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’ve read Dean Koontz in the past with mixed feelings. Some are excellent and some I haven’t finished due to lack of interest. This one is somewhere in between. The differences in Koontz’s writing styles makes me wonder if he uses ghostwriters, or if he has multiple personalities.
Devoted is a mix
of fantasy, suspense, genetics SF, horror, psychological thriller, paranormal, and
maybe a “shaggy dog story” without the humor. It’s the story of an intelligent
dog, Kipp, and an autistic eleven-year-old boy, Woody, who has never spoken a
word. The boy screams a psychic cry for help that is picked up by “The Wire,” a
telepathic communication network for a group of dogs. Kipp comes to the rescue.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters all appear to be seen from the point of view of the dog. All the people are either very bad (haters, liars, greedy, etc.) or unbelievably good (loving, truth-tellers, sympathetic, loyal, etc.). The good people have no bad characteristics, and the bad have no good. And of course, all the dogs are noble.
The best part of the book is the hopeful ending.
I would call this a character-driven, political intrigue novel. It’s my first foray into a William Kent Krueger book. I found some of the characters interesting, but not all. Cork O’Connors’ son Stephen, who has visions, is struggling to know who he is. More than a hundred-year-old “healer” Henry is in touch with the world and the spirits. Bo is a very conflicted character. Cork’s young grandchild (toddler?) Waaboo has far too much insight. But Cork worries his way through the story, and there’s no character growth, except possibly that he learns to accept that Henry can take care of himself. Some of the minor characters are interesting, but most are background noise—especially the women.
The plot is a bit over the top. It jumps around a lot, and people keep chasing around trying to find out what’s happening and to save people in trouble. Then toward the end, we get a lengthy explanation from the villain when there’s no reason for him to be telling it.
The story kept me reading to the end, so I give it three stars.
The story mixes a stew of many genres—mystery, paranormal
(ghosts), FBI agents, serial killer, and romance. It also throws in some New
Orleans culture and history for a bit of spice. But it could use some editing.
The dialog sometimes drags, the characters are a bit flat (almost everyone is
beautiful), and I guessed the villains early in the book.
The Stalking is
the first novel I’ve read by Heather Graham. I wouldn’t go out of my way to
find more. But I did enjoy the quick light read.
My first taste of Lars Kepler, I found The Rabbit Hunter a dark and grisly novel, too much so at times. I
mostly enjoyed the plot, but it did get sidetracked from time to time, with
issues not necessary for the story. The characters held my interest, but the two
main ones were thinly sketched. Maybe because they’ve been around through
several books. More effort was spent on the chef and his son, and the killer.
The pace moved fairly slow in the beginning, probably
because either the authors or the translator (English translation) wrote too
much passive, not active. It picked up as the story progressed. The ending was
an obvious plug to try to get you to read the next book.
I always find it fascinating when two or more writers collaborate.
This husband and wife team work together seamlessly.
Wilde, who was found living in the woods thirty-some years
ago and has no memory of how he got there or where he came from, makes an
intriguing character. He lives off the grid in an Ecocapsule home in the woods,
with extreme security. He has little social contact in his life, except for the
family (son, wife, and mother) of David, who befriended Wilde when they were
boys, and Wilde lived in the woods. David died in an automobile accident.
Hester Crimstein, David’s mother and a high profile lawyer
and TV personality in her 70s, is another interesting character. She’s a small
feisty bombshell. All the characters are well defined; most have good and bad
sides to their lives and personalities.
The plot centers around Wilde and Hester searching for two missing
children. Are they kidnapped or runaways?
There are several underlying themes in this book—political scandal,
teen peer pressure, bullying, innocent man in prison, looking for lost family,
and more. Cohen weaves it altogether seamlessly.
This is the first Harlan Cohen novel. I will look for more.
This novel is a story of survival, a fictionalized version
of the life of a real person. At the age of sixteen, Cilka is imprisoned at
Auschwitz and survives by doing whatever is required to stay alive. When the
Russians liberate the camp three years later, they accuse Cilka of being a Nazi
collaborator and send her to a Siberian Gulag. Again she survives by making
decisions, good and bad, to not only stay living but try to keep her hut mates
and friends alive.
I have mixed feelings about this book. I’m not a great fan
of historical fiction or WWII novels, so my judgment may be skewed. The story
is very dark, depicting man’s inhumanity to man. Yet it contains accounts of
kindness and friendship…even love. Some parts of the tale are poignant and
heartbreaking, but other parts lack emotion. Cilka has a conflicted
personality. She keeps her life secret, protecting herself from the judgment of
others, keeping her distance from fellow prisoners. But she reaches out to help
and defend them.
I read Cilka’s Journey
as a stand-alone. It was given to me by a friend at this time when the
libraries are closed (spring 2020). I probably won’t read the previous book in
Irish DS Cormac Reilly becomes personally involved in a murder case when his girlfriend, Dr. Emma Stone, discovers the body of a girl near the Darcy Therapeutics lab where she works as a researcher. The victim is tentatively identified as Carline Darcy, granddaughter of John Darcy, billionaire owner of the largest pharmaceutical company in Ireland. But Carline is found alive and well in her apartment.
The plot is twisted and engaging, although we know half of
the connections and motives by the middle of the story. I did find Cormac’s
jumping to the right or wrong conclusions so quickly a little disconcerting. Everyone
has secrets, even Cormac and Emma.
It’s a good police procedural. Characters are likable with
enough problems in their lives to keep them interesting. I’m not sure why the
series is labeled the “Cormac Reilly” series; Detective Carrie O’Halloran has
an almost equal role in this novel. But this is the first book by McTiernan I’ve
I will look for more books by McTiernan.
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.