Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (Review #3)

The RedbreastReviewed by Teri Davis

How long does it take for someone to finally succeed with revenge?

Harry Hole is a former alcoholic Norwegian detective that believes in doing the right thing, even if it is not politically correct. Harry is searching for a neo-Nazi, Sverre Olsen while also stopping an assassination of a world leader. Having to make a split-second decision, Harry shoots a Secret Service agent, possibly paralyzing the man permanently. True, the Secret Service agent should not have been where he was, but should he have been shot? Harry did not see that he had any choice.

In World War II, Norwegians were in a touchy situation with wondering whether to side with the Germans or the Russians. Many realized that they needed to be on the side of the victors, but it was difficult to tell which side would win.

The Redbreast was voted the best Norwegian crime novel ever written by members of Norwegian book clubs. The Redbreast is a novel that was confusing for me for the first hundred pages. When a novel is translated from its original language, I always wonder if what I am reading is the skill of the writer or the translator. It moved from the Norwegians fighting in World War II, to Harry Hole searching for Sverre Olsen in present time, to Harry at the police station, to Harry investigating with his female partner, and seemed to make few connections. After that, the novel was completely mesmerizing.

Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman by Patricia Bosworth

Jane Fond:  The Private Life of a Public WomanReviewed by Julie Moderson

I have always found Jane Fonda to be a very interesting woman and was thrilled to review this book. Patricia Bosworth does a fantastic job interviewing and writing Jane Fonda’s story.

Jane, on the surface, seems to have an ideal life but with her mother’s mental health problems and her complete favoritism of her brother Peter it amazes me the resilience of children to survive into adults. Jane not only survives the craziness but also had to deal with her father’s schedule that made him an absent father for months on end.

Jane grew into a wonderful woman who cares so much about causes that need to have someone with a name stand up for them. Jane’s activism against the Vietnam War had her followed by the FBI because she organized protests. I loved the political side of Jane and it showed what a strong woman she is. She believes in something and is willing to do anything for her cause.

Coup D’état by Ben Coes

Coup D'état Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

Sometimes the word “WOW” is used in extravagance, but not with this book! Ben Coes wrote his first book, “Power Down” and it was one of the best, most thrilling and engrossing stories I have read. This new book is of the same quality or, if possible, even better. It brings back the main character from the first book, Dewey Andreas, who is a master of all actions when it comes to helping his nation. He had been highly trained in all phases of super warfare such as Seals and Rangers are. The main story takes place in India and Pakistan but the interaction goes all over the world. Dewey had settled in secretively in Australia knowing that Aswan Fortuna was constantly searching for him. He had huge sums of reward money for anyone that could catch Dewey and ‘dispose’ of him. Fortuna’s two sons were loaded with money too but one son, Alexander, had been killed while the remaining son, Nebuchar, roamed free. All the Fortuna’s were wanted by the United States, dead or alive. Aswan Fortuna controlled or influenced many governments mostly with his money. He speaks and they jump. Fortuna had hired specialized killers to track down Dewey no matter where they could find him, if they could find him!

Jessica Tanzer was the national security advisor to President Allaire. Her advice went very far in most all of the cabinet meetings. Jessica also had a relationship with Dewey that set sparks off when either name was mentioned to each of them. Their long distance relationship made life hard for them but they knew that security demanded that distance with Dewey being a hunted man. Fortuna was very influential with Pakistan’s leader as well as others in the Asian area. He did all he could to change that part of the world to Muslim. Once again his money spoke tons of words and advice to any leader of a nation who could be influenced easily. Hostilities increased quickly between India and Pakistan. So many were killed, civilians as well as military. Attacks were launched increasingly and more deadly. It didn’t take long for Pakistan to drop a nuclear bomb on a small town in India wiping out the entire town killing thousands of civilians.

