Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2nd Chance (Women's Murder Club) By James Patterson

image from LibraryThing
Lindsay and her club are at it again. This time it all starts with the death of an 11-year old at a church shooting.  It looks racially motivated - but is it really.  This is a black church in a tough but improving neighborhood - and it looks random at first.  But the shooter killed only one person and that shot was pretty incredible...maybe not as random as it seemed.

The second death or maybe the first is the hanging of an elderly black woman in the basement of her apartment building.  And then a police officer is gunned down responding to a domestic abuse call in a derelict building.

Lindsay and her friends are digging.  Cindy becomes entangled romantically with the handsome pastor of that church.  Jill has a medical emergency and Claire is pulled in to this crime when the shooter attacks her home.

And then the chief of police is gunned down outside his home.

Lindsay's father makes an appearance and is somehow tied in to this whole thing. Is he there to cover his own back and make sure the investigation moves away from him - or is he there to keep Lindsay safe??

This is another page turner and a fast read.  My only complaint is the epilogue again...is this a pattern?  But that won't keep me from reading the 3rd one and then moving on to the 4th!!
I love a good series!!

Costa Rica book #4!

1st To Die (Women's Murder Club) By James Patterson

image from LibraryThing
Brides and Grooms are being murdered on their wedding day!  What a horrible way for a book to begin - but I was caught as soon as Lindsay Boxer began investigating.

Lindsay has a new partner and isn't too happy about Chris Raleigh and his PR roots.  His polish is the opposite of her gritty, tough woman persona. And then the pesky reporter, Cindy Thomas gets in the way. She is trying to make a name for herself in order to move from the Metro section to crime. And she has a way of figuring out what is going on.

So, Lindsay takes a chance.  She invites Cindy to accompany her to drinks with her biggest support network - Claire Washburn, the coroner.  And that is the beginning of the Women's Murder Club. Three ladies who are tough and smart and on top of their careers and putting their heads together helps the investigation.That would be enough for the club - but they need legal help. Bring in the assistant District Attorney, Jill Bernhardt.  And the club is complete.

The club is only one side of the story though.

This story is also told in first person by the killer - which is creepy!  And as you find in all crime shows and novels - there are missteps on who this suspect is.  All eyes focus on the author of a book about bride and groom crimes.  Is it really him though??

Then there is a final confrontation between Lindsay and the killer.
There is also a sad love story and a bunch of female bonding.

This was the perfect book to read on the beach!  Quick page turner without having to put tons of energy into figuring out the story.  I loved it!!
Costa Rica book #3

Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman

image from LibraryThing
Maggie and Edith are an unlikely pair.  Maggie is the cleaning lady and Edith has not been particularly close to any of her 'help.' Liza was Maggie's friend and Edith's daughter and she left a gorgeous house in Sag Harbor and Edith to Maggie in her will.  How can you inherit an elderly woman?  Well that was just a part of the package - the house and Edith.  You see, Edith was aging and had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Maggie had a decision to make.

It was actually an easy decision - carrying out the decision was not quite so easy.  Edith did not believe she needed to be taken care of by a gold-digger cleaning lady!

That is the simple premise of this story.  From the beginning you know that they will figure it out. That's a given - and actually a comfort.  You want Maggie and Edith to create a family.

The unexpected part is Edith's own story. As her short term memory fades her past becomes more and more real.  And in a brilliant moment she decides to ask Maggie to write down those memories. Stories of a dancer's life in NYC and the beauty and difficulties she hid to achieve.

This is a story of mothers and daughters and the secrets that keep them apart and draw them together. It's a story of the horror of Alzheimer's and the depth of friendship.  It's about making a new family from the friends you surround yourself with.

I enjoyed this one!  It was a great beach read - Costa Rica book #2

We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride

image from LibraryThing
This is not the easiest story to read. It's full of heartache and hope and reality.  Reality means it's not all rainbows and unicorns. Instead, it's a hard and then it's harder and then it's wonderful!

Las Vegas is the backdrop for this story of Bashkin, 8 year old Albanian son of an ice cream truck driver.  And Bashkin's exuberant Aussie teacher decides it would be a good idea to write a letter to a soldier deployed from the nearby base.  That simple act sets in motion unexpected actions that impact all!

Bashkin's letter is filled with innocent questions of a curious and scared boy.  The letter he receives from Specialist Luis is not innocent - instead he describes how he shot a boy in Afghanistan. And Bashkin, poor Bashkin, gets terribly sick with anxiety when he reads it.

