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Resolve

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Tomorrow is the publication date for this debut novel and I just couldn't wait any longer to review it. It's a different type of plot than I've ever read, set during the Pittsburgh Marathon with flashbacks to fill in the storyline.Each chapter is a mile of the marathon. Protagonist Dr. Cyprus Keller is running the race. He explains that 18,000 people are participating. Some will drop out for various reasons, others are running relays or just a half-marathon, and one person won't finish the race because he will die before the finish line. Dr. Keller knows this because he is going to kill him.Keller is a professor who teaches criminology at a small college. He innocently finds himself involved in a mysterious plot after a young coed unsuccessfully tries to seduce him. Actually she is conducting a study and seeing how many professors are willing to take her up on her flirting is the meat of the research. She doesn't go through with any offers, but meanwhile she stirs up a hornets' nest. The girl is found murdered in a part of town she would never visit. After that, Keller's teaching assistant tries to murder him and Keller kills the T.A. as he defends himself. Coincidentally, the police view Keller as a prime suspect in the girl's murder.We meet intriguing characters such as the college president who for some reason has a grudge against Keller, two policemen who are wise to the world, and other professors who are running partners of Keller's. Best of all, we meet Keller's wife, who is a psychologist, a fact which is both a blessing and a curse to her husband. Since he can't ever pull the wool over her eyes, he has stopped even trying. Theirs is a beautiful marriage.Despite the killings and seriousness of the plot, I laughed all the way through this book. Hensley is a very funny writer and Dr. Keller's wit sets this book above other mysteries in my opinion. I do hope Hensley is currently hard at work on his second novel. I'll be first in line to buy it.Recommended readingSource: LibraryThing win
The Accident Man

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This thriller has been sitting on my TBR shelf for several years patiently waiting to be read. If only I had known how good it is, I would have read it when I bought it. This one is a real winner.The plot begins with the death of Princess Diana in Paris. You'll remember, I'm sure, that various conspiracy theories got a lot of attention at the time, and actually some people still believe them. Tom Cain has built an intricate, frightening tale which takes off from that fatal accident.The major character is an assassin who goes by the name Samuel Carver. Old military friends know him as Pablo Jackson and he has various other identities as well. He is a loner, wouldn't you know, who was given away by his mother when he was born, and who doesn't trust anyone except for a very few close friends. (Sorry about the snide remark about loners. It's a pet peeve of mine.) He seems to be able to survive anything and to be fearless. He is fit and healthy, but mainly he's smart and able to plan ahead quickly. He doesn't know who he works for, only that he has the job because of his old commander in the British military. Someone he knows as Max calls him, gives him the target and then provides him with the supplies he needs. Afterward he deposits lots of money in Carver's bank account. His assassinations are always supposed to look like accidents.The other major character is a young, beautiful Russian woman. She is supposed to kill Carver but instead stays with him. Their's is the strangest love story you'll ever read but it makes sense in this story. It's also quite odd that I liked both of them even though I knew they were killers.I must warn readers who are squeamish about violence that this is a violent book; of course, since it is about a killer. I sometimes shy away from violent books, but I was so caught up in this one that I simply expected it and greedily read until the final page. I've been lucky to read several page-turners lately. When I finished this one, I looked at my husband (who was smiling at my edge-of-the-seat reading) and said, "Wow! What a book!" I can't tell you any more about the plot without possibly slipping in spoilers. All I can say is that this is a winner. It has well-drawn characters, everyone from the truly evil to people capable of evil to achieve a good end. The settings, whether French, Swiss, or British are beautifully depicted. The plot is intricate and ever-changing, but yet easy to follow. And the ending simply took my breath away. Highly recommended reading, with warning of violence.Source: probably a book sale
The Sinner

