Tuesday, February 11, 2020

29. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

listened to Audible - TPPL eAudio
narrated by Sophie Amoss
Unabridged audio (7:51)
2019 Disney-Hyperion
336 pgs.
YA CRF Romance
Finished 2/11/20
Goodreads rating: 4.06 - 5417 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting:  Contemporary Shreveport, LA

First line/s:  " 'Are you sure you won't come with us?' Mom hangs out or the passenger window and wraps me in a fierce hug for the tenth time in the last ten minutes."

My comments:  A cute, predictable story about being a senior in high school with the whole world ahead of you.  There were touches of seriousness with the premature birth of her niece and the possibility of serious illness for her sister, but it was on of those that everything turns out just  great in the end.  A little too much of a huge, meddling family, a couple of pretty loud guffaws, and some serious eye-rolling in places lead to a perfectly acceptable read.

Goodreads synopsis:  Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.m
          Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
          When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
          This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever... or is it?

Monday, February 10, 2020

28. Conviction by Julia Dahl

#3 Rebekah Roberts, NYC investigative reporter
Listened to Audio on Audible
narrated by Andi Arndt
Unabridged audio (8:17)
2017 Minotaur Books
312 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 2/10/20
Goodreads rating:  3.83 - 812 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting: Contemporary Brooklyn with lots of flashing back to the late 90s

First line/s:  "The little boy walked to the storefront church alone, with blood on his hands and face."

My comments:  Another story told though descriptions of different times related to the major incident of the story.  The summer of 1992 in Brooklyn, New York, and the present, what took place from different points of view - and how Rebekah is following up on all the information she is able to compile. I was really uncomfortable whenever it flipped back to 1992 because I felt so horribly sad the the 16-year old who was falsely convicted and then imprisoned for over twenty years.  And so, so so pissed a the cops!  It almost got to the point I didn't finish the book because I was so darned uncomfortable and pissed at the whole situation.  And Rebekahs's mother...geez!  Poor Rebekah, working so hard in the first two books to find and figure out her mother and now we discover one of the most unlikable people ever.  I've seen nothing about a book number four, and it's been a few years, so I wonder if one will be coming at all....

Goodreads synopsis:  New York City 1992: a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Brooklyn, a black family is brutally murdered in their Crown Heights home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.
          Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn't do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City—not even Saul Katz, a former NYPD cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.
          So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.
          From the author of the Edgar-nominated Invisible City comes another timely thriller that illuminates society’s darkest corners. Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness and the massacre’s sole survivor, Julia Dahl's Conviction examines the power—and cost—of community, loyalty, and denial.

27. We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

listened to eAudio - RBDigital/TPPL
narrated by Stina Nielsen
Unabridged audio (12:03)
2019, Fleming H. Revell Co.
393 pgs.
Adult Hidtorical Fiction told in 3 time periods
Finished 2/10/2020
Goodreads rating:  4.22 - 2440 ratings
My rating:  5
Setting:Detroit and rural Michigan:  1861-1871, 1963-1967, and present time

First line/s:  Detroit: July  "The Lafayette Coney Island was not a comfortable place to be early."

My comments:  This was one of those books I didn't want to put don't and I couldn't wait to get back to.  I love historical fiction that goes back and forth between points-of-view, and this one didn't disappoint. Told from the viewpoints of three strong women, all related, and dealing with the racism of the Civil War, 1960's Detroit, and present day, and how history can follow a family - and just how important a family's history can be.  Beautifully read, great characters, and a setting that is a hugely strong part of the story, a great story.

Goodreads synopsis:  When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request--that she look up a relative she didn't know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos--seems like it isn't worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.
          At her great-aunt's 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.
          Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time--from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Underground Railroad during the Civil War--to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Picture Book: Crow Not Crow by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

Illustrated by Elizabeth Dulemba
2018 The Cornell Lab Publishing Group
HC $16.95
36 pgs.
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 120 ratings
My rating:  5/Excellent
Endpapers:Deb Grocery Bag Brown

1st line/s:  "The first day Dad took me out birding, the sky was the color of Mom's old pearl ring.  The trees were draped with birds.  It was very noisy."

