This is a "tell it like it is" story of the life of Pat Conroy's family, specifically involving his father--"THE Great Santini". I believe Conroy is one of the very best of American writers. This story comes from his memories of his life with his family----memories that are admittedly different for each Conroy family member. After years of best sellers with fictitious names telling family stories, this gets to the heart of this family with real names and memories.
I have a special interest in Pat Conroy's writings because my husband was also a '67 Citadel graduate, and one of Boo's Boys (Conroy's first book). Conroy also spoke about his family at a CASA ( Court Appointed Special Advocate--working with abused and neglected children) conference that I attended in Charleston, SC when I was a CASA. Name dropping??-- Pat Conroy wouldn't know me if he ran into me on the street. But, these things have added another level of enjoyment to books that needed nothing additional to become favorites in my library!!
Pat is the eldest of seven children born to a Chicago Irish Catholic highly decorated Marine pilot, and a beautiful daughter of a snake handling religious fanatic from the back woods country and a mother who deserted her four young children to defend for themselves. Pat's young life saw him going from place to place where ever his father was stationed at the time. Violence and love centered a difficult and volition family life, resulting in five of the seven kids eventually trying to commit suicide, with the youngest son eventually succeeding.
But the real beauty of this ranting family life, is the continual love-hate relationship between everyone in the family. After The Great Santini was published, Pat was demonized by most of his family, but his father---"THE Great Santini"---took perverse pleasure in referring to himself by that name for the rest of his life. The movie version somehow brought family members back together again in a mixing bowl of emotions. This book is Pat's version of a famous line from his book, The Prince Of Tides: " in families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness."
Though memories can be different for members of a family who lived through the same events, the raw emotions, and spectacularly open and dramatic telling of this story by Pat Conroy, makes this a timeless story of many families where violence harms and divides families, children and marriages take a beating figuratively and literally, and love and forgiveness manages to inch their way into people's hearts. Though this could have been a morbid tale if told be a different author, Pat Conroy brings this story into the realm of timeless story telling because of the explosive personality of someone who can get right to the heart of a classic tale! Wonderfully told and expertly written!
Denmark's Department Q, cold case squad, is back on another case. A message in a bottle from 14 years ago has been found sitting around in someone's office. When Carl and his two "assistants", Assad and Rose, finally get it, they find a note written in blood and greatly faded by time. Deciphering the note is a project in itself, but it eventually leads them on the trail of a sadistic serial murderer, who has been kidnapping children from strange closed religious sects and living off the ransom money. He's extremely cleaver and has many names and exit strategies from every situation. Catching him before he murders more children sends Carl and Assad around the country.
This is the third book in the Department Q series and reads well alone, but the main characters have a background that is best enjoyed if you start from book one--THE KEEPER OF LOST CAUSES. The mystery is very sadistic and evil. The comic relief comes from the relationships of the three continuing characters, which is endearing and just plain hysterical at times. I listened to the audio version of this book and highly recommend it. The readers does an excellent job with accents. The audio also added to the sense of foreboding.
It's 1893, and the Chicago World's Fair is hugely popular. While much of the rest of the country is facing bank shutdowns and lost mortgages, everything new and extravagant is happening at the Fair. North Carolina farmer, Cullen McNamara, is highly allergic to his cotton fields but he's also a talented inventor. He's created an automatic sprinkler system for putting out fires. His father gambles his farm on Cullen's ability to sell his product at the fair.
Della Wentworth is a teacher for deaf children. The whole school has been transported to the Fair for exhibiting the children learning to lip read. When Cullen's increasing hearing loss gets in the way of speaking to customers, he hires Della to teach him to lip read. Though they both see this as only a business relationship, they find each other to be increasingly great company.
The relationship between the characters is wonderfully portrayed, but the descriptions of the Fair and specific events from real history, puts this book over for top for an excellent read. The exhibits are fascinating and descriptions of an actual fire from the Fair, is expertly portrayed. I really grew attached to the characters. The discussion about signing versus lip reading, and the actual school for these children evoked great emotions. Lovely book. First I've read by this author but it definitely won't be the last one.
