Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading. Show all posts

Thursday, May 28, 2020

The 3rd Cass Raines Private-Eye Book is OUT NOW!

"Wealth. Power. Celebrity. Vonda Allen’s glossy vanity magazine has taken the Windy City by storm, and she’s well on her way to building a one-woman media empire. Everybody adores her. Except the people who work for her. And the person who’s sending her flowers with death threats . . .

As Vonda’s bodyguard, off-duty cop Ben Mickerson knows he could use some back-up—and no one fits the bill better than his ex-partner on the police force, Cass Raines. Now a full-time private eye, Cass is reluctant to take the job. She isn’t keen on playing babysitter to a celebrity who’s rumored to be a heartless diva. But as a favor to Ben, she signs on. But when Vonda refuses to say why someone might be after her, and two of her staff turn up dead, Ben and Cass must battle an unknown assailant bent on getting to the great lady herself, before someone else dies.

Cass finds out the hard way just how persistent a threat they face during the first stop on Vonda’s book tour. As fans clamour for her autograph, things take an ugly turn when a mysterious fan shows up with flowers and slashes Ben with a knife. While her ex-partner’s life hangs in the balance, Cass is left to find out what secrets Vonda is keeping, who might want her dead, and how she can bring Ben’s attacker to justice before enemies in the Chicago Police Department try to stop her in her tracks . . ."
What You Don't See is the third (and I pray to GOD not last) book in Tracy Clark's Chicago-based private-eye, Cass Raines, mystery series.  Amazon had me wait two days since it's May 26th release, but I got mine.  Heck, and it's right on time for the weekend ('cause I ain't GOT TO WORK!).  

So yes, prowling the streets of Chicago with Cass is pretty much all I need.  That and maybe a DoorDash and Instacart order just to keep me in the house.  Anyway, super excited to start this one!  Black woman private-eye for the complete and UTTER WIN, baby!  Y'all out there know how I getz down.

Call or text me at your own risk.  I may respond.  I may not.  It all depends on how deep I am into my reading of What You Don't See.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Muller & Paretsky Short Story Haul

Soooooo, I'm not that great at keeping up with short stories.  But shoottttttt I miss the cheeseburger and FRIES out of reading Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone private-eye stories.  And equally that of Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series.  I've tidied up these series; totally up-to-date with these two iconic contemporary woman private-eye stories.  Now I really miss these author, and most certainly the voices of their characters.  So short stories it is!  

Monday, December 10, 2018

CHOP IT UP: Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper

"What if you can enter a madman's cruel mind as he plans his vicious crimes? 
What if you can see the terrified face of his prey as he moves in for the kill -- but you can't stop his frenzy once he strikes? 
Psychic Cassie Neill helps the L.A. police catch killers -- until she makes a terrible mistake and an innocent child dies. Cassie flees to a small North Carolina town, hoping that a quiet life will silence the voices that invade her unwilling mind. But Cassie's abilities know few boundaries. And she's become certain -- as no one else can be -- that a murderer is stalking Ryan's Bluff. 
It's his fury that Cassie senses first, then his foul thoughts and perverse excitement. Yet she doesn't know who he is or where he will strike. The sheriff won't even listen to her -- until the first body is found exactly where and how she predicted. Now a suspect herself, she races desperately to unmask the killer in the only way she knows: by entering his twisted mind. Her every step is loaded with fear and uncertainty... because if he senses her within him, he'll trap her there, so deep she'll never find her way out."
Stealing Shadows is the first book in Kay Hooper's Noah Bishop series. And the hook to her Bishop series is he’s a psychic detective. Specifically, one who runs a division of psychic detectives thriving as FBI agents. Interesting and exciting stuff, right? Well, in Bishop's 2000 debut, he played a secondary role to a pretty stringent romance.

Which almost stuck an ice pick in my poor balloon of new series hope.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Final Book Raiding TBR Pick

A lucky surprise has fallen into my lap. Didn’t know about this book. Didn’t expect it. It came out a week or two after Shadow of the Tomb Raider itself. Ran into it at the bookstore. And there was no question regarding my purchase. It's a tie-in to the game, and not an exact novelization of the game. Basically, it covers the story between the events that happened after Lara removed the dagger from the Temple of the Moon (and of course survived the subsequent tsunami), and before her plane crashed into the jungle (with Jonah and Miguel). As I'm writing this I'm already 85 pages away from the end. AND I LOVE IT! Like, what other perfect way to end my October Book Reading TBR?

