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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Killing Season by Mason Cross Carter Blake #1--And I'll Be Reading More

The Killing Season (Carter Blake #1)The Killing Season by Mason Cross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2:37 am --Late October--full moon --and a transport van with two correctional officers and two high profile convicts is moving along a deserted country road. It slows and then swerves around an apparent break-down of a late model sedan, its driver alongside it. As the van approaches a darkened barn, it is suddenly broadsided and forced off the road. It winds up on its side and two men kill the guards and pull the convicts to the side of the road. The car driver joins them and it appears they are there to eliminate one but will take care of both of them. That is until one manages to disarm and shoot them, then viciously bashes in the head of his fellow convict. He gets the keys to his cuffs from the pocket of one of the guards, picks up a high powered rifle and lopes off into the night! His name, Caleb Wardell. His crime, serial killer. His background, former US Marine Sniper.
And thus the story begins,broken into sections by the day and those days broken down into hours and minutes, it rushes headlong through 357 pages of intense action and theorizing detailing the man-hunt for this killer. The FBI are on it within 2 hours and call in a consultant--Carter Blake. He is to be attached to the lead investigative team whose two field officers are Banner, a single mother and Castle. Blake, when asked, says he is a man who" finds people who don't want to be found". The tension mounts as they try to predict where Wardell is headed and where he will begin his second killing spree. He always gets his job done in the morning, preferably by 9. It is already 5 and no one knows where he is or where he is going. I have found a new author and a new hero to follow!

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Mary Handley Solves the Crime and Finds Love in THE Last Stop in Brooklyn

Last Stop in Brooklyn (A Mary Handley Mystery, #3)Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This third installment of the adventures of the intrepid detective, Mary Handley, is as exciting, funny, convoluted, interesting and engrossing as the first two. Once more, though the story is set in late 19th Century New York City, the surrounding social conditions of the time are as prevalent today as then. Racial bias, fear if immigrants, inequality in finances, crooked cops, greedy business moguls, unrest, all surround the case Mary finds herself investigating.

At the Last Stop in Brooklyn--the end of the subway line--Coney Island, a black prostitute has been brutally murdered and an Algerian immigrant has been found guilty of the crime. Neither the murder victim nor her convicted murderer are important to the police or the public. Yet, the man's brother has hired Mary to investigate and find the " true " murderer. Real persons such as Andrew Carnegie, Jacob Riis, Teddy Roosevelt, and Russell Sage all have parts to play in the story. Police corruption and moneyed manipulators keep getting in the way but in the end, Mary gets the man out of jail eventually and gets the killer, or does she?

I received a copy of Last Stop in Brooklyn to review from Blogging For Books

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Murder Room--the 12th Dalgliesh --my first

The Murder Room (Adam Dalgliesh, #12)The Murder Room by P.D. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although this is the 12th book in the series it is the first I have read. I've seen movies and TV programs based on earlier books and enjoyed them. If all of the books are as detailed in setting, character and methodology description, then the directors etc of these dramatizations had little to do but to cast the production. Unfortunately, because I've seen the actors chosen for the main characters in these theatrical productions, they are who I see in my imagination as I read and wish that I were able to create my own images.
Fortunately, the characters specific to this novel look like my interpretation of James' words. They are the people who wander the halls of the Dupayne Museum, its Murder Room and campus and the surrounding area of Hampstead Heath and neighborhoods of London. The book is divided into four sections called books. Book one is called The People and The Place and it is here that James lays out exactly that in great detail. She goes on the add Book Two--The First Victim--in which one of the Dupaynes is incinerated in his Jag. The investigation into this death leads to Book Three--The Second Victim--the seemingly unrelated strangulation of a young woman in the museum and the attempt to investigate this death and whether there is a connection between the two and finally Book Four--The Third Victim--in which the mysteries are solved.
Although, according to the author, Dagliesh knows who the perpetrator is and suspects that his team members have also solved the case, they do not share this common knowledge with each other or the reader. Dagliesh does not consider it good police work to reveal and arrest a suspect as guilty until the evidence is irrefutable. Of course, this is a bit demoralizing to the reader who DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE who done it! I must admit, that while it all made sense--it seemed a bit far-fetched and contrived, but James is pretty good at tying up all the loose ends and throwing in a lot of possibilities along the way. While I liked the puzzle of it all, I was a little let down by the solution.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tabula Rasa--Ruso and Tilla Search for His Clerk and a Missing Child

Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman EmpireTabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ruso and his British wife, Tilla are back at the construction site of Hadrian's wall where Ruso's commanding officer has been trapped in the collapse of the quarry wall. Ruso finds himself removing the man's leg in order to extricate him from the muddy, unstable wall. Once this dangerous feat is complete, Ruso finds himself back at the hospital, short-handed since his clerk has been absent without notice for several days and his pharmacist is away on a fishing vacation. His old clerk, Albanus, is on his way to visit his nephew, Candidius and Ruso is quite anxious since the nephew is his new clerk, whom he has taken on as a favor.