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My copy of this book is a 2004 paperback edition of one of the Rizzoli and Isles series. Maybe you've watched the TNT television channel show starring the characters in which, for a change, I think the casting people really nailed it. And the characters are what makes this series so addicting to me. We have Rizzoli the cop, Isles the pathologist, the Rizzoli family who are as Italian as they come, and the incidental characters in the stories who usually ring true with me.This story is unusual in that the first victims are nuns in a cloistered convent. The older one is still alive but the younger one is not only dead, she has recently given birth. Since these nuns shun contact with the outside world, this presents quite a mystery. It certainly wasn't a virgin birth. The next victim, found in an abandoned restaurant populated only by cockroaches and rats, has no face, hands, or feet. The face and hands could have been removed to prevent identification, but the feet? And what are those lesions all over her body?Meanwhile, Maura Isles' ex-husband suddenly shows up in Boston and is trying hard to insinuate himself back into her life. And Jane Rizzoli has a problem she has never faced and never wanted to. What to do? This mix of personal and professional mysteries are engrossing enough to keep you turning the pages. Have I tempted you yet?Gerritsen writes an excellent series of novels. I always look forward to finding a new one to me and the time to read it.Highly recommended for mystery loversSource: friend
Private Eyes

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Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series is one that I haven't read in order. I pick them up at book sales though and save them for times when I need an Alex Delaware fix. I just love this character, a pediatric psychologist who solves crimes, often with his friend Det. Milo Sturgis of LAPD. Delaware is smart, caring, and at the moment of this story lonely. Sturgis is gay and takes a lot of you-know-what from other LAPD cops. In this story he has been put on suspension for a period of months and Delaware talks him into taking a case as a private eye.For those who love Delaware's former girlfriend Robyn as I do, she does make an appearance in this book. She has been through a bad time and of course Delaware is there for her.The case involves a former patient of Delaware's, a rich girl whose mother is agoraphobic, her father dead, new stepfather in the picture, and the effects of all those on the girl. Melissa is bright and after two years of treatment had seemed capable of going on without Delaware. He doesn't take patients now except for former patients, and now Melissa needs help for her mother. Mom had been horribly scarred years earlier when someone threw acid in her beautiful face. She hasn't left the house since. The guilty parties have served time and one is dead, but the other is out of prison now. Meanwhile, Melissa has talked her mother into getting treatment for her agoraphobia but doesn't like the way things are going.Kellerman is a master at characterization which is what keeps me on the lookout for his books that I haven't gotten to yet. In this one I sometimes thought Melissa was a little over the top, but maybe not considering her situation. I figured out the bad guy fairly early on, but I didn't know the reasoning behind the crimes. It was a harrowing mystery.Highly recommended reading - the whole series.Source: book sale find
The Philadelphia Quarry

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The Philadelphia Quarry is Howard Owen's second Willie Black mystery. I must go back and read the first one because I love Willie despite myself. He chain smokes unfiltered cigarettes, drinks way too much, cusses like an old-time sailor, and other assorted sins, i.e. has neglected his only child until she is a grown woman and now he's trying to make it up to her. And yet you just have to like this guy. For all his faults, his heart is in the right place and he is (miracle of miracles) a true journalist, a man who actually tries as hard as he can to write the truth regardless of whose toes he steps on.That last fact is what gets him in trouble in this story. DNA has freed a black man, Richard Slade, who served 28 years for the rape of a teenage girl from a wealthy white family. She had identified him, but he didn't do it. Then a few days after his release, the woman who had been raped is murdered. Of course everyone believes Slade killed her. Who else had a better motive? As Black investigates the story he first believes Slade did it, but comes to see that he might be innocent.This novel has an excellent plot, some wonderful characters who are either endearing (like Black) or craven cowards, poor folks or snobbish rich people. Love 'em all. Willie Black's family will make you laugh. His mother, for instance, is a pot smoker and alcoholic, but when Black starts to light a cigarette in her living room she makes him go outside to smoke. Meanwhile, she and a guy who lives with them are sitting on the couch sharing an ashtray and a toke. Scenes like this just made my day.If you like offbeat characters, a good story, and a hero who thumbs his nose at pompous bosses, and gets away with it, you must read The Philadelphia Quarry. Recommended.Source: LibraryThing win.
Dead Peasants: A Thriller

