Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out of the Deep I Cry, Julia Spencer Fleming, 2004, St. Martin's Press

Claire Fergusson is an Episcopal priest at St. Alban's parish in Millers Kill in upstate New York. Not your ordinary priest by any means. She was a former army chopper pilot; a gutsy individual and her escapades annoy her bishop and at times she is called on the carpet. Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne receives help from Claire and the two of them are fighting against their attraction to each other.

Fleming's book travels between present day and back to the 20's, 30's and 50's. Jonathan Ketchem disappears in 1930 and he is never seen or heard from again. Now the clinic's physician disappears and Claire and Russ are thrown together again as another mystery unfolds. Is there a connection?

Fleming has a certain talent to be able to go back and forth and she does it very smoothly and holds the reader's attention. The plots are fascinating and woven together to capture a real feel for the characters.

Reading Fleming is a very satisfying experience.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sex In A Sidecar, Phyllis Smallman, 2009, McArthur & Co.

Hurricane Myrna is hovering south of Cypress Island, Florida, where Sherri Travis works as a bartender at the Sunset in Jacaranda. A suspicious death occurs and then murder and mayhem as Sherri tries to find answers to a multitude of unanswered questions. She is a lively and outgoing bartender and customers open up to her. And at times Sherri wishes they wouldn't confide in her.

The characters are quirky, funny and appealing which create a story that is never tedious but a pure delight. Smallman also knows hurricanes and I found that I learned a lot from this book, as well as enjoying it so much.

Phyllis Smallman's style of writing, which is to the point with great character definition will appeal to many readers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

'The Little Death' by P.J. Parrish, 2009; Pocket Books-Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Palm Beach is the setting of this mystery/thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. P.I. Louis Kincaid partners with his friend Mel to help prove Reggie Kent, Mel's friend, innocent of murder. This is Kincaid's first venture into the Palm Beach area and there are surprises everywhere.

The authors, who are sisters, reveal the glaring differences between North and South Palm Beach which are eye openers to the reader. There are no holds barred and the reading is thoroughly enjoyable as well as informative, which is such a plus.

So many fascinating characters appear in this book and it is done without excess which can easily lose a reader. One of my favorites was Margery Cooper Laroche whose persona was such a contribution to the story. Other interesting characters abound in the book.

'The Little Death' will grip you in so many ways - plot, characters, geography/setting - all in a mystery that never slows down. I truly enjoyed every facet of this book and highly recommend it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

'The Violet Hour' by Daniel Judson, 2009. Publisher: St. Martin's Press-Minotaur

Judson, a Shamus Award winning author, introduces us to mechanic Caleb Rakowski who works at a car body shop set in the Hamptons. The shop is owned by his friend Eric Carver. Caleb is a 'good guy' who's looking after a pregnant friend with an abusive husband. Within 3 days, Caleb's life is out of control and he learns secrets that set his life in a tailspin.

'The Violet Hour' is fast moving and an action packed story. Judson is adept at looking at the dark side of his characters.

However, I did not find enough character development in this book. Perhaps that is why Caleb never seemed real to me. I never felt like I knew him.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth

Third in Airth's books, this setting is WW II London and once again we meet former Detective Inspector John Madden.

The victim is an employee of Madden, one of my very favorite British detectives. He sees situations differently than others and uses his thought process to help him delve into the details of the case.

A very gripping thriller with tensions mounting to the very end. Compelling writing and an outstanding British mystery.

If you enjoy British mysteries, put this on your list.

True Blue by David Baldacci

If, for some inexplicaable reason you have not read any of David Baldacci's books, you are missing out on some superior writing. Baldacci does an amazing amount of research when he writes a book and it shows. The plots are tight and his characters are unforgettable.

'True Blue' is his 18th book and Mason "Mace" Perry is a tough and determined D.C. cop who was framed for a crime she didn't commit. Tough and determined to clear her name, there are many obstacles put in her way, some lethal.

Baldacci's books always leave the reader wishing for more.

Cattery Row and Mew is for Murder

Being a cat lover, I had really looked forward to Clea Simon, an author I had not read before and had kitties in the stories.

Simon has cats in her stories and her protagonist, Theda Krakow has a cat called Musetta who will bring a smile to cat lovers.

In 'Mew is for Murder' I question the importance of the author taking us to so many clubs and styles of music. I felt that she went off the track with in depth descriptions I found completely unnecessary to the book.

In 'Cattery Row' Simon stays more focused on her story and it was an enjoyable read.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played With Fire

Readers of Stieg Larsson are feeling the loss of a great writer, knowing that there are only 3 books written by him.

Set in Sweden, his books are page turners with precise character development and plots that weave together so naturally and leave you in awe of his writing.

I have read his first two books and I am addicted. He is a literary genius whose books grip you in every chapter, beginning to end.

What a loss for the literary world!