Book 2 for 2014 – Tamarack County -William Kent Krueger.

Tamarack CountyBook  2 of 2014 is Tamarack County the 13th book in the great Cork O’Connor series from William Kent Krueger, This series and Karin Slaughter’s Grant County/WillTrent series just my be my two favorites. One of the reasons these series are at the top of my reading list is the development of the characters throughout the length of the series. Tamarack County certainly continues the development of Cork O’Connor and his family; daughter Jenny and grandson Waaboo, daughter Anne and son Steven. The story opens with the disappearance of Evelyn Carter, wife of the County Judge. Her car is found on a back road with the gas tank empty and no Evelyn. An unsuccessful hunt for her body turns up nothing,and after a bloody knife is found in the Judge’s garage, the thoughts of the police turn to murder.

Meanwhile, Cork’s daughter Anne comes home early from California, where she is studying to become a nun. She appears troubled and doesn’t want to discuss her problem with anyone. Son Steven has a girlfriend Marlee Daychild. Cork’s love Rainy is in Arizona helping her son with his fight with drugs and alcohol, leaving Cork’s spiritual advisor and friend Henry Meloux alone. Henry decides to spend the winter with his son, in Thunder Bay. After the disappearance of Evelyn, the dog of Stella Daychilld’s brother Ray Jay is decapitated. This leads Cork in to the life of Stella, as Cork soon is staying with the Daychild’s, to keep them safe. As action develops in Aurora, Henry sends a message to Steven that an evil spirit is loose in Tamarack County and is watching their house!!

Cork and Sheriff Marsha Dross connect the murder and dog killing to a 20-year-old murder that may have sent an innocent man to prison. Can Cork and Marsha unravel the mystery before the evil touches Cork and his family?? Can Steven have a vision like Henry wants him to and discover the answers?? Why is Annie home and can she resolve her personal problems?? These are just a few of the questions that arise throughout the novel!!

Kent Krueger’s novels always work on many levels and this one is no exception. As the reader is not only entertained by an intriguing, fast-paced mystery full of suspense, but is also presented with lessons on the meaning of love, life’s purpose and calling,, as well as temptation and revenge all in 309 pages! I wish we all had a Henry Meloux to help us understand  the Great Mystery.

As always it would be best to read this great series in order, so that you understand all the many references throughout the book of past events. If you do not mind finding out about these events, after knowing the outcomes, go right ahead and enjoy this book.

Recently, William Kent Krueger’s book Ordinary Grace was nominated for a 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel. congratulations!.

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Book 34 for 2013 – Linwood Barclay’s thriller – A Tap on the Window

Tap on the Window

 Several years ago, well to be a little more accurate back in 2007 I read Linwood Barclay’s first Zack Walker novel Bad Move  That book came to mind when I read the first line of Book 34 for 2013 Barclay’s latest thriller A Tap on the Window 

A middle-aged guy would have to be a total fool to pick up a teenage girl standing outside a bar with her thumb sticking out. Not that bright on her part, either, when you think about it But right now, we’re talking about my stupidity, not hers.

The narrator is Cal Weaver, a private investigator who lives in Griffon, New York. Weaver makes the decision to pick up the girl, who identifies herself only as Claire, only after she recognizes Weaver and says Cal’s son Scott was a friend of hers. See Scott killed himself by jumping off of the roof of a furniture store in town, after taking a hit of X. The first thought going through Cal’s head is that Claire may be able to provide him some information that will help his quest, which is to discover who supplied the X to his son only two months earlier. Soon Cal’s words ring true as he is drawn into a plan hatched by Claire and her best friend Hanna that leaves both girls missing and Cal’s life a mess! Not that his life hadn’t been a mess before that. After Scott’s suicide Cal and his wife Donna’s marriage has been on the rocks as Cal can’t give up his quest to find out answers surrounding Scott’s death, and Donna deals with the loss by spending her time trying to draw the perfect portrait of Scott, Claire turns out to be Claire Sanders the mayor’s daughter. The mayor is in a battle over the use of excessive force that seems to  be prevalent on the force.Oh by the way, Cal’s brother-in-law Augie, is the police chief!! Like all of Barclay’s books the pages turned fast on this one, as I tried along with Cal, to figure out first where Hanna and Claire were, who they were pulling their scam on, and what does any of this have to do with Scott’s death?? Overall, the plot of the book twisted and turned and the final resolution of the various interwoven storylines was not what I expected. The book was a little darker than Barclay’s other books, and lacked some of the humor, that I thought was coming based on the first few lines of the book! You can watch a YouTube video in which Linwood Barclay discusses A Tap on the Window here And here’s the trailer for the book

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Book 33 for 2013 – James Rollins – The Eye of God!