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This legal thriller came out last October and I can't believe I hadn't heard about it earlier. However, thanks to Partners in Crime Tours I have now read it, to the detriment of household chores. Jack Bryant is a very wealthy man due to a successful career as a plaintiff attorney in many cases against large corporations. He was brilliant at getting huge settlements in those cases and of course his share of the settlement was sizable. After his last case, he suddenly announced that he was retiring. His son was set to play football for TCU, and you know how Texans love their football, so he was moving to Fort Worth to enjoy life and watch his son's games.The early part of the book where he is settling into an expensive house, becoming intrigued with the beautiful realtor, meeting up with his son J.R., and where we learn about all of his cars, truck, RV, etc. is my least favorite part. Then the story picks up as he becomes bored with retirement and sets up a pro bono legal practice in his RV in a poor section of town, thereby stirring up all kinds of trouble with the people who had been taking advantage of the poor.That's when I decided I liked this guy and the story pulled me in like a fish on a hook. I had no idea what "dead peasants" meant and was interested in the story of what that phrase has to do with taking money rightfully due unknowing people. I was fooled for most of the book; Thompson led me right down the garden path to the wrong conclusion, but in retrospect I saw all the clues I had missed. Love a book like that.Larry Thompson is an attorney who lives in Texas so the setting and the legalities come from an author who knows what he's writing about. I enjoyed the feeling of being in Texas throughout the story.Recommended readingSource: Author via Partners in Crime Tours
Dead Wrong

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This is Dial's second book in the Josie Corsino series. The first one, Fallen Angels, was a book I enjoyed a year ago. LAPD Capt. Josie Corsino is a character who embodies all of women's torn emotions about job v. family. She has worked hard to reach the rank of captain and loves her job despite some of the other officers she has to deal with daily. For instance, her boss who demands daily reports but never reads them. She then calls Corsino to tell her off for not notifying her of things that were in that daily report. Definitely frustrating.Corsino has been married for years to a man she still loves and they have a grown son who is the cause of most of the strife in their marriage. Said son lives off of handouts from dad. Then he brings home a woman he's serious about who happens to be about 20 years older than he is. Corsino isn't happy with either situation but between that and her irregular hours for her job, she and her husband are growing apart.The plot of this book involves a cop shooting a suspended cop in a dark alley. The dead cop had aimed a gun at the cop on duty. The investigation into this shooting uncovers corrupt cops and a hornet's nest of problems in the LAPD. It's a believable scenario starring excellent characters and it kept me turning pages, although I must admit I knew who the bad guys were early on.My one complaint about Dead Wrong is that Corsino's best friend on the force is a lieutenant who couldn't put a short sentence together without offensive profanity if she had to. Yet not one other character in the book cusses. If Dial has managed to portray various types of characters including street savvy cops without having them swear, why does she have to write in a woman who can't talk without swearing? The lack of profanity in other characters didn't deter Dial from describing them well. Each was unique and well-drawn and this woman's personality alone would have made her sufficiently her own person.Recommended readingSource: LibraryThing win
Kinsey and Me

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Ordinarily I don't care for short stories but I've been a fan of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone since A is for Alias so there was no way I would miss this book. Then I discovered that it is so much more than a collection of stories; it includes a lot of information about Grafton's life that she never talks about and some stories about a character named Kit Blue. Blue's stories are from the decade after Grafton's mother died. They deal with the alcoholism of both of her parents in real life as well as her mother's death. It's an emotional journey of self discovery.The Kinsey stories are short versions of her books written for various publications. There is even one written for Land's End which features one of their parkas. I got a big kick out of these little gems, some with surprising twists at the end and all excellent examples of how to write a short story. Her quick portraits of characters are spot-on and most of the tales are very funny. I just began to write about some examples but realized they were spoilers so I can't very well tell you much because I'll drift into spoiler land. Well trust me, you'll love them.The Kit Blue stories are heart-wrenching. They showed me the depth of emotion Grafton feels but also a different side to her writing skills. I never cry when reading a book but I came pretty close in this section. Kit and her older sister became the parents because of their parents' alcoholism, and they had to learn responsibility for others and how to take care of a home and family way too early. Then when their father remarried, learning to deal with a difficult stepmother was another challenge. It told me much about Grafton and the origin of her series characters.I had gone to the library to get another book but just had to grab this one from the display in the fiction department. So glad I did. Kinsey and Me was a fast read but one that greatly affected me.Highly recommendedSource: library
Mistrial: An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works...and Sometimes Doesn't