"In a brand-new adventure, Lara Croft must evade the agents of Trinity and discover an ancient secret. When a mysterious stranger offers to help Lara uncover a clue that could give her the upper hand, she embarks on an expedition to a system of caves in Colombia. However, once they learn of Lara's plans, Trinity will stop at nothing to reach the location first. Trinity believes they can turn the tables on Lara, but in the darkness of the underground caverns, there are terrors in the depths that neither Lara nor Trinity anticipated."

My October Reading Work is Done!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

3 Female Sleuth Debuts | #MarchMysteryMadness

3 Female Sleuth Debuts (Well, technically 2).

Amazon Affiliate Links:

1.  Contents Under Pressure by Edna Buchanan:

With a police cover-up and citywide outrage brewing in the wake of a black football star's suspicious death while under police custody, Cuban-American crime reporter Britt Montero steps in to uncover the truth. Tour.

2.  The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda:

When a body wrapped in a blue plastic tarp and tied up with twine is discovered near the bushes near a quiet suburban Tokyo neighborhood, Lt. Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally---his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the "what" or the "why" of this crime.

3.  Blue Moon by Walter Wager:

Alison B. Gordon finds herself aiding a Mafia ganglord whose Las Vegas interests are threatened by an international terrorist group that will destroy the city's casinos and hotels if its demand for five million dollars is not met. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beverly Hills Housewives vs. Hollywood Husbands

I’ve been reading Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Husbands for two weeks!  Since October 11th to be precise.  And, pitifully speaking, I’m only 330 pages into the 543 given.  And it’s not necessarily a slow read.  
You’d think being in the Did Not Finish (DNF) groove by now (after jumping the ship on Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune and Tayari Jones’ Leaving Atlanta) that I’d just let Husbands go.  I am tempted to stuff it into the wells of my bookshelf; out of sight, out of mind.  Yet, I don’t quite want to at the same time.  Maybe I'm enchanted with something about the book.  Because when I try to pick another read in its place, I’m drawn back to finish Husbands off.  I don’t want to cut Collins just yet–hoping this book would be as solid as the previous in the series, Hollywood Wives.  But man is it hard to keep engaged with this slog.
But first, let me do a quick summary…
The book’s primary characters consist of a trio of Hollywood buddies.  Jack Python is a talk show host.  He's married to a cheating actress, though his philandering ways are anything but subtle.  Anyway, Jack Python is slatted as the nobleman of the trio, given that he’s raising his Hollywood diva sister’s estranged child.  He's also the character designed to become the reasonable and pragmatic voice within the group.  Something that's evident by how he complains about being "over" the Hollywood scene.  Then there’s Howard Soloman.  He's a crackhead and movie studio owner with a line of divorces up to his bloodshot eyeballs.  Not one to swallow impulses, he has his eye on a friend’s ex-wife.  While, of course, presently married to an actress.  Without a doubt Howard is his own enemy, and struggles with the pressures of owning a movie studio that needs a good film to stay relevant.  Last there’s Mannon Cable.  He’s the irresistible heartthrob actor in the group.  He's also still hung up on his ex-wife (whom his friend, Howard, secretly covets), while his current wife tootles around pregnant with his child.  However, sadly, Mannon can’t stand the thought of either one.  He just wants a hot movie role and his ex-wife's jealousy over his new relationship.  You know, the one with the pregnant wife that he can't bother to show any love to.
Besides the men there are a host of women players as well.  Silver Anderson is Jack Python’s disunified sister.  Nonetheless, she's rich, famous, commandeering, and–despite her haughty attitude–probably the only likable character.  She does a lot of jacked-up things to her family, but she's a diva you're willing to throw out your moral code to entertain.  As of late, she’s eloped to marry a down-and-out broke-in-the-pockets wanted barman.  Naturally, his allure is that he's risky and thrilling.  He also has a penchant for knocking her “bottom” out just the way she likes.  Or at least enough to keep him around to the chagrin of her "loyal" staff.  Who, of course, are making plans to get him away from your highness to bring order back to the Hollywood castle. 
Let me see who else…
–Errr, well that’s really the only four that matters.  The remaining cast are more or less facilitators of each of principle's story thread.  So they're just sprinkled within to either kiss ass (in some cases literally), be insufferable to the principles, or push a scandal.  However, as far as the 330 pages I've gotten to, I haven’t a clue who’s pulling chains around here yet.  There's dirt to spread, but nobody's spreading it on each other; principle or secondary alike.  What I can say is a few of these secondary players (like the belittled housewife) operate as underdogs ready to bark back at their tormentors.  Which leaves one to continue reading and guessing how.  So the book is not a total slog.
Additionally, there’s an outsider's narrative in between all these story threads.  Taking readers back to a small town in 1974, it's a narrative featuring an abused teen turned arsonist heading for the Hollywood hills to “light” up one (or more) of the principle's life.
So why do I find the book so challenging to continue reading?  Especially when all this crazy, dramatic, and wild stuff is happening?  It's simple: every single character–with or without one–thinks only with their dicks!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Front-2-Back ~ Library 25 Cent Booksale Buys

