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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Reconnecting with Amos Walker and Kathleen Mallory – oops It’s just Mallory!

So between 1987 and 1999, I read eleven novels by Loren D. Estleman including 8 novels featuring Amos Walker, and I enjoyed every one of them. Then for whatever reason I lost track of the series, and while I was aware that Estleman was writing more Walker mysteries, I wasn’t picking them up, the series is now up to book 22! Anyway, I was in the library on Saturday browsing the new books and there were two Walker mysteries The Left-Handed Dollar (2010) and Infernal Angels (2011), so I thought, you know I am never really going to catch up on the series, but why keep denying myself a good read, so I checked it out the 2010 release! With that thought in mind I kept looking and found a little farther down the alphabet The Chalk Girl by Carol O’Connell, now I loved O’Connell’s lead character Kathleen Mallory, but again have lost track of the series. (There are three books in the series on my To Be Read shelves!) So I checked that one out, also!! You can check out the O’Connell’s books  here

Well, I’m over 120 pages into the Amos Walker mystery and I’m really liking it – It’s nice to have an old friend back – and maybe this will inspire me to go back and read some of the earlier books! And now I can’t wait to go back and visit Mallory?

Do any other readers  of mystery series have the same problen? Who’s the author you’ve lost track of??

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Books Read by Author (more than 10 books)

An interesting tabulation of the number of books read by author (over 10 books) from my Goodreads shelves. Kyle Mills moves up on the list to 8 books with Book No 1 of 2012 – The Immortalists (more to come later) Overall the list surprises me, I wouldn’t have thought that Tapply would have been No 1. or that I’d read 16 books by George C Chesbro. Though, I did love that Mongo series! I don’t know how long it’s been since I read a book in the Nameless detective series or a book in the Matt Scudder series from Lawrence Block! Maybe I’ll make 2012 a year to catch up with old friends! Let’s see, it’s been a while since I spent time with Carol O’ Connell’s Kathleen Mallory series. I’ on Book 7 of 10 orDan Silva’s Gabriel Allon. So many books, so little time!

 Author – No of Books Read 

1 William G. Tapply 20
2 Parnell Hall 19
3 James Lee Burke 18
4 Harlan Coben 16
4 Bill Pronzini 16
4 George C. Chesbro 16
7 Stuart M. Kaminsky 14
8 Tony Hillerman 13
8 Janet Evanovich 13
8 C.J. Box 13
11 Paul Levine 12
12 Tess Gerritsen 11
12 Loren D. Estleman 11
12 Alex Kava 11
12 William Kent Krueger 11
16 Lawrence Block 10
16 Karin Slaughter 10
16 Robert Ludlum 10
16 Bill Granger 10

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Dennis Lehane – New Kenzie and Gennaro – Moonlight Mile

So it’s been a great fall for reading! I’ve gone through the new books by William Kent Krueger, Cork O’ConnorVermilion Drift, Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles Ice Cold, Alex Kava’s latest Maggie O’Dell Damaged and Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Sizzling Sixteen and now Dennis Lehane brings back Kenzie and Gennero for another adventure! After the success of Mystic River and Shutter Island Lehane had left the Kenzie and Gennaro series behind, but I guess a successful movie like “Gone Baby Gone” can make you do things you may not want to do! Anyway I’m glad he did and tonight I picked up the book, Moonlight Mileat the library and can’t wait to start it!

But alas I am almost in the middle of Fragment but that book has 500 pages! I don’t think I can wait that long to start the Lehane book. It looks like on of those times that two books will be read at the same time!!

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Book 36 – True Evil – Greg Iles

Greg Iles is one of those authors that when I read one of his books I have one of those “What was I thinking?” moments for not reading his books as soon as they come out!! (Can you say too many books, too little time!) Anyway True Evil has been sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read for a long while and I’m glad I finally got around to reading it and at 637 pages it should count as two books! But like all of Iles’ books those pages just flew by!

