Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett

The Godfather of kathmandu Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Royal Thai detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is one of crime literature’s most exotic, strangest, and coolest protagonist, and he’s back in John Burdett’s latest suspenseful, page-turning, soul- searching, and humorous novel yet, The Godfather of Kathmandu. When he is confronted with the most shocking crime of his career, will his spiritual side win out, or his cop one? The murder case he works on, investigating the death of a rich American film director, could mean a promotion for him–but, how important is that, when compared to the state of one’s karma? Sonchai accepts his boss’s (Colonel Vikorn’s) offer to be his consigliere in a heroin smuggling operation, but how can he reconcile this with his striving to be a good Buddhist? The Godfather of Kathmandu is the fourth novel by John Burdett to feature the Royal Thai detective Jitpleecheep, and one of the best so far.

How gruesome is the murder of the obese American director, Frank Charles? The murderer is influenced by Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and Thomas Harris’ novels The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, all of which are found at the murder scene on a bookshelf in a flophouse where Charles has taken a hooker. He’s been disemboweled “with a single careful incision from solar plexus to lower abdomen.” Also, the top of his head has been removed by a rotary saw and then replaced, but not until after a portion of his brain has been removed and eaten by the murderer. Not exactly the kinky evening of sex he’d been anticipating…..

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid

Devil WindReviewed by Patricia Reid

It is 1999 and in Los Angeles Santa Ana winds are causing wildfires and Y2K is right around the corner. Sammy Greene who is hosting a talk radio show finds that there is no end to the wild events that Y2K will bring. Sammy’s father, Jeffrey Greene, is a real estate tycoon in the city but Sammy is hesitant to make contact with him. Sammy was close to her previous step-mother but since her father got a divorce and is now remarried Sammy hasn’t bothered to get in touch with Jeffrey since she moved to California. Sammy has always felt that her dad was more interested in his own life and concerns than that of his daughter.

When Sammy gets a call about the discovery of a burned body, she decides to check into the story and discovers that the body has been identified as Ana Pappajohn, the daughter of Sammy’s old friend Gus Pappajohn. Sammy notifies Gus Pappajohn who immediately flies to California to claim his daughter’s body.

The story switches back and forth between Sammy’s actions and that of Ana Pappajohn who actually was still alive. Ana is working for an expensive escort service and is separated at a party from her friend and roommate Sylvie. Somehow the two had gotten their purses mixed up and Ana wound up with Sylvie’s purse. When Sylvie’s body is discovered it is thought that the body was that of Ana’s since Sylvie carried Ana’s ID.

The Dog Sox by Russell Hill (Review #2)

The Dog SoxReviewed by Patricia Reid

Ray Adams has a different approach when he buys a gift for his girl friend Ava Belle. Ava loves dogs and baseball so Ray buys her a baseball team. The team is named The Knight’s Landing Dog Sox. The team’s manager is a 70-year old Jewish man who has a number of colorful phrases that he repeats from time to time. He is quite an interesting character and is determined to turn the team into the best team possible.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, There’s a Body in the Car by Fran Rizer

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, There's a Body in the CarReviewed by Patricia Reid

There is never a dull moment in Callie Parrish’s life. Callie is employed by Middleton Mortuary. Her job title is mortuary cosmetologist but Callie also answers the phone, talks to clients and does whatever Otis and Odell Middleton need her to do. Callie is currently living with her friend Jane while her home is being redone. Jane is engaged to Callie’s brother.

When Callie makes a stop at the bookstore to pick up a couple of mysteries, she spots a man in a car with a fly on his nose. She soon realizes that there’s a good reason he doesn’t swat the fly off his nose. The guy is dead. Not only is he dead but there’s also a snake in the car.

Callie gets back to the funeral home to find that Odell is leaving and wants her to talk to a Mrs. Joyner who according to Odell wants a St. Patrick’s Day funeral for her husband, which is a bit unusual since it is October. It turns out that Odell misunderstood and Mrs. Joyner wants a green funeral where the body is not embalmed and the casket is environmentally friendly. Mrs. Joyner also wants a set of fingerprints so that she can have the fingerprints preserved in gold.

Among the Departed by Vicki Delaney

Among the DepartedReviewed by Patricia Reid

Brothers and sisters tend to argue and Jamie and his sister Poppy aren’t exempt from disagreements. When the two get into an argument at the campground outside of Trafalgar, British Columbia, where the family is camping, Jamie is ordered by his mother to go into timeout. Jamie decides that he will show his parents that he won’t be treated in that manner. He stuffs his blanket in his sleeping bag and sneaks out of the tent to have his own private adventure. The adventure becomes scary for Jamie and his parents are terrified when they discover Jamie is missing.

The police are called and Adam Tocek of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is summoned to report to the campground with his dog Norman to lead the search. Constable Molly Smith has been spending a romantic evening with Adam but when the evening is interrupted, she decides to accompany Adam and Norman on the hunt. Jamie is found tired, dirty and scared, but Norman also uncovers some human bones.

Although the ID is not positive, Sergeant John Winters decides to reopen the Brian Nowak investigation. Brian Nowak disappeared years ago. Winters finds out that Molly Smith who was then known as Moonlight Smith was the best friend of Nicky Nowak, Brian’s daughter. Molly happened to have been visiting Nicky on the day Nowak disappeared. Smith asks Molly’s assistance into the old case of Nowak’s disappearance.

