PURLEAR, NC, United States
I was fascinated when I saw that this was the story about a college professor. A college professor who was not only a lesbian, but an expert on the science of the brain. Not to mention an Indian who had grown up in the wasp world of old New England. Nicole Hathaway is a professor at the local university that began with a donation a member of the Hathaway family. She has just written a book that she is going on the road to promote. A serious hardass she has already gone through three assistants and she hasn't even left her home yet. the fourth assistant is on the way to her hometown of Meredith, New Hampshire.
Mix this package with a young woman whose uncle is Nicole's editor who has grown up in the midst of a lie. Patterned on the infamous Bernie Madoff; her parents had run a Ponzi scam that ruined thousands of people. She is running from the publicity and from Melanie Boone.an onscreen cable personality (I'm guessing Nancy Grace).
Though these parts of the book worked, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein; a romance novel is a romance novel is a romance novel. In the end it was the same old predictable time-worn story that pretty much all romance writers seem to write. There are enough original elements in the story that it was worth three stars; four if you're a fan of romances. Just don't expect anything more; or anything new? It's the same old romance novel that your mom read.
The headline refers to the fact that in 1999 ESPN counted down the top 50 athletes of the 20th century and Secretariat was ranked 35th. This book by William Nack was the basis for the movie starring Diane Lane as Penny Chenery the horse's owner.
I can remember watching the Triple Crown races with interest for the time in 1973. I had seen the races previously because my mother watched them every year but in 1973 there was enough buzz that I watched them eagerly. This was especially true of the Belmont Stakes when this magnificent athlete was in line to win the first triple crown in 25 years. If you're a fan of great athletes watching Secretariat stretch out the lead in the third quarter mile and eventually win the race by 31 lengths is as stirring as any two legged athletic accomplishment. In fact, to me the only accomplishments that even compare with it are Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game in 1962 and Bob Beamon's 29 ft. 2 & one half inch long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968.
This audiobook goes all the way back to Big Red's sire and dam(n)? About the money issues the owner faced and the rivalry between Secretariat and Sham, as well as between the two owners. There are limits to the audio form; horse racing can only be fully appreciated in video. Still this is the most detailed, most comprehensive book on the horse that was almost human. The writer William Nack came to love Secretariat and the feelings that he had for this marvelous horse are all over the words he wrote about him. When the ESPN rankings came out and Big Red was ranked 35th many athletes were offended to have finished behind him. "A horse; are you kidding me a horse?" Those that knew him though had a rejoinder. "Hey you didn't know that horse."
Travis and Meyer are fishing underneath a bridge when a woman is tossed off said bridge. Travis dives into the deep blue sea and saves her life. Unfortunately the woman is a whore; so not only is it a wasted effort the woman isn't actually a human being. Okay so that is a bit harsh in conveying MacDonald's attitude towards prostitutes, or any woman who gets around anywhere near as much as his protagonist Travis McGee; or is it?
As in previous books by this author, any woman who gets around too much is killed off by a champion of the sexual double standard. This being said this is still a very enjoyable mystery with clear villains and a somewhat satisfactory ending. It takes a look; albeit one with one viewing it from 1967 at the cruise ship industry. McGee's extended conversation with a black woman from CORE working as a maid is the initial foray of the series into race relations and a forerunner for a more extended excursion into the race situation he made in The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper.
The attitudes towards female sexuality probably reflects the values of the times as do the author's take on race. This is a middle of the pack McGee story; neither the best or worst.
Introduced in the book Billy Straight; and a key character in the book A Cold Heart Petra Connor takes on the case of a drive by shooting in the Paradiso theater parking lot. She is also at odds with her captain and her main squeeze Eric Stahl is away on an investigation in the middle east. In fact her only partner is Isaac Gomez; the son of Salvadoran refugees who is a math genius prodigy. Issac having finished med school at the age of 18 he's now earning a PHD in statistics. Petra has been given the role of babysitting him by Captain Stallcup, her nemesis within the department. Burdened by the lack of progress on the shootings at the Paradiso the last thing Petra needs is to be charged with the responsibility of keeping tract of "brain boy." Then Isaac comes to her with a statistical anomaly far too unusual to be accidental. Knowing that the young genius has political connections she stifles her urge to ignore the kid and begins an investigation. Working on the dual cases with the young genius she uncovers a small crimes family; a gangbanger college student; and a hundred year old series of murders that is being reenacted on the same date every year. Of course she and Isaac solve both crimes and she has a new captain at her station; her old partner Stu Bishop.
In the ten years since this book was written Petra hasn't been featured in any subsequent works, which is too bad. This is one of Kellerman's best works and perhaps the emotional distance the author has from this character is actually helpful to the story. Hopefully his fans haven't seen the last of Petra Connor in the main role or of Isaac Gomez either. This is a great mystery; highly recommended.
A story about a sociopath who steals a small fortune in, of all things, stamps. Travis begins his investigation and a woman working in the shop is killed. McGee then meets her father-in-law Major General Samuel Horace Lawson who is one of the best characters in this book and provides for an upbeat chapter. One of the weaknesses of a few of the lesser McGee novels is MacDonald's attempts to substitute plot twists for a solid story. This one does so in several places and McGee's poor choice in selecting a girlfriend in this novel doesn't do much to strengthen the story. One of the low points of the middle books in the series is the increasing presence of McGee's friend Meyer without a suitable role for him in them. Unlike the better works in which he's featured i.e. Pale Gray for Guilt or Dress her in Indigo Meyer seems to lack a real role in the narrative. Maybe this story would have been smoother had his part in it either been diminished or defined in a better way. Finally the ending of this one in which a woman from a previous book serves herself up to McGee on a platter to him. It's a regular theme of MacDonald's that good women sacrifice for men. This particular woman does, even though her reason for doing is unclear. All in all this is one of the 2 or 3 weakest of the 21 McGee mysteries.
