Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aleutian Grave by William Doonan | LibraryThing

This is the fourth and last of the Henry Grave series of cruise-detective novels I have read. It was as much fun as the others, but i have to admit this one was beginning to feel too formulaic. Grave is as old, as hungry, as lusty, and as clever (but a bit addled) as usual which often brings a smile, but it’s a more tired smile.

This voyage, Henry is helicoptered by the Association of Cruising Vessel Operators, to a Russian ship where it a particularly vicious murder has taken place, one that appears to have been committed by a cannibal. Not to give anything away, the plot involves a plant that blooms every seventy years, an ethnobiologist, an old nemesis, rabbits, Alaskan indian natives, a wendigo, and a shaman. (The author is an archaeologist, after all.) 

A very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. I suggest reading the series in order. I’m now off to read one of Doonan’s non-Grave novels. 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

The books in order:
Grave Passage
Mediterranean Grave
Grave Indulgence
Aleutian Grave

'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Black Mountain by Les Standiford | LibraryThing

Rather ordinary plot but well-executed.  Richard Corrigan is a NY transit cop, relegated to the subways because of an eye injury.  Assigned to crowd control at the governor's appearance in Central Park, he sees an odd looking homeless man moving quickly toward the speaker’s platform with his hands in his packets. Giving chase, Corrigan follows the man running into a subway tunnel where the man falls in front of a subway train and is killed.  What Corrigan thought might be a gun turned out to be an inhaler. His partner throws down a gun to make it look like the guy was armed and Corrigan, much to his disgust is hailed as a hero by the governor.

The governor, as a publicity stunt, decides to take Corrigan along on his wilderness trip and, of course, the party becomes stranded when their plane crashes after dropping them off and a couple of hitmen stalk them through the trek out of the mountains, killing people off as they go along. The bad guys seem to be helped by the weather which seemed a bit too much deus ex machina, but nevermind.

The governor is your standard schnook to the point where rooting for the bad guys is a definite option.  There is never any doubt as to the ultimate outcome so a thriller it’s not and this is perhaps one of those books enhanced by the skill of the narrator, Richard Ferrone, who is very good, indeed.

'via Blog this'

Friday, November 28, 2014

Junkyard Dogs: A Walt Longmire Mystery (A Longmire Mystery) by Craig Johnson | LibraryThing

This is the sixth or seventh Longmire book I’ve read and it has the most delightful beginning. I won’t explain other than to drop a few hints:  a rope, cleaning a chimney, a bumper, a 72-year-old, lots of snow, and waving while going down the street.

The plot of the book is nothing special but the relationship between the characters is.  That’s what makes these books.  You get to know and like them.

The ending has a certain slapstick quality to it even as the violence escalates.  Good series.  I suggest reading them in order.

'via Blog this'

Monday, November 24, 2014

So long as you both shall live: An 87th precinct mystery by Ed McBain | LibraryThing

Fat Ollie takes center stage in this 87th Precinct McBain.  Bert Kling is marrying Augusta, a model, who is kidnapped from their wedding suite by a looney.  The scene shifts back and forth between Augusta, who is not about to let things take their course without a fight, and the investigation.   They are stymied with seemingly no leads, but Ollie, “ who was bigoted, slovenly, opinionated, crude, insensitive, gross, humorless, unimaginative…No, that wasn’t true. Ollie was imaginative,” joins the hunt and, with the help of the wedding photographer, develops the two leads that break the case open.

Short, almost a novella, the book is standard McBain fare, that is to say, a solid police procedural.

'via Blog this'

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Walking the Perfect Square by Reed Farrel Coleman | LibraryThing

I ran across Coleman when I read his continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series.  I liked that a lot so I thought I would take a look at Coleman’s Moe Prager series.

Moe Prager has been invalided out of the NYPD after having knee surgery.  How it happened depended on how drunk he was during the retelling.  The truth was he slipped on a piece of carbon paper in the squad room.  Having fortuitously found a missing girl while on the beat, he is approached by Francis Maloney, a haughty anti-semite (“your people”) to help search for his son, Patrick, who has disappeared.  Agreeing only because Francis says he can help (or hinder) Moe’s application for a liquor license, Moe soon wonders as to Maloney’s seriousness. after a more recent picture than the one Francis is plastering all over town surfaces.  It shows Patrick with tattoos and rings in several orifices.  It’s a picture Francis categorically refuses to acknowledge and proscribes Moe from using it in the search.

Most of the book takes place in 1978 but is connected to events in 1998 (somewhat awkwardly) and revolves around issues of homosexuality within families and familial relationships. The disappeared boy was known to have walked backwards in perfect squares while he thought no one was watching. He’s also known to have wanted to marry at any cost and became extremely upset when one of his girlfriends insisted on terminating her pregnancy from their intimacy.

Aside from some sections that read like a psychiatry textbook and that felt very dated, it’s a good story that handles changing mores quite deftly.

'via Blog this'