I started to not even write about this, but what the hell.  So a week ago–on a nice pre-fall Saturday–my best friend and went to the public library’s 25 cent book sale.  Excitedly, of course.  We had some authors in mind, and felt like this was the perfect opportunity to dig into the shopping fray.  Nonetheless, you know how these sales go; lots of books pulled from the library’s attic, and crammed on a stream of folding tables like a flea market.  Perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  Even so, I walked in with three authors on my mind: Susan Wittig Albert, Nevada Barr, and Rita Mae Brown.  And I lucked out–and then some.  So let me share what I’ve found and why (more or less) I got them.
(I’m not going to talk too much about some of the authors, but will link their websites via their names.)
At the time I went to the sale I was in the middle of reading Doris Mortman’s True Colors.  I haven’t picked up her books in years–after spending the summer of 2011 engrossed in her second novel, First Born.  So when I found a cleaner copy of The Wild Rose at the sale, I grabbed it to replace the unread copy I bought at a thrift store a couple of years ago.  Hard to believe the copy is from the mid-80’s and in such pristine condition.  For 25 cents it was a no-brainer.  As for the copy of Mortman’s Rightfully Mine, it’s a discarded library book in decent condition.  But hey, I was enjoying True Colors so why not another Mortman book to add.  

Mortman writes what I would sum as the literary version of an 80’s mini-series.  Think Deceptions, Voice of the Heart, and Scruples.  Romance, drama, melodrama, family secrets.  You get it.  Oh, and of course stuck-up bitches with loads of money and attitude.  Love it!
Jackie Collins' Hollywood Husbands is finally off my Amazon wish list.  I placed it there immediately after reading Collins’ Hollywood Wives some summers ago.  Never got around to ordering the sequel, Hollywood Husbands.  But when this copy sprang up from the pile of books, I didn’t hesitate.  I’m an on/off Collins reader.  And from that experience, I don’t believe any of her titles I’ve read can top Hollywood Wives.  Here’s to hoping Hollywood Husbands can second it.  (Currently reading it and it’s selling me, but not in a “hot cakes” capacity.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Delilah West: One Female Private-Eye You May Or May Not Have Heard Of