Truly the best cozy series around! I especially love the audio versions of these books as the narrator adds so much to an already terrific story. In this book, 40 something NY Village Blend Coffee shop manager, Clare Cozy has invested in a the newest big fad --a food truck. Fortunately, or maybe not, Matt, her ex and co-manager of the Village Blend, has just returned from Brazil where he purchased a new exotic, and very expensive, coffee bean. While they are discussing each other's new enterprises with a friend of theirs, a van runs down and seriously injures the friend. But who was the real intended victim?
Food truck competition, artistic expression, imported contraband, Chinatown, and the continuing love lives of the characters of the Village Blend continue to regale my mind with mystery, foodie fun, interesting facts, and a terrific story. I love the idea of destiny that happens in this book too. Two more books before I catch up with the authors. Please write faster!!
The first in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper Mysteries, A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE is set in 1950's apartheid South Africa. Cooper is sent to investigate the murder of the local Afrikaner Police Captain --the father of the town's powerful Pretiorus family. He is aided by the town's only black Zulu police officer and a Jewish doctor transplant from WW2. Cooper is having to work secretly and carefully because of the politically powerful Security Branch, which is determined to ring a confession from a "black Communist" who was actually a man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Racial tensions dominate the investigation and the addition of the Immorality Laws (forbidding sex between the races) and a Peeping Tom case confuse everything. Then there is also Cooper's haunting by his old WW2 Scottish Sergeant Major. Secrets, forbidden photographs, twisted religion, and mixed race people confuse an already difficult case. Power, greed, and brutality are all too common as Cooper tries to stay away from the vengeance and muscles of those who have determined their own outcome choices.
It's hard to say that I enjoyed this book. I can say it rang very true of the times. The injustices and sheer evil of the situations and laws made for difficult reading at times, but perhaps that is what actually made this an excellent book. Excellent narration!
This is the first book in the PI Jade De John, South African Mysteries. Daughter of the past murdered police commissioner, she is returning to the city of Johannesburg after being gone for ten years. She's returned to kill the paroled man who was convicted of her father's murder before she left. She also reconnects with Superintendent David Patel who used to be her father's assistant, and now wants her help with a present case. Though apartheid has ended, Patel's half Indian lineage still causes him problems. They also have a romantic history which makes things interesting and complicated too.
The case involves a car jacking in a gated community. A woman is killed when she goes to open her gate. Are there other cases similar to this? Why is there a rash of these incidents? Is there someone in the police department who is helping the criminals? How does this relate to Jade's father's death from ten years ago?
Mackenzie has developed a compelling mystery with a psychological basis that rings true. Her character development is exceptional, as it drives the mystery. The criminal's logic is so reasonable but so evil. Great start for this series.
I adore Julie Hyzy's White House Chef Mysteries, then I saw that she has her first in a new series out in Audio books, so I gave it a try. This series is just as interesting and was fun to listen to also!
Grace is a new assistant curator at (fictional) Marshfield Manor. Her family is from this area and she had spent many happy days here as a child. Unfortunately, a disturbed guest causing a huge scene and then a murder, causes Grace to have to start off her job with much more involvement than she had anticipated. Her gossipy nosey assistant, Frances, seems to know everything about everybody, but she's obviously no fan of Grace. But the hunky gardener , Jack, is considerably nicer. She's helped in stepping in to help protect the rich owner from danger by her two roommates in the beautiful but decaying mansion that her grandmother has left to her.
This mystery has lots of interesting details involving curating in an old mansion. All the different rooms and secrets are especially fascinating --I love old houses and secret rooms. The characters are intensely created with great flaws and creative personalities--some you love and some you love to hate. Hyzy has created another fun cozy series for sure. The narrator for the audio book is wonderful--creating voices distinct for every character. Definite winner!