The Eye of GodWith all the music listening and writing this week, I totally forgot to write about Book No. 33 of 2013, James Rollins The Eye of God. I have been a fan of Rollins’ Sigma Force novels since I read my first Map of Bones in 2005, and have enjoyed Rollins blending of science, history and of course a lot of action into 9 terrific reads!! It’s interesting as I write this that characters that first appeared in Map of Bones play a central part in this latest novel.

Like Harlan Coban’s Six Years this book is also a quest well actually it is several quests rolled into one action packed story. The most important quest is to find the satellite IoG2 which was studying dark energy surrounding a comet that is approaching the earth. While IOG2 (Eye of God) was preparing to perform and experiment evolving the transfer of dark energy back to its sister satellite IOG the satellite became unsteady and crashed to earth before its crashed pictures of the earth were transfer to the command center where Jada Shaw an astrophysicist  whose theories of dark energy were being proven correct and Director of Sigma Force Painter Crowe were watching. The pictures showed a destroyed eastern coast of the US and more amazingly they were dated four days in the future!! So began Sigma Force’s quest was first to find the satellite whose final resting place was somewhere in Mongolia and then find out what the hell was going to happen and can it be stopped!!

Meanwhile in Italy those characters that previously appeared in Map of Bones Rachael Verona and her Uncle Vigor a priest were about top embark on their quest, which also involved saving the world, but involved another priest Father Josip a priest that Vigor thought was long dead. Josip sends Vigor a skull and the Book of Thomas bound in human skin. The message hidden in these artifacts was clean to Vigor and it pointed to the end of the Earth in FOUR DAYS. So they set off to find Father Josip and a quest which also involves Ghengis Kjan and Attila the Hun!! Mongolian, eh??

And finally former assassin Seichan now in a quasi-relationship with Sigma Force Commander Gray Pierce is on a quest to find Seichan’s long-lost mother. It is a quest that has taken them to the underworld of Macau, China. Only when the trio Seichan, Gray and Kowalski meet an informer who is going to tell Seichan about her mother turns out to be someone who wants to capture and sell Seichan (a large bounty is on her head due to her past) All hell busts loose and Seichan ends up in North Korea and Gray’s quest becomes her rescue!!

Ultimately, as you may have guessed all the quest come together and become a race to save the world from the destruction that was witnessed. The final resolution ties all the threads up in a whirlwind of action.

As always the characters are vividly drawn and while some characters are absent like Monk’s wife Kat and Lisa Painter’s love interest there are new members introduced including the aforementioned Jada Shaw and Duncan Wren who has magnets in his fingers that pick up minuscule oscillations and vibrate in the presence of an electromagnetic field!! and maybe in the presence of dark energy!!

So if you are like me and enjoy books that teach you stuff …. like Attila’s murder, and Genghis Khan’s mother’s birthplace and the quest for Genghis’ tomb, and blends that with cutting edge science and plenty of action, you’ll love The Eye of God… is it a little hard to follow and have a little too much happening maybe, is the action a little over the top with too many bodies, maybe. But the bottom line is that when you turn the last page… you learned something and had a great time doing it!!!

Here’s a cool trailer about the book! And if you’re already a fan of Rollins you can listen to an interview here

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Book 32 for 2013 – Harlan Coben’s – Six Years

Six YearsSo it has been a long time between Books No. 31 and 32 for 2013. One of the reasons is that I have  been listening to too much music late into the night and that cuts into reading time. The other is that I just couldn’t get enthralled in any books. I am currently a little over halfway through James Rollins latest The Eye of God and while I am enjoying it, it hasn’t been a can’t put it down page turner for me. That is exemplified by the fact that I’m still reading it!  Now that lack of enthrallment ended when I finally picked up Harlan Coben’s latest Six Years!  It didn’t take long for Harlan to pull me into the world of Jacob Fisher, Professor of Political Science and he never let me go until I finished the book last night. A while ago I read that much of literature involves a quest that the hero has embarked on and that is certainly the case with Six Years. Six years prior to the start of his quest Jake was on a retreat and feel in love with Natalie Avery only to watch his world come crashing down when Natalie unexpectedly marries her ex-boyfriend Todd Sanderson. After the wedding, which a heartbroken Todd attends, Natalie makes Jake promise to leave them alone, forever, no contact what so ever!! Jake keeps his promise for six years until one day he reads that Todd has died, murdered in his South Carolina home. Hoping to for a reconciliation with Natalie Jake heads to SC only to find Todd a happily married man with children older than six and a wife that isn’t NATALIE!!  So the quest begins – where is Natalie?? Is she all right??? Why isn’t she Todd;s wife??  The quest soon turns Jake’s life upside-down and threatens not only Jake, but everyone else who knew Jake and Natalie during that fateful summer when they fell in love!! Like all of Harlan’s books this one is terrific as an ordinary man must overcome extraordinary circumstances to save his damsel in distress! Can he do it before his world and everything he knows and loves is destroyed – including Natalie!! Highly recommended!! It’s taken me a while to get around to reading this book and I don’t know why?? It was released back in March and today I found this article about Hugh Jackman and the book

