Mosley is a descriptive writer—settings, characters, actions—all are vividly detailed. You can see them in your mind’s eye. His characters are never one-dimensional. He digs deep and finds good and bad in heroes and villains alike. He describes LA of 1969 so well that you feel as if you’re living there.
In this story, Easy Rawlins is almost accidentally drawn into uncovering a complex plot of theft and murder when he sets out to find a missing girl for a PTSD veteran. Even after the young vet is murdered, Rawlins can’t let it go. He wants to finish the job, and if he doesn’t untangle the mystery, he could end up dead like his client.
The only thing that kept the novel from being five stars for me was too many characters to follow, even though each one felt distinctive.
Most of this novel is filled with tales of the motley crew of Hollywood Hills cops taking police calls—a mixture of hilarious, sad, heartbreaking, and violent stories. But mixed in with the incidents is a crime plot with many weird twists and turns. Wambaugh writes with such finesse and detailed characterization that you understand all the players’ (good an bad) motivations.
The book keeps you reading to see what crazy action will happen next.
Krueger transports us to a different time and place in this
saga of four orphan children traveling the rivers of the Midwest in 1932, the
middle of the Great Depression. They have escaped a cruel Native American
training school where Odie and his brother Albert were the only white children.
Their river “family” includes Emmy, a young girl whose mother was killed in a
tornado, and Mose, a Sioux who speaks only sign language. They meet helpful and
dangerous people as they travel the river, trying to stay ahead of the owners
of the school and the law.
Excellent writing with interesting characters, good story,
and settings that make you feel you are there. Written from the point of view
of an old man telling the story of his adventures as a twelve-year-old, young, naïve
boy, Odie sometimes seems too wise for his age.
corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton, 1887
Let me first say that I’m an eighty-year-old woman who loves to read most fiction genres. I receive my books from the local library Books by Mail program. Most are not specific requests and they cover a wonderful variety of subjects and styles. Second, I almost didn’t start this novel because it’s a sequel to a book I haven’t read, and reviews indicated it was aimed at a young audience with a theme about social media, which I avoid.
But I loved this book (even without reading the previous
installment). It’s not only about the abuse of money and power, it’s about
humanity, encompassing our worst and best traits and in between.
Six novellas in one book. Some better than others.
Broken (2**): Way
too dark for my taste. A story about a cop family and a gang, each seeking
revenge on the other. The only saving grace was the ending.
Crime 101 (4****): A dedicated cop looks for a thief he’s convinced has committed several robberies, although no one else seems to agree with him. The thief is planning a multi-million dollar heist before he retires. Both are interesting characters in this somewhat humorous story.
The San Diego Zoo (4****): Hilarious story about a young cop who tries to do the right thing, but keeps getting into trouble for stepping over the lines. And there’s a chimp who escapes the zoo with a gun. Picture it! 🙂
Great characters—a bail bondsman whose business is tanking, a washed-up
surfer/addict who runs out on his bail, a surfer/bounty hunter chasing his
friend, and more. Several characters are getting older and dealing with it in
different ways. I understand many of them have appeared in previous novels, but
this book is my first taste of Winslow’s writing.
Paradise (2**): The
drug trade underside of Hawaii combines with a picture of surfing. (Winslow has
surfing in all the stories.) In Paradise,
his characters are a bit thin. The plot makes me think of a big wave, starting
calm and building to a crescendo.
The Last Ride
(3***): Some reviewers labeled this story political, but I feel it’s a strong
character study of a border patrol agent fighting a broken system. I would give
it 4 stars except the ending crushes my heart.
I’ve only read one other Paretsky novel, Shell Game, which I gave three
stars—middle of the road. With Dead Land,
I connected with the protagonist, V.I. (Vic) Warshawski, and found her
determined and focused on solving the mysteries surrounding friends and family.
Previously I found her too angry at the world, scattered in her investigation
and her life, and making foolish mistakes. With this story, she seems to have
reason behind her decisions, even when her moves are reckless and dangerous.
She isn’t filled with anger and even has a sense of humor.
A side character, Coop, is interesting. Even though we see
little of him, he’s a major character in the story. I love his dog, Bear.
Even though it twists and turns and has some almost
unbelievable connections, the plot of Dead
Land makes sense, where Shell Game
didn’t. Paretsky connects greed and corruption in Chicago politics with greed
and corruption in Chili, all revolving around a famous woman musician, first homeless
then missing on the streets of Chicago. She’s another major character we see
little of, but we learn a lot about her.
The settings in Chicago and Kansas are both well covered,
making me feel the heat in the streets and the muddy rain in the flooded
Although a bit too long, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
This novel gives us a look at the mess at our southern
border. Cork O’Connor and his new wife, Rainy, go to Arizona to find her son
Peter, who is involved with a group trying to help refugees from Central
America. Every time they get a lead on where to look for him, the drug lords
and/or the lawmen appear. Who is tipping them off?
A well-written story with a good plot and engaging
characters. The coverage of the drug wars and the immigrants escaping through
the border wall with Mexico keeps tension high.
Only the second Krueger novel I’ve read, both are about Cork’s
children or step-children. He has an interesting family.
I believe Lee Child has a subtle sense of humor in his
writing. It feels like he thoroughly enjoys writing Reacher stories, making the
unbelievable believable, letting this giant of a man wander across the country
taking out all the bad guys in his path, and painting a picture of a country he
I won’t go into the plot of Past Tense. You can read about it in almost every review. But I liked it.
I’ve read most or all of the Reacher books and enjoyed every
one of them.
The novel felt like several stories stuffed into one book with no real connection except Ya’ara Stein, an ex-agent of Israel’s Mossad, who is training a group of unlikely recruits to become a black ops unit. There is no overall plot, unless you count the random chapters about the sculptor, which doesn’t tie into the story until the end. There is a story with a plot in the first half of the book, but that ended in chapter thirty-something out of seventy-eight.
Lots of time is spent on character development of the
unlikely recruits. The main protagonist, Ya’ara, is the least likeable—cold and
Slow paced, the story didn’t flow. I wouldn’t call it a
(spoiler alert) I think Reacher is getting older and meaner,
less tolerant of the bad guys. He’s still unbelievably observant, sharp,
calculating, and very, very lucky. This book reads like a violent video game,
with a lot more mayhem than previous Reacher novels. And the girl who
accompanies him through the story is very tolerant of his murderous ways. I
found it difficult to believe he and a few friends could take out two whole crime
All that said, I still enjoyed this addition to the series. I
like Lee Child’s clipped style of writing and strange sense of humor.