Book Notices | The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
2M ago
Anthony Horowitz, The Word is Murder   Amazon   Anthony Horowitz injects himself into the story in this first book in his Hawthorne and Horowitz series, playing the John Watson figure to an enigmatic ex-policeman known mostly by his last name. A particularly intriguing case—the murder of a popular actor's mother on the day she plans her own funeral—prompts Hawthorne to propose the partnership, and after some initial reluctance, Horowitz signs on. So Horowitz is the real-life author writing about his fictional experience tailing the fictional detective while he solves ..read more
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Book Notices | A Column of Fire by Ken Follett
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
10M ago
Ken Follett, A Column of Fire   Amazon   A Column of Fire is the third installment in Ken Follett's Kingsbridge series.* Like its predecessors, it's a big, sprawling read, centered loosely around the fictional English town of Kingsbridge. This novel picks up the story of the city's inhabitants hundreds of years after the events of Follett's World Without End. We're now in the 16th and early 17th centuries, when Europe is riven by religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The main protagonist, Kingsbridge native Ned Willard, spends his life in the service ..read more
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Book Notices | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins / Fifteen Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton / The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train   Amazon   The girl on the train is Rachel, who watches strangers from her seat during her morning commute—one particular couple, whom she embues with personalities and a backstory. As the story unfolds, we learn why Rachel is interested in this couple, how their lives overlap with hers, and we watch as she steps into their lives after seeing something disturbing from the train. The story is told primarily from the perspectives of Rachel and this woman she watches, "Jess" (although there is a third narrator as well, whose identit ..read more
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Book Notices | Grammar for a Full Life by Lawrence Weinstein
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Lawrence Weinstein, Grammar for a Full Life   Amazon   I didn't expect to like this book. Intrigued by the title, I figured I'd read a few pages to satisfy my curiosity and then delete it from my Kindle. Hippie treacle, I figured. But I was wrong. Grammar for a Full Life is a collection of some 30 essays, a pleasing mix of grammar and philosophy, humane and thoughtful musings on the power of words and syntax and punctuation to enhance the human spirit. The essays are divided into thematic sections that relate to human needs—agency, belonging, freedom, and so on. One ..read more
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Book Notices | Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir / Helpless by Daniel Palmer
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Andy Weir, Project Hail Mary   Amazon   Project Hail Mary is another likable-smart-guy-in-space story from The Martian author Andy Weir. Ryland Grace isn’t stuck on Mars with a bunch of spuds. He’s been sent on an interstellar space mission with packets of food slurry so he can save the world. If you liked The Martian, in book or movie form, you’ll like this one too. And if you know anything about science — I don’t — you’ll probably enjoy it on a different level than I was able to because you’ll be better able to appreciate what Grace gets up to in space. (That’s ass ..read more
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Book Notices | The Fine Art of Invisible Detection by Robert Goddard / Never by Ken Follett
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Robert Goddard, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection   Amazon   Unassuming, middle-aged Umiko Wada is a detective's assistant tasked with traveling from Japan to England to investigate a decades-old death. The assignment lands her in the middle of a huge conspiracy and other assorted goings-on: murders, kidnappings, missing persons, assumed identities. That all makes it sound more interesting than it is, though. The plot is intricate—that is Robert Goddard's forte, after all—but that's really where it lost me. The story was too complicated, and not clear enough, and n ..read more
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Book Notices | The Library Book by Susan Orlean
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Susan Orlean, The Library Book   Amazon   Well, reading this was a balm. Susan Orlean here focuses her loving homage to libraries on the great fire that destroyed Los Angeles's Central Library in 1986. We learn about the events of the day itself—the damage done to building and books, the arson investigation that followed, and the unusual character on whom suspicion soon settled, a likable would-be actor and compulsive liar named Harry Peak. But in telling the story of the fire and its consequences, Orlean allows her attention to wander. She fleshes out the book with ..read more
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Book Notices | Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Linwood Barclay, Broken Promise   Amazon   Broken Promise is the first book in Linwood Barclay’s trilogy set in Promise Falls, New York. There’s a lot going on in it: dead squirrels, murder, kidnapping, more murder, a series of sexual assaults, and a creepy tableau of mannequins on a carnival attraction. And there are a lot of characters to watch: David Harwood, an out of work reporter whose cousin is implicated in one or two of the crimes mentioned above; David's mother and father and aunt; a bully and his gun-toting mom; a donut-loving detective; a disgraced former ..read more
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Book Notices | Gone the Next by Ben Rehder / Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Ben Rehder, Gone the Next   Amazon   This is another book that somehow has been sitting unread on my (virtual) shelves for years. And while it's languished on my Kindle, the author has added another four books to the series, now seven books strong. Gone the Next introduces Roy Ballard, a charming smart alec who pays his bills by investigating insurance fraud. That means he stakes out insurance claimants hoping to film them exercising or picking up heavy objects when their alleged injuries should preclude it. It's a stakeout that lands him in some trouble in this firs ..read more
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Book Notices | A Graveyard of Memories by Barry Eisler / The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith
book-blog.com by Debra Hamel
by Debra Hamel
1y ago
Barry Eisler, A Graveyard of Memories   Amazon   A Graveyard of Memories is a prequel to Barry Eisler's series featuring John Rain, a half-Japanese, half-American assassin. I've only read the first book in the series, some years ago, so I'm not familiar with the character's later development. But in this outing he's twenty years old and naive. He's bloodied his hands in Vietnam, so he's no stranger to killing, but we watch as he gets involved in a complex plot that forces him to translate the skills he honed in the jungle to an urban environment. Eisler spells out Ra ..read more
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