"Midnight Riot" opens with a body on a foggy English street and a cop who thinks he sees a guy in the distance the cop can see through. Had the writer stuck to that tone, wow. Instead, he went all myth-minded on us, with a fight between river gods, minor devils and him. Overblown, because not rooted in anything real. Harry Potter this isn't.
You don't have to like golf to like this story, but I'll bet it helps. Elderly English golfers living around a golf course team up to solve a murder, discovered by them on the weeds surrounding their beloved course. I never heard of Ronald Knox, but this is a very elegant and funny book. He deserves to be remembered for it.
Owen Laukkanen basically wrote the same story twice, with two different sets of characters. Seemingly ordinary people turn to crime when financially squeezed. This one doesn't work as well as "Criminal Enterprise" because the characters aren't as believable. The plot rolled right along, but I didn't roll with it.
David Baldacci has always been sentimental about his characters, the good in his all-good vs. all-bad universe. Back when he debuted "The Camel Club," it was forgivable, but now its simple-minded and heavy-handed literalism is impossible to take.
Plus, I don't like multiple-voiced narration. Ron McLarty is fine on his own. And Jesus, the music to add drama drives me crazy. Here, we even have the sound of bullets pinging off hard surfaces.
I keep thinking I'm going to like something David Baldacci writes, and I keep being wrong.
In the course of his daily life, when money gets tight and his job prospects are uncertain, the hero discovers he's a psychopath. He's just another man on the make in materialist America, and then he isn't. Very well done.
Peter Lovesey knows lots about music. Even better, he can describe its rich complexities with enough skill to make the reader hear it. I really enjoyed this book, which is an adequate mystery but a wonderful tale.
Writing's not bad, but what's taken for granted here is completely unacceptable. Child rape and sexual slavery is a given in this culture, and this story tries to balance it out by praising the wonderful manners people tend to have. Give me the rude and crude any day, as long as they manage to refrain from raping children. Although the hero is committed to helping as many victims as wander into his life, no one's outraged, except the children themselves, who are fierce, smart and (sadly) unbelievable.
I love this series. Each book stands alone, but you'd be best advised to start at the beginning, not here, with book three. Unfortunately, the first, "The Coroner's Lunch," is currently unavailable at Audible. What up with that? I've got it in my Audible library. If I could just give it to everyone, I would.
These stories take place three decades after the communist takeover in Laos, after the disaster of the Vietnam War created the problem it was designed to prevent - the spread of an obsolete and cruel ideology. Operating within it is the wonderful Dr. Siri. He knows communism is a failure, but he does his elderly best to be a good man in a bad system. The writing is wonderful, and the stories - all mysteries - are complex, funny and life affirming. They've made me love Laos and its people.
Richard Ferrone makes me happy to be human. I'd send aliens to listen to his voice: This is what the male of our species sounds like when talking. Silk embedded with gravel, never showing off, getting the job done.
And John Sandford is a reliable treasure. His characters are lean and lovely, burrowing into the stories created for them. This one needs a sequel, as the main villain is still standing. I don't listen to books like these to see evil-doers get away with it. Life requires that kind of patience. In mystery novels, I pay for closure.
Good female hero. She hangs tough. No whining, although she has plenty to whine about. Story rolls along without a hitch, skipping the part where plausibility is supposed to be. A horrible politician and former cop runs a ring of especially desperate sex workers, occasionally beating them to death. He's in with everybody, except one good cop and a waitress. For all their running around, the never quite crack the case, which cracks open anyway to provide a finish. Excellent reader.
The glowing reviews for this book slay me. It's a gruesome overload of unimaginable violence. I like Don Winslow. I love his surf stories and was on board for "Savages," at least until the very end, which made sense in the context but is an emotional sucker punch. Here, the brass-knuckle punches keep coming, and the stench of tortured corpses is pervasive. I made it to the scene where the nice young college student is forced by the police to inhale gasoline and then eat (and swallow) shit, following, of course, the murdered babies and their moms, plus the bodies of men with their fingers cut off and stuffed in their mouths whose faces had been peeled off, and gave up. I want to know who these people are who love this, so I don't run into them in a dark alley. Fiction this dark is pornographic.
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