My comments: This book was written for me....or a kid just like me.  All birds look the same to me.  But this ingenious way to teach beginning birders how and what to look for when they're birdwatching is a super-great idea.  The book ends with a few of the birds described in the book, and a few other common North American birds. Lovely illustrations.


Goodreads: New York Times bestselling children's author, Jane Yolen, and her son, Adam Stemple, have teamed up to write this gentle tale of a father introducing his daughter to the joys of bird watching using the "Crow, not Crow" method for distinguishing birds. Elizabeth Dulemba's delightfully warm illustrations bring the story to life..

26. A Fatal Obsession by James Hayman

#6 McCabe and Savage
read on my iPhone/Kindle
2018 Witness Impulse
368 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 2/8/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.11 - 369 ratings
My rating:  4+
Setting: Contemporary NYC, mostly lower east side

First line/s:  "The worst thing about the rage was its randomness.  Tyler Branshaw never knew what might trigger one."

My comments: This was an excellent story, I love the way it switched back and forth between the abducted Zoe and the police proceedings trying to find her.  I was actually quite intrigues with this "bad guy," and formed a bond with him, as Zoe did in a weird, quirky way.  What a wonderful character she was!  And boy, are there some evil people in this world.  I'd still rather be going through life with blinders on....
     I'm not sure how quickly and happily the NYPD would allow two detectives from Portland, Maine, be the lead investigators in a recent abduction in NYC, particularly when one of the detectives is the uncle of the abducted!  And Maggie certainly took a back seat in this one.  Not that I remember the first five really, really well, but I think there was more of a partnership involved than in this one.
      Overall, I really liked the storytelling.  I wasn't a nervous wreck whenever we were in Zoe's world, I actually found the happenings quite intriguing.  I originally thought of this as a five, but because of a few weak points (above), I think I'll rate this a solid 4.
     As much as I love NYC, I sure hope they plan to return to Portland!

Goodreads synopsis:  "James Hayman’s edgy, ingenious novels rival the best of Lisa Gardner, Jeffery Deaver, and Kathy Reichs. A Fatal Obsession is his finest to date: a ferocious live-wire thriller starring two of the most appealing cops in contemporary fiction." —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window   
          Someone’s watching...      
          Zoe McCabe is a beautiful young actress on the verge of stardom who has been basking in the standing ovations and rave reviews she’s been getting from critics and fans alike for her portrayal of Desdemona in an off-Broadway production of Othello. As she takes her final bows, Zoe has no idea that, seated in the audience, a man has been studying her night after night, performance after performance. A man whose carefully crafted plans are for the young actress to take a starring role in a far deadlier production he has created just for her.         
          Portland, Maine detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage are settling into the new rhythm of their relationship when McCabe gets a late night call from his brother Bobby that Zoe, McCabe's favorite niece and Bobby’s daughter, has suddenly disappeared. The NYPD is certain Zoe's abduction is the work of the man the tabloids have dubbed “The Star Struck Strangler,” a killer who has been kidnapping, abusing and finally strangling one beautiful young performer after another. Bobby begs McCabe to return to the New York City crime beat he’d left behind so many years ago, to work his old connections, and to help find Zoe before her time runs out. The stakes for McCabe and Savage have never been higher. Or more personal. And suddenly the race is on to stop a vicious attacker, before the McCabe family is torn apart beyond repair.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

25. Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

listened to the eAudio borrowed from Bosler
narrated by Susan Bennett
Unabridged audio (13:19)
2020 St. Martin's Press
400 pgs.
Adult Historical Fiction/Present time Back & Forth
Finished 2/6/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.25 - 4671 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: 1940 & 2019 Rural North Carolina

First line/s:  "The children knew it was finally spring, so although the air still held the nip of winter and the grass and weeds crunched beneath their feet, they ran through the field  and woods, yipping with the anticipation of warmer weather."

