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.
I just returned from an awesome trip into the Amazon
rainforest without leaving my home. All my senses are on overload. Erica
Ferencik not only excites sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, she introduces
you to a variety of alien cultures and characters, pulls at your emotions, plucks
your heart strings, and teaches you about the unique environment of the jungle.
She is an extraordinary storyteller.
Into the Jungle is
my favorite read this year.
I enjoyed the read, but there was far too much action and
technology packed into two or three days in the story. I found myself speed
reading through or even skipping sections of the book describing weapons, battles,
and physics lessons, also some of the repetitive descriptions.
I like the concept of a super-intelligent AI trained in two different ways—one to be helpful and the other to be destructive. The science behind bringing Kat back from a coma was interesting. Rollins notes on the read history and technology at the beginning and end of the book were thought-provoking.
Some of the characters seemed thin to me, probably because I
haven’t read any previous books in the series. But the story works as a
Peter Ash goes to Memphis to help Wanda Wyatt, who has been
receiving strange threats since purchasing an old house and moving in. When he
arrives, he finds someone has driven a dump truck into the front of Wanda’s
house. While trying to track down who might have done it, A young thief, a
homeless street musician, steals Peter’s pickup truck. Peter decides to help
the young musician, too.
I like Peter, even though he often makes stupid and risky
decisions. (He always gets out of the dangerous situations where these
decisions lead him.) All of the characters in the story are interesting, even
the bad guys. Plenty of bad guys populate the book—the young boys, who rob a
jewelry store; a farmer and his psycho brother, who are trying to drive Wanda
out of her house; the gang boss of the Memphis drug world and his close
associates, who are chasing the boy that stole Peter’s truck; and more. Even
Peter and his friend Lewis are not always on the right side of the law.
Suspend your disbelief, and you will enjoy the story.