Jesse, our hero, still dates his ex-wife.  He dates other women, too.  He drinks too much, he plays softball, and he seems like a basically good guy.

In the end, the killer confesses after only a small amount of police intimidation.

I’ll be adding more of Parker’s books to my Booksfree queue.

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November 4th 2008

The Closers

Yet another Harry Bosch novel from Michael Connelly.  This one is set many years after the one I read last week.  Harry spent three years in retirement, and learned that he has a six-year-old daughter.  Yeah, I’m going to have to go back and find out what that’s all about.

Harry is back on the job, this time working in the Open-Unsolved division of LAPD.  He and his partner get a DNA hit on one of the open cases on his first day back.  And wouldn’t you know it… there’s high jingo involved!  There were cover-ups, and Harry’s old nemisis Deputy Chief Irving is somehow involved.

Even though the case has been open for 17 years, the detective work is top-notch.  It’s a fast-paced story, with enough twists and turns to keep you wondering just what happened back in 1988.

I think it’s fair to say I’m a fan of Michael Connelly and Harry Bosch.

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