Monday, December 31, 2012

Reading right now:

“Cold Days” by Jim Butcher!--which is pretty much all that needs to be said. Jim Butcher’s first novel starring Harry Dresden came out in 2000 and was called “Storm Front.” In the beginning, Harry was just a wizard PI trying to make sense of his talent and abilities. Fourteen books later, Harry is the Winter Knight brought back from the “almost” dead by Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness.

The Dresden novels may not be traditional mysteries, but they have lots of mystery elements with a few special, supernatural features. The main character is someone you would love to know and the writing is compelling. Even if you aren’t into fantasy novels, you might want to give Dresden a try. (My new puppy loves Dresden as well!)

On hold right now:

            Peter Helton’s “Falling More Slowly” which is the first novel in his Detective Inspector Liam McClusky series. Helton currently has two mystery series going: the McClusky series and the Chris Honeysett series. Honeysett is a PI who happens to be an artist or an artist who happens to be a PI (the rent has to be paid somehow). Born in Germany, Helton moved to England in 1982. He too is an artist who was introduced to the world of mystery writing when a friend gave him “The Breaker” by Minette Walters.
(Oh! Maybe puppy just likes all books.)

Other Mysterious things:

            Enjoyed “A Wanted Man” where Jack Reacher is hitchhiking, happens on a kidnapping, and it’s all downhill from there. He is working on another Reacher book called “Never Go Back” to be released in 2013.

            Jeffery Deaver’s tenth Lincoln Rhyme novel is coming out in June, 2013—something to look forward to. I hope Rhyme has finally stopped trying to kill himself. Robert Crais also has a new novel coming out in January, 2013 called “Suspect” which is a stand-alone novel about LAPD cop Max Kent whose partner is a German shepherd. I am still waiting for “Two Graves” by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. I am on the hold list. This is the 12th book in the Pendergast series. Pendergast is a fascinating Sherlock Holmes-like character with a very complicated personal life.

            If you haven’t read “The Anatomist’s Apprentice” by Tessa Harris, read it now because her second book just came out (“The Dead Shall Not Rest”).  This historical mystery with Dr. Thomas Silkstone chronicles the start of forensic investigation.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reading right now:

In “The Black Box” by Michael Connelly, Harry Bosch takes on a cold case. Twenty years ago, Bosch caught a murder the night of the L.A. Riots. The case was handed off to the Riot Crimes Task Force and was never solved.  Bosch quickly discovers that the murder had nothing to do with the Riots and races to find a solution before his boss decides the case is taking up too much of the department’s time. Fast moving, fascinating plot which is sure to make you stay up all night! Connelly worked for the LA Times for a while before writing his first novel “The Black Echo” which kicked off the Harry Bosch series. He has won many awards and had two of his books made into movies (“Blood Work” and “The Lincoln Lawyer”).
On hold right now:

            Jim Butcher’s “Cold Days.” Why can’t he write faster? I love Harry Dresden and can’t wait for my library hold to come in. Dresden’s life just gets more and more complicated and I wonder what else could possibly happen to him. Dresden is a wizard who is also a detective. Shades of Harry Potter grown up and a little twisted.

Special items:
With the loss of my dog, I have been thinking about all the wonderful authors known to be crazy about their dogs. Dean Koontz loved one of his golden retrievers so much that he wrote a book about her called “A Big Little Life.” Among the many quotes from Koontz about dogs is something I’ve been feeling a lot lately: "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” When Robert B. Parker died two years ago, one of the things they mentioned in his obituary was his great love of dogs. Parker created one of the great private detectives of all time—Spenser! Every mystery lover should read a Spenser novel or all 40 of them, as well as, the Jesse Stone novels. Parker owned short-haired pointers and named each one Pearl which was also the name of Spenser’s girlfriend’s dog in the novels. Other dog loving mystery writers where dogs are an important part of their books include: Susan Conant, Melissa Cleary, Donna Ball, Cynthia Baxter, Laurien Berenson, Carol Lea Benjamin, Lora Roberts, Spencer Quinn, David Rosenfelt, and J. F. Englert.

