Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Quick Review – Against the Storm






Against The storm by Kat Martin

The fourth book in a series, yet reading it as a stand-alone book is easy. I didn't find any requirement to read the previous books.

Beautiful redhead Maggie O'Connell is a prominent and popular Houston professional photographer with an annoying problem: a stalker whose penchant for leaving her messages has increased to an alarming level.

She hires handsome ex-Army Ranger security expert-private investigator Trace Rawlins to find the stalker and stop him before he can carry out his latest chilling promise – that soon he and Maggie will be together.

Maggie's life becomes infinitely more interesting when her younger sister, who she hasn't seen in years, shows up on her doorstep with a baby. On learning that her sister has escaped an abusive relationship and needs help, Maggie takes them in and discovers she has a strong protective streak.

Trace, whose weakness for redheads has always been his undoing, is wary about taking the job for Maggie, especially when he finds out she didn't tell him the truth about why Houston Police did not take her complaints seriously.

But he takes the case out of feelings of duty, all the while fighting both his distrust of Maggie and a strong attraction  to her. Maggie has an equally strong attraction to Trace, but is certain he is seeing someone else. She can't see a future for them.

As they go about searching for the stalker, planning to lure him into the open, they fight their attraction. Until they cannot any longer.

The stalker is caught, yet Maggie's life is still in danger. Her townhouse catches fire; all her camera equipment and computers are ruined. After some digging, they determine this new threat comes from something in one of her photographs, and they work together to catch the culprit.


Conclusion: well-written, fast-paced twisty suspense, lots of will-they-or-won't-they stay together anxiety, scads of steamy sex. The appearance of the sister with the baby makes a nice subplot, though her instant hookup with a kind, selfless young billionaire isn't easy to believe. Also, the reasons that Maggie and Trace initially distrust each other are flimsy. But there is much to enjoy here.




Saturday, 20 June 2015

Quick review – The Butcher's Theater







The Butcher's Theater
by Jonathan Kellerman
1988

Said to be one of Kellerman’s best, most ambitious works, his fourth novel is huge, not in size but in its panoramic scope. Part police procedural, part suspense thriller, part intense analysis of a psychotic killer, the story plays out vividly in an exciting city seething with passionate racial, political, and religious differences.

When the mutilated body of a young Arab girl is discovered in the hills around Jerusalem, Chief Inspector David Sharavi and his crack team, a cross section of the rich ethnic composition of the city, swing into action. The mutilation-murder of a second Arab girl drives the press to focus on the political significance of the case, resulting in turmoil--an Arab-Jewish riot and more bloodshed. The investigation leads Sharavi through the darkest recesses of the sprawling city and of his own mind, before ending in a chilling showdown where he and the killer meet in a gruesome fight to the death.

Wonderfully detailed descriptions of the culture, history, and life in modern-day Jerusalem bring the city to vibrant life, as strong a character as those who inhabit the pages of this book.


Conclusion – I've read many Kellerman books, and this is my favorite. Great story, well told.








~ Jonathan Kellerman was born in New York City in 1949. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, mystery writer Faye Kellerman and their four children.

~ “I didn't want to do another book about Israel but I did bring Sharavi back in Survival of the Fittest as a fairly major character and I may bring him back again as a side protagonist in other books.” – from an interview on Bookreporter.com, May 2003

~ “Whether you're a writer creating fiction, or a musician, or a painter, the whole thing about being creative is doing something new. We call them novels for a reason: they're novel, they're new! I think creative people tend to have low tolerance for repetition. It gets boring. Thrown into the mix in my case is that there are a lot of built-in constraints to writing a series. There are limits to what I can do to Delaware [The Alex Delaware series]. I can stretch him up to a point but not past it. Given those limitations I'm always trying to move those boundaries and make things interesting.” – from an interview on Bookreporter.com, May 2003

~ Faye Kellerman on her husband’s work: "Jonathan's strength is his consistency in always writing a fantastic story, his ability to keep the story moving and his wonderful prose. He uses the perfect metaphor -- not five perfect metaphors. He's able to inject much more into his thrillers than the average thriller-writer because of his training as a psychologist and his keen insight into people." – from an interview on BookPage, Dec 2000



Cat

Friday, 31 October 2014

Quick review - Silent Witness













Silent Witness  [A Dylan Scott Mystery]  by Shirley Wells



In Lancashire, England, Ex cop turned private investigator Dylan Scott is hired by the parents of a man they claim is unjustly serving a life sentence for murder. Once unjustly jailed himself, Scott is determined to find the truth and free the man, if indeed he is innocent.

