Best Sellers

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking for a ‘good guy’ detective?

Your search is over. Jack Fredrickson has penned the third in a series featuring Vlodek Elstrom. Dek started his career in A Safe Place for Dying. Dek is an ingratiating character who has wit and courage. At one time, he was married to a multimillionaire. Then his reputation was trashed, his business ruined and his marriage ended. In his first title, he investigates a threatening letter that was sent to the gated community where he lived when he was married. Then, a mansion is blown up and Dek becomes his own best subject. Very entertaining reading.
His second adventure is reported in Honestly Dearest, You’re Dead. In this offering, Dek is named the executor of a woman’s estate. He has never met her to his knowledge and her estate is worth only a couple of hundred dollars but he takes the job when he is offered $700. What he finds is a killer and a mystery. Dek is just as engaging or even more so. The characters are interesting and well formed and the plot is interest grabbing. A enjoyable read.
Now in February, Fredrickson is coming out with his third entry in the series, Hunting Sweetie Rose. A clown falls (?) off a rooftop and a fat man in a long limousine hires Dek to investigate. Dek connects the death to Chicago socialite and philanthropist Sweetie Fairbairn. Suddenly, Sweetie is nowhere to be found. Dek is nothing if not determined.  Dek is still the good guy that he was in the first 2 titles. This is bound to be a good read.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Slight twist for P.D. James

P.D. James is better known for her Adam Dalgleish series about a Scotland Yard detective who writes poetry on the side. She also is in her 90's. You would not think it would be time for her to make a change. James, however, decided not to write another Dalgleish novel as she says she could not bear leaving it unfinished if she should die. Instead, she decided to indulge herself in another love, Jane Austen novels. Death Comes to Pemberley visits Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy after they have been married for 6 years. They are living on Darcy's estate with two sons when Elizabeth's sister arrives in extreme distress talking about her husbands murder. With James, place often becomes another character in the story and Pemberley is no exception. She is able to retain Austen's feeling of the characters while introducing mystery and intrigue. A very interesting read for those who like British mysteries or those who are Jane Austen fans. It feels like coming home to a familiar place.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012

The New York Times recently released their annual 10 best books of the year. Five of the titles are fiction and five are nonfiction. I am excited because 3 of the five fiction titles would have made my top list also. The three I really enjoyed are:
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach - a first novel and one that I have talked about on the blog.
Swamplandia by Karen Russell - another first novel. I have not included this title on the blog because I had a feeling I liked it so much because I have lived in Southwest Florida not too far from the hypothetical island where this novel takes place. It is the story of a young girl trying to hold together her family after their mother's death. Now her family is nothing if not unique and most would say quirky. They have been running an alligator theme park on one of the many islands off the west coast of the Everglades. I'm excited that other people thought it was as good as I did.
11/22/63 by Stephen King - another title I have included in the blog. I have to admit, I like Stephen King's work. I'm not a big horror reader but I really look on his work as magnificent tales of good against evil. I just finished listening to one of King's earlier works which HBO has made into a miniseries, Bag of Bones. It was just as fascinating to me and I hope the miniseries does it justice.

The remaining two that I have to admit I have not read are:
Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson - This is a coming of age story for several characters that moves from small town Vermont to New York City. The reviews on Good Reads are either really strong or not that great. Apparently, the characters are very well drawn and for those that like character driven novels is hard to put down.
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht - I'm not sure I am going to attempt this one. It is some say magic realism and others say well written but boring. A young woman returns to the Balkans to investigate her grandfather's death. This story is interwoven with legends with long descriptions of places, objects and events.

All five titles are available in the catalog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Best Mysteries of 2011 - Part 2 AND Sister by Rosamund Lupton

I've got 5 more titles to complete the best mystery list and an endorsement for a title I am listening to in my car.

6) British author S. J. Bolton has written, 'Now You See Me', a comtemporary gothic about a female police officer who is taunted by a serial murderer who is intent on copying Jack the Ripper. It is fast paced and suspenseful with graphic historical details.

7) Colin Cotterill, who has written a series featuring a Laotian coroner, has begun a new series featuring a young, female journalist. 'Killed at the Whim of a Hat' takes place in southern Thailand. It is slow starting but picks up speed with humor. Jimm Juree, the journalist, and her family will have you looking for more.

8)Craig Johnson has added another title to the Walt Longmire series, 'Hell is Empty'. Walt is chasing an escaped killer through snow covered mountains in Wyoming. Johnson adds allusions to Dantes' Inferno and Indian mysticism to a hard driving, suspenseful plot. This seventh in the series could be his best.

9)G.M. Malliet, of CID St. Just fame (i.e. Death of a Cozy Writer), is starting a new series with 'Wicked Autumn'. This series is featuring an ex-M15 agent who has become a small village vicar. How is that for a change of pace? While Max Tudor is looking for peace, what he finds is murder. Malliet uses her sense of humor, good pacing and interesting characters to make this a good cozy read.

10) Craig Morton's first novel, 'Stealing Mona Lisa', is a fictionalized account of the actual 1911 theft of the famous painting. The story is intricately plotted and the historical details accurate. A fun read for history buffs.


I spend quite a bit of time in my car. The radio gets old after a while, particularly when I go on trips. I have always turned to books on cd when I am getting ready to spend more than an hour driving. Over the holiday, I took a trip to Florida and New Orleans. While driving, I started to listen to Sister by Rosamund Lupton. I don't know how I missed it when it first came out this summer. Lupton writes this novel in the form of a letter from an older sister to her dead younger sibling. She explains all her thoughts and reactions to finding out Tess, the younger, was missing and then found with her wrists slashed. While the police and the rest of the family believe this a suicide. Bea, the letter writer, is sure it was murder. Very suspenseful, very well written, an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend it if you missed it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Best Mysteries of 2011

Some people who review mysteries came up with the list of what they thought were the best ones published in 2011. The list covers alot of terriorty - London to New Orleans to Thailand. The first 5 titles are:
1)  Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead introduces a private detective that oneeviewer describes as a mixture of Nancy Drew and Sid Vicious. She lives, eats and breathes detection. Someone had given her a book entitled Detection and it has become her bible. She is called to post-Katrina New Orleans to look for a missing person. Very noire, very gritty - a detective that is hard to like but for which you will have compassion.
2) Chris Nickson has written Cold Cruel Winter, a historical mystery that focuses on capturing a serial killer in a 1700's Leeds. This is the second in a series (follows The Broken Token) which follows Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City of Leeds. He searches for a serial killer who is seeking revenge.
The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway, #2) 3) Michael Stanley in Death of the Mantis has penned a police procedural that takes place in Botswana. This is the 3rd of a series that follows David “Kubu” Bengu, an assistant superintendent. Africa plays a large part in the story which investigates crimes that have been blamed on bushmen. Don't think you will be getting another Alexander McCall Smith. this is not a cozy.
4) Donna Leon penned Drawing Conclusions, another entry into the long running Commissario Guido Brunetti series. It takes place in Venice, Italy where an old woman dies of a heart attack or was it something more? Brunetti investigates. This series has long been considered one of the better written.
5) Elly Griffiths has written The Janus Stone, the second in a series featuring Ruth Galloway, a forensic anthropologist. Griffith is called to investigate when a child's partial skeleton is unearthed beneath an old mansion that once served as a children's home.