My comments:  I very much enjoyed this enthralling narrative, weaving the dialogue of two women almost 80 years apart in the same small town of Edenton, NC.  short chapters switched back and forth effortlessly, spending just enough time in each time period.  Art, mystery, racism, prison life, alcoholism, prejudice, and long-kept secrets wind together to  create a believable story that I couldn't put down and didn't want to end.

Goodreads synopsis:  North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
          North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
          What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

24. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

#22 Kinsey Millhone
listened to eAudio/Bosler Library
narrated by Judy Kaye
Unabridged audio (15:11)
2011 Putnam Adult
437 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 2/4/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.96 - 26,591 ratings
My rating:
Setting: 1988 Santa Theresa (Santa Barbara), California, and a bit in San Luis Obisbo

First line/s: "So this is how it went down, folks.  I turned 38 on May 5, 1988, and my big birthday surprise was a big punch in the face that left me with two black eyes and a busted nose."

My comments:  I haven't read a Kinsey Millhone in years, so it was really fun to start listening to this.  I totally remembered the voice of Judy Kay, which is definitely the voice of Kinsey Millhone from my past.  Sue Grafton was the detail queen of the police procedural!  They were so many minute details - many of them unnecessary -  but it was fun to listen and try to determine which were important and which weren't.  Back-and-forth between a number of characters, it was fun looking at the story from all sorts of angles, including the sorta bad guy, which = spoiler alert!! = you really begin rooting for.  An entrancing story, even though it was over fifteen hours of listening, which did seem a little long at one or two points.  Fun book.

Goodreads synopsis:  A spiderweb of dangerous relationships lies at the heart.
          A woman with a murky past jumps off a bridge, or was she thrown? A spoiled kid awash in gambling debt thinks he can beat the system. A lovely woman whose marriage is about to splinter into a thousand fragments. A professional shoplifting ring working for the Mob, racks up millions from stolen goods. A wandering husband is rich and ruthless. A dirty cop is so entrenched on the force he is immune to exposure. A sinister gangster is conscienceless and brutal. A lonely widower mourns the death of his lover, desperate for answers, which may be worse than the pain of his loss. Private detective, Kinsey Millhone's thirty-eighth-birthday gift is a punch in the face that leaves her with two black eyes and a busted nose.
           And an elegant and powerful businessman whose dealings are definitely outside the law: the magus at the center of the web.
          V: Victim. Violence. Vengeance.

Monday, February 3, 2020

23. My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

listened to eAudio/Bosler Library
narrated by Shayna Thibodeaux and Deacon Lee
Unabridged audio (7:08)
2018 Gallery Books
384 pgs.
Adult Romance
Finished 2/3/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.83 - 22,195 ratings
My rating:
Setting: Contemporary Santa Barbara, California

First line/s:   "When I was in grade school, my best friend, Alison Kim, was obsessed with horses."

My comments:  Very enjoyable romantic comedy with some serious stuff, too...  Five college professors at University of California Santa Barbara are best friends - four males and one female.  What happens when two of them take it a little bit farther?  Throw in escapades with online dating, California vineyards, misunderstandings, and a teeny tiny bit of steam and you have this very enjoyable story.  I'm really beginning to like this author a lot.  She even used the word CACOPHONY!!!

Goodreads synopsis:  Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.
          So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.
          But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

22. Steadfast by Shirleen Davies

Listened to audio/Chirp
narrated by Markham Anderson (with an incredibly deep voice)
Unabridged audio (5:44)
2019 Avalanche Ranch Press
180 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 2/2/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.49 - 145 ratings
My rating: 2
Setting: Contemporary Arizona desert

First line/s:  "Lieutenant Commander Caiden Isaac McCord stood ramrod straight, arms at his sides, a slight twitch in his leg from an injury during his team's last mission."