Hugh Jackman to Lead Harlan Coben’s ‘Six Years’ Novel Adaptation

 

After some new photos from The Wolverine surfaced yesterday, with the promise of the first trailer finally arriving on March 27th, THR says Hugh Jackman is going to take a break from action with a new dramatic adaptation of Harlan Coben’s novel Six Yearswhich just hit shelves today. With no writer or director attached at this point, this kind of announcement seems timed to simply sell more books, but if Jackman sticks with the project being produced by former Fox head Tom Rothman, he would play a man named Jake Fisher whose heart was broken as he watched the love of his life, Natalie, marry another man. Six years later, still heartbroken, Jake comes across this other man’s obituary. Hoping to see Natalie, he attends the funeral, but has another surprise waiting for him. From the official synopsis for the book:   Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out. As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction. Continue Reading

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2013 Americana from The Harmed Brothers – Better Days

The Harmed BrothersSo yesterday when I started to look for new Americana music, I remembered it was a new month! That means there’s a new chart at one of the best places to find new Americana artists the Euro-Americana Chart! One of the first names that caught my eye was The Harmed Brothers. Their latest release currently is tied for the 17th position on the chart. So I drifted over to MOG found the album, put it on the iPhone and gave it a listen to and from Sioux Lake this afternoon and then on the way down to Andrew and Meaghan’s Gender Revel Party!! (more to come on this) . The band reminds me of The Avett Brothers, but I like them better than the Avetts!!  From their website:

Rising up from rural Missouri in 2009, Ray Vietti started the first incarnation of The Harmed Brothers with Ben and Zach Kilmer based on a mutual admiration of Ryan Adams, Wilco, and Avett Brothers. The fledgling group quickly took to the road and made their way eventually to Eugene, Oregon where Vietti met his musical soul mate Alex Salcido. At this point the two songwriters chose to forego the typical rhythm section and began to focus on the blueprint for their music to establish a menagerie of sound best described as “indiegrass”. After some line-up tinkering, The Harmed Brothers of 2013 offers up a membership of Vietti and Salcido along with Troy Broat on upright bass and Ben Kilmer on drums after a period away. Read More 

I really enjoyed the album.. Here’ some information about the album from their website: Better Days

Better Days the upcoming long player, due out October 15th, showcases the band at the height of their powers as they immerse in blissful harmonies and their trademarked sound of banjo/guitar shuffling. The songs recall wistful romantic notions of times that are to be remembered kindly, but need to be closed if only for the sense of self preservation. “When You See Me” is a track that brings great clarity to a failed relationship. “Love Song for the Assumed” goes the distance as a call to grow up and mend fences and to let go of the pain and blame you’ve put on yourself. Fans of their previous efforts such as 2010’s All the Lies You Wanna Hear or 2012’s Come Morning will embrace Better Days as a sorely missed lover. As for the uninitiated, Better Days will caress the musical palette and serve as an introduction to their earlier releases.

Here are the Harmed Brothers performing the title track from the album “Better Days”

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Book 30 – Unseen (Will Trent # 7) – Karin Slaughter

UnseenSo there may a few of you out there who are questioning why does this site have the words mysteries included in the title?? I will admit that September was a slow reading month resulting more music than mysteries appearing on the blog last month. However, I’ve still been reading and yesterday finally finished Book 30 for the year Karin Slaughter’s latest Unseen. Unseen is the seventh book in the Will Trent series couple that with the six books in the Grant County series and that makes a total of thirteen great books by Karin Slaughter!!

In  Unseen the  Grant County series and the Will Trent series continue their collision course, as Sara Litton and Lena Adams, come face to face for the first time since the surprising conclusion to the final book in the Grant County series. Beyond Reach.

The story opens with a deadly attack on Lena and her husband Jared in their Macon Georgia home. . Lena takes out two of the assailants and is stopped short of taking out a third by Wiil Trent a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) agent working undercover in Macon. Jared is Sara’s stepson so she quickly heads to Macon at the request of Nell  Jared’s mother. Soon the lives of Sara, Will and Lena are entwining and creating havoc in all their lives!  The action careens through flashbacks from present events to a failed drug bust that Lena had headed!!