Pirate King: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King

Pirate KingReviewed by Teri Davis

Being Sherlock Holmes’ wife can be challenging. What with Sherlock’s eccentricities and brilliance, Mary Russell constantly needs to balance her own interests with his. She finds that this places her in the position of having to be involved in investigations even without her husband’s assistance.

Mary’s newest investigation is to join Fflytte Films, a silent film producing company. There are suspicions about this film crew smuggling of drugs and guns. Working as a director’s assistant should make it easy for her to combine with her massive daily duties. Since the former director’s assistant has disappeared, this is also a concern. Her job is to be a part of this group as they film in Lisbon and Morocco. What she did not plan on though was the demands of being a director’s assistant and quickly finds that she has no time for investigating. She writes to her husband back in England when she finds the opportunity or time. One of the first things that she tells him is the demands of being a mother to the crew and no time to investigate.

The story is to make a silent movie made about making Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirate of Penzance”. The complications come when the director, Fflytte, plans to have triplets play each of the daughters and when he manages to hire real pirates for the pirate parts. Imagine working with thirteen blond teenaged-girls and meeting their various needs in an attempt to live in temporary harmony along with real pirates playing both pirates and constables.

Facing Demons by Ashley Sanders

Facing DemonsReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

What do you do, where do you turn, when you have no hope, when you think that you have nowhere to turn? Facing Demons by Ashley Sanders is a fascinating, page-turning YA novel which explores the turmoil-filled, tumultuous lives of four teenage individuals who face tragic and desperate situations, and the often self-destructive decisions they make, that lead them to the brink of wanting to end it all. It’s also about how they all wind up at the Anchor Beach Rehabilitation Clinic, ran by Blake Solomon, and how their lives are changed for the better. As the title suggests, they each have to face their demons before they can conquer them. We get to learn very dramatically about the four people’s lives because each one tells their tales in the first-person, present tense. The stories of Jason (a gang member), Rebecca (a drug addict and child prostitute forced into it by thugs who keep her doped up), Matthew (a homeless African refugee living on the streets), and Felicity (a reckless, high-risk taking, rich kid who cuts herself), will live with you long after you finish the book.

Blake Solomon gets a second chance at life when his metastatic cancer goes into remission in the prologue of Facing Demons. That’s a big reason behind why he wants to give other people a chance, also. He’s a great character, because though he has doubts like all people do, he keeps his resolve strong, despite some setbacks he experiences with the four other main characters. He deals with their problems in a kind, concerned, attentive manner, and it’s apparent he deeply cares for his patients and wants to help them succeed on their road to recovery. Blake is described as looking “a bit like George Clooney, even has the stubble, but with a few more streaks of grey in his hair.”

The stories of the characters Rebecca, Jason, Felicity, and Matthew are introduced in the novel’s first chapter, “Their Stories.” They present their lives in stark and honest vignettes that are powerful and moving, and the author makes them come alive for the reader. I feel fortunate that my two kids, one now seventeen and one who will be twenty-one soon, have not had to handle the problems and face the terrible situations that the teens of Facing Demons are forced to confront.

The Drop by Michael Connelly

The DropReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

After a couple of books away from Harry Bosch as the main character, Connelly returns with The Drop, a book where Harry is at his best. Harry and Chou have two cases to investigate and as things seem to be resolved in each case, the cases take unsettling turns. Questions arise that may pop up again down the road.

The Cold Case Unit of the LAPD routinely selects cases at random to be reviewed to see if using the latest DNA testing there are any new leads in the case. Harry Bosch, now a member of this unit, catches a case from 1989. When the evidence is reviewed, there is a hit on the blood that was found at the scene-only the blood belongs to a guy who would have been only eight years old at the time the crime was committed. Before Harry and his partner Chou can really get started working the case, Harry long time nemesis, Councilman Irvin Irving asks that Harry be assigned to investigate the death of the Councilman’s son.

