Fantasy novels regarding twentieth-century woman who goes back in time and falls in love. Good if you are in the mood. Good historical detail.
- Dragonfly in Amber
See also author’s homepage.
- Vertical Run
David Elliot goes to work one morning and everyone he knows tries to kill him or chase him into traps set by a group of mercenaries who have invaded the office building, but he has no clue why.
Characters in these mysteries are well developed over time. While a dysfunctional and odd bunch, they grow on you. Good plot twists. Good investigation.
- In the Presence of the Enemy,
Was the kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl political or vengeful? Was the investigation taken on by St. James, Deborah & Helen Clyde detrimental to the outcome? How about the child’s mother’s reluctance to reveal the identity of her father?
- Payment in Blood
- Well-Schooled in Murder
- A Suitable Vengeance
- For the Sake of Elena
- Missing Joseph
- Playing for the Ashes
Gerritsen, Tess Medical Thrillers.
Girard, James Preston
- The Late Man
The title of this suspenseful tale refers to a position at the newspaper. Sam Haun, a reporter, took this “night desk” position after his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. When a body which turns up appears to be the victim of a serial killer apparently inactive for a number of years, police detective L.J. Loomis requests that Haun participates in the investigation since he had reported on the earlier crimes. Another reporter, Stosh Babinski, is covering the same story for the police beat, albeit without access to the inside information Haun gets from Loomis. She is also involved with Haun’s wife’s ex-lover, who is interviewed as a possible suspect in the case.
While the characters focus on the investigation, all of them work through personal agendas, which gives them depth. The book has an ominous tone throughout; even the daytime scenes have a dark quality. The author does a great job of showing how the investigation of incidences of madness by necessity leaks a little bit of it into the lives of investigators.This is a book which is hard to describe and easy to recommend. Reviewed 12/13/99.
- Some Survive
Homicide Detective Lassiter is in a downward spiral. Something is wrong with his head but he’s afraid to go to the doctor for fear that knowing the results of tests could put him out of a job. He’s put on leave and asked to work on his own to find a fugitive call girl whose M.O. includes theft of her rich clients’ valuables. Lassiter’s not the only one looking for her. When he strikes some nerves during his search, some strange things start happening. He’s not sure whether they’re real or the product of the unknown monster in his brain.
Definitely a page-turner. This author has a unique voice.
An excellent psychological thriller which, unfortunately, I didn’t take notes on or write up soon enough after reading to say more. What I do know is that I will be keeping an eye out for other books by this author.
Buy from Amazon.com U.S.
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Detective April Woo works with Sergeant Mike Sanchez and psychiatrist Jason Frank to clear up the mysteries surrounding deaths which are connected by their relationship to the Director of a New York Psychiatric Institute. Good reading. Interesting characters, common to the series, whose cultural backgrounds, as Chinese and Latin Americans, are brought out by the inclusion of their families in the stories.
Another good entry in this series featuring April Woo & Mike Sanchez. A boutique clerk is found hanging in her shop, left by the killer in an oversized dress and a garish makeup job. Psychiatrist Jason Frank gets involved when an architect consults him to find out what she should do about her mentally ill sister who may be dangerous. Meanwhile, a confessor seems unlikely but also seems to know more than he should about the murder scene.
Blood for Blood
Memoirs of a Geisha
Vintage Books Paperback
Available from Amazon.co.uk
There are two main reasons I read books. One is to learn things and the other is to be entertained. Arthur Golden weaves the two together wonderfully in this tale describing the journey of a Japanese woman from girlhood to maturity in the life of a geisha. As other reviewers have observed, the book is a window into a way of life few have had the opportunity to look through. It’s also extraordinary that the book was written by a man, something that you never even think about as you read it.
Great character driven story, complete and detailed. I highly recommend it. Reviewed 1-9-00.
MTV Books/Pocket Books Paperback
Sylvia Avery has an opportunity and a problem.
Her job in Security for the Disney-like Dreamworld allows her to advance to a position in investigations when the deaths of two people on-site threaten to crack the veneer of perfection the park shows to the public. Fortunately, it occurred in one of the underground service passageways hidden from the view of visitors. Then, a body is discovered stuffed into a cooler and abandoned nearby, which turns out to be connected to the on-site deaths, and calls for investigation by outside agencies.
Sylvia truly believes in and loves Dreamworld for the face it presents to the world. It is tough for her to handle this new development. When the rules of her assignment subtly shift to cover-up rather than revelation, she is both happy and unhappy: She wants to protect Dreamworld, but she also wants to get to the bottom of the mystery she has begun to unravel.
The author’s writing style is engaging and readable. The story is complex and well resolved. Here is a passage from page 67 which demonstrates the development of tension:
“As Avery continued her search alone, the black, formless thought became harder to ignore, scrabbling insistently now, bleating for attention, slamming itself against the barriers she’d thrown up, wearing them down. It was a question, she knew that much now. And something told her that she didn’t want to know the answer to it.”
I really enjoyed the writing and could have soaked the book with highlighter ink on passages and phrases that I thought were particularly well done.
If you like a suspenseful mystery, I think you’ll really like this one!
