Friday, October 30, 2015

FRIDAY READS: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell (READING UPDATE)

Let's pray this year's Scarpetta novel makes a lot more structural sense than last year's...

According to Amazon:
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer genius niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.
As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell—not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.
In this new novel, Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they raid Lucy’s estate and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.
In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell will captivate readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail that she is famous for, proving yet again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.

~Backup~  But is it really necessary?
Tonight I'm going in on Patricia Cornwell's latest Scarpetta release, Depraved Heart.  I'm praying on everything it's better than last year's Flesh and Blood.  I won't even plot my expectations in this post.  At the end of the day, I love Kay Scarpetta.  I just don't have any reservations for taking digs at Cornwell's story should it fall short.  So it's time to light the candles, turn on the heater, and slip under the covers for another crime-riddled adventure.  That hopefully makes some damn sense!  No seriously, last year's Flesh and Blood was so bad I DNF'ed it and skipped to the last pages.
So stay tuned for the results...
IN OTHER NEWS.  If Cornwell's latest fails, I have this interesting book to fall back on.  For some reason I went to two different stores in search of Tess Gerritsen's latest, Playing with Fire.  It was my intent to have it handy as a weekend reading back up to Cornwell.  However, I just couldn't find it.  Not even Barnes and Nobles had the book out!  Regardless, I finally got the balls to take on William C. Dietz's urban fantasy novel, Deadeye.

{Saturday - 10/31 Reading Update - 10:39pm}

Depraved Heart has been in my lap all morning.  I woke at about 8am and didn't get out of bed (officially) until 1pm.  I'm 262 pages in and I have to say I'm really, really enjoying it.  It has absolutely zero motion.  No motion or traction at all.  Characters sit around from scene to scene deducting, contemplating, and rehashing a collection of concerns and story matter.  Zero moment.  Yet!  I absolutely am hooked as to what's going on, and where the story will go.  I may be bias because I genuinely like Scarpetta's first person POV, as well as the other characters.  So I don't feel too slighted by the lack of movement in the story.  It's like sitting down with old friends and....  I'll leave that for later.  No, really.  I'm actually enjoying the book.  Besides, the weather–which is wet and chilly–helps the experience.  I'm hoping to have the book complete tomorrow.  Much, much better than last year's disaster, Flesh and Blood.  While Depraved Heart reads like a stalled jalopy, it's a lot more reader-friendly and comprehensible than the spaghetti-splaying Flesh and Blood.

Creatures of the Night BOOK TAG (Video)

(All links are Amazon affiliate)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Devoted to Robb–and Eve Dallas

TODAY: Book number 41 in J. D. Robb’s insanely popular and lengthy futuristic police procedural series, Devoted in Death.  And while it would help to provide a quick, peachy rundown of what this series contains... I’d rather not.  No.  Seriously.  Condensing 41 books is asking for too much hell.  Besides, I’ve been posting about this series all year.  Ever since I decided to hop back on the Robb-Wagon (best decision ever) after taking two years off.  Thus, this post is probably more objective to those familiar with the world of In Death.

Devoted to Story

So what murderous crime takes place in Devoted in Death–as the 41st book in the series?  To start, New York homicide Lieutenant, Eve Dallas, investigates the brutal killing of a cellist.  His body turns up in downtown Manhattan, in an area known as Mechanics Alley.  Mechanics Alley is part of New York’s low-level district.  It's a district populated with seedy characters.  The prostitutes, gang members, and drug dealers there are far removed from the cellist's circles.  And the street is blocks away from his actual residents.  With his body slumped before a graffiti-covered wall, Eve concludes the body was dumped.  Further examination uncovers a carving in his skin.  It consists of a heart with the initials E and D slashed inside.
So just who the hell are E and D?
E and D stands for Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl.  These mid-west killers been hitting the road for New York, murdering and robbing along the way.  And, unfortunate to them, Eve Dallas’s radar.  The spree murders started when their car broke down in Arkansas.  Unwilling to waste time, Ella-Loo proceeded to bludgeon a man to snatch his vehicle in its place.  The couple’s taste for fusing murder and sex bloomed and intensified via a stream of murders.  Murders leading to Ella-Loo's dream of New York.  Dallas and her squad will trace their crimes.  And with the help of a former detective handling one of the couple’s murders, as well as the FBI.
It’s Bonnie and Clyde gone ultra-postal.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The ULTIMATE Rita Mae Brown Mrs. Murphy Housekeeping (Haul)

