Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quicksand

Title: Quicksand
Author: Malin Persson Giolito
Published: Hardcover: 512 pages
Format: eBook, Hardcover: 512 pages
Genre: Legal Procedural
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This is not a book that I could recommend. The first quarter was interesting, but then my attention began to wane as the narrator went on incessantly. The middle part, I skimmed and feel that I missed nothing and then the ending was somewhat interesting but I had lost patience with the whole thing and was just glad that it was over.

Told from the perspective of 18-year-old Maria “Maja” Norberg, currently on trial for her involvement in a school shooting that was carried out by her boyfriend Sebastian. Until the very end, the reader is not completely sure of her participation. Was she part of the initial strategy that Sebastian, the son of Sweden’s richest man, had planned or was she just caught up in events that she was unaware of until the final defining moments.

Told in a teenage voice full of condescension and a story that unfolds too slowly for my tastes, I had a hard time with this book. Maja just seems to drone on in an unfiltered diatribe of those around her and her trying to come to terms with what happened and her part in it. Was there deeper meaning and societal innuendo that I miss – probably, but at the same time, the author should do their part in keeping my attention.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Burial at Sea

Title: A Burial at Sea
Author: Charles Finch
Published: November 8th 2011 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Charles Lennox #5

I enjoyed the first two books in this series, A Beautiful Blue Death and The September Society, ever since then, I have been disappointed but continue on in hopes that they will return to the where they had first captured my attention.

Charles Lennox is asked by his brother to leave his pregnant wife for a clandestine mission to Egypt to help the British government. Unable to say no, he boards the sailing ship Lucy. Of course, there is no such thing as a retired sleuth so when the ship’s second lieutenant is found butchered, the ship’s Captain implores Charles to find the culprit. Very much a locked room scenario since the ship is at sea, Charles sets off to answer the questions only to discover that there is a possible mutiny afoot and now the Captain has been murdered.

What is funny about this book is that by the time the murders on the ship are solved, I had completely forgotten the reason why Charles Lennox was on the Lucy in the first place and found myself frustrated that they book had continued when I thought that the climax had been reached.

For me, the Egypt meeting was completely unnecessary but then I had remembered that Teddy was on the ship and now I am pretty sure that this whole thing was a ruse by Sir Edmond to make sure that his son was safe. Maybe there was more to the meeting, but either way, my brain checked out during the last third of the book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Goodbye to the Dead

Title: Goodbye to the Dead
Author: Brian Freeman
Published: March 8th 2016 by Quercus
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Genre: Suspense / Police Procedural
Series: Jonathan Stride #7

Well, did the brilliant Dr. Janine Snow kill her husband Jay Ferris nine years ago or did she not. That is what is keeping Lt. Jonathan Stride of the Duluth Police Department up at night. Nine years ago, he got the conviction for this murder and Janine is doing time, but now that a gun and jewelry have been found no one knows for sure.

At this time, Stride’s wife Cindy was still alive and she and Janine were close friends. They had worked together and on the fate-filled night, Cindy was the last to see Jay alive and she knew that Janine was there. She needs to testify but is conflicted.

Howard Marlowe, a Janine worshiper, just so happens to be placed on her jury. He is determined to be the lone holdout but the evidence is too strong and votes to convict her. Feeling as if he has betrayed her, he then spends the next nine years visiting her and searching for proof of her innocence much to the chagrin of his wife.

Brian Freeman does not let his audience down, interspersed with Janine Snow, the reader is juggled a mall shooting, sex trafficking, the continuing reappearance of troubled teen Cat Marlowe, the beginnings of Cindy’s illness, and how two unrelated cases, years apart, can be connected, but most importantly – can Stride find a way to come to terms with his past and move forward with Serena Dial.

Brian Freeman does not draw simple lines with his characters. Not everyone is good, not everyone is bad, you see them develop and change. They will infuriate you one moment and then you see a human side underneath and there is no easy answers for anyone involved.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Western Star

Title: The Western Star
Author: Craig Johnson
Published: September 5th 2017 by Viking
Format: *Hardcover; 336 pages
Genre: Suspense
Series: Walt Longmire #13

Thank you for the epilogue otherwise I would not have been able to pull all of those parts together. I did notice Cady asking why it took them so long to have her, but that was brushed over and I was hoping that by the end, that part would have been explained and when it was, I have to admit that I did let out a very loud gasp.

Current day and flashbacks divide each chapter. In 1972, Walt Longmire returned from Vietnam and joins Sheriff Connelly as his deputy on the annual Wyoming Sheriffs’ Association outing across the state of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back on the Western Star. Taking plotlines from Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and her credence “he did it, she did it, no one did it, or they all did it”, Longmire sets off to solve a murder that takes place on the train and intermeshes it with the present day where he is fighting the compassionate release of one of the most dangerous killers that he has ever encountered.

Present day has Walt, Vic and Henry at Cady’s home helping her with her daughter and preparing for their fight against the compassionate release board. Craig Johnson has done his homework here and goes into great length explaining this process to the reader. What you do not realize at the time is who the inmate is and why Walt is taking it so personally. You think you have an idea because of earlier points, but the truth is a surprise.

The bouncing back and forth is not hard to follow. The trainload of Sheriffs is hard to keep straight but fortunately, there are only a couple of names that you have to remember. It truly is not until the ending where Craig Johnson pulls this tightly wound narrative together and when he does, it is truly a “oh, wow” moment.

What is even more surprising is the postcard with one word written on the back that has Walt Longmire boarding a plane with his trusty Colt. He is on a mission, a mission that will not be disclosed until the next book and has me wondering what that one word could be.