What mystery reader is unfamiliar with the Kinsey Millhone series? I haven’t read “O” yet, but have read most of the following more than once:
A is for Alibi
B is for Burglar
C is for Corpse
D is for Deadbeat
E is for Evidence
F is for Fugitive
G is for Gumshoe
H is for Homicide
I is for Innocent
J is for Judgment
K is for Killer
L is for Lawless
Kinsey Millhone agrees to a pro bono favor for a friend and ends up on an expensive vacation with strange company on the eve of William and Rosie’s wedding,
M is for Malice
N is for Noose
Although this is the 14th book in this series, the author has kept up the quality of her work with this Kinsey Millhone mystery. Kinsey finds herself possibly in over her head when she takes on the seemingly innocuous task of putting to rest a widow’s unease about what was bothering her husband before his death. What complicates things is the attitudes of the members of the widow’s tightly-knit small town who react negatively to finding themselves under Kinsey’s unwelcome scrutiny.
See also the author’s homepage.
John Marshall Tanner mysteries.
Buy hardcover from Amazon.com
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
A detective novel set in San Francisco with a tried and true character are three features of this book which gives it great promise, at least to me.
Marshall Tanner’s mood is self-critical as his 50th birthday approaches. A relationship with a local D.A. is providing some ups and downs. Business has not been great, although this is nothing new. Despite this, Tanner is reluctant to take on a job for which he has been recommended: Bodyguard to a rich and difficult popular author who has received written threats from an unknown person who wants her to “stop what she is doing.” Suspects range from ex-lovers to deranged fans to nearly anyone who has ever worked with or for her.
Tanner fears that the evidence has been manufactured and that the whole thing is some kind of publicity stunt so, when a car bomb injuring his client finally open his eyes, he starts to take the investigation more seriously. Also upping the stakes for Tanner is the fact that Wells may have been researching some incidents in his past relative to police corruption and his friend Charley Sleet, and that Tanner or his friends may be in danger if the stalker wants more leverage against the author.
Soon his discoveries and some remarkable twists of fate in his personal life give this book an ending which provides for some possible new venues or activities in Tanner’s future.
By way of his description of the victim author, Chandelier Wells, and her entourage, Greenleaf provides some interesting glimpses into the world of popular novels, including their promotion and sales. Some novels with other perspectives on this subject that I have enjoyed include “The Deal” by Donald Westlake, and “The List” by Steve Martini.
Tanner is a character who is likable because he comes across as very average. His insecurities are easy to identify with. Despite this, he comes across as extraordinary when called upon to serve the cause of “What Is Right”. Some of his actions reflect that, despite the occasional serious risks, his character has absolutely no choice regarding how he may proceed at certain junctures.
He is always kept in character. The books are peppered with references to people and events from preceding books. As familiar as I am with some of these, I can say I’ve enjoyed reading them somewhat out of order and imagine that one can pick up one of the more recent books and follow it with no trouble. If you do, however, you may, as I did, find yourself keeping an eye out for other Greenleaf books!
One thing really grated on me about this book. I can’t say it results from a pet peeve because I’ve never had anything like this really get under my skin (although by the end of the book, it didn’t really bother me so much.) As with many irritants, it is something of little consequence, and doubtless something the author intended as a joke. That thing is the use by the writer of the name “Chandelier”. I thought this was incredibly silly. I kept expecting to find she had a secret family from a former marriage with children named “Ballustrade” and “Joist”. Anyway, I feel better getting this off my chest, and hope it won’t keep you from trying this book!
Simon & Schuster Hardcover
Available from Amazon.co.uk
John Marshall Tanner, San Francisco PI, is recovering from a gunshot wound suffered in a shooting incident involving his former partner Charley Sleet, who has cancer and wants to die taking out bad guys. His convalescence is aided by the pleasant company of a young woman named Rita Lombardi, also a patient. Rita is having corrective surgery for club feet and facial birthmark. When he attempts to get in touch with her later to arrange to visit her in her Salinas-area home on the eve of her wedding, he finds out that she’s been brutally murdered.
Once he convinces reluctant family members and Rita’s seemingly devoted fiance, to cooperate in his search for the killer, he finds that her death may have been related to the plight of strawberry workers, subject to virtual slavery by the growers. Tanner’s digging reveals a lot about the local growers, and friends and family of the victim, before reaching a surprising conclusion.
Another great entry in the series. Reviewed 1-9-00
Read any of them you can find! The following are a couple that I remember reading a long time ago.
Also by this author…
Very bad. Don’t even buy this at a garage sale.
A multi-billionaire’s will gives all his money to an illegitimate and previously unheard of an heir who works as a missionary in a remote South American village. An attorney on the verge of a return from his nth visit to a substance abuse recovery clinic is hired to find her. Meanwhile, the wives, sons, daughters and their spouses hire teams of lawyers to try to get their hands on the money.
While his books may be lightweight and formulaic, and his stories improbable, Grisham makes heroes of underdogs and shines spotlights on popular issues in an entertaining fashion.
The Runaway Jury
A young man seems to be moving from town to town, trying to get on a jury in a suit against a tobacco company. The tobacco company’s investigator is curious, then surely this man can make the jury swing his way. There’s a big “X” in the equation, though–a woman he can’t find out anything about.
A Time to Kill
The Pelican Brief
The Street Lawyer
Also by this author…
See also the Grisham website and the Random House site.