If terrific coffee drinks were not enough, the. Village Blend Coffee shop in New York has decided to team up with a superb chocolate company to market a new blend guaranteed to get the romantic juices flowing. Clare, the store's manager, is not convinced that this is a great idea but the store's owner, Madame, also Clare's mother in law, has already set the deal up with one of her long time friends--Alicia. But when the event to publicize the product brings Alicia running to Clare's hotel room because of a dead body in her bed, Clare really knows mischief is stalking this product.
Someone is definitely trying to defeat the start of this new product as more bodies appear. There is also something suspiciously wrong with this new blend. Could there be an illegal substance hidden within this new yummy drink? Clare and all the usual characters from these coffee house mysteries team up again to find the culprit. Clare and her daughter are also becoming more involved with their love interests--both policeman. This time, the police department is having problems of it's own.
Always fun and intriguingly involved with coffee facts and New York life, once again the Cleo Coyle husband and wife team have created a fascinating cozy mystery filled with recipes! The personal lives of the characters become more and more involved with every book, but the mystery always drives each story. I find that the audio version of these books really adds drama to already excellent books.
Clare Cosi of the NY Village Blend coffeehouse is back into detecting murder. This time she, her famed mother-in-law, and another of her employees are caught in a fire bomb at another coffeehouse. Their good friend and artist ends up in a coma and the fire investigator is not convinced that a firebomb started the fire. But when one of the firefighters looses his life in a second coffeehouse fire, the search begins for this serial arsonist.
This series is always exciting and informative. This book is dedicated to firefighters and their families everywhere, but especially to all those men and women who fought the blazes after the 9/11 tragedy. The authors do a great job humanizing these firefighters--one of which is the fictional brazen cousin of Clare's policeman boyfriend. These cousins' relationship has been less than friendly in the past. We learn about their history in this mystery.
I highly recommend this series. It's also filled with delicious recepies. I've been listening to the audio version of these books, and have found the reader adds a great deal to my enjoyment.
Ellison starts a new series with a take-off character from another series. Dr. Samantha Owens is a Forensic Pathologist in Nashville, Tennessee. She's been devoted to her job until tragedy struck her. Her husband and two children are dead and she lives with self imposed guilt daily. When the mother of her old lover, Donovan,calls and asks for help, Samantha reluctantly agrees.
Donavan's body has been found shot in his car. The Washington,DC police are calling it a car jacking, but his mom believes there was more to his death. After the autopsy, Samantha also believes this ex-Ranger's death was a more complicated murder. Samantha investigates with a couple of interesting policeman, delving into a long held secret of friendly fire and more from the Ranger's service in Afghanistan. Tensions are taught as Samantha must also work with Donovan's wife, who knows of Samantha's and Donovan's past affair.
This book is psychological, revealing the mind set of everyone involved. It also becomes fast passed as Samantha finds answers and finds herself in great danger too. Good start to a new series. Relationships are set up to continue a few of these characters in this series, which should be exciting reading.
Clare Cosi's and all the other characters from the Village Blend Coffee shop are back for a Christmas themed mystery. Clare is hosting a party with her friends to decide on some new Christmas blend coffees. But as always, things never go smoothly, and this time one of Clare's good friends, a charity Santa Clause, I'd found shot dead in a back alley. The police believe it's a mugging, but Clare is sure that more is going on there.
This mystery centers around the photographers and gossip columnists who chase after the rich and famous. It also melds into Dicken's a CHRISTMAS CAROL's idea of just doing good for others. There is explosive action between Clare and her new love, Detective Mike Quinn as his ex wife causes issues of her own.
This continues to be a great series, though for me, the topics of following the rich and famous wasn't as interesting as most of the other bases for these mysteries. Though the holiday coffee blends definitely got my digestive juices going. The authors also suggested a couple of Christmas charities that are definitely worthwhile too. I have been listening to the audio version of these books, and find the reader adds exponentially to my enjoyment of these books. Hope this series goes on and on forever!
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