Sweet Misfortune by Kevin Alan Milne (Review #3)

Sweet MisfortuneReviewed by Julie Moderson

Sweet Misfortune is a wonderful, sweet, funny, romantic and totally unpredictable book that you will want to share with all your friends. It makes you believe in love and happiness.

Sophie Jones had more tragedy in her life than anyone should have and because of this she doesn’t trust anyone and feels anxious all the time. Sophie always thinks that if life is going good something terrible will happen. She is a chocolate maker and has her own chocolate store called Chocolat’ de Soph. She loves to make new recipes but when her engagement is called off she starts to make fortune cookies that are misfortune cookies. They have a negative fortune and are dipped in bitter chocolate. Many people like them because of the fortunes but most won’t eat them.

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling

On Hummingbird WingsReviewed by Julie Moderson

What a wonderful story about slowing down and seeing what is available in life besides just working and working.

Her younger sister Allison calls Gillian home to California because her mother is dying. Gillian, who hasn’t been home in over five years, decides to go right away. When she gets there, she finds her key no longer works. She breaks a window to get in and finds her mother in bed and she refuses to get up or to eat. Gillian is very concerned about her mother but doesn’t understand Allison’s lack of caring.

Gillian meets the very attractive neighbor who is more than willing to help her whenever she needs assistance.

Palestine by Jonathan Bloomfield

PalestineReviewed by Cy Hilterman

Palestine is full of facts of history pertaining to the long and diverse history of Palestine and surrounding nations. It tells of the long turmoil between the nation of Palestine and surrounding nations but particularly Israel. The facts and locales in the book are true as are most of the names with only a few characters fictionalized from what I could see. The human brutality that occurs is so hard to realize that it actually occurred, but it did. Killing just because one was another religion or from another nation is a steady diet through the book. I don’t care if you are Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, Egyptian, or a member of a family comprised of a combination of any of the above, you realize the hate, killing, and torture continues generally without remorse.

There are many individuals that appear throughout the book that are either leaders, members of various groups, or families caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they were from Israel and traveling to Palestine they were vulnerable to attack, torture, rape, and a long, drawn out death. If one were lucky the death would be fast. The same circumstances go for someone from Palestine who was caught in Israel. To be quite honest I had a difficult time keeping the many individuals contained in this book separated from another. You must realize I am not familiar with the names of those that live in that part of the world. If I were from any one of the nations where this book took place I would no doubt recognize not only the individual names but also the military and civilian leadership contained.

You will feel as though you were with these people and live their brutal lives that in most occasions involve hurt mentally and/or physically. Prison, battlefield, hiding in an open or enclosed area, behind the scope of a snipers rifle watching and waiting, trying to exist with food scarcity, worrying about your family and many times not knowing where they were, much less not knowing their health condition or if they were still alive. These things among many other situations come to life as you travel and live with those in Palestine.

Infinite Exposure by Roland Hughes

Infinite ExposureReviewed by Teri Davis

Usually when someone mentions they have read a factual book that was written like fiction, it means the book has a plot and reads easily. However, Infinite Exposure reads like fact but is really fiction. This isn’t meant to be negative, it simply means there is so much that either has happened, or is similar to a recent event, that the book takes time to digest and understand.

Infinite Exposure is the overlaying of numerous international plots involving al-Quaeda, most notably with the financial world involving the banking system. Being terrifyingly realistic in terms of present day in the United States, the plot of numerous companies being competitive and attempting to sabotage each other, seems to be very honest, straightforward, and too realistic. With having numerous companies outsource the computer specialties to India in order to be more profitable, is a reality today. What happens if there is a problem at an international data center? What if the data is destroyed either accidentally or by an act of terrorism? When does profit outweigh the balance of common sense?

The implications in this fictional novel are terrifying and realistic. Most of us go about our day and really do not consider if our bank is associated with FDIC or even what that really means. The other issues of terrorism in Infinite Exposure are the central data banks, international banking, the illegal trade of human organs, the entire communication system, stock exchanges, the computer industry, the demise of Christianity, the media’s reporting, and how the international world views our lifestyles and choices.

Sinatra, Gotti and Me: The Rise and Fall of Jilly’s Nightclub by Tony Delvecchio and Rich Herschlag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

What a great story! For those who have always followed the lives of some of our somewhat shady performers Sinatra, Gotti, and Me is a well-told story of how it goes for those folks.

The media for years has followed the lives of the rich and famous. They have also give a view of the mob/gangster element that lives in our society. This book tells that story from an insider’s view. The involvement of the mob with some of the well-known entertainers and their haunts has always been an interesting phenomenon for most of us to read about and contemplate. Reading Tony Delvecchio’s own words of his associations just makes the concept that much more real.

Tony tells of a horrendous act that he was forced to suffer because of stealing a small amount of money as a young boy. He believed that that act changed the way he ended up living his life. And he never regretted the direction that he went in.

He could have become a “wiseguy” and many people actually believed that he in fact was. However he was not one but because of his bringing up by various members of the mind and his later friendships he basically enjoyed most of the benefits and even some of the downsides of organized crime.