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The subtitle of this book tells the story: "An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works . . . and Sometimes Doesn't." You will no doubt recognize the authors' names since they have represented several celebrities, including Michael Jackson when he was accused of molesting a boy who stayed overnight at Neverland.Defense attorneys get paid to win people over to their point of view so of course I knew this book would be biased. However, they won me over right from the get-go with their definition of one thing that's wrong with the justice system at the moment, namely the "Angry Blond White Women." The name comes from a person on HLN who I cannot abide. She used to be a prosecutor, but has since become a broadcaster and nominated herself judge, jury, and God. I'm sure you know who I mean. Some of these people aren't even women, or blond, or even white, but they are universally angry.That the authors won me over doesn't mean I agree with everything they write, but I do see their point of view and that's all they ask really. They are understandably upset at the fact that tough judges and district attorneys are easily re-elected because the public is convinced that only stiffer penalties will solve what they see as a rising crime rate. Actually the crime rate has been falling for years; we just hear more about crime on 24 hour news programs that need to keep us stirred up and tuning in. Meanwhile, the jails and prisons are full to overflowing so that in California at least, they are turning prisoners loose to free up space.Read here about actual cases that prove dependence on eyewitness identification is wrong, wrong, wrong.I learned a lot from this easy reading book. Each author narrates some tales that make you feel like you're one of a bunch of lawyers sitting around telling stories and laughing. There are also some unarguable points about problems with our justice system, many of which exist because the public demands them. Mistrial might make you angry in places, and laugh in others, but I doubt that you will regret reading it. When the subtitle says "the inside look," that's true and these two lawyers have the years of experience to back it up.Recommended readingSource: LibraryThing win
NOT AVAILABLE
The Redeemer

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The Scandinavian invasion in crime fiction caught me off guard, so much so that I am only now trying my first novel from that phenomenon. I know, I'm years late but at least I finally decided to jump in. I had heard about Jo Nesbo and his hero Harry Hole; I even know how to pronounce Hole's last name, so I wasn't totally behind times. Anyway, I noticed Nesbo's newest volume was available at Amazon Vine so I requested it.I wonder now if all of these novels would give me the same reaction. Reading The Redeemer is like watching a black and white movie. It's colorless for the most part, the only color being the light turquoise blue of one character's eyes, and of course red blood in the snow. Hole is a complex alcoholic loner detective whose heart is in the right place. He defies authority to do what he knows is right, and he has compassion for victims. I like him even though I find him somewhat depressing. He figures things out with the help of experience and thought rather than being a super-detective who just seems to know things. The killer is exactly his opposite.Perhaps it's because this novel is set in Oslo in the winter, with a little foray into Serbia, but the predominant impression is of freezing cold, darkness, gloom, isolated characters who are irredeemably sad, and people who suffer through no fault of their own. The Salvation Army as an organization is very much a character as well and some of the characters are members. Despite the overwhelming sadness, I followed the story greedily as I tried to deduce who did what to whom and why. I didn't actually know until near the end.Thankfully about the time I finished the book the sun came out here and the temperature went up into the 70s. Gosh, it was nice to warm up. I should read the next one in this series during a heat wave. And I will read more of them. The writing, the atmosphere, the characters are all beautifully written.Recommended readingSource: Amazon Vine
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