Monday, April 28, 2014

Reading Right Now:

“Ghost of a Gamble” by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Ghost of Granny Apples series is a favorite for me. It is a paranormal cozy series. Medium Emma Whitecastle and her great-great-great grandmother solve mysteries and in this latest book go to Las Vegas to help a former Vegas showgirl deal with an old casino heist that leads to modern murders and ghosts with agendas. Emma has great relationships with her boyfriend, her daughter, her mentor, and her very funny ghostly Granny. This book was so much fun to read that I went through it really fast and managed to start David Baldacci’s “The Target.” Baldacci’s books are often a real thrill-ride and “The Target” looks to be full of startling twists and turns. This is the third book in the CIA assassin Will Robie series and so far involves a boss who wants him dead, a high-risk assignment from the President involving North Korea, and an unknown assassin who is out to eliminate both Robie and his partner Jessica Reel. Sounds like a lot to deal with in one book, especially a book that starts out with Robie and Reel being sent back to be reevaluated by the CIA to see if they can still cut it in the field. Seems to me that the last three books prove they can, but we’ll see how it goes.

On hold right now:

“Deadliest of Sins” by Sallie Bissell. Bissell’s suspenseful novels feature Cherokee prosecutor Mary Crow. In this sixth novel in the series, Crow attempts to help an eleven-year-old boy find his missing teenage sister which leads to a deadly sextrafficking ring.

“Live to See Tomorrow” by Iris Johansen. This is the third book in the CIA Operative Catherine Ling series. In “Live to See Tomorrow,” Catherine is called in to save a female journalist in prison in Tibet.

Other Mysterious Things:

Almost exactly a year ago, Jason Matthews’ first book “Red Sparrow” was released. As a former CIA operative Jason Matthews has the inside scoop on a spy thriller. If you like spy novels and haven’t read the book yet you should. The question is where’s the second novel?

Speaking of operatives and spies, “24: Live Another Day” premieres May 5. The ninth  season of this terrific tv series will find Jack a fugitive in London. Kiefer Sutherland makes a fantastic Jack Bauer, a Counter Terrorist Unit agent, which over the past eight seasons has gotten himself into and out of all kinds of trouble. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reading right now:
cover image
            “Night Broken” by Patricia Briggs. This eighth book in the Mercedes Thompson series could not have come soon enough for me. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy paranormal mysteries or a paranormal series, you should try Patricia Briggs and/or Jim Butcher. Both are terrific authors. “Moon Called” started the Mercedes Thompson series. Mercy is married to a werewolf, can change into a coyote, her friend is vampire, and her co-worker is a fae. Her life is full of challenges unknown to most people which her clever coyote brain usually manages to outsmart.

On hold right now:
            “Don’t Ever Look Back” by Daniel Friedman. This is the second in Friedman’s Buck Schatz series (“Don’t Ever Get Old” was the first). Friedman’s unusual hero is an 88-year-old retired Memphis cop with a unique voice. Not sure how long Schatz can continue to solve crimes, but no matter how long that is I feel sure I’ll want to read about them. It’s interesting that Friedman’s Memphis lawyer father (Robert Friedman) was murdered and now Friedman writes mystery novels.
Can't read all the time! Sometimes the beach calls.

Other Mysterious Things Available:
There are some very famous mystery authors who started out as journalists and quite a few mystery sleuths are journalists. Some more (see last week when I started this listing) of the authors who use a reporter as the center of their mystery novels include:

            Mary Daheim’s 25 book series has reporter Emma Lord at their center. Her latest in the series “The Alpine Yeoman” just came out in March. Ellen Hart’s series with food critic Sophie Greenway includes eight books with “This Little Piggy Went to Murder” being the first in that series. Penny Warner writes a series about Connor Westphal a reporter who moves to a town in the Sierras to start her own newspaper. There are seven books in this series which started with “Dead Body Language.” Sue Ownes Wright’s Beanie and Cruiser mystery series features Tahoe Tattler reporter Elsie Beanie MacBean and her basset hound Cruiser. There are four books so far in the series with “Howling Bloody Murder” as the first in the series. It’s probably not necessary, but I am going to mention Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series which took off with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” A great series with movies based on all the books. Marisha Pessl has written two fantastic books starting with “Special Topics in Calamity Physics.” Her second book “Night Film” revolves around investigative journalist Scott McGrath.  Finally, Martyn Waites wrote the Joe Donovan series which started with “The Mercy Seat” and to date there have been four books in the series.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reading right now:
The Player            “The Player” by Brad Parks. Parks’ books are funny, easy to read, and suspenseful. This is the fifth book in the series which started with the award-winning “Faces of the Gone.” Investigative reporter Carter Ross gets a tip that residents of a Newark neighborhood are getting ill and one even died. When he goes to talk to the residents who are experiencing the mystery illness, he too becomes ill and starts tracking down the source. Sometimes the people that populate Parks’ novels seem a little over the top (especially the women), but they do make me smile since I seem to know plenty of over the top people in real life. I really got involved with the story and enjoyed the way a reporter’s sources can lead to the truth.
On hold right now:
            “Ghost of a Gamble” by Sue Ann Jaffarian. This is the fourth Ghost of Granny Apples mystery series. Emma Whitecastle is Granny Apples’ great-who-knows-how-many-greats-granddaughter who sees ghosts and solves mysteries. This time the two are headed to Las Vegas to help a former showgirl stay safe from the mob. I can’t wait to read this one since these books are always hilarious fun.
I could be a player, but too busy reading.
Other Mysterious Things Available:
There are some very famous mystery authors who started out as journalists and quite a few mystery sleuths are journalists. Some of the authors who use a reporter as the center of their mystery novels include:
Canadian author Linwood Barclay is a journalist in real life and has written a four book series with Zack Walker feature writer at their center. NPR’s Day to Day correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates has written two books with reporter Alex Powell whose curiosity gets her into a world of trouble. Even though Lilian Jackson Braun died in 2011 her Jim Qwilleran “cat who” series is still a terrific read. There are 29 books available in the series all featuring reporter Jim Qwilleran. Jan Brogan’s three part mystery series stars reporter Hallie Ahern. Edna Buchanan’s crime reporter Britt Montero is featured in a nine part series. “Contents Under Pressure” was the first in the series which came out in 1992, the ninth book was “Love Kills” in 2007, and the latest buzz is that the tenth book is coming out in 2015 and called “Dead Man’s Daughter.” One of my favorite fictional reporters is Jan Burke’s Irene Kelly which started in 1993 with “Goodnight, Irene” and the 11th book was “Disturbance” in 2011. Two of Margaret Coel’s books are about reporter Catherine McLeod (see “Blood Memory” and “The Perfect Suspect”). Colin Cotterill’s three book series with Thailand reporter Jimm Juree is a great series (“Killed at the Whim of  a Hat” was the first in the series).

There are so many wonderful authors to mention in this list that I will continue next week! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Missing you

Reading right now:
            “Missing You” by Harlan Coben. I just started and I can’t put it down. This stand-alone novel by Coben follows NYPD Detective Kat Donovan down the rabbit hole of online dating. People are disappearing, her ex-fiance resurfaces, and new evidence comes to light regarding her father’s murder. I am loving this book and can’t wait to find out how everything is going to fit together. Coben’s website says “Missing You” is “a heart-pounding thriller about the ties we have to our past and the lies that bind us together.” I would have to agree. I can’t wait to finish, but will be sad to see this book end.

On hold right now:
            “The Collector of Dying Breaths” by M. J. Rose. This is the sixth novel in Rose’s Reincarnationist series. All of the books in this series are gothic thrillers full of passion and obsession. The latest novel fluctuates between Florence, Italy, 1533, and modern day Paris, France. It centers on two lives: the first in 1533 is Rene le Florentin, who becomes Catherine de Medici’s perfumer, and in the present Jac L’Etoile is a mythologist who learns of Rene le Florentin’s work as a perfumer who wants to create an elixir that would unlock the secret of immortality. This series was the inspiration for the Fox TV series “Past Life.”
I'm missing you, but perhaps I'll see you in my next life.

Other Mysterious Things Available:

            Lots of great books are coming out this month. Susan Witting Albert’s “Death Come Quickly” is the 22nd book in the China Bayles series. The 19th Aunt Dimity book is making an appearance this month (Nancy Atherton, “Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well). “Destroyer Angel” is the 18th book in Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series. Nancy J. Cohen’s cozy series Bad Hair Day adds its 11th book in the series “Hanging by a Hair.” John Connolly’s “The Wolf in Winter” is the 12th Charlie Parker book. Deborah Coonts has “Lucky Catch” coming out as the fifth book in the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventures series.