 Robert Parker and Pearl

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reading right now:

The Forgotten by David Baldacci

 I am loving this book for the pure escape it is giving me! I am just reading a little bit a day so that I won’t finish too soon. It did start out slowly, but the second half is full of action. The main character, John Puller, is a relatively new character for Baldacci (one that has been compared to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher). “Zero Day” was the first book in the series and came out last year. I haven’t loved every Baldacci book, but many have been so action packed that you just can’t put them down (like “Absolute Power” which was Baldacci’s first book). I do wish that Baldacci had followed up the Camel club series with something a little more original than the John Puller books, but they are action packed and worth reading.

As soon as I finish “The Forgotten,” I have “Black Box” by Michael Connelly waiting for me. And Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher novel “A Wanted Man.” Life is rich in thrillers right now!



On hold right now:
            I am waiting for my request for G. M. Malliet’s “Wicked Autumn” to come in. I have never read any of Malliet’s books even though she has written several novels and won prizes including an Agatha Award. “Wicked Autumn” is the first in her Max Tudor series which takes place in a quiet English village and is supposed to include a bit of humor as well as murder!

            A friend recently recommended Jason Pinter’s series featuring Henry Parker and I am trying to locate the first book called “The Mark” which came out in 2007. Searching around at all my local libraries, but may have to buy the paperback. The main character is a journalist and the series is supposed to be very suspenseful.

            On Nov. 13 my amazing Golden Retriever Maxine died of cancer.  I have been thinking of reading “The Loss of a Pet” by Wallace Sife, but haven’t really been ready. Maxine was a huge part of my life and it is horrible not to have her to take for walks and to hug when I’m down. She became a part of my household 10 years ago on Christmas eve and this year Christmas seems a little less bright.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reading right now:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

            I am currently reading “Gone Girl” and I don’t think I have ever read a book faster. I am intrigued by the two main characters and am dying to find out what happens next. I didn’t think I could love this book more than her first one (“Sharp Objects”), but I was wrong.  If you haven’t read this yet, do not waste time reading reviews or thinking about reading it, just run to your local library and request it now. It is psychologically chilling and very intriguing.

            This is only the third book by Gillian Flynn, but hopefully there will be many more. “Sharp Objects” won several awards and was nominated for an Edgar. Supposedly a movie is in the making as the rights to the story have been sold. By the way, any one of her books would make for interesting discussions if you are part of a book group.

On hold right now:

            I have “The Forgotten” by David Baldacci on hold at my library. It came out November 20, 2012 and I am very excited to read it. I love his books especially the Camel Club books. They are exciting, fun reads that you can’t put down.  “The Forgotten” is the second book in his John Puller series (after “Zero Day”).
While Baldacci is a terrific writer who has written around 17 novels, he has also won awards for his efforts to promote adult literacy. He and his wife started the Wish You Well Foundation to help develop literacy programs.

            The new Harry Bosch novel called “Black Box” by Michael Connelly also just came out (Nov. 26, 2012). I’ve enjoyed the other 17 Harry Bosch novels and have high hopes for this one. If you haven’t read this series start with “The Black Echo” and just keep on going!

            Michael Connelly knew he wanted to be a writer when he was 12-years-old after reading Raymond Chandler’s novels. If you are a mystery reader and haven’t read Chandler’s novels, you should pick them up immediately. Start with his first novel, “The Big Sleep.”        

TV Shows:

            I am going to admit that I like “Elementary.” I think it’s entertaining and I’ve always enjoyed Jonny Lee Miller (I even liked the rather odd “Eli Stone” which you can watch on Netflix). Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes as a character. Wouldn’t he be appalled to find the character as popular today as when it was first conceived? I also enjoy BBC’s “Sherlock” (on Netflix). The real point here is that while watching the Sherlock Holmes movies and TV shows is fine, everyone should read the books and short stories. They are amazing and a big part of the history of the mystery genre. Start with “A Study in Scarlet” which in 1887 was the first book in the Sherlock Holmes series and finish them all.