My comments:  A group of Navy SEALS have been commanded to become bikers in a biker group in the desert of Arizona, deeply undercover, to infiltrate other biker groups doing illegal activities.  They are led by a hunk named Wrath.  It sounds like they're all hunks, incredibly tough and smart and ...well...hunky.  Into their midsts comes a beautiful unattached attorney and of course head hunk falls for her.  As expected, the feelings are mutual.  Most of this book is made up strategies and antagonism between three biker gangs, one very bad, one good, and one in between.  The romance between the two protagonists is steamy but only for a couple of short segments.  There's more "story" than a lot of these sorts of books, but also a lot of fighting and reconnaissance and "war" types of things that I don't really care about.

Goodreads synopsis:  He’s secretive and commanding. She’s having none of it.
          Steadfast, Book One, Eternal Brethren Military Romantic Suspense Series
          Caid “Wrath” McCord never anticipated being tapped to lead a deep cover Navy SEAL team. Never one to shirk his duty, the transition from sea-loving warrior to president of an undercover motorcycle club is as smooth as a ride on his beloved Harley. Nothing interferes with his devotion to his men and their missions…until he meets a fiery, mysterious, motorcycle-riding woman who has all his senses on high alert.
          Cara Mortensen considers herself a survivor. With three older brothers, she became a fighter at an early age. Following the death of her SEAL husband and the discovery of his hidden life, starting over in Liberty Lake is a welcome change. No one knows about her past, which is how she wants to keep it. Except she can’t shake the determined president of a local motorcycle club, a man who could be perilous to her life as well as her heart.
          Even as walls between them begin to tumble, dangers exist which threaten not only Wrath and his men, but the woman he can’t push from his thoughts. Only his steadfast determination will keep her safe and in his life.
          Can he shelter her from danger and his secret life without losing the trust she so fiercely guards?
          Steadfast is book one in the Eternal Brethren Military Romantic Suspense Series by best seller Shirleen Davies. It is a stand-alone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA.
     Book 1: Steadfast     
     Book 2: Shattered
     Book 3: Haunted
     Book 4: Untamed

Thursday, January 30, 2020

21. Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

listened to Audio/borrowed from Bosler Library
narrated by Joshua Manning in a thick Scottish brogue
Unabridged audio (8:19)
2019 Macmillan Children's Books
288 pgs.
YA Fantasy
Finished 1/30/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.93 - 437 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary Scotland

First line/s:  "This never would have happened if I hadn't named the bloody cat Tinker Bell."

My comments:  This was a quiet, lovely story:  loads of reality gently sprinkled with some wonderful fantasy.  The protagonist, Brody, is a quiet, gay 16-year old with a genius brother, an overworked mother, and a dad who has agoraphobia and hasn't left the house in years.  Brody is constantly teased and ridiculed by a pair of girls in his apartment complex and at school, he's afraid he's going to fail all his exams, and he never gets a chance to play the beloved drums that he only get to access at school.  Then he meets Nico and is introduced to Everland, a land of fantasy and happiness.....Narrated in a thick Scottish brogue, I found the story absolutely delightful.

Goodreads synopsis:  Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia" that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.

          Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

20. Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza

#1 Kate Marshall
read on my iPhone (Kindle)
2019 Thomas & Mercer
392 pgs.
Adult murder mystery series
Finished 1/28/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.15 - 5701 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Setting: Contemporary England

First line/s:  "Detective Constable Kate Marshall was on the train home when her phone rang."

My comments:  This was an intricately told from two points of view - that of the good guy and that of the bad guy.  And this was a VERY bad guy, with clever accomplices and a particularly weird relationship with his mother.  Kate had been a cop when she first met Peter, another copy, and had even had a one-night stand with him before she disovered he was a notorious serial killer.  Now incarcerated in a hospital for the mentally and possibly insane, he, his mother, and a new wannabe create a plot to not only spring him from this high-security prison, but get revenge upon Kate.  The back-and-forth is interesting, but because I was reading it in spits and spurts, it did seem to drag a little.  If I'd read it in one long swoop or listened to it, it would've probably not seemed so draggy.  It was a really good story, twisted, dark, and particularly grizzly.  It was also the first in the series.  I do think that I will read the second.