Something in my spirit told me to do this–to go to my local public library.  My intention was to get off my ass and actually write my thoughts out on J. D. Robb's Devoted in Death.  And I got some of that done AFTER I raided the library's used bookstore for an opportunity only a fool would pass up.  Well, only if you're into cozy mysteries where pets help solve the crime.  
I came across a slew of mint (hell, I'd call them new) condition Rita Mae Brown hardbacks.  And by Rita Mae Brown, I mean her Mrs. Murphy cozy mystery series.  You know.  The series I've been screaming and crying about all year on this blog.  Click on the tags below to get what I mean.  
But how much were they apiece?  $1.50!  While there were eight (the last one wasn't in good condition), I walked out with seven.  The real kicker is they are in READING ORDER!  And even more exciting, they're in reading order following the book I just finished!  (Literally, I don't have to go to Amazon and throw money on books and shipping.)  With 24 books to date in the series, this is a decent chunk I've just collected.  
So let's sum this up.  Like-new condition.  Hardbacks.  $1.50.  Reading order.  Nothing was stopping me from this opportunity.  I overheard the workers speaking to one another about cleaning out the library's attic, and can only wonder if this is where these books came from.
Here's what I got.  I'll link each book to their Goodreads profile as well...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ASMR Whisper Reading: Naked in Death by J. D. Robb

For those unfamiliar with the term, I'm going to cheat and add Wikipedia's definition of what ASMR means...

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a neologism for a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the headscalp,back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, or cognitive stimuli. The nature and classification of the ASMR phenomenon is controversial, with much anecdotal evidence of the phenomenon but little or no scientific explanation or verified data.

For the FULL article, click HERE.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Paretsky's Blood

Ahh.  Back to the world of Chicago white collar crime, with Sara Paretsky’s super P. I., V. I. Warshawski.  In Warshawki’s fifth adventure, Blood Shot, we go deeper into Warshawski’s history.  Also, the under workings of chemical corruption in Chicago’s Dead Stick Pond.
It started with a reunion between Warshawski and her childhood friend, Caroline Djiak.  Caroline summoned Warshawski back to south Chicago under false pretenses; an invitation to a reunion of girls high school basketball players turns into more.  Warshawski isn’t exactly excited about returning to the old neighbor, but she comes.  Along with her old memories.  
One of those memories consist of a teenage V. I. babysitting Caroline.  Caroline’s mother, Louisa, spent her time at work in a local plant.  And with a family who disowned her, Louisa depended on the Warshawski's for support.  Now V. I. Warshawski finds herself in south Chicago to fulfill a personal request for Caroline.  Louisa is dying, and Caroline wants to hire V. I. to uncover the identity of her father.  He is someone Louisa has kept secret from Caroline all her life–and for good reason.  Reluctantly, Warshawski takes on the case.  In turn, she opens up a can of worms that leaves her fighting for her life the closer she gets to the truth. 

Halloween Special ~ My 1st Ghost Experience

Here's the picture I mentioned.  It was taken in Maple Hill Cemetery, one of the oldest cemetery's in the city.  The picture is from 2005, where my best friend and I (for whatever reason) decided to walk inside and take a couple of pictures.  I don't care for these places, but decided what the hell.  

This... was one of the results.  It may look full dark in the image, but it was actually not that dark at all.  Approaching twilight maybe.  Nonetheless, it appears that something–or someone–decided to jump into the shot with me.  Anyone familiar with orbs and mist, may recognize this as ghostly.  Others may just regard it as equipment failure of some sort.  It was taken with one of those one-use cameras.  Anyway, you tell me what you see...