With the anxiety of the missing clerk Ruso also has the stress of an evening meal scheduled at the home of Tilla's native relatives. The elder of the group has agreed to perform a wedding blessing ceremony for the two of them and is hoping to see the violence between the Romans and the Britons alleviated by the rite. All goes well at the evening meal and the night spent in the native's home. However, the disappearance of a local boy, the rumor that a body has been secretly hidden in the wall construction and an over-zealous search of one home and the burning of another by the Roman legion soon causes the unrest between the two groups to resume. Also, since the Roman action appears to have been ordered by Ruso the planned wedding blessing is canceled.

As Ruso and his superiors make the effort to locate the missing clerk, find the missing child, who appears to have been kidnapped by a Roman soldier and suppress the rumor of a body in the wall, Tilla takes investigation into her own hands. Working at cross purposes, it would seem, and with many false leads, the tension between Natives and Conquerors intensifies and before it erupts into violence a nine year old boy must be found safe and fast.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Close Case--The End of the Samantha Kinkade Trilogy

Close Case (Samantha Kincaid #3)Close Case by Alafair Burke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last of the Samantha Kinkaid trilogy though with an open-ended finale there is always the possibility that Sam may some day reappear in the Burke collection. This is certainly the best of the three books--the author improved with each one. In this several seemingly unrelated crimes fall into Samantha's lap. The first is the brutal beating to death of the chief crime reporter for The Oregonian. Seems to be a random meth induced attack by a couple of teen hoodlums wanting to take guys Mercedes for a spin. In very quick time, the kids are arrested and, with a little extra pressure from a NYPD transplant, a confession is obtained. An eyewitness has made a statement and a bloody baseball bat is recovered from a dumpster close to one of the perps homes. A slam dunk for sure. Not so fast, guys!
The other is the strange case of a cop shooting an unarmed black woman whom he claims tried to run him over after a routine traffic stop. A political hot cake in these days but, once more, on the surface though some questions arise, it would appear the cop acted responsibly in self defense. Another slam dunk--right?
Well, if things were so easily solved there would be no story to fill over 300 enjoyable pages, filled with inconsistencies, second guesses, new evidence, and a young reporter hoping to make her chops by following up on cryptic notes left behind by the murdered investigative reporter. Through it all, Sam and her now live in boyfriend, the cop and childhood sweetheart, try to keep love alive as they find themselves on opposite sides when it comes to the investigation of his partner, Mike and his best friend, another cop whose wife had been having an affair with the reporter. Complications all around. But, as with all good stories, everything falls into place in the end even if not all the results are satisfactory.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

White Collar Crime in Oregon--Samantha Kinkaid on the Job

Missing Justice (Samantha Kincaid #2)Missing Justice by Alafair Burke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Samantha has moved from the drug squad after her near death in her last case. She is now in Major Crimes and her first case is a doozy--a prominent judge goes missing. Her equally prominent doctor husband is at his wits end, sure she has been kidnapped but hopeful she is still alive. No such luck--her body is found with her head bashed in--moved from the crime scene to a construction site on the expanding edge of town. She appears to have been naked when killed and redressed after death. Has she been sexually assaulted? Who would have wanted her dead?

Sam's bosses are supportive but as usual she is a loner who investigates and asks permission later,which gets her into a bit of hot water. It is an especially sensitive case with many connected people as friends and relatives of the victim and her husband. Add to the mix the appearance of Sam's ex-husband as an attorney for the bereaved husband, her father's reluctance to have her exposing herself to possible damage in her career, and her boyfriend, Mike's presence on the police major crimes team.

A good story of small city politics and the justice system--confounding until the very last pages with a satisfactory outcome.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lt Dallas, Eve on the Case--Judgement in Death--#11

Judgment in Death (In Death, #11)Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Purgatory--Roarke owned strip club---body viciously beaten to death with a baseball bat. Turns out the vic is a cop working a second job as a bartender so his wife can stay home with the kids. Background shows him to be a good cop--nothing extraordinary but nothing below average--just a good, by the book, family guy. So why is he dead? Why has he been beaten like this as though there was real anger in the attack? And how come the murderer was cool enough to clean up in the bar sink and confiscate all the security tapes? Yet, the place is trashed badly, too but nothing stolen? In short order the name Ricker pops up--a well-known crime lord who always seems to skate through no matter how tight the evidence. A connection??

Lt Dallas, Eve on the case along with Peabody, McNab and Feeney. An assortment of cops from the victims precinct as well as IA types trying to muddy the waters keep the action interesting. Our gal gets the bad guys but not before all kinds of mayhem, battles with Roarke and, of course, sexy make-up sessions. Just another day in future NYC!

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