After reading all of Rick Reardon's Tres Navarre series, I was looking forward to reading something in a similar style, and this book by Austin DavisAfter reading all of Rick Reardon's Tres Navarre series, I was looking forward to reading something in a similar style, and this book by Austin Davis does not disappoint. While it's not of the same writing quality as Reardon's, it's a worthy effort. The characters are richly defined, and the town in which they live comes alive through the author's skilled writing. It's a good first effort, and I look forward to reading more.
The story is simple enough: Clay Parker, a big-city lawyer decides to leave the stress and pace of the city after his personal life comes apart, and he gets an offer from an old professor and idol to join his small-town practice. Eager to start over and to start with a clean slate, he jumps at the chance. However, it's not as he hoped it would be. For one thing, the partners are crazy: one is a womanizer who's constantly needing help escaping a jealous husband or girlfriend, and the other (his idol) is a hopeless romantic and drunk. Neither is around long enough to provide inpit or do work; so, Clay has to do it. Somehow, they still manage to win cases and outwit the city, state, and Federal authorities, but they also need a baby sitter to keep partners out of trouble, both personal and professional. It's up to Clay and the ever-faithful secretary who rivals Mad Men's Joan in competence, patience, and wisdom to keep them in line or at least out of jail. Add to this a knock-out who is the daughter of a crime lord (of sorts) and who decided to shuck all of that for a clean and legal life. She sets her sights on Clay, and the poor guy doesn't stand a chance. How is one to save a client accused of embezzlement, fraud, and other crimes when there's a lot going on that affects everything and demands equal time?
It's a pleasant read, and Austin Davis has a great talent at describing characters, events, and places. I look forward to reading more in this series....more
Full disclosure: I love dogs, and I will watch anything regarding them. This book was one of those bargain books; so, I figured it couldn't hurt to chFull disclosure: I love dogs, and I will watch anything regarding them. This book was one of those bargain books; so, I figured it couldn't hurt to check it out.
Well, I have to admit that this book wasn't all that great. The idea is clever enough: Tell the story from the dog's perspective. That can be a problem, though. Consider: Have you seen the movie, Up? Remember the cute dog that ended up befriending the old man and the boy and that was hated by the dobermans? Imagine that character trying to tell a mystery. It works in a cartoon or a comedy, but it doesn't for mystery/thriller. Especially not in a book over 200 pages. The distracted nature of the character wears thin really soon. It does have it's witty moments, but it's not enough to sustain interest enough to buy more books in the series at full price. At a bargain price, it's all right. At $8.95, you're being robbed....more
It seemed simple enough: Your practical joker friend is getting married, and all of you guys decide that you'll play the ultimate joke on him for a chIt seemed simple enough: Your practical joker friend is getting married, and all of you guys decide that you'll play the ultimate joke on him for a change to get back at him for all the times he got you. Some genius says, "Hey! Rob works at a funeral parlor, and he can get a big van. Let's bury Mike alive for a few hours to scare the crap and practical joking out of him." What could possibly go wrong? Uh-huh.
Don't think it can't happen. Anybody who's seen the Jackass movies or Kardashian show commercials knows that there are plenty of people who don't think, let alone think things through. Let's also remember that some of the most diabolical crimes have simple beginnings. Just look at the newspaper. Today police arrested a gambling gang using a little league team as a front. The whistleblower? ESPN.
So, what can go wrong here? Hmmm.... It's a stag night. There will be drinking. Lots of it. There's 1. These guys are not that bright anyway. (2) They forgot to have a designated driver. (3) Forget the fact that the best man somehow isn't there when it was his idea.... (Yeah. That's a 4.)
Of course, the guys crash not 5 minutes after burying their friend. All of them die. And now the real story begins. Can the police find Michael in time? What's up with lying fiancee? Why is the best man so evasive? What's this about off-shore accounts? Curiosities continue to mount.
What's nice about this book is that the author also keeps things simple. It's not at as complex as PD James or Colin Dexter, but it's got its twists. People talk normally. There's no high prose, but there's some appreciable wit. Chapters are short; so it's easy to read in spurts, and it does keep the pace fast. There won't be any big surprises for anyone who's seen Law and Order, but it's still well written and gripping. And at least he writes a good evil character. That counts.
Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and it'll prompt any hopeful bride to make sure that no one rents a van for the evening....more
Sixkill is the last book that Robert B Parker completed before dying, and it turns out to have been a great way to end the run. It hearkens back to thSixkill is the last book that Robert B Parker completed before dying, and it turns out to have been a great way to end the run. It hearkens back to the best of the Spenser Series, like Searching for Rachel Wallace, Early Autumn, the Godwulf Manuscript, among others. Let's be fair: Some books he did read like he was just walking through an exercise. Sure, he was a better writer than most, but that doesn't mean that he didn't mail it in every once in a while.
Sixkill is the name of a bodyguard hired by an obese hollywood comedic "actor" who's also a colossal jerk. On location in Boston to film his latest movie, the actor is implicated in the murder of a local girl, and Spenser is hired by the actor's attorney in order to check the facts of the case. As usual, Spenser is a painfully ethical guy; so, he accepts the case but stipulates that he will follow the evidence. If that proves the actor's guilt, then so be it. Of course, Spenser doesn't suffer fools gladly, and that actor is one big fool; so, they verbally spar, and Spenser and the attorney are dismissed, but that doesn't mean he's going to stop his investigations.
In the middle of all of this, Sixkill get bested by Spenser in a fist fight (really no contest), and the actor fires his bodyguard. This is where the story really takes off. There are parallels here between Spenser's own youth and the young Sixkill. Sixkill senses that he can trust Spenser, and the two end up forging a bond and working together, Spenser becoming Sixkill's muse. Not only do we have flashbacks about Sixkill, but we see the young man's development into a functioning human being and not just some unusually big guy with big fists. It's reminiscent of Early Autumn, and Spenser's relationship with Paul Giacomin. Just like that relationship, it's delicate at first and complicated. It's also really cool to see.
For me, this was one of Parker's best books in a long time. Not that I didn't enjoy his other books, for I have the whole collection, but some were not as good as others. Since there had to be an end, at least this book did it on a high....more
The Maltese Falcon is a 1930 detective novel by Dashiell Hammett, adapted in 1941 into a Warner Brothers film starring Humphrey Bogart and directed byThe Maltese Falcon is a 1930 detective novel by Dashiell Hammett, adapted in 1941 into a Warner Brothers film starring Humphrey Bogart and directed by John Huston. (That's important to know because Hammett was also instrumental in adapting the script, and the movie is simply pitch perfect. Also, it's considered the first of the film noir genre.)
Sam Spade and Miles Archer are hired by the beautiful Miss Wonderly, to find her runaway sister and the man who supposedly seduced her, Floyd Thursby. Archer agrees to be present at the hotel where Wonderly plans to meet Thursby in order to follow him after the meet and possibly learn where the sister is hiding. Unfortunately, Spade learns later that Miles has been shot and killed, and during Spade's investigation to find the murderer, he runs into a international gang of thieves who are trying to recover a statue of a legendary and priceless treasure called the Maltese Falcon. Is Ms. Wonderley part of the plot, or did her sister's activities accidently plunge Wonderley into a dangerous world where nothing is what it seems? Is "Wonderley" even her real name?
Even if you don't have a great interest in mystery, it's well worth picking up this book, for the writing alone is on a level of a master class. Hammett's facility with language and his easy style is valuable to anyone who is interested in writing, literature or cinema. It's a classic on all levels....more
Yes, he lives up to the hype. I have to admit that I enjoyed this book more than the first one, and that's a good sign. His first book was very enjoyaYes, he lives up to the hype. I have to admit that I enjoyed this book more than the first one, and that's a good sign. His first book was very enjoyable. I'm a big fan of Robert B Parker's, and this is up there. Reminds me of Elmore Leonard, too, in the mastery of dialogue and richness in character. I think the characters are more solid in this outing than the first, though....more
The nice thing about Parker's Spenser series is that you can pick up any of the books in the series and not be lost. However, some are kind of a walk,The nice thing about Parker's Spenser series is that you can pick up any of the books in the series and not be lost. However, some are kind of a walk, and this is one of those. Regardless, it's a satisfying read. Not as deep as some of his other, but that is part of the charm: not every book/story has to be dark or complicated. In that way, it is very realistic. On the other hand, if you are looking for deep and complicated, try PD James....more