Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Report #17 of 26

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This is my first brush with Mr. Lehane and I was very interested in what he considered to be noir.

Of the 11 stories I liked every one but one.  These were interesting, taught, dark and thrilling to read.

Lehane had a story in it as well and I liked it as well.  If his novels have the same kind of tone as this collection then I'll be very happy indeed to read his books.

I may be the only person who has never read him nor have I seen any of the movies that have been adapted from his books.  I am a luck reader to be in such a position.

Once I finished the book I quickly picked up A Drink Before the War and so far I'm loving it.  The two detectives are wonderful and there is enough drama all around them that I feel a person can just lose himself in Lehane's world.  It's no all dark and there is humor and some crackling dialogue between the covers.  I feel that I am in very good hands while reading.

Book Report #16 of 26

Perish Twice: a Sunny Randal mystery


The second book in the series and the story telling was much better than the first.  Now that all the set-up is done we can proceed with just telling a good story.

I can't get passed the feeling that these stories are Spenser Light; there are so many similarities that I sometimes find that I just wish Spenser would knock on her door to lend a hand.  This story dealt with so many couples splitting up that I felt I was reading a romance novel.  Thank God there were a few bodies around to remind everyone that this was a mystery!

I gave these books a pass when Parker was living and I'm reading them now to honor the man but, I have to be honest, this was not Parker at his best.  Even in the Spenser books I never liked the parts where Spenser and Susan were sitting around talking about their feelings.  It's funny; everybody has conversations like that but, for some reason, I never felt like Parker handled them well.  I can't put my finger on it but these scenes never rang true for me.  With Perish Twice I had nearly a whole book of boo-hoo-ing!  Sometimes I forgot where we were in the investigation!

At this point my advice would be to pass on the first two books.

The next one in the series is called Shrink Rap.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Report #15 of 26

Family Honor

After this book I've decided to take a break from reading novels.  But I've established the foundation for two series that I'll concentrate on for the remainder of the year.  The first series is the Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly which I wrote about in Book Report #14.  The other is the Sunny Randall series by Robert B. Parker. I chose it because it was a side project for the wonderful Mr. Parker; Spenser is a very long series dating back to the 1970's and I've read most of them (but not all).  There are only six books with Sunny Randall and I thought this would make a nice project for my book reading challenged.

So, Family Honor - well, it was okay.  Once again we are dealing with book one of a series so there is a lot of foundation to set up; who is Sunny, what kind of person is she, who are her friends and so on.  I'd have to say that she is not too far removed from good 'ol Spenser.  She's pretty confident, smart and knows herself very well.  She paints instead of boxes and she's not much of a fighter.  But she can gather the help from her friends who have the skills that she lacks.  I like Sunny but I really need to read more to get an idea as to her character.

The one aspect of the book that simply did not work for me was Sunny's relationship with her ex-husband.  He comes form a "connected" family although he has always professed that he was not part of the family business.  But this was still too much for Sunny to live with and so she separated from him.  Still there is a lot of pent up attraction between them so they keep getting re-involved; usually because Sunny needs something from him.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is with their relationship that I don't like but, somehow, the whole situation comes up flat and just a bit far fetched.  I don't know - I just don't like this relationship.

As always Parker's prose is a relaxed, easy read.  I tended to put the book down and not come back to it for days at a time but I could always jump back in.

I liked the book enough to read the second one.  I do hope the second one grabs me a bit more that this one though.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book Report #14 of 26

I've been behind in my blog updating lately.

You know how it is - you get in the habit of blogging then something comes up and you get out of it.  So now I'm trying to force my way back into blogging.

Since Maddy has left for Spain I've found that I've spent more time on Twitter and on Facebook than on my own page.  Maddy has been keeping us up to date on her Facebook page and I've been posting little bits of information on there lately.  It's a different audience but I get the same sense of satisfaction of having blogged by posting on those sites.  But this site is the one where I have to sit down and "think" about what I'm going to write about.  It takes a certain time commitment and it's very easy to put it to the side.

Maddy is doing very well in Spain.  But we really do miss her and I can tell that she's becoming home-sick.  Living out of a suitcase gets old fast and, I'm sure, she'd love to just get back to her old habits of watching her favorite shows and reading her books that make her so happy.

By next Saturday she'll be back and I'll be happy to have my family together again.


So, the 26 books in a year challenge: is going quite well. I've read books 14 and 15 and I'm taking a bit of a break from novels to catch up on some short story collections that I have.  They are still in book form but they can be enjoyed in small bites.

Book 14 was:

The Black Echo

Connelly is one of my favorite authors, his books are smart, dark and always interesting.

I've read a few of his books before but I've never read them in any kind of order.  This one is the first in the Harry Bosch series and my intent is to read the whole series - in order.

I'm a  big fan of continuity it just makes the small references from previous novels much more satisfying to read.  Plus you manage to form a kind of relationship with a character this way.

Having read other novels further along in Connelly's career I found this one to be a bit stiff.  This is understandable since it was his first published novel.

Harry is a detective for the LAPD and he catches a murder case that, at first, just looks like a drug OD.  When he realizes the body is actually a Vietnam vet that he served with in the war he starts to look into it much more closely.  What looks like an OD is revealed to be a murder and during the investigation Harry uncovers some serious corruption.

Although the story was a bit stiff in the telling there was lots to get involved with; the story of the first case, the story of the witness, the story of a bank heist and the story of uncovered corruption.  There was a lot to chew on in this book.

I liked it and I look forward to reading the second installment - Black Ice.