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Cry Wolf

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This is a new series by the author of the Mercedes Thompson books, the ones about the mechanic were-coyote. Cry Wolf is apparently the first book of a new series, at least I can't find any mention of an earlier book, but it reads as if the story were already well under way. It focuses of several minor characters from the Thompson series (werewolf relatives of Mercedes' friend Sam) and throws in a new character as a mate to one of them. This new girl is the principle character of the series, a new type who is an "omega", a special werewolf that helps keep the peace in a pact and isn't affected as much by pact magic. The story itself concerns an evil witch and rogue werewolves, etc, etc. It's not bad as a beach or bathtub book, but I won't be reading any more of this series.
Queen of the Night

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I was right in remembering Jance as someone who could write female characters without getting soppy or lost in details about their appearance. Such a relief.The story circles in general around the night-blooming cereus (otherwise known as the Queen of the Night), a flower of the deer horn cactus which blooms only one night a year, and then every flower at once. I remember reading about this flower somewhere before, and that it's quite a sight since the white, dahlia-like blooms are often the size of a dinner plate. I may get a chance to see this myself one day, if I carry thru on my plans to move to the Southwest after retirement.But back to the story. At first I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight as there are quite a lot of them and the point of view changes from one to the other every few pages, but the story was so interesting that I could barely put the book down and finished it in 2 days. With that much concentration, I was able to get my bearings on everyone quickly enough.There are, in fact, two plots. The minor one concerns a dying detective's desire to solve the 1959 murder of an young co-ed, into which he draws an old partner and friend when he can no longer leave his bed. The partner is also connected to the major plot, that of a man who goes on a killing spree that covers two states and eventually involves members of the second detective's family.Mixed in this this are a lot of details about the many characters that make me eager to read the first three books in the Walker Family series. A trip to the library is in order.
Shutter Island

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An excellent look into how and why minds are lost, and even more intriguingly, how the afflicted deal with the unbearable. The main character, a Federal marshal who is investigating the disappearance of a female patient at an asylum for the criminally insane, has had a long acquaintance with the unbearable. In addition to the recent death of an adored wife, he was one of the soldiers who liberated Dachau during WWII and saw things beyond the ability of most people to imagine. Definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading Lehane's "A Drink Before the War."
Intern: A Doctor's Initiation

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Jauhar entered medical school comparatively late, having tried 3 or 4 other careers first and wanting nothing less than to be a doctor. However, his older brother was a doctor and his parents were pushing for double doctor offspring, and for those and other reasons he eventually succumbed. His main objection to the profession was that he thought it was just cookie cutter work, devoid of soul or creativity. And to some degree that was true but he eventually found there were other aspects as well.Between starting medical school and getting to an acceptance of its realities, Jauhar struck me as the kind of doctor that makes people reluctant to go to one in the first place. Frequently late, taking short cuts and blowing off patients, wanting nothing more that to get away from the hospital, I wonder how much of this is just the grueling way interns are scheduled or if this is an honest expression of a doctor without a true calling? And how many more feel like this?
Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time

by and

I have to say that, even tho I know almost nothing about chess and care even less, I enjoyed this book tremendously. Recounting in lively detail not only the events sounding the chess match of the century, as well as the match itself, but a thorough character study of all the players involved, it kept my interest right to the end. I was reminded of not only what a complete and flaming ass Fischer was but what a truly fascinating individual Boris Spassky was, especially for someone living in the time, place and political culture that he did. I found myself wishing, as I did 40 years ago, that we could have traded the two men. Definitely recommend this book.
Indulgence in Death

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Not the best entry in the series, but an enjoyable time-waster nevertheless. Dallas and her team chase down a pair of wealthy thrill killers, which it seems to me they've done before but there are so many books in this series that I'm not really sure. In any case, the identity of the killers was obvious by the half-way point in the story so it was less of a whodunit than a "how ya gonna catch 'em?". One thing that did irk me a bit is that Peabody's personality seems to be changing into something girly, more Mavis-like, which I do not care for. I miss the stolid, no-nonsense officer with the dead-pan delivery I was first introduced to.
The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel

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I have to admit it, I found this story more interesting than its prequel, The Wolves of Andover -- perhaps because the protagonist was much more appealing, perhaps because there was no romance involved (I get grumpier as I get older), and perhaps because the trial sections reminded me so vividly of the McMartin day care "devil worship" hysteria of the 1980s. Over 200 years after the horrors of the Salem witch trials and humanity is, in large, still a collection of gullible, superstitious fools.But enough of that before I get worked up. This book also affected me more because of the imprisonment section, which brought tears to my eyes several times despite my not being the crying sort. All but 2 members of the Carrier family (the father and 3 yr old daughter) were eventually imprisoned on charges of witchcraft and held there, in manacles, for many months. The mother was hung as a witch but fortunately the tide of hysteria turned and good sense returned in time for the 4 Carrier children who'd been locked up to be released -- but not before their father had paid the sheriff for the cost of their manacles. Apparently this was a common practice of the time, and imprisoned people could be held long after being exonerated if no one was able to pay for the costs of their imprisonment -- the manacles, any food they may have been given (relatives where expected to feed and clothe the imprisoned), medical attention (if it was available). At least we can congratulate ourselves that we've risen about that level of barbarity, if not that level of gullibility. Bear in mind this is being written on the day yet another religious loon has predicted the world is ending.
River Marked

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Mercy Thompson, now newly married to pack alpha Adam Hauptmann, finds her camping honeymoon beset by an incredibly old and evil river monster and its fae followers who take the shape of otters. But not to worry, several Indian icons, including Mercy's maybe-father, Trickster Coyote, turn up to help her save the day. Again, perfectly acceptable bath tub reading tho high on the mush (probably unavoidable given the honeymoon aspect). The growing mush is going to be a problem for me and these books if it continues. I do long for the days when detectives, professional and otherwise, didn't marry or, if they did, where restrained about their feelings.
Silver Borne

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This is the fifth book in the Mercedes Thompson, shape-shifting mechanic, series and while I didn't enjoy it as much as the others it was still a fun read. In this one Mercy deals with yet more unreasonable fae (including a fairy queen), uncovers a powerful fae artifact, copes with Samuel the werewolf doctor's depression and confronts her alpha werewolf fiance's pack, many of whom are unhappy about their leader consorting with a mere coyote shifter. And, conveniently, her trailer is blown up, which settles the issue of moving in with fiance Adam. Also convenient was Samuel's cure for depression turning up in the form the fae woman who created the artifact everyone is searching for. Who, we suddenly find out, Samuel has been secretly in love with for centuries. The number of conveniently tied up loose ends was the main thing that put me off a little about this entry to the series, but not enough to keep me from recommending it as good bathtub reading.
The Killer Inside Me

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The Killer Inside Me is the story of a psychopathic killer, told from the killer's point of view as he goes about his day-to-day life and slides into his first killing spree in 15 years. Not that the times between outbreaks of "the sickness" (his name for the active periods of his madness) have been rosy and normal. From our front row seat in his mind, we see what he actually thinks of the people he smiles at, how he subtlely torments co-workers and locals, and takes advantage of powerlessness of beggars and transients to inflict more straightforward torture. Given his position as a deputy sheriff from a well-regarded local family, he has a lot of lee-way.For awhile this even covers his mutually S/M relationship with a whore who moves into the city, and his tight-rope walking "normal" relationship with a local good girl, but eventually it all comes to a head when the son the town's richest man enters the mix as the whore's sincere admirer and eventual betrothed. The rich man, of course, wants his son and the whore separated and appeals to the deputy sheriff to see to this, tho he hardly imagined the body count that would result. The ending was a good bit of a surprise -- tho plenty of hints were dropped along the way that the killer had left a loose end at some point, when it was finally revealed it was not what I expected. There was also some wrenching collateral damage just before the end that added layers to an already complex story. Over all, a very satisfying if often difficult read and I greatly recommend it.
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