Despite there being a police detective investigating the case, I felt that the real protagonist of this novel was Dr. John Archer before I knew that aDespite there being a police detective investigating the case, I felt that the real protagonist of this novel was Dr. John Archer before I knew that author Rudolph Fisher was a physician. I thought that Dr. Archer was the best developed and most sympathetic character. Rudolph Fisher's background also explains why the medical details seemed so authentic.
The Conjure Man, Frimbo, was a highly ambivalent character. This ambivalence caused me to wonder if his background was falsified. Was he really an African king or a graduate of Harvard University? We only have Frimbo's word for it.
The mystery is cleverly constructed with a number of a plot twists that are surprising. The most surprising development had me exclaiming, "What just happened here?" It caused me to entertain the notion that Frimbo could have been a genuine practitioner. Some of the stories told about him sounded like he had real powers of sorcery, but he behaved too much like an illusionist for me to surrender my doubts about him. In the end, I disliked his arrogance and tendency toward duplicity. The Conjure Man Dies has been criticized for its Amos and Andy type of dialogue that seems so dated today. I confess that I wasn't enamored with that dialogue either. It made most of the characters seem like caricatures.
So there were aspects of the book that I liked, and it certainly held my interest. Yet my feelings about Frimbo and the dialogue lowered it in my estimation.
Animal lovers could find "Wild Justice" disturbing because truly terrible things happen to both dogs and wolves in this story. Many people hate wolvesAnimal lovers could find "Wild Justice" disturbing because truly terrible things happen to both dogs and wolves in this story. Many people hate wolves, but love dogs. The killer in this story apparently hates all canines equally. Given the background about him revealed in the story, I tend to think that he's a psychopath.
Because the identity of the perpetrator is known, this story is more of a thriller than a mystery. How will Jamaica Wild locate this ruthless human predator and end his killing spree? I learned a great deal about the techniques that Bureau of Land Management agents use in their pursuit of those who commit crimes against animals. The story also highlights the tremendous dangers involved in stopping these criminals. In "Wild Justice" Jamaica Wild reveals herself as a true hero in her efforts to protect the wild animals she loves.
I consider a thriller more compelling if it deals with a theme that I find significant. That’s why I enjoy eco-thrillers. I had recently read and veryI consider a thriller more compelling if it deals with a theme that I find significant. That’s why I enjoy eco-thrillers. I had recently read and very much liked the romantic eco-thriller, Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffith. So I was glad to have won a copy of the romantic eco-thriller, Eagleridge Bluffs by Rod Raglin through a Booklikes giveaway.
An important thematic issue to address in a review of Eagleridge Bluffs is the ethics of eco-terrorism. The phrase “collateral damage” is actually used by a member of an eco-terrorist team in this novel. People who want to protect the environment are motivated by their conviction that all the beings who live on our planet have value. How is a phrase like “collateral damage” consistent with that belief?
Miriam, the female protagonist, asks the tough questions that the eco-terrorists weren’t asking themselves. I think that Eagleridge Bluffs would have been a better novel if Zaahir, the eco-terrorist central character, had been portrayed as willing to reflect on his actions. This would have given him more dimension.
I have to say that I almost set Eagleridge Bluffs aside for a reason that is a spoiler. (view spoiler)[ I feel that the portrayal of women's sexuality in this novel wasn't realistic. For example,Miriam, who was unable to deal with losing her virginity in partnered sex, used a dildo instead. I found it incredible that she would find a dildo preferable. I also think that there would have been a great deal of blood involved, and that she might have been injured. There is no mention of blood at this point in the novel. (hide spoiler)] It undermined Miriam’s credibility as a character. Yet I stuck with the book, and I’m glad I did because the ending was very inspirational.
The reason why I enjoyed the ending so much is because it represents all the progress that Miriam made over the course of the book. This is the aspect of Miriam’s characterization that I found believable. When we first encounter Miriam she has been depressed for some time. This explains her passivity. Gradually, she becomes stronger and reclaims herself.
Yet when I examined the ending from the perspective of Zaahir, it seemed to me that there was some missing character development that would have made the ending possible. Zaahir may or may not have experienced a radical change in outlook. I can speculate, but Raglin leaves us with too many questions about this character.
So there are things that I liked about Eagleridge Bluffs, but there are some serious flaws in the characterization. Readers who care more about the thriller aspect of the book may not have the qualms that I did about whether the main characters were making sense.
If you are a reader who despises fairies, I would like to reassure you that there is little on the subject of fairies in this book. The murder victimIf you are a reader who despises fairies, I would like to reassure you that there is little on the subject of fairies in this book. The murder victim was an author and artist who was obsessed with them, but the fairies weren’t available for an investigation.
