Monday, January 31, 2011

January's Book Reports

The Confession by John Grisham
Action packed panic leading up to the predictable climax. One of the later Grisham style of writing without the cutting edge story telling of his earlier work. Grisham brings up the controversial discussion on the death penalty. Keith, a Kansas minister, hears the confession of a murder that a college football star was convicted of and on death row.  Keith tries to beat the clock in the Texas execution happening this week.

Dog Tags by David Rosenfelt
Another romp through the judicial system with the witty, social conscience Andy Carpenter. This time he represents a retired police dog and sets off to find the culprit(s) to clear the name of the police dogs owner. It's funny and a good story.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Have you ever read a book so well written, the story doesn't matter? This is one of those books. You'll fall in love with Major Pettigrew on the first page, but the prose is so well done the story takes second place.  The witty Major is a traditional British stiff upper lip, trying to preserve the English standards that seem to be slipping in the 21st century.

The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen Cannell
If you've ever watched The Rockford Files or The A-Team, you'll recognize Stephen Cannell's writing. This is the 10th Shane Scully story and unfortunaltely may be the last - and the best one yet. Stephen Cannell passed away last year and it's unknown if there was another Scully book in the vault. Scully is teamed with a new partner and this one drives him crazy, until something clicks and they get the job done - big time.   This fast paced, 3 act story is played out to it's fullest and not one to be missed.

The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer
We're in the Natuional Archives and things are happening that archivist, Beecher White, notices are not the norm. It's a race arond D.C. finding answers that (of course) only create more questions and dectecting.  The premise would have been good in the hands of Dan Brown, but Meltzer's story is slow, anit climatic, and feels like a first book when the author is just gaining lets. Not a good Meltzer book -- it's a pass.

Savage Season by Joe Lansdale
This book reviews as A Novel of Suspense -- I'm still waiting..... Hap & Leonard are a couple of Texas yahoo boys, looking to make an easy buck, but find out that it's never just that easy.  No mystery here - just a lot of hit-it-out, shoot-it-up, boring character study and story line.

The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
The first of the Dave Robicheaux series by this age old mystery writer.  Interesting enough to read more of Burke's series. He describes the New Orleans area in detail, but if you're not familiar (and I'm not) with this area, it really means nothing but descriptive writing.  Robicheaux is a lieutenant dectective in the Big Easy, who comes with a whole bag of problems. After discovering an out-of-area drowned prostitues' body, he can't let it go until he finds out what happened and bring justice (one way or another) to the preps. 

Heaven's Prisioners by James Lee Burke
Robicheaux has quit the New Orleans police force and returned home to his Cajun roots. He's opened a bait and boat shop and married Annie (whom we met in Neon Rain). They witness the crash of a small plane in the bayou and the adventure begins.  You can take the man out of dectecting, but you can't take the dectective out of the man. Dave has been on the wagon for a year, but the action that suddenly surrounds him will not only make him fall off the wagon but crash.

The best read this month was hands down: The Prostitutes' Ball by Stephen Cannell

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