My second reading of this Charlie "Bird" Parker thriller, in which he runs afoul of Mr. Pudd, the arachnophile who warns him away from his search for...moreMy second reading of this Charlie "Bird" Parker thriller, in which he runs afoul of Mr. Pudd, the arachnophile who warns him away from his search for the murderer of a young woman by stuffing his mailbox full of brown recluse spiders. This book, one of several dark thrillers about this character, is the one that gets me on the most visceral level, because Mr. Pudd's favorite method for dealing with anyone who seeks his father, the former head of a commune whose members' bodies are discovered at the opening of the book, is by trapping them with hordes of deadly spiders. Connolly is brilliant, right up there with Stephen King and Andrew Vachss.(less)
This is the first of Frazer's Sister Frevisse mysteries, introducing Frevisse, hosteler to her priory and niece of Walter Chaucer (son of the poet and...moreThis is the first of Frazer's Sister Frevisse mysteries, introducing Frevisse, hosteler to her priory and niece of Walter Chaucer (son of the poet and a figure of some standing in the court of Henry V's son). This mystery revolves around a young novice, Thomasine, who is within two weeks of taking her vows when her disliked aunt, one of the priory's most important patronesses, apparently goes off her chump, tries to drag her bodily out of the convent, has fits, seems to recover, then has more fits, and dies. During the hiatus between her aunt's fits, one of her servants eats food and drinks medicated wine intended for the woman, and the servant has fits and dies.
First arrives the coroner, who obviously wants to clear up the case and get on with his life. He wants to attribute the case to the victim riding around like a crazy person at her age. Then arrives the victim's oldest son, who wants to get back to a dying uncle before the uncle decides to leave his not inconsiderable fortune to someone else. Sir Walter wants the case cleared up, and he has fixed on the young novice as his mother's poisoner. He is determined to take her for execution, never mind the fact that she is on priory grounds and that later she even invokes the rite of sanctuary. (He also forgets what happened to Henry II, not long ago, when he violated church law.) Somehow Frevisse and her allies must uncover the truth before an innocent is killed.
I didn't love the book, which is why I rate it only three stars--parts were rushed and hard to follow--but it was a fun, quick read and I think I'll try the next one. Rather than being a thinking machine, Frevisse knows people and what makes them tick, something that always appeals to me, and I love Domina Editha, the very old, very powerful, prioress, who is at her most aware when she appears to be asleep. She wields authority like magic. She is beautiful. And Master Chaucer is a fun, worldly fellow I would like to see more of.(less)
great book (the movie was based on it, but this is much more detailed) about the American involvement (and the Israeli, Egyptian, and Pakistani involv...moregreat book (the movie was based on it, but this is much more detailed) about the American involvement (and the Israeli, Egyptian, and Pakistani involvement) in ridding Afghanistan of the Soviets in the 1980s. As easy to read as a novel and as fascinating!(less)
Mick Foley should be writing YA. I think he'd be great at it, because he's so good at writing clear, direct fiction and non-fiction (HAVE A NICE DAY,...moreMick Foley should be writing YA. I think he'd be great at it, because he's so good at writing clear, direct fiction and non-fiction (HAVE A NICE DAY, FOLEY IS GOOD) with a sense of humor, without skating around reality. SCOOTER proves (as did TIETAM BROWN) that he can write teenaged boys very well.
SCOOTER is set in the Bronx and Long Island in the 1960s and 1970s. His portrait of the Bronx in particular, at this point in time, is rich, detailed, and economical--the novel is spare for the amount of material it contains. I could practically smell the beer, peanuts, and sweat at the ball games, the smoke of the fires, and the girls' perfume. Scooter spares us nothing in his narration, not his grandfather's scars, the racism that is common coin among whites in those years, not the disasters that result from his cop father's drinking and addiction to pills.
The story Scooter tells revolves around cops, a small family with ugly secrets, alcohol, drug abuse, the change from the Bronx as an Irish enclave to a black/Puerto Rican one, then the change to a combat zone of drugs and arson, and about baseball. It is NOT A YA BOOK! (You may have figured that out already.) ;-) But it's good as Scooter tells us how he grows up, exchanging one family burden for others, trying to learn the truth about his family and other people while working out who he is. It's violent; it's sweet; it's heartbreaking; it's real.(less)
The legacy of WWI forms the background of Maisie's first case as she sets up shop as a psychologist and investigator. Part psychic, part detective, pa...moreThe legacy of WWI forms the background of Maisie's first case as she sets up shop as a psychologist and investigator. Part psychic, part detective, part counselor, Maisie is a former WWI field nurse who carries her own scars into the late 1920s and 1930s. A former groceryman's daughter with wealthy patrons, she has gone from servant to independent woman. In this case she is confronted with the mysterious deaths of WWI veterans whose gravestones bear only their first names. Their last place of residence: The Retreat, where they could hide hideous facial scars and other injuries, as well as psychic scars, from an uncaring world that just wants to "button up and get on with it." There's just one question: why have so many died at The Retreat?(less)