So Phryne decided to become a fashion columnist at the magazine where the victim worked, Women’s Choice. She’s an excellent fashion columnist, by the way. Yet I liked the editor even more. She reminded me of Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown. Her motto was “any woman can”, not just exceptional women. Any woman can achieve her dreams. Her magazine was speaking to the “flappers” of 1920’s Australia who wanted to hear that message since they were already living it.
Yet the murder investigation is upstaged by another plotline involving pirates. Phryne’s favorite lover, Lin Chung, had gone to China on a silk buying expedition, but hadn’t returned. It begins to look like he's being held by South China Sea Pirates.
I consider Away With The Fairies one of the best Phryne Fisher novels I’ve read so far. It had suspense, romance, heroism and feminism which are all characteristics I like to see in any novel.
I liked the writing as usual, and I liked the mention of the Japanese American internment camp in Wyoming because people need to remember that.
Yet howI liked the writing as usual, and I liked the mention of the Japanese American internment camp in Wyoming because people need to remember that.
Yet how believable is the flashback? I asked someone who knows something about airplanes and her problem was the same as mine which is a spoiler.(view spoiler)[ So the plane, which is an old WWII era plane and not very maneuverable, has landed on a runway in a snowstorm with five snowplows still on the runway. The snowplows had brakes and they used them, but there are still the problems of the pilot's low visibility and the plane's lack of maneuverability. I think that there would have been a disaster on that runway. (hide spoiler)]
So I liked this story with a giant reservation. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Miranda Corbie risks her life and her career for her country in her latest investigation. Yet nothing is what it seems when you enter the world of espMiranda Corbie risks her life and her career for her country in her latest investigation. Yet nothing is what it seems when you enter the world of espionage--particularly who should be considered heroes and villains. I admire Miranda's intelligence, resourcefulness and sense of ethics.
This book deals with an issue that makes me queasy, and I have to put my discussion of it behind spoiler tags. (view spoiler)[ I don't know why so many people think it was praiseworthy to preserve art by collaborating with the Nazis and helping them fund their war marchine. Miranda Corbie agrees with me on this issue. Paintings aren't more important than people. It isn't praisworthy to be an accomplice to genocide. In this book the characters involved in the art trade clearly weren't motivated by preserving the world's cultural heritage. They were all about profiting from Nazi looting of masterpieces. No one would argue that they were heroic or deserve to be lionized for it. The situation was quite different in The Woman Who Heard Colorand I had to discuss my views behind spoiler tags when I reviewed that book too. You can find that review at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... (hide spoiler)]
I am very much looking forward to reading Miranda's next adventure. I hope she gets to unlock the mysteries involving her past that have been preoccupying her so long.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It’s been some time since a book has taken me to Brazil. Many people aren’t aware that when all the trees are logged out of the Amazon jungle, there wIt’s been some time since a book has taken me to Brazil. Many people aren’t aware that when all the trees are logged out of the Amazon jungle, there will be no topsoil left. The entire area will become a vast desert. Stripped of the jungle’s resources, the Brazilian economy will collapse. Even worse, global warming will become irreversible. These are the reasons why the struggle of the heroic central characters of Griffith’s book is so urgent. I consider Amazon Burning a very timely red alert. I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I must apologize for starting this review with a lecture. Amazon Burning is not some ponderous academic study. It’s actually a suspenseful romantic eco-thriller that begins with the murder of activist Milton Silva. The point of view character is Emma Cohen, an idealistic journalism student at New York University who has left behind a major legal predicament that gradually unfolds over the course of the novel. Griffith deals with Emma’s maturation along with the critical problems that she faces in the Amazon. In many cases, this process of growing up entails a surrender to cynicism, but Emma’s commitment to her principles survives all her hardships.
The romance took time to develop due to plausible barriers that resulted from the characters' circumstances. Some readers might consider these barriers contrived, and might have preferred the course of true love to have been smoother. Yet that would have interfered with the tension necessary in a thriller plot. So I think that Griffith's decisions about the romance relationship were good ones.
I really did enjoy Amazon Burning. There were some clever red herrings provided for readers to chew on during the course of the murder investigation. I never guessed who murdered Milton Silva until the truth was finally revealed close to the end of the novel.
So Victoria Griffith has given us a successful mystery dealing dramatically with important themes, containing sympathetic characters who develop over the course of the narrative, and a credible representation of Brazil.
