Occasional Coherent Ramblings
237870 Curiosities served
2008-12-10 4:37 PM
October and November reading
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Here's my two-month list:
1. SHADOW OF POWER, Steve Martini. A good courtroom drama where Paul Madriani is charged with defending a skinhead racist who is accused of killing a guy who's written a racially incendiary book about the language of slavery in the Constitution, and whose next book promises to be even more inflammatory, concerning a letter supposedly written by Thomas Jefferson that talks of the deals made to get the new union formed, including the systemic institution of slavery being legitimized. Very good legal thriller. 8.5
2. DEAD TIME, Stephen White. Alan Gregory's wife Lauren and his daughter are out of town, and back into Alan's life comes his ex-wife Meredith, with a mystery that concerns something that happened at the Grand Canyon concerning her fiance and some other hikers several years back. Alan enlists Sam Purdy into the investigation (since Sam is still on suspension after the last book's adventures), and together they begin to unearth secrets that someone would rather stay buried. A really good read again. 8.5
3. OBSESSION, Jonathan Kellerman. From one psychologist/detective to another. In this one a former child patient of Dr. Delaware's asks for his help after her mother (actually her aunt who raised her from an infant) makes a deathbed confession about doing something terrible - killing someone. Is the confession legit, or is it just her medications giving her hallucinations? But as they look into things, people from that time frame start to get murdered, and things get pretty scary. Not one of Kellerman's absolute best, but a good read anyway. 8.0
4. COMPULSION, Jonathan Kellerman. In this one, Delaware and Sturgis are investigating some murders where the common factor seems to be the stolen black luxury car used in the murders. I don't remember much of the plot, just that I thought it was okay, on a par with Obsession. 8.0, or maybe 7.5
5. BONES, Kellerman. I thought this was one of the better outings for Alex and Milo. In this one, a body is left at the "Marsh", some sort of bird sanctuary. But when they take a closer look, they find more bodies. And the paths toward the killer all point to a house manager for a rich family, who had some problems when he was young, and was pushed into foster care and state sponsored "reform school" or something like that. But while some think he's the guy, others seem to find it totally out of character that he could be a killer like this. And so other directions are looked at, and the outcome and the trip to get there are both pretty solid. 8.5
6. WITHOUT FAIL, Lee Child. Reacher is asked to "test" security for the VP elect (?) by finding holes in the secret service's precautions. And when he succeeds, he's let in on a secret - someone is threatening to kill the VP, and Reacher is brought on board as a security consultant of sorts. But to find out who's doing this, he has to figure out why...why would anyone want to kill the VP, who was a virtual political unknown before being tapped as part of the ticket. It's a non-stop thrill ride to find that answer...this is a really great story which introduces a cool character (Neagley) and also develops another who can get into Reacher's tough outer shell. 9
7. ECHO BURNING, Lee Child. Reacher is sort of in the wrong place at the wrong time. He gets picked up by a woman who asks him to kill her husband. When she explains things to Reacher, he says he won't kill him, but he will try to protect her if he can. She's Hispanic, and this is in Texas, where prejudices against Mexicans are in full force. But when the husband is the one who is dead within hours of coming home from prison (where he was serving time for tax evasion), Reacher is convinced it's self defense. Or is it? Couldn't put it down. 9
8. THE ENEMY, Lee Child. This book flashes back to Reacher's military days. He's been recalled from Panama just before they capture Noriega, and he's marking time on a base when a general from the Armored division is found dead, in a seedy motel, and his briefcase, with the agenda to a top secret meeting inside, missing. Except that everyone says there was NO agenda. Doesn't ring true to Reacher. And then the guy's wife is found dead. And another special forces guy, whose involvement is not obvious. What's going on here? Reacher follows the evidence where it leads, even when where it leads might be dangerous to Reacher's career...and maybe even his life. Another page turner, though maybe not quite as good as the other two. 8.5
9. FLUKE, or I KNOW WHY THE WINGED WHALE SINGS, Christopher Moore. I really liked this book, with its weirdness and its quirky characters and its unlikely plot. Moore is the Vonnegut of this generation; I wonder if he'll get the acclaim? In this one, Nathan Quinn is researching the song of the humpback whales with his beautiful but strange new assistant, Amy, when he notices some odd markings on the tail of the whale he's studying. The markings appear to say, "Bite Me". Where it goes from there gives you plenty of laughs. A little slow on the uptake, but a fun read in the end. 8.5
10. 2012, Whitley Streiber. A SF/doomsday book based on the idea that the Mayan calendar ends on December 21st (or is it the 22nd?) of 2012. What cataclysm is going to happen then? As you read it, you realize that you're reading a story written by another character. Is it real, or is it just a product of his imagination? The world he describes is very familiar, yet there are subtle differences... It's an odd story, at times really interesting, and at other times just sort of silly. 7.0
As far as I can remember, that was my last two months of reading.
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