This is an highly inventive and enjoyable way to look at biblical literature. While humorous and irreverent it is also respectful and actually more informative than you would think. I'm recommending this one as both entertainment and a tutorial.
Spenser's on campus in 1973 when one investigation leads to his being involved in a bogus murder charge against a coed as her only advocate and protector. The introductory novel of the series was a breath of fresh air at the time, and this one stands up as an excellent example of Spenser's best. It's also the one pre Susan Spenser novel and that alone would elevate it. This one however stands on it's own; the portrait of Terri's wealthy parents is the snapshot of the era. As are the professor and Terri's wannabe badass boyfriend. It's not a Spenser that's recognizable to those more familiar with his later works socially as he has sex with a mother and daughter in less than 24 hours. Iris Milford is another great character and it's interesting to watch Spenser and Quirk stand toe-to-toe ready to go. Even with a subpar narrator this one is a five star listen.
This is a foreshadowing of the next two Spenser novels Valediction and A Catskill Eagle. The politician Meade Alexander will soon be Spenser and Susan will be Ronny; the drunk slutty woman who likes "granny sex" though as far s we know Susan does limit her mistake to one man. As with Spenser; Meade's loyalty to his lady knows no bounds; he'll go to any lengths and compromise any or all of his values to protect her. Though in my less than humble opinion, it's difficult to understand why in either case. Susan is already stretching the boundaries of Spenser's tolerance and it isn't hard to discern that this doesn't bode well for the future of their relationship.
There are some nice touches to this story; the confrontation with the muscle in Springfield; the Globe reporter Cosgrove. Finally the teenager at the granny party "shaking her head at the bogusness of it all" are all nice touches.
In retrospect a great deal of my rating it 4 stars goes back to the mid 80's when I first read it in print form. I was living in Boston at the time and I'd just discovered Spenser; some nice memories there. This is a quick listen and there are some snatches of humor that I enjoyed; if you're new to Robert Parker and want to give Spenser a shot; don't start with this one. Most of the Spenser mysteries up to this point are superior to this one.
Sentimental, but deeply so. This is not just the easy overly sweet sentimentality of some of my other selections in the last month. August and the boys, even Wes are all three dimensional characters with strengths and weaknesses. They seem to be more people than a overly idealized product of the author's imagination.
There was also the circular nature of the two summers; eight years apart, and how much the two resemble each other only a rotation has occurred over time in the roles they all play. Wes is a highly flawed man; he's an alcoholic with a tenuous sense of parental responsibility. His limitations make the difference between him August all too apparent to his sons and seeing it reflected in their feelings and actions leave him unable to accept the relationship between the interloper and his sons. Though he's flawed he's not evil; just a little too cavalier, a little too careless when it comes to being a parent.
Sometimes it seems that I'm a stamp tramp (a How I Met Your Mother reference) and I occasionally give five stars a bit too easily but if I could, I'd give this one six stars. This selection has led me to check out other CRH audios and I'll get another one soon. I hope that at some point the author picks up the narrative again with a story that features Henry and/ or Seth. Don't miss this one.
This is one of the selections I acquiesced to during June's end of the month sale. I didn't expect to enjoy the listening experience; as the headline would suggest I was pleasantly surprised by this mystery/ romance. It is in fact a romance with a slightly more than casual nod to mystery.
Kennedy O'Brien returns from Afghanistan to find her husband in bed with a woman closer to her daughter's age than her own. She starts a detective agency with her two best friends Lorelei and Paige attempting to save women from the experiences they'd had with the men in their lives. She also works occasionally as a bounty hunter going after fugitives who've skipped out on their bond provided by her father's bail bonds business. She's runs into her husband's best friend Griffin Crawford at a fugitive's front door he's just taken a job as a bounty hunter with the same company.
Sparks fly as the attraction between them is strong as is the antipathy; because what the hell it's a romance and couples always begin that way in a romance novel. The interplay between them is sharp and humorous and the language used Kennedy and her family is highly reminiscent of an army barracks.
While it's true that most of the book's characters have at most two dimensions this is a nice little story that I'm glad I was talked into purchasing. Warning; there will not be very many surprises in this book; it's a pretty typical romance novel, but an enjoyable one.
This time the sister in the spotlight is Libby. Having been unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend when his ex-wife returns to Pine River. So she attacks his pickup with a golf club when she finds out that the two of them were schtuping each other while she was watching their kids. Then there is the little matter of the restraining order that Ryan slapped her with after the destruction of all the glass in his truck. An RO that doesn't seem to mean too much to Libby; given that she violates it on a regular basis. Deputy Sam Martin seems to be quite intent on seeing her through this difficult time. The fact that he has a major thing for Libby seems to be apparent to everyone but her. I'll stop with the overall plot right there to avoid spoiling the ending for anyone. Though given that this was a romance novel we already know the ending.
There is one point that I want to jump up on my soapbox about. Libby's attitude towards Ryan's children is understandable on an emotional level but as far as behavior goes I found it to be self serving and irresponsible. I understand the pull that she's feeling I've been there and felt the pain that comes from giving up someone that you love and who loves you. There are times that you actually do feel as though someone ripped out a couple of your vital organs without the benefit of anesthetic. The bottom line is that the feelings of the adult aren't what matters in this situation; it what's best for the child that's important. Her need to hang on to them is merely a way to make the inevitable end of said relationship a longer more difficult one. This factor lowered the enjoyment I took from the book and lowered the rating I gave it as well.
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