I’ve read medieval mysteries characterized as medieval noir, but Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes is as noir as it gets. The medieval villagers we meet in thiI’ve read medieval mysteries characterized as medieval noir, but Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes is as noir as it gets. The medieval villagers we meet in this novel have dark secrets, and a number of them have either committed terrible deeds, or stood by without protest while they were perpetrated. Many of the nobility who think of themselves as superior are no better. Characters who have principles are seen as simple and childlike. Christianity is not the faith of a loving God, but one that justifies acts of cruelty and intolerance. Welcome to a 14th century England where chivalry is very nearly dead, and hearts that are pure are likely to be pureed.
The mystery of the five dead youths of this village who were burned alive is at the center of the narrative. Surprising developments arise during the process of discovering the truth about this awful crime. The truth about various characters changes over the course of the novel as their secrets are uncovered. I thought that the protagonist had layers of complexity while still being sympathetic. I wanted her to triumph against all the obstacles in her path, and I liked the bittersweet ending.
After too much grimdark, it's a relief to have a fun read dealing with music. Epigraphs from "A Song For St. Cecilia's Day" reminded me of singing NorAfter too much grimdark, it's a relief to have a fun read dealing with music. Epigraphs from "A Song For St. Cecilia's Day" reminded me of singing Norman Dello Joio's version in my university chorus in the 1970s. I just revisited this version on You Tube with this 2013 performance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q16Nk.... Songs in the text had me singing along or humming the tune under my breath depending on whether I was at home or on mass transit when I was reading.
I also liked the portrayal of Phryne's friend Dr. John Wilson, and reading about his history with Phryne when she was driving an ambulance in WWI. I was astonished to learn from Kerry Greenwood's notes at the back of the book that he was intended to be Dr. Watson to another character who was intended to be Sherlock Holmes.
Greenwood has an unusual perspective on Holmes. She says that she thinks that women are better at the sort of deductions based on keen observation for which Holmes was known. Such generalizations will always turn out to be at least partly false. I am a woman who isn't very observant at all because I live inside my head a great deal. I would never make a success at crime investigation. So I'll leave that to law enforcement professionals, real life PIs and fictional detectives in mystery novels who may be of either gender. ...more
I wanted to read certain stories in this anthology by authors that interest me, but the most memorable stories aren't the ones that I thought I wouldI wanted to read certain stories in this anthology by authors that interest me, but the most memorable stories aren't the ones that I thought I would like the most. That's completely unpredictable in anthologies in my experience. I averaged the ratings of the stories that I read to come up with the rating for the anthology as a whole.
I thought that I would love a new Gordianus story by Steven Saylor, but I considered it the least interesting of the stories in this anthology that I read. Perhaps I would feel differently if I had ever been a fan of the Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. I never understood the appeal of those.
I absolutely did love "Heavy Metal" by Cherie Priest which was my favorite story in the anthology. It takes place in the Appalachians and deals with the issue of environmental clean up after mountain top removal which is the most environmentally destructive form of mining. I am attracted to fiction taking place in the Appalachians and I'm very concerned about mountaintop removal, so I was bound to love this one. The rogue hero has a wonderful approach to syncretism which is the combining of different spiritual paths. He said that God "has a very diverse workforce". I rated it A+ for originality.
A story that I liked very much, but didn't love was "Tawny Petticoats" by Michael Swanwick. It was about a confidence woman named Tawny Petticoats in an alternate universe where zombies perform all physical labor. I ought to tell you that I hate zombie stories, and would never have read it ordinarily, but I was charmed by Tawny Petticoats and her sassy attitude.
Another liked but didn't love entry was "Roaring Twenties" by Carrie Vaughn dealing with an invisible speakeasy which could only be accessed through magic. I liked the concept and the relationship between the female protagonists.
Other stories were ones that never hooked me or did read,but they ended up not interesting me very much. C'est la vie.
Normally, an unproduced TV pilot script wouldn't be available for review. I purchased this one on Amazon. It's based on a series of mystery novels byNormally, an unproduced TV pilot script wouldn't be available for review. I purchased this one on Amazon. It's based on a series of mystery novels by Aimee and David Thurlo. I found out that the pilot is available as a book when I recently checked The Aimee and David Thurlo Website in order to cite a title correctly in a recent review. I also received some sad news from the Thurlo website. Aimee Thurlo died this past February. I decided to read and review the Ella Clah pilot script in memory of Aimee Thurlo though it was actually authored by well-known TV writer and producer Lee Goldberg in collaboration with William Rabkin.
In the books Ella Clah is a Navajo FBI agent who returns to the Navajo Reservation to join the Tribal Police. Because there are more limitations in writing for television than there are in writing novels, the Ella Clah in the script could not be exactly the same as the one that the Thurlos created. For budget reasons Goldberg and Rabkin created an alternate lifepath for Ella Clah. She remains an FBI agent based in Albuquerque with an occasional visit to the Navajo Reservation.