As always the story functions on two levels first on the events that occurred prior to and after the drug bust and the attack on Lena and Jared,and on the second level how the events affect the lives of Sara, Will and Lena. The case nearly destroy Will and Sara’s relationship, and forces both Lena and Sara to relive a period of their lives, that they would both rather forget!

Now the question is whether you can read this novel without having read any of Slaughter’s other works. Yes, you can but I don’t think you’ll enjoy it as much as you would if you had read Beyond Reach, So if you are new to Karin’s work do yourself a favor and read that one first. But at a minimum read at least one, then you’ll only have twelve more to go!!

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Book 29 of 2013 – Caribbean Moon – Rick Murcer

Caribbean MoonSo Rick Murcer‘s book Caribbean Moon, the first book in the Manny Williams series, has been on my Kindle and iPhone for a long while now. The other day (while I am in the middle of The Templar Salvation by Raymond Khoury) I started reading it and I didn’t put it down until it became book 29 for 2013. You can pickup the e-book at Amazon for 99 cents and I tell you it’s well worth it and a lot more! Murcer has nor always been a full-time writer’ He lost his job in 2008 due to the crashing of the economy. He then sent out over 600 resumes and still was unable to find employment. So  with unemployment benefits waning and savings nearly depleted he decided to become a full-time writer!! From his biography at his website:

I’m an older writer. I started about eight years ago and got the first story I ever wrote, Herb’s Home Run, published in Writer’s Journal. Since then, I’ve been hooked.

I lost my real job two years ago, and after 550 resumes with no luck, decided I was going to make it as a writer, and here I am. Caribbean Moon was a labor of love, and writing it taught me more about myself than I cared to know. (My wife thinks I should keep my mind a secret!)

 

In his quest to become a writer, he defied conventional wisdom about self publishing and took his work to Amazon in e-book form, and there he became a sensation!  Caribbean Moon, Deceitful Moon, and Emerald Moon sold more than 300,000 copies between April and October 2011. Two books  of the books were in Amazon’s top ten for many weeks. He has gone on to become both a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author! Way to go Rick!!

But back to Caribbean Moon  Manny Williams, a Lansing Michigan homicide detective, and a group of his associates, go on a cruise with the newly married son and daughter of his boss Gavin Crosby. But the cruise is anything but a honeymoon because bodies  soon start piling up on the ship, and around the Caribbean. The victims include two members of Manny’s group. The victims mostly women are in most cases are strangled  and their bodies are badly mutilated. The MO is similar to a serial killer, Robert Peppercorn, who the group sent to prison a while back. Can it be Peppercorn committing these heinous crimes? Wasn’t he reformed?? Manny and the gang have to act quickly to end this brutal murder spree and the question soon becomes:What is the objective of the murderer!

The book is a light quick read with enjoyable well-developed characters including: Manny, his partner Sylvia Lee the rest of his co-workers, and of course the killer!! So check it out – I’ve already started the second book Deceitful Moon, which costs a whole $2.99!!.

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A Bag Full of Books for Five Bucks – How Can You Go Wrong!!

Gracie  A Love StorySo my evil daughter came home from her summer job the other night and said, that she passed the Mount Laurel Library on her way home, and they were having a Used Book Sale, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and that all day Saturday it was $5.00 for a bag-full! She also said that we are going Saturday, before we go to Ikea. I need more books like I need another hole in my head…. damn there’s not enough holes in my head or books on my bookshelves…and at five dollars a bag-full how can you pass that up!!

Damn, Elizabeth’s three little books didn’t even come close to filling up the bag – so I had to keep going right! What else could I do!!  So here’s what I filled the rest of the bag up with,,,,,

Hardbacks

Gracie: A Love Story – George Burns – now after what I wrote the other day, how could I pass this one up! I think that somewhere along the way I read a good part of this book!

Congressional Anecdotes – Paul Boller – a series of short, duh, anecdotes, about Congress organized y subject…. I just read two quick ones,…. you’ll probably be reading about some before you know it!!

Double Image - David Morrell – A Thriller – one of Morrell’s books that I haven’t read and after the last read I couldn’t pass this one up!

Psycho-Cybernetics 2000 – Maxwell Maltz Foundation – Bobbe Sommer  - read the original way back when I remember it was filled with good ideas ….. I just opened the book to a random page and here;s a quote from Maxwell Maltz from Psycho-Cybernetics…..