I have got to admit that I love female private-eye series pre the 2000’s.  And from the 70’s on into the early 90’s is where I often find the best stories.  Unless an author has established him or herself during those periods; post 2000 female private-eye series always seem to have this distracted flavor to them.  If I could put it into words, I would say there’s hard-boiled then there’s hard-boiled just to “look cute.“  Or, to be a lot more transparent, the rash of relationship drama and sex to maintain an audience tends to kill my vibe.  (Here’s to you Stephanie Plum.)  
Though I can’t speak on this with any totality of thought (if that makes sense).  Still, hardly have I experienced the whole “once to bed, twice is enough” experience in series built in the two decades following Maria Muller’s genre-shaking debut.  You know, of her 1977-birthing of female private-eye, Sharon McCone.  And Sharon was a great protagonist to flush in writers serving the world female-led hard-boiled stories during the 80’s and 90’s.  Of course without characters tip-toeing pass hotel wallpaper to slide into bed for a clue.  Usually with the unbeknownst killer.  
Muller gave writers a model of a female private-eye, and in turn, those writers served their special and unique versions of what translated as a woman detective carrying hard-boiled stories.  Plus, stories back then knew how to fill the pages with actual words–and procedural work.
But, incidentally, Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone wasn't the first contemporary American woman taking lead as a fictional private investigator.  Apparently, Maxine O'Callaghan's Delilah West came first.  Had it not been for a recent trip to a used bookstore, where I discovered West tucked in a stack, I never would've known.

As For Delilah West Herself
First, I have got to say that while researching O'Callaghan, I noticed she has newer reprints of her series.  And I have got to say I do not like the covers.  At all.  No shade to young adult books, but that’s precisely what the new covers of her Delilah West mystery books look like; some angst-filled YA book about vampires and love gone bloody.  Thank God I ran across her original paperback covers first.  And I’ll be sure to hunt for the original covers to this series here forward.  As dated as they may appear, it’s always best to keep to the classics in cases such as this.  I really, really can’t believe how awful the new covers are.

But I digress...
As I mentioned, the character of Delilah West pre-dates Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone.  West first appeared in a short story featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine back in 1974 (three years before McCone debuted with Edwin and the Iron Shoes).  I suppose the short story break sort of did a strange disservice O’Callaghan’s protagonist, as Muller’s Sharon rose to attention and commercial success three years later.  While continuing to publish yearly releases to this day.  

Nonetheless, Orange County resident and ex-cop private-eye, Delilah West, broke into her first full-length book in 1981 with Death is Forever.  From 1981 until 1997, O’Callaghan released six Delilah West mysteries and a short story collection.
I say it’s high-time we catch up with Delilah West and keep her in mind when we’re talking about the beginning of the contemporary female private-eye. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#SaveOurCozies | Extended Haul

Because I’m so excited about #SaveOurCozies, I had to stock up on a few new titles.  Many listed has always been on my radar, but never quite made it home.  These are books I’ve noticed time and time again in stores, but have yet to slide into.  Until now!  But to be extra, extra clear, I had to be sure they were each the first in their respective reading order.  Never trusting the read order placed inside the first few pages of any given series, I took my time investigating these suckers.  Nothing’ll piss me off more than picking up a new series midway through; a personal aggravation of mine, if you will.  So let me list and share what each series (as well as their individual hooks) is about.  At least for those who are new to them like myself.  And no, the Nora Roberts Public Secrets (1990) book isn’t a cozy.  Though there is a kidnapping and possible murder involved.  I’ve just always wanted to read the damn book and found it for 25 cents!  (For those who have read it, please share your thoughts.  I’m an on/off Roberts reader outside of her J. D. Robb series.)

#SaveOurCozies | Video TBR & Campaign Links

Channels/Supporters Mentioned
Elizabeth (Youtube Channel)
Angie (Blog)
 Charlaine Harris Books Mentioned (Amazon Affiliate Links)
An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly #3)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sisters Doing It For Themselves | The Female Mystery Lead Haul