This book is not only Bashkin's story though.  It also follows Specialist Luis, recovering from a head injury that seemed to occur right after he sent off that fateful letter.  And we hear from the mother of a newly instated police officer, with her fears for her recently  returned soldier son.  And another woman who seems to be connected with the court system someway.

Each of these characters brings a piece of the story to a final culmination when their separate stories coalesce.  This is a hard story to read if you are connected to the military.  There are scars from war that affect each soldier in a different way.  The families sometimes bear those scars in hidden ways. This is not only the story of American war families - but also those scattered across the world wherever there is violence.

And at the heart of it all is a boy who only wants to fit in and do what is right for his family and himself.

This was a little deep for a beach read - hard to cry with the sun shining down on me!!
Costa Rica book #1

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Memory Man and The Last Mile by David Baldacci

image from LibraryThing
 David Baldacci does not let me down!  His books are the perfect travel books - short chapters and lots of action.  These two were the perfect ones to take us from Iowa to California and back again this past August!!

Amos Decker is a man with a twisted past - pro football player for one play and then BOOM and his memory turns into a permanent file - nothing ever disappears from it.  That made him a great cop.  But when his family is murdered that never-ending memory also brought to life all his darkness.  He couldn't unsee the murders - they replayed again and again until it caused him to fall off the face of the earth.

Image from LibraryThing
Almost.

He is drawn back into solving crimes when there is a death much like his family's.  There is a school shooting and a truly twisted villian!!

So at the end he joins the FBI as a sort of quasi-cop.  And that starts the next book - where he is drawn to another ex-football player's story.  Melvin Mars is about to be executed for the murders of his parents.  Melvin was a college ball player soon to go pro with amazing talent.  When he murdered his parents and that was that - until his execution is stopped due to a confession by another soon to be executed convict.  That draws Amos' team to the site and the discrepancies start to add up - especially when the confession falls apart.

I really liked both of these books. Baldacci does a great job creating characters that I root for and I like that!  There are twists that I don't always see coming - but enough that you do see that keep you involved in solving the mystery. I REALLY like Amos. He is the anti-hero that I gravitate towards.  He is in this situation not by his own will and he would rather not be here - but there is a goodness in him that keeps him involved for those he might be able to help in spite of himself. And yes, I know that is a crazy run-on sentence - but that is exactly how I see him!!

I would highly recommend these books.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

image from LibraryThing
It's been a long time since I've read a science fiction/time travel book. This one is not like anything I've read before.  It's the future in England and time travel is a thing.  But - it's not what I expect of traveling to an unknown and interesting place - instead the reader is dropped into the midst of an already moving story.

You are in England of the future and all the time traveling of the day is to learn the details of Coventry Cathedral - because it is being completely rebuilt and refurnished to the moment before it was destroyed by Nazi bombers in WWII.

And poor Ned, the main character, has been shuttling around the late 1800s trying to figure out what has happened to "The Bishop's Bird Stump." The reader doesn't even find out what in the world the bird stump is until well in to the book - a hideous vase - and that really doesn't even matter.  Because Ned pulls us in to the world of Muchings End where he is to rest up and recover from his time-lagged state.  But that isn't a Muchings End of current time, but one of the the past where men wear boater hats and float down the Thames and quote poetry to Victorian women.  Into this world the befuddled Ned falls and his quest to find the bird stump slowly begins to make sense.

I enjoyed this book - I sort of liked the off-kilter feel I had as a reader.  I felt like I had come into the middle of a movie and didn't have the energy to ask my neighbor what was going on...so I just stayed with it until it began to make sense. It's also a love story - in a very English Victorian way - and the story of a spoiled cat and a great bulldog named Cyril. By the way, there are no cats in the future.  So, Ned's first contact with a purring feline is rather funny!!

This is a good one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen

Sarah's life is not what with think of as normal. They move a lot, whenever the cold gets especially sharp and the smell of wet dog gets especially strong.  But, her mom and dad seem to figure out how to make it work, until they don't- and her mom disappears.  That is when she chances to meet Alan, the beastkeeper in the little not quite forest behind her house, and life doesn't return to normal.

This is a dreamy, dark, story woven around a fire on a winter evening of old magic and curses and pain.  It is beautifully written - lyrical and sharp at the same time.

When I finished I wanted to start at the beginning again, because I knew I had not paid attention to the right threads in this story! I have a feeling this will be a book you hear more about!