Thursday, May 29, 2014

THE BLACK BOOK by Ian Rankin

Finished Th 5/29/14

John Rebus investigates a hotel fire from many years ago. A body was found, but who did it?
A gay chef pulled the trigger, but the baron of a brewery had his hand over the chef's hand.
The chef had an Elvis inspired bar/restaurant
John's brother, Michael, has just gotten out of the joint on drug charges and is living in the Rebus family home. John has opened it up to student rentals.
More charm of Edinburgh, Scotland.... I seem to recall reading this before, but anything Rankin is worth another look.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE ACCIDENT by Linwood Barclay

Finished We 5/21/14

The May selection for The Contemporary Book Club.
I loved this one, and read almost one third of the novel in one sitting

How a middle class town is affected by the economic downturn
Counterfeit drugs/knockoff handbags and high fashion goods/Chinese construction and electrical goods that are not up to code.

THE GIFTS OF THE JEWS by Thomas Cahill


Finished Su 5/25/14 (recommended by Dr. Floyd)
This book is the second in Cahill's, 'hinges of history' series.
Reminded me of Joseph Campbell, and I actually found THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES in my collection, and that will be in my 'next read' stack.

An interesting historical perspective on the Old Testament. Sumerian culture GILGAMESH.
Bronze Age Gods. Christianity is actually early Iron Age.
Religions before the Jews were cyclical in nature. That which has happened will ALWAYS recur. The god of the Jews was only part of the future because the actions of individuals have a say in what the future will hold.

Cahill doesn't believe that every word in the bible is the 'absolute word of god'.

The book is more or less the story of Abraham, Moses, and David/Solomon.

The Jewish god is of spirit and cannot be depicted or even spoken whereas older gods could be shown.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A RUMOR OF WAR by Philip Caputo

Finished Fr 5/16/14

I was looking for Norman Mailer's ARMIES OF THE NIGHT in my collection, and found this one. I had read it in 1996, but only remembered the basics.

A great read about the disillusionment of war, and especially the Vietnam experience. This was America's first encounter with the loss of a war, but I think Iraq and Afghanistan are now included.

Vietnam was our longest war, but I think Iraq is now the longer one.

Link to wikipedia

THE LAST COYOTE by Michael Connelly

Finished Th 5/15/14

Part of the Harry Bosch series

'Hill Street Blues' is a phrase used by LA cops to refer to guys who must see shrinks. The behavioral science unit is located on Hill Street. This is probably the reason for the name of the popular TV show.

Premise is similar to real-life author, James Ellroy.
Harry's mother was a prostitute who was murdered in 1961. The crime was ignored by the police, and now, 1995 Harry decides to get to the bottom of the case.

The true killer is not revealed until the very end, because it appears to be part of a political/police conspiracy. However, it was really Marjorie Phillips Lowe's best friend who did the deed. They were best friends and Marjorie was in love with a political operative who really loved her and wanted to become a family with her and Harry. When she asked her friend to accompany her to Vegas to get married, her friend strangled her.

link to wikipedia

Monday, May 12, 2014

BROKEN by Karin Slaugher

Finished Sa 5/10/14 Before the birthday/mother's day cookout at The Brandenburgs

This author was mentioned by a couple of the members in the Contemporary Book Club, and I noticed that I had one of her books in my collection. I liked this one a lot, and plan to check out more from the library.

This is part of a series, but no problem getting into the story.

Set in a small Georgia town in Grant County. A college girl is murdered. Appeared like a suicide, but she was actually stabbed and then weighted down with blocks and put in a lake. Her boyfriend is later also found stabbed.

The reason for the killings was that the young people were blackmailing a local nurse. She was the wayward daughter of the local police chief, Frank. He's a drunk who is dieing of cancer. This nurse was involved with a 'drug testing' operation and she was ripping off the company for more money and the kids thought that they could cut her out of the picture.

Special Agent Will Trent- He is working for Georgia Bureau of Investigation and is called in to oversee the investigation.

Dr. Sara Linton used to live in the town, but moved on. She is at odds with her family, especially her mother, but feels like she owes something to the town. She had been married to the chief of police but he was killed. She blames Lena for the killing. Lena is now a police officer for the town, but Sara feels that she causes trouble wherever she goes, and then gets off.

The Will Tren t character has appeared in the following novels by Slaughter,  TriptychFracturedUndoneBroken and Fallen.

Wikipedia link


Finished Sa 5/10/14

Vonnegut's vitriolic observations, but mostly a diatribe against the reign of George Bush, and the utter stupidity of War.

Witty insights with his own illustrations


Finished Fr 5/9/14

At the last meeting of the Classic Book Club one of the men wanted to read this book next year, and I realized that I had pulled this from my collection and put it in the 'to read' pile. I bought the book in 1999, and only skimmed part of it, but did see the film in 2000. The film is in my Netflix queue, but 'Long Wait'.

Set in Puget Sound (Seattle) on fictional island San Piedro 1954.

Local fisherman has died, drowned in his fishing net. Appears to be murder.
He had been in a land dispute with a local Japanese fisherman. This man's family had been buying the land from his father, but missed a payment when they were put in a camp during WWII. The mother sold off the land to another man because of the payment missed. She refunded the money that they had invested, but the Japanese man wanted his land.

However, there was no murder, but it was an accident. There was a dense fog on the night of the incident, and a large boat crossed into the fishing lanes, and the fisherman was knocked off his mast. He had lashed a lantern to the mast because his batteries were out of juice. The Japanese man had stopped to help him, and gave him a spare battery, and they had settled their land disagreement.

The book is a murder mystery and a courtroom drama, with a bit of romance thrown in. Ishmael is a one-armed journalist who had a love affair with the Japanese man's wife when they were both teenagers.

The drama is set during the winter, and hence the name of the book.

Excellent book, and I can't wait to see the film.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Reread and finished Mo 5/5/14

I immediately realized that I had read it, but it is such a complex tale and so well written that it's well worth a second look. I enjoyed it just as much the second time through. Checking the list, I first read it last spring.