Remember that Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin song “Sisters Are Doin’ it for Themselves”?  Good if you do.  Because I believe it's a suitable theme song for my recent book haul.  A haul where I unintentionally visited three different bookstores in an afternoon, led mostly by divine inspiration.  I know how "divine inspiration" sounds.  But what else describes visiting one bookstore and–in passing–somehow three-point turn your way to stop by another?  Just because it was there to catch your eye.  In lunch hour traffic.  Imagine.  So while everyone else was lined up at Chick-Fil-A's drive-thru, some of us were chewing on organic brownie bars and throwing down at the local bookstores.  It had to be done. 
So I attribute the song to this collection of recent purchases–because they’re mysteries carried by women leads.  You know, just about the only gender class in mysteries I raise up to read about.  I mean, a time or two I’ll give the guys a chance.  It’s just male characters in this genre seem so outmoded.  Or, for the sake of sounding redundant, passé.  In the future I may have to eat my words.  Still, unless the male character is gay, I’m less likely to find genuine interest in his story.  And, subsequently, the investigation.  And true there are self-published Kindle books nowadays with a gay male solving crime.  I just need to do a little more research to find good ones.  You know, because the book still has to tell a great story at the end of the day.  But on the general tip: I need a good, kick-ass female to pull me through a mystery.
So with the chatter bucket out of the way, I’m here to share four new crime novels centered on the female sleuth.  As well as a lot of deserts in Arizona...
First there's Firestorm, book #4 in Nevada Barr's park ranger extraordinaire Anna Pigeon series.  This is one of those books–after reading book three–I legworked used bookstores for months to find.  Not until I went over the mountains to a Barnes & Noble did a copy surface (I finally found a used copy later the same day.  The irony.).  

Nevertheless, my experience with Anna Pigeon’s debut, Track of the Cat, was everything.  Here was this flawed, borderline alcoholic who remade her life after losing her husband in a freak accident.  So in a stretch of parallels, she took herself out of the concrete jungles of New York and into Texas back country as a park ranger.  However, the Texas back country is only her first locale.  In proceeding books, Anna's new career takes her to a variety of other National Parks.  So her surroundings are always fresh to her and the reader.  As well as the murders she finds herself wrapped up in.  After the first book, Barr's blend of National Park studies and murder ticketed me for Anna's line of adventures without further convincing.
Unfortunately, the following two books, Superior Death and Ill Wind, sold me lukewarm feelings.  I was still grinding on the Anna train; I just wasn’t there completely after those reads.  Regardless, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to this series, and have since kept an eye out for Firestorm.
In Firestorm, Anna's stationed at the California Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Sounds pretty cool, right?  Until a forest fire erupts, leaving Anna to confront it.  

Within the blazing chaos, two men are found dead.  One a victim of the fire.  The other stabbed in the back.  The kicker: a winter storm is descending on the park, leaving the remaining ten forest fire survivors stranded.  That’s Anna, eight other people, and one killer in the mix.  Anna’ll have his (or her) ass for sure.  And I must say, I feel like Firestorm will breath another life into the series.  One in which I have no intentions of giving up until I see Anna through to the end, anyway.  Her story and adventures are too unique to pass up.