If an Ella Clah series went into production now, I'd imagine that it would appear on a cable channel. As Aimee and David Thurlo pointed out in the foreward that they wrote for this book edition of the pilot script, "If Longmire can make it, can Ella really be far behind?" They were referring to an A&E series based on mystery novels by Craig Johnson whose protagonist has a Native American sidekick played by Lou Diamond Phillips. I would like to think that Ella Clah could have a successful run on TNT, Lifetime or Hallmark.
Stephen L. Carter had researched Lincoln's era before writing this novel, and was aware of how unpopular Lincoln had been. That's why he imagined thatStephen L. Carter had researched Lincoln's era before writing this novel, and was aware of how unpopular Lincoln had been. That's why he imagined that if Lincoln had survived being shot by John Wilkes Booth, he might very well have been impeached. When I saw this title for the first time, I also recognized it as a realistic possibility.
The central character of this speculative fiction actually wasn't Lincoln. It was the fictional free African American clerk at the law firm in charge of Lincoln's defense. Her name was Abigail Canner, and Lincoln was her hero. She considered him the Great Emancipator. As far as Abigail was concerned, Lincoln was the one who had brought about a new world for the members of her race. And in that new world, Abigail could dream of becoming a lawyer.
Abigail is a courageous and determined idealist. This is shown when early in the novel one of the lawyers at the firm is murdered along with an African American woman named Rebecca. Both the police and the remaining partner at the firm tell Abigail not to investigate these killings, but Abigail refuses to leave this case alone. She wants justice for the victims, and she wants to discover the truth behind the murders. She learned that truth and justice aren't very high priorities in the pragmatic realm of politicians. Someone else might have become cynical and disillusioned, but Abigail maintained her values.
So this has good characterization, a suspenseful mystery sub-plot and politics that will remind readers of current events on Capitol Hill. The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln is truly a thought provoking alternate history that I recommend.
This is the first book I've read in the Wine Detective novels which were also made into a series for French television. The edition I read was from LeThis is the first book I've read in the Wine Detective novels which were also made into a series for French television. The edition I read was from Le French Book, a publisher which is making current popular French fiction available in English. I received my copy from Net Galley.
When I found out that this particular volume in the Wine Detective series had to do with World War II, I was hooked. Despite the fact that I have read other books taking place in France during World War II, Alaux and Balen had things to teach me about that period of French history through their engaging mystery plot.
From a seemingly conventional crime novel this book evolves into a powerful tale of the consequences of rape, genetic heritage and fatherhood. There aFrom a seemingly conventional crime novel this book evolves into a powerful tale of the consequences of rape, genetic heritage and fatherhood. There are a number of fathers in this novel. The relationship of the protagonist Erlendur with his daughter is one of the memorable ones. It turned out to be more complex than it initially seemed to be. It's an unpredictable relationship and I will want to see how it evolves....more
I learned about the suffragist movement in England and the attempts to suppress it. I also found out about a George Bernard Shaw play called Press CutI learned about the suffragist movement in England and the attempts to suppress it. I also found out about a George Bernard Shaw play called Press Cuttingswhich was banned by the authorities. You can download it for free from Project Gutenberg.
I appreciated Felicity Young writing about a pioneering female autopsy surgeon. I will definitely want to read more of this series. ...more
I was interested in the Samaritan content, but there wasn't enough of it for me. The World Bank and the missing funds that the World Bank was searchinI was interested in the Samaritan content, but there wasn't enough of it for me. The World Bank and the missing funds that the World Bank was searching for was routine sort of content as far as I was concerned. It's all about the money. What saddened me is that I've now read all the Omar Yussuf novels. I wish there were more....more
I had stopped reading Faye Kellerman's Decker/Lazarus series because it had become too much like her husband's Alex Delaware series which I can't readI had stopped reading Faye Kellerman's Decker/Lazarus series because it had become too much like her husband's Alex Delaware series which I can't read anymore. As much as I like the protagonists of both series, their cases are too dark for me. I read an interview with Faye Kellerman in which she said that she wanted to write L.A. noir. Well, she's certainly been succeeding. The reason why I started reading her was because of the Jewish content in her work. This book, which deals with a hate crime against a synagogue seemed to be dealing with the kind of themes that had drawn me to Faye Kellerman.
This was actually an interesting book. I learned about the concentration camp Treblinka and why there were so few survivors of that camp.
There were some very moving moments and some excellent characterization as well. I'm glad that I decided to read this one.