“Functionally, man is like a bicycle… A bicycle maintains its poise and equilibrium only so long as it’s going forward towards something”

Paperbacks

Hard Rain - Barry Eisler – A John Rain thriller – I read the first book in this series a long time ago, there now seven in the series, I’ve put off reading any of the others until I read this one, which I’ve never been able to find!

The Templar Salvation - Raymond Khoury – I read The Last Templar back in 2006 and look forward to this sequel which came out in paperback in 2011.

The Matarese Countdown - Robert Ludlum – I read the Matarese Circle years ago and according to my Goodreads bookshelf I read this one too – LOL

The Lion’s Game – Nelson DeMille – this is the second book in his John Corey series, since I have already read book 4, Wild Fire, I guess I can read this one before I read book 1 Plum Island

The Dark Tide – Andrew Gross – I read Gross’ The Blue Zone back in 2009, I guess it may be time for another.

Entroverse – James P Hogan –  speaking being time to read an author again I beat it’s been 20 years since I read a book by Hogan and yes, it’s time for another!!

So ten books for me three for my daughter – thirteen books for $5.00 I think that’s a pretty good deal. So I’ll dive into one of them soon ….. but first it’s back to Boston with Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles in The Silent Girl – tell me again why I’ve put off reading this book!!!

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A Blog by Me for Me? If the Readers learn something that’s all the Better!

So over the last few days, I have been depressed about this blog. The reason is that I used to think that had a lot more readers than I do, I see now that I use several difference services that measure page views, that the majority of the page views are 10 seconds or less! There are only a handful that are 2 or more minutes. So I was bummed, and to a certain extent I still am, but after thinking about it, I said wait a minute! Would I be listening to half of the music that I’ve listened to over the last 3 years? I’ve discovered hundreds of artists, that I’ve never heard of before I started checking the Roots Music Charts each week? Hell, I even had my name mentioned on an album! It’s the same thing for my reading, I’ve started expanding my reading material to include politics, history and memoirs and not just mysteries and thrillers!!

Possible Side EffectsHell, Book 23 for the year is a collection of stories from one of the fifteen funniest writers in America according to Entertainment Weekly Augusten Burroughs’ Possible Side Effects,which is probably a book that I would not have read without this blog!! But as I looked back on the stories today to write about one, I just said “That one’s funny, so’s that one, and that one …. so just check out the whole damn book. As for me, I checked out Running with Scissors and bought Dry, two of his other works at the library the other day!!

Yesterday I started What is the What by Dave Eggers, the story of Valentino Achk Deng, on of the Lost Boys of Southern Sudan another book I probably wouldn’t have read three years ago!

This blog has also let me write about family and things like the deaths of my mother and Will Marris. I find that I write about things like those than talk about them. So I guess the bottom line is I will continue to write, continue to discover new music and books and if someone reads what I write and gets something out of it, then that’s icing on the cake, but I’m happy just doing what I’m doing for myself!!

State of ArtHere’s another example yesterday up popped on MOG album called State of Art by Ben Williams. I went to MOG listened thought it was great! I came home and read about Ben who is a young Washington DC jazz bassist, who won the 2009 Thelonious Monk Competition. Here he is talking about it on First Heard So check him out!!

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

 

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A Lunchtime with Dorothy Parker and “Moonlight Sonata”

Farewell, Dorothy ParkerSo this afternoon, I was reading yet again another atypical book, this one is titled Farewell, Dorothy Parker and features the ghost of probably the most famous member of the Algonquin Round table, Dorothy Parker! In the book, the heroine Violet Epps meets the ghost of Parker after she accidentally steals the guest book of the famous hotel, after being asked to sign it. When she was asked to sign the book the owner noticed Violets little dog Woolcott in her dog and in the ensuing havoc the book was dropped into Violet’s bag and when it became opened at home out popped Mrs. Parker! Now Violet is channelling, and taking advice from Parker, as she fights for custody of her niece Delaney. Delaney is now living with her grandparents after her mother and father were killed in an auto accident a year earlier. In the part I read this afternoon, Delaney had a piano recital and at the recital she played Beethoven’s .”Moonlight Sonata” a sad and somber piece that didn’t leave a dry eye in the house!   Anyway, that got me thinking about one of first times I heard the piece. It was in the Carlton Auditorium at the University of Florida at a lecture for my Humanities class. All I remember is that the lights went low, and this incredible piano music came on, and it has remained one of my favorite if not favorite piece of classical music – such power and feeling……

As I looked around for a video on YouTube to play, there were many, but the one that stood out for me was a video of Eric Henderson playing the piece on the guitar. According to the description, Henderson is only one of three people who have studied privately with the great Andres Segovia!  So here is Henderson with “Moonlight Sonata”

 

 

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