Goodreads synopsis:  From the breakthrough international bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice, a breathtaking, page-turning novel about a disgraced female detective’s fight for redemption. And survival…
          Kate Marshall was a promising young police detective when she caught the notorious Nine Elms serial killer. But her greatest victory suddenly turned into a nightmare. Traumatized, betrayed, and publicly vilified for the shocking circumstances surrounding the cannibal murder case, Kate could only watch as her career ended in scandal.
          Fifteen years after those catastrophic events, Kate is still haunted by the unquiet ghosts of her troubled past. Now a lecturer at a small coastal English university, she finally has a chance to face them. A copycat killer has taken up the Nine Elms mantle, continuing the ghastly work of his idol.
          Enlisting her brilliant research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate draws on her prodigious and long-neglected skills as an investigator to catch a new monster. Success promises redemption, but there’s much more on the line: Kate was the original killer’s intended fifth victim…and his successor means to finish the job.

Monday, January 27, 2020

19. Dark Pattern by Andrew Mayne

#4 Dr. Theo Cray/The Naturalist
listened to Audible
narrated by Will Damron
2019 Thomas & Mercer
316 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Serial Killer
Finished 1/27/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.21 - 2317 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporay Texas, St. Lucia, and other points on the map....

First line/s: "Nora watched the doorway.  This was when the Night Lady usually stopped at her room and stared inside."

My comments:  Serial killer hunter extraordinaire!  Whenever I go into one of the Theo Cray books now, I know I have to suspend reality checks.  I'm sure most of - or at least many -  of Cray's technological "inventions" are still science-fiction, but they are what makes these mysteries so different.  You know that he's going to get himself into some stupid cray situations and you roll your eyes at most of his antics, but that's also what makes these books so much fun, as well as his definite Asperger's/Autistic tendencies and his cognition of them.  It also cracks me up how much he irritates people.  A huge part of the plot comes off as comic relief for me, I wonder if it affects others in the same way?  To write this combination of grizzly deaths and this extraordinary character is quite genius.  A real breakdown should be coming for this man!  Or has he had it?  ti's hard to tell from the ending of this book, which did seem a little rushed compared to the rest of it.

Goodreads synopsis:  Dr. Theo Cray is on the hunt for a killer nurse, and redemption, in a mind-bending psychological thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Naturalist.
          Dr. Theo Cray has a legendary mathematical knack for catching serial killers. Until his exposure to a mind-altering pathogen knocks him off his game. It has upended an investigation, destroyed his reputation, and left him to question his own sanity. One person still trusts him to finish the job. His former professor Amanda Paulson is helping point Cray down a logical path to his prey: a nomadic health-care worker whose murder spree stretches back decades and whose victims number in the hundreds.
          Never more desperate to save innocent lives, and to save himself, Cray follows each new lead around the world. But with his own grip on reality slipping away, Cray knows that to follow the pattern of an elusive killer, he must also confront his own dark side. In those dangerous shadows, he can find what he’s hunting. For Cray, venturing into a world without reason is going to be the most frightening journey of his life.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

18. The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

#3 Renee Ballard & Harry Bosch
Listened to Audible
narrated by Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin
Unabridged audio (10:04)
2019 Little Brown & Co.
405 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/26/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.35 - 18,962 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary LA

First line/s:  "Bosch arrived late and had to park on a cemetery lane far from the grave site."

My comments:  This was an intricately woven series of mysteries stemming from a cold case that Harry Bosch had received from his deceased mentor, and an arson case that Renee Ballard covered on her night shift, as well as some investigative work that Harry completed for his half-brother, Mickey Haller.  Complex but easy to follow, the working relationship and almost affection they have for each other is palpable.  I hate that Harry is pushing 70, but I adore him just as much as I always have.  I love the back-and-forth chapters hearing the voices of both of them.