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Puzzling X

Let’s just jump dead on into book number 24 in Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series, X.  Yes, yes.  Let’s just jump right into it.
Here’s the deal: There are three narratives (as opposed to the term “plot”–which Grafton dislikes using) happening in Kinsey’s latest adventure.  And all three read like b-narratives provided in one fluid swoop.  And get this!  Except for the prologue, Grafton doesn’t use time jaunts this time around.  That’s right.  This one is strictly from the perspective of Kinsey.  But to be clear about my excitement, the time jaunts in the last five books didn't bother me.  Just putting that out there.
Narrative Beats
Let's talk about those narratives first...
B-Narrative 1:  A divorced woman misses the lavish lifestyle she once shared with her wealthy husband.  As the split takes its financial toll, she becomes more and more unwilling to give up the furs and jewelry.  So to speak.  Even so, the divorce came from her reactionary hands, leaving her with repercussions of financial lost.  But how else was she suppose to respond, when her husband's affair involves a friend?  More importantly, how does she plan to stay afloat?  Well, stealing a painting from her husband’s basement is one.  She just needs Kinsey’s help in locating a capable thief, fresh out of prison.  Of course, this information isn’t disclosed to a blindsided Kinsey Millhone.  And when Kinsey finds out, she's hot on this sneaky woman's ass.  Nobody plays Ms. Millhone and gets away with it!  Or will this be Kinsey's match?
B-Narrative 2:  Racing in tight trajectory; an elderly couple settles next door to Kinsey and her landlord, Henry.  While the elderly woman of the duo seems capable and bouncy, her husband comes confined to a wheelchair.  This, in turn, has his wife begging both Kinsey and Henry for small-time favors with a sympathetic lean.  One day she’s asking Henry to take her to the grocery store.  The next she’s begging Kinsey to watch her husband as she slips off to the dentist. Then one day Kinsey’s investigative antenna probes upward, when she witnesses the couple dumping their trash into the bins of their neighbors.  A paper trail of scandal ensues.  And this sweet couple is maybe not so sweet.
B-Narrative 3 (Resoundingly A):  I consider this the core story.  It seemed to hold the book together as a narrative common to a Kinsey investigation.  Why?  Because it features killers and murder, of course.  It also directly follows a stream of events that took place in the previous book, W is for Wasted.  
The IRS is on the phone–but not in pursuit of Kinsey.  Instead, they are hounding the wife of Kinsey’s former investigator trainer, Pete Wolinsky.  Reeling from the IRS's demands for documents sequestered by Pete, it's Pete’s wife, Ruthie, who seeks Kinsey for help.  Pro bono and as a family friend.  Before his death, Pete left a banker’s box to his once trainee.  Once in which Kinsey discovers a false bottom.  Inside Pete secreted a package containing a Bible, rosary, birthday card, and a family portrait.  And a deeper look unveils a list of random, coded numbers listed on a slice of paper.  Soon after Kinsey’s discovery, she finds her office completely trashed.  Somebody cold and calculating wants what she's discovered.  And now it’s up to her to find him before he finds her.
And that’s what X consist of.  And, to be just a little honest, a Kinsey book I found kind of lukewarm and weak by the end of each thread. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Aquarius View: The Next Always by Nora Roberts

"The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it's getting a major face-lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect in the family, Beckett's social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town's bookstore. Though busy and with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett's transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer both the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett is happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time, in between blueprint meetings and kindergarten pickups. It's no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something that could arouse the secret yearning that resides in Clare's independent heart - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next..."

Headache Free Zone
Let’s get a little bit into this contemporary romance touched with paranormal and predictable-cheesy-stalker-antagonist love story.
I liked The Next Always, and look forward to catching the next two acts in the trilogy with stars and hope in my eyes.  You see, neither the heroine nor hero of The Next Always aggravated me–which is always a plus for an emotionally detached Aquarius such as myself.  But let me tell you why I found myself pleased with the characters, while extending my hope for the same consistency in the next entries.  

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