As readers ride along with Harry and is partner, it’s like catching up with old friends. Readers find Harry and his daughter settled into a comfortable routine after the death of Harry’s ex-wife and Maddy’s mother. Harry and his new partner have a not surprisingly unbalanced relationship with Harry wanting only to give orders while not sharing information. Kiz Rider, Harry’s old partner, has moved up the ladder in the police department and while it is sometimes helpful for Harry there is a definite shift in their relationship during this book-a shift leaving Harry feeling the loss. But the best is the return of Irvin Irving. In The Drop, the Councilman and Harry are supposed to be on the same side on this case, but can Harry and the Councilman ever be in agreement? Their relationship also takes an unusual twist by the end of The Drop.

Danger Sector by Jenifer LeClair

Danger SectorReviewed by Patricia Reid

The last place you would expect to find a Minneapolis Police Detective on leave is working aboard a sailing ship but that Is exactly what Brie Beaumont is doing. The Maine Wind is a working ship owned by Captain John DeLuc. Brie and John are very attracted to each other but Brie is still uncertain what the future holds for her and is unwilling to make a commitment to John on a personal level or to the ship as a permanent job.

Brie left the police department after her partner was killed and she felt she needed some distance from police work but when the ship makes a stop on Sentinel Island to help John’s friend repair an old lighthouse Brie is immediately caught up in a mystery surrounding the lighthouse and the small island.

Amanda Whitcombe is an artist, a prominent member of the Sentinel Island community and a good friend of Ben, the owner of the lighthouse. Amanda has disappeared and when Brie finds her cottage unlocked she investigates and some clues lead Brie to believe that Amanda did not leave voluntarily.

Hell to Pay by Wendy Corsi Staub (Review #2)

Hell to PayReviewed by Vickie Dailey

Hell to Pay is the third book in a trilogy consisting of Live to Tell and Scared to Death. This book is not really a stand-alone. I do recommend that you read the other two first. Most of the first half of the book is given over to retelling of relationships and past events in the other two books. When it finally gets down to it’s own story – Jeremy & Lucy Cavalon and their soon to be born child.

Timmy’s Bedtime: A Monster Bear Tale Written and Illustrated by Tim and Toni Williams

Timmy's BedtimeReviewed by Teri Davis

How many of us were scared of the dark when we were little? What lurked in the dark corners of our bedrooms? Did you feel safer sleeping when your closet door was closed? What unseen danger hid under our beds as we slept?

In Timmy’s Bedtime, Timmy has this same fear. He would rather stall than to go to bed and face the danger of the monster under his bed. While continuing his nightly denial of going to bed, his father addresses the issue of a monster and how to effectively overcome this impending danger.

This story is aimed as a read aloud for children between the ages of three and eight. The language of the story requires an adult to read it. This is not to be considered for beginner readers. Also included in the book are two pages where the child can color the bear. Future owners of this book can also order an accompanying teddy bear with a sash entitled “Monster” across him. This bear of indeterminate size can be purchased through the author’s website and costs $27.

Say You’ll Be Mine by Julia Armante

Say You'll Be MineReviewed by Julie Moderson

This is one of those rare novels that will pull at your heartstrings and make you believe in true love and lasting love.

Isabel Gallegos lives on her family’s vineyard and has lived there since graduating from college. She grew up in Argentina and met a boy named Nick Reeve. Nick convinced Isabella’s parents that moving to California would be a great opportunity to start over with their own vineyard. Isabella’s family moves and starts a vineyard and Nick and Isabella marry and divorce.

Isabella gets a message that her favorite cousin Brenda has been killed along with Brenda’s husband Andres. She is devastated by the terrible news. As she continues to read the message, Isabella realizes that she is expected to raise her cousin’s three young children. Isabella and Nick wanted children early in their marriage but it never came to be and Isabella is far too busy now to be a mother. When Isabella goes to Argentina for the funeral, she learns Nick is coming too even though she says she doesn’t need or want his company.