Goodreads synopsis:  Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch's mentor, the man who trained him -- new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
          Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow hands Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before -- the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.
          Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson's fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.
          The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigation team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

17. Freefall by Jessica Barry

listened to on Audible
narrated by Hilary Huber, Karissa Vacker, and MacLeod Andrews
Unabridged audio (12:03)
2019, Harper
368 pgs.
Adult CRF/Survival/Mystery
Finished 1/25/2020
Goodreads rating: 3.77 - 6212 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting: Contemporary Colorado rockies and midcoast Maine

First line/s: "Breathe.  Breathe.  My eyes open.  A flock of birds stare down before taking flight.  I survived."

My comments:  I love the way this story went back and forth between mother and daughter dealing with the same horrendous situation.  Even though I guessed from early on most of the mysteries of the story - once you've read a few of these kind of thrillers you can guess that sort of thing - it was put together really well and was exciting.  I could easily put myself in the place of the two major characters, mother and daughter, and all the things that brought them to this point in their lives.  I particularly related to the mother, who lost her husband to cancer two years previously and misses him horribly.

Goodreads synopsis:  A propulsive debut novel with the intensity of Luckiest Girl Alive and Before the Fall, about a young woman determined to survive and a mother determined to find her.
          When your life is a lie, the truth can kill you   
          When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. For years, Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.
          In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.
          As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?
          Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

16. Murder Board by Brian Christopher Shea

#1 Michael Kelly, Boston/Dorchester detective
read on my iPhone - Kindle
2019 Severn River Publishing
321 pgs.
Adult Mystery/Police Procedural
Finished 1/23/2020
Goodreads rating: 4.22 - 292 ratings
My rating: 3
Setting: Contemporary Boston/Dorchester, MA

First line/s: "Twelve minutes didn't seem like a long time.  It's the time a morning commuter waits for the next T to arrive.  Or somebody idles in line at their local Dunkin' Donuts in anticipation of their morning jolt.  To those people twelve minutes is an inconvenience, but to Michael Kelly it was an eternity."

My comments:  This is about a Boston homicide cop written by a former Boston cop.  This one was about a Polish family that abducted very young girls - 13/14 - and forced them into the sex trade underground of Dorchester.  The protagonist cop is divorced with an eight year old daughter, born and bred in Dorchester in a family of Irish Americans.  He teams up with an old female friend in the sex crimes unit to solve the murder of a 13 year-old girls and dig into the business surrounding her demise.  For some reason the book seemed to drag, but that may be my fault because I've spent so much time listening to books lately instead of reading the, and read this one in bits and pieces over a two-week period.

Goodreads synopsis:  A Boston homicide detective sets out to find a young girl’s killer—and confronts the dark world of city politics and organized crime. THE FIRST NOVEL OF THE NEW BOSTON CRIME THRILLER SERIES BY FORMER DETECTIVE BRIAN SHEA.
          The young girl was from a good family in an affluent suburb. Her body was found in a shallow grave in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, not far from where Detective Michael Kelly grew up.
          Solving a murder is never a simple undertaking, but Kelly is driven. Obsessed with finding justice for the victim. Willing to do whatever it takes. Destroy politicians. Stand up to the mob.
          Kelly is a fighter, and he needs to be. Because his investigation uncovers a wide conspiracy—and many more innocent lives are at stake.   
          As the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, Kelly turns to his old connections on the streets of Boston. The search for answers becomes a clash of policing and politics. Of redemption and betrayal. Of greed and violence. To find true justice, Kelly will do whatever it takes...or die trying.                    BRIAN SHEA has served as both a military officer and law enforcement Detective, and his authentic crime fiction novels have been enjoyed by thousands. His books are recommended for readers who enjoy Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch, David Baldacci’s John Puller, or James Patterson’s Alex Cross.