Friday, February 19, 2016

#MarchMysteryMadness Challenge List

Goodreads Group: March Mystery Madness
~~~~~ The Food/Craft/Hobby Cozy~~~~~
1.       “It wasn’t the way that Hannah preferred to attract new clientele, but she had to admit that finding Ron’s body had been good for business.  The Cookie Jar was jam-packed with customers.  Some of them were even standing while they munched their cookies, and every one of them wanted her opinion on what happened to Ron LasSalle.”
Everybody has a craft–a hobby.  Whether it’s baking sugar cookies or crocheting Forget-Me-Not dollies.  Maybe even culturing herbs for organic dishes.  Or are you into nature photography and are a dedicated bibliophile?  Now imagine engaging with your day-to-day passions when a body suddenly crosses your path.  What would you do?  Do you have what it takes to balance your craft with solving murders?  Explore the possibilities by reading a cozy mystery with a food/craft/hobby theme.
~~~~~ The Get Christie Love Lead~~~~~
2.       “Finally, after all my procrastinating and avoiding Bessie’s calls, I was able to put the finishing touches on my report, explaining exactly how I had spent her money (I didn’t include the manicure), apologizing for what I hadn’t been able to find out, but pointing out that her involvement may have sparked the cops’ renewed interest in the case.  I included the name of the lawyer that Jake had given me as well as the contact for the program for Rayshawn.  I also warned her in strong language that Rayshawn had been on the verge of committing a serious felony and had some serious problems that had to be dealt with, and if she and Viola didn’t make sure he got help, I’d be forced to go to the authorities with information that would result in his arrest.”
Find and follow your inner Christie Love and Foxy Brown.  Read a mystery/crime fiction novel powered by an African (-American) female sleuth.  Or, from Tokyo to Seoul.  Shanghai to Kolkata.  Or even New York to Los Angles.  Read a mystery/crime fiction novel featuring a sleuth with an Eastern perspective on matters.  (In general, a book featuring a person of color taking lead.)
~~~~~ The Christie/Poe Complex~~~~~
3.      “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”

Did you know Edgar Allan Poe did mystery and crime fiction before mystery and crime fiction were even a thing?  Let’s face it; he’s the godfather of the genre.  He’s the seed to this entire challenge.  Therefore, your challenge is simple: indulge in one or all three of Poe’s mystery shorts…
A.     The Murders in the Rue Morgue
B.     The Mystery of Marie Roget
C.     The Purloined Letter
Or how about the matriarch of mystery and crime fiction, Agatha Christie?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

#ReadSoulLit Jubilee by Margaret Walker

QUICK.  Get on Twitter and Youtube and search #ReadSoulLit!  You may be asking what does that mean–outside of its obvious nature.  However, as a quick explanation, many Booktubers are reading Jubliee by Margaret Walker during February.  For Black History Month of course!  I'll link to Booktuber, Frenchie at Brown Girl Reading's, video on the project HERE.  As for myself, I recently got my copy of the book.  I'm behind on the reading, but still wanted to share for those reading this post who would like to jump on board and participate.  That is all…

"Here is the classic--and true--story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress, a Southern Civil War heroine to rival Scarlett O'Hara. Vyry bears witness to the South's prewar opulence and its brutality, to its wartime ruin and the subsequent promise of Reconstruction. It is a story that Margaret Walker heard as a child from her grandmother, the real Vyry's daughter. The author spent thirty years researching the novel so that the world might know the intelligent, strong, and brave black woman called Vyry. The phenomenal acclaim this best-selling book has achieved from readers black and white, young and old, attests to her success."
~ Synopsis from 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Why I Haven't Been Reading...

I am 16 days into May, and haven’t completed a book yet! And it’s torture. It truly is. Life. Life. Life. It’s always there. And while I’m not one to claim stress (because I believe we perceptive and own what we will), there is definitely something going on. Something that is most certainly working for my highest good.  So I wanted to create a post concerning why I haven’t completed a book–and how I hope things get on track. You see, I believe when things seem to get hard, it’s God/the Universe’s way of moving things/situations out of the way so our better good can come in.  Or for our desires to manifest. And nothing could be more evident than having my car totaled last month.

It was a simple kind of Saturday. I was finally off work, and my best friend had moved into her new apartment the day before. She was adjusting, and I wanted to be there to help her through the process.  We met at her old apartment, the one she shared with her family.  I parked my car in my usual parallel parking spot at her old apartment complex, and then we took her car to her new place.

So the day was moving nicely. We went to her new apartment; chatted and shared decorative ideas. We went trolling around shopping centers for materials to implement a few of those ideas. We ordered pizza and watched movies. Around 10pm, it was time to pick up her brother.  We went to pick him up, and didn't get back to her old apartment until well after 11. It was then that I went out to get in my car and saw it had been hit. At first, I refused to believe it; I paced along the parking area certain the car I was seeing wasn't mine. 