And Aleksander Kaminski claims he's innocent, despite strong evidence that places him at the scene of his ex-wife's murder. Kaminski's second wife Sue supports the claims of her incarcerated husband, despite knowing he was still involved with his ex.

Scott's investigation turns up several suspects, and he diligently follows each lead. He discovers a complicated web of secrets, passions, self-delusions, and deceit that he must unravel to help the imprisoned man.

Interspersed with Scott's detective work is his sometimes strained relationship with his wife Bev, who has just had their second child and is suffering from postpartum depression. This is an honest and natural depiction of a husband and wife who love but often don't understand each other.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, apparently third in the series. Scott is a great character, likable, human, caring. The other characters are also well developed and given their chance to tell the story in their own unique points of view.

Great twist at the end – one I didn't see coming.

Conclusion: I read this book quickly – could not put it down for long, and found myself often thinking about it. I wanted Scott to solve it and set Kaminski free. I wanted Bev to bond with her baby, and all to be happy. Wonderful writing by Shirley Wells. I want to read more of her work, more about Dylan Scott.



--Cat

Friday, 10 August 2012

Quick review – A New Orleans Detective Mystery


A New Orleans Detective Mystery by Ken Mask

When three bodies are discovered, one after another, all murdered in the same gruesome manner, it appears a serial killer is on the loose. Detectives from the New Orleans Police Department enlist the help of private investigator Luke Jacobs and his team to catch the villain.

I normally dislike reading gobs of back story and the personal history of peripheral characters. Although there are many overlaps and repetitions, Ken Mask makes it fascinating, as he does with the history of the city. New Orleans and the characters who live and work there come alive from a writer who obviously loves his city.

Jacobs uses his above average smarts and common sense to solve the mystery, and delights in explaining everything, often in cryptic terms, to the detectives and his group.

Interesting story, told in an interesting way.

Summary: Although the ending – the unmasking of the killer – seemed abrupt I found the story intelligent and well told. 





– Cat



Saturday, 4 August 2012

Quick review - Seaweed on the Rocks




Silas Seaweed, of the Coast Salish tribe, is a tough street cop in Victoria, BC. His investigation into the overdose death of a young native woman takes him from the mean streets of the city to the lofty mansions of the wealthy.

He works this way along gritty sidewalks where he knows most of the habitu├ęs, and pieces together a lucrative con that uses bits of native mythology to prey on the superstitions of wealthy people.

Silas untangles the web of deceit, solves a murder, and keeps the peace in his own way, all the while staying true to his rich heritage and the ways of his people.

The fourth of the series, Seaweed on the Rocks is a refreshingly different police story, with well-defined characters, and a unique lead.

Conclusion: an enjoyable mystery, made all the more fascinating by the interweaving of first Nations lore and customs.





-- Cat

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sherlock


I recently had the pleasure of watching both the first and the second seasons of the new Sherlock TV series.  Each season consisted of  [only!]  three 90 minute episodes.

Sherlock, produced for the BBC and the PBS Masterpiece anthology series, is the latest incarnation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective Sherlock Holmes.

This is a modern Sherlock, a distinctive Sherlock in that he is a self-described high functioning sociopath. Rare flashes of humanity are brought out by Dr. John Watson, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

The great consulting detective uses cell phones, the Internet, GPS, every latest gadget that he can. Dr. Watson writes his stories about Sherlock on a blog. There are familiar names from the original stories – Mrs. Hudson, DI Lestrade, Jim Moriarty, Mycroft Holmes, and the stories are loosely based on the originals.

The episodes are fast-paced, filled with action, and give us a fine picture of modern London. Fans, myself included, are happily awaiting the next season, slated for production in 2013. 

--Cat

Friday, 16 March 2012

Before we had The Mentalist, we had Poirot....

Death on the Nile

Agatha Christie's Poirot [filmed by the British company ITV in 2004]

The inimitable Hercule Poirot, played to eccentric perfection by David Suchet, embarks on a Nile cruise along with the usual assortment of friends, family, and strangers, all harboring deadly secrets. Passengers are murdered and Poirot takes charge of the investigation.

It's fun watching him delve into the psyches of those on the list of suspects. The inevitable meeting of all the interested parties, an Agatha Christie mystery staple, concludes with Poirot laying bare everyone's secrets and ferreting out the killer. A dramatic confession follows.

Filmed on location in Egypt, the show boasts stunning cinematography and artistic scenes. Some awe-inspiring moments.

– Cat