In this book FBI agent Alexandra (Alex) Morse is called to her home of Mississippi when her sister Grace is struck down by brain hemorrhage. On her death bed she tells Alex that she was murdered by her husband and asks Alex to save her son from his father. Soon Alex, who is having one of those when it goes bad it goes bad all at the same time periods as her father was killed in a robbery attempt gone bad (Dad the ex-cop and now PI), her mother’s dying of ovarian cancer, and she has been demoted at the FBI from her position as a top hostage negotiator when a hostage situation went bad leaving her face scared and a fellow FBI agent dead, sets out to find out how her brother-in-law killed her.She soon finds that Bill Fennel had visited a divorce attorney in Jackson, who seems to be providing a service whereby clients seeking a divorce are saved losing their money, or children by having their spouses mysterious die of cancer! Alex enlists the aid of Dr. Chris Sheppard whose wife Thora has visited the same attorney and Alex is convinced Sheppard is the next victim!

Iles writes good thrillers with believable characters that keep the action moving until the last pages of the book are turned!

Raves about the book:

“A pulse-pounder…… A fresh twist on the cat-and-mouse game between an FBI agent and a fiendishly clever serial killer…. Smooth prose, psychological depth and crafty plotting” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Fascinating…. The medicine and science at the heart of this book are chillngly real” Bookreporter.com

So if you’ve never read Greg Iles pick up one of his books and I bet you won’t be able to put it down, and maybe you won’t be like me and wait too long until you read the next one!! Where is that Devil’s Punchbowl hum, I think there’s a copy up on son Andrew’s bookshelf. But, oh wait, maybe Tess Gerrritsen’s latest is still waiting for me at the library, damn!

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Book 35 – Vermilion Drift – William Kent Krueger

It’s been a busy day at the College of William and Mary a nice luncheon on the grounds near the Wren Building and the President’s House and then a rout of Villanova that turned into a nail biter that ended ok as W&M won 31-24! So there was not a lot of time for music, but I did finish Book 35 last night William Kent Krueger’s latest Vermilion Drift. This is one of my favorite series. The books all ways have much more than just a mystery in them as Krueger explores the complexities of life through Cork O’Connor. The story opens with Cork being hired by Max Cavanaugh the owner of  Vermilion One a mine that the government is considering as a nuclear waste deposit site, hiring Cork to find his missing sister Lauren. Cork has also been called in by the mine officials to investigate  threats against the owners of the mine. Soon forty year old bodies are found in the Vermilion Drift (horizontal mine shafts)and they lead back to The Vanishings that occurred on the reservation forty years ago and the solution to the murders leads Cork to explore his past!

Vermilion Drift is the tenth book in this series and while it may not be necessary to read all the books in order you may want to read Heaven’s Keep book 9 before this one to know what’s gone on in Cork’s life . But like all the books the characters and the stories are both great and I hope that Krueger keeps the series alive!

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Book 28 – The First Rule

Book 28 of 2010 is the second book by Robert Crais that features Joe Pike as the lead character, The First Rule. Crais usual lead character is Pike’s partner and the self proclaimed “World’s Greatest Detective” Elvis Cole. There are eleven books in the Elvis Cole series in that series Joe Pike typically plays a supporting role. Pike is an ex-LAPD officer with a shady military past as a mercenary and it’s usually his job to appear mysteriously and save the day and he does it well!

In The First Rule one of Joe’s men in his military adventures Frank Meyer is killed and his family a wife and two sons are executed during a home invasion. Of course Joe sets out to find and take out the leader of the thieves. The leader turns out to be Michael Darko a member of the Serbian crime network in Los Angeles and the trails leads to more than a single home invasion ring! Along the way Joe is helped out by Elvis and another former member of his group Jon Stone. As in all the Crais’ books the characters are good both Elvis and Joe Pike are favorites. Th storyline is good and the action fast paced and the pages fly by! So check out Robert Crais! I think that you can pick up the series at any point, I still haven’t read all the books. The first book  in the series The Monkey’s Raincoat is on my Mount to Be Read!

Here’s Robert Cris talking about Joe Pike and The First Rule

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