All this happened on 4/18.  Tuesday I finally got my wrecked car towed out of my driveway after nearly a month of sorting out insurance, police reports, and the responsible party. The title was FedEx'ed to the driver’s insurance company, and the check is finally on its way. I've been in a new car for two weeks, and within those two weeks came another set of issues, until I replaced its camshaft last weekend.

The new car (and replaced camshaft) came right on time, because another challenge has been surviving my 9-5. Tuesday my transfer to another location finally happened (the delay is another beast of a story). The new location is a ways out, and my transportation came together right on time (that’s the Universe calling). So I worked all this week, and very little has changed concerning my perception between my old location and this one. I needed a change of pace, and I got it. However, nothing can replace the overpowering desire to be liberated. To be free within the use of my own time, schedule, and finances. So the new location is different, slower, cleaner, and quieter.  Even so, it still feels like starting over, and with little to no change in my feelings.  It’s still uninspiring.  Dull.  Creatively void.  And just overall dispiriting if you let it be.  Nonetheless, the transfer is meant to be a breather until I find something better.

I've been filling out applications for better job opportunities, to get me out of this company for good and somewhere different as I continue to pursue my dreams here. (Check out my new Spreadshirt store.) Nonetheless, after two years and six months, I figured I've been doing this job for long enough and has long given it everything I had. The tiredness. The tedium. The emotional voids. The chronic, compulsive urge to hop in my car and drive away for good. It’s all there. No seriously, every day I want to quit that place. And somewhere inside of me, I feel like that’s the answer. Quit and move the hell on. The issue is I’ve been drummed to uphold my responsibilities, and I’m not a quitter. So faith is what's left in me.

I haven’t been inspired to pick up and finish Charlaine Harris’ Day Shifted, or any other book. All the images of books in this post are my recent acquisitions. The Stephen King book I found in a $5 bin in this new store in town. I couldn't pass it up.

I may just let the rest of this month ride on by with my reading. At least until I can get into a more comfortable, better feeling place. You would think books would be the perfect escape. Normally, they are. However, I can tell you I’m too unsettled to fall into any novels at the moment.

So in closing, I can't wait to come back to this post a few months from now.  So do you guys ever go through this?  Where life kind of takes a piece of you in another direction?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thinking About Kinsey

“Grafton is a leader for changing the genre, then, because she creates an entire world that is credible, thought provoking, and amusing.  We believe her creation of complex Kinsey Millhone and we accept the validity of the world in which Kinsey operates.  We can see ourselves reflected in Kinsey and our fears embodied in her world.  In Grafton’s detective novels of humanity and complexity, we like being puzzled and frightened and then escaping unscathed; we like being teased--not pushed--into thinking; we like being challenged to find our own strengths; and we just love being verbally tickled into laughing out loud.”

“G” is for Grafton: The World of Kinsey Millhone

Ah... Kinsey Millhone...

This post had to be delivered eventually, as I’m obsessed with Grafton’s vulnerable, witty heroine solving murders under an 80s-style California sun.  Grafton was one of the women authors (along with Paretsky) to break the literary female detective away from the likes of Christie’s Miss Marple.  See, Kinsey was young, spunky, a business owner, and American; and somewhat on a different spectrum than Miss Marple and other English female sleuths.  Nevertheless, that wasn't all Grafton did when she created Kinsey, and subsequently saw the release of the first book in her series [A is for Alibi] in 1982.  She also grinded and molded her protagonist into a private investigator that was just as (if not more) self-sufficient and capable than her male counterparts.  

I can't remember what introduced me to the series specifically.  It’s always been a familiarly unexplored type of relationship.  Something about a casual bookstore browse, and an omnibus book containing the first three books in the series, comes to mind.  Nevertheless, it wasn't until I wanted a new female voice– other than the likes of Cornwell’s Scarpetta and Gerritsen’s Isle–did I finally pick up a copy of A is for Alibi.

Should I lay out all the reason why I'm so in love with Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone next?  Or should I keep it quick?  The first and obvious factor is because she’s a woman, doing what is traditionally (while I hate to point this out) a job held by men.  Secondly, I identify with her—almost on a root level.

I found that the above quote kind of says most of what I want to say, or at least put it in better words.  So I'll leave it at that for now, while filled with the temptation to re-read the series as I anticipate the reveal of the 24th book in the series.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Paretsky's Orders

A startling event happened after reading the third book in Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski hard-boiled P.I. series--I wasn't overwhelmed by her normally convoluted mystery set up.  This go-round it revolved around stock certificates and thoughtful correlations between the Chicago mob and the Catholic church.  However, let me push aside the latter two to focus on the stock certificates ingredient.  Oh, and how that mixed into stock shares, securities, bond markets, and other sprinkled financial components.  While I am exaggerating, I do have to say that the subject matter in Killing Orders was handled a lot less intricately than the subjects of Paretsky’s previous two offerings, which entertained insurance fraud [Indemnity Only] the Chicago shipping industry [Deadlock].  Some may get what Paretsky is laying down the first time, but for me, I had to study the topics her P.I. delved into to understand and follow what’s unfolding in her books.  Especially because her topics pertain so closely to her murder mystery.  Luckily, Killing Orders was the easiest of the three to follow.

It all began when St. Albert’s Priory decided to retrieve their stock certificates to cash in for a new roof.  Unfortunately, those stock certificates turned out as fakes.  So naturally, the church’s treasurer member is taken to task.  Said treasurer happens to be V. I. Warshawski’s nasty, venom-dribbling great-aunt, Rosa.  And she's a woman who has held a grudge worth a millennium against V. I.--or specifically, V.I.’s mother Gabriella.  Nevertheless, as the treasurer of St. Albert’s Priory, Rosa finds herself under investigation by the FBI and SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) on suspicions of exchanging the church’s real stock certificates for counterfeits.  Acknowledging how somber her situation is, the bitter, grudge-soaked Rosa swallows a wedge of her pride and sends for her niece.  Thankfully, her niece happens to be Chicago’s hot-shot female P.I., V.I. Warshawski.  And this shit only gets better!

So, sworn by her dying mother to always, always look after her aunt should she need help, V. I. takes on her aunt Rosa as a client.  Almost regrettably, it turns out that Rosa’s situation is anything but undemanding.  The further V.I. uncovers the truth behind the counterfeit stock certificates, the further the stakes are raised in her direction.  And when an odd phone call threatens to throw acid in V.I.’s eyes, the case becomes very personal.  V. I. calculates how the Chicago mob and the Catholic church are two potent institutions hosting a number of potential aggressors to their individual causes.  Therefore, she quickly learns to traverse around their deadly paths, while uncovering deep family secrets and some of the finer examples of greed and murder by desperation.

Easily a five-star read!  I have to tell you, I couldn't put this book down.  Out of the three I've read so far in this series, Killing Orders is my favorite!  And I should also add that I think I'm finally won on V. I. Warshawski.  However, to be totally honest, I had the intention of cramming her down my throat until I did like her enough.  Therefore, while I've always delighted in V.I.’s ability to shoot a gun and kick ass, it finally dawned on me in Killing Orders exactly how vulnerable and human V.I. actually is.  Much to my complete and utter satisfaction.  

First let’s do away with her appealing ability to make many bad decisions and mistakes, as well as the spring of curse words she has in her arsenal (confrontational scenes are one of my favorites in P.I. novels because of this).  Instead, I stress her vulnerability in light of how this book dedicated itself to illuminating pieces of V. I.’s family history to help develop her as a multi-dimensional character, and not just a woman on a mission.  

You would think that because V.I.'s parents have long passed that there is only room for a solitary, one-note existence contained by her profession as a private investigator.  However, she actually has stand-ins for a mother and father who save her from the miffed, cynical woman she could've become.  Her “mother” is a Viennese physician named Lotty.  And her “father” is a police officer named Bobby Mallory, who worked alongside V. I.’s actual father on the Chicago police force.  Both Lotty and Mallory devoted themselves to V.I.’s well-being, as evident in Killing Orders by their ability to see beyond V.I. herself.  They were the characters who wholly disagreed, argued, and fought with her and her lifestyle as a P.I.  They drew her riling mind in with reason and force, determined to appeal against her magnetism for danger.  All that can be considered when V.I.’s actual blood relative, Rosa, rather have no relationship with her because of her decades old grudge with V.I.’s mother (the same can be said for V.I. who rather not have a relationship with Rosa either).  Added to the fact that Rosa drew V.I. into danger, as opposed to against it.  And even more of an addition, Rosa was a thoroughly religious woman, but could not practice forgiveness for a wrong V.I. didn't even commit.  One thing I can say is that Rosa and V. I. are alike in both their fire and stubbornness.  But thankfully that's about the sum of their connection.

Readers may not recognize this, but there’s a difference between plot and story.  Plot is all that the character does.  Story is all that a character becomes by the end of the novel.  Killing Orders did each of these so, tense, stylishly, and balanced that even I wanted to cry for V.I. toward the end.

A must read if you love hard-boiled detective fiction! 

Total Pageviews