First Sentence: The gold Rolex Day-Date on his wrist had cost eleven thousand dollars.
Dek’s ex-wife, Amanda, is the daughter of one of the most wealthFirst Sentence: The gold Rolex Day-Date on his wrist had cost eleven thousand dollars.
Dek’s ex-wife, Amanda, is the daughter of one of the most wealthy and powerful men, who control the city of Chicago. And they are dying; being murdered very quietly. Amanda, who wants Dek to investigate, is someone he cannot refuse. Her father is less than agreeable. It quickly becomes clear he’s knows more than he’s saying. Can Dek keep him alive, or is he behind the murders?
It’s nice to see an author’s writing mature, and Fredrickson’s definitely has since his first book. In Dek, he has created a very interesting character with sardonic humor balanced by introspection, hope, as wonderfully exemplified by an ash tree.
The focus on sartorial details is always interesting when used as a way of establishing one’s social and economic class. Conversely, one can appreciate the way in which Dex evaluates fast food restaurants. Some authors offer mouth-watering description of superb meals. Frederickson provides guilt-pleasure descriptions of artery-closing food... “His masterpiece was four over-easy eggs piled atop two English muffins, slathered with sausage, melted cheddar and mushroom gravy the thickness of porridge.”
Two minor criticisms; The prologue was completely unnecessary and would have been better left only within the context of the story and, my personnel irritant, there was an unfortunate, and completely unnecessary, semi-portent.
“The Confessor’s Club,” is a very good book with nice tension, suspense and plot twists.
THE CONFESSOR’S CLUB (PI-Dek Elstrom-Illinois-Contemp) - VG Fredrickson, Jack – 5th in series Severn House / First World Publication – July 2015 ...more
First Sentence: It was March, well past midnight, and it was cold.
Free-lance investigator Dek Elstrom is still trying to fight his local city hall toFirst Sentence: It was March, well past midnight, and it was cold.
Free-lance investigator Dek Elstrom is still trying to fight his local city hall to regain zoning rights to the tower—no castle, just a tower—in which he lives, but strange things start occurring. A large hole is dug for a new McMansion in a block of bungalows, a phone call from someone thought to be dead, and Dek’s best friend and loved ones suddenly disappearing. Dek is on the trail of answers and trying to stay alive. I have two admissions from the very start; 1) I have loved this series but, 2) this is not my favorite book of the series.
Among Frederickson’s strengths is his ability to create a vivid atmosphere from the very beginning. He has a great eye for detail and conveys it in a way that you are part of the scene. You feel the cold, you experience the turbulence of the boat ride and the driving rain; the tension becomes real and the atmosphere, threatening.
He also has an excellent ear for dialogue, whether in the narrative or between characters. It’s clear, it has the right edge to it and just enough dry humor.
The main characters are impossible to resist; Dek, who is trying hard to rebuild his life and his wonderful brilliant, completely devoid of any fashion-sense friend Leo are interesting and people about whom you want to know more. A few characters, however, feel as though they have become a bit of a joke that has gone on too long.
The weakest element, I felt, was actually the plot. It seemed we didn’t really know what was going on until nearly half-way through the story. Sometimes, this can work. In this case, it was only the appeal of Leo and an act of faith that draws you on.
“The Dead Caller From Chicago” is still a good read. If anything, I feel my frustration is in feeling that Mr. Frederickson is capable of doing so much more. I’m waiting…..
THE DEAD CALLER FROM CHICAGO (Myst-Dek Elstrom-Chicago-Contemp) – Good Frederickson, Jack – 4th in series Minotaur Books, 2013 ...more
First Sentence: The Argua-Observer was the only Chicago newspaper that dared run the pictures of the clown going off the room screaming. InvestigatorFirst Sentence: The Argua-Observer was the only Chicago newspaper that dared run the pictures of the clown going off the room screaming. Investigator Dek Elstrom is hired by a mysterious man in a limousine to investigate the death of a clown. It doesn’t take Dek long to discover his client is wealthy socialite Sweetie Fairbairn. Working with the help of reporter Jennifer Gale and his Dek’s sartorially-challenged yet delightful best friend Leo, Dek finds himself with more bodies than clues, pegged as a suspect by the police, and hunting for his own client and her past. Every author strives for a strong, compelling opening. Fredrickson succeeded in creating one. It’s not only compelling, but provides images that will stay with the reader for some time. However, a good opening doesn’t always guarantee a good book unless that level of involvement is maintained. It is. Fredrickson has a wonderful sardonic voice…”Google, that collector of all lint…” and wry humor. His protagonist, Dek, has lost almost everything and, in this book, he even seems to be letting go of his one last self-delusions. I did appreciate learning more about Dek’s family history. There is palpable tension and suspense along with intriguing and unexpected twists that you don’t see coming. Any holes one fears there might be there have been plugged in advance. The ending is a bit ambiguous for my taste and left me rather confused but not to where it spoiled my enjoyment of book overall. “Hunting Sweetie Rose” is the third book in the Elstrom series. Although it may not be my favorite of the three, so far, I really enjoy Fredrickson’s style and recommend him as an author well worth reading. I do feel there are good things ahead.
HUNTING SWEETIE ROSE (Trad. Myst/Invest-Dek Elstrom-Chicago-Contemporary) – Good+ Fredrickson, Jack – 3rd in series Minotaur Books, 2011 ...more
First Sentence: I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, “They’ve taken our daughter.”
Seven years’ ago, wizard Harry Dresden’s love, Susan RodrFirst Sentence: I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, “They’ve taken our daughter.”
Seven years’ ago, wizard Harry Dresden’s love, Susan Rodriguez left after being turned into a half-vampire. Now she calls to tell him that his daughter Maggie, about whom he’d never known, has been kidnapped by the Duchess of the Red Court. Harry learns that Maggie is to be a blood sacrifice in an act that will destroy him and many others. Harry is determined to rescue his daughter.
I am, primarily, a mystery reader. I picked up “Storm Front,” the first Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher thinking it would be interesting to see how he brings mysteries and the paranormal together. While the books are far more paranormal/fantasy than mystery, about half-way into that first book, the genre definition no longer mattered.
Harry Dresden is not the stuff of fairy tales—at least, not the Disney versions--Grimm was, after all, rather grim—but the stuff of nightmares with a wickedly good sense of humor. It is definitely a series to be read in order.
Boy, does Butcher know how to tell a story. He touches every emotion while making us face the monsters in the closet. I thoroughly enjoyed the references to movie, television, literature which have become part of our popular culture.
The world and characters created by Butcher are vividly drawn and often very unpleasant. Much of that is offset by the strong human characters, excellent dialogue and wonderful humor. There is a delightful bit where Harry “said firmly, “I don’t do hats.” This is a jab to the fact that the cover of every book shows Harry wearing a hat.
Dresden is a classic hero. He is tall, attractive, strong, clever, protects the innocent and weak, destroys the bad buys and isn’t overly macho ever. As with each previous book, we continue to learn more of Dresden’s background. We also see the extent to which he is willing to go to protect and save others.
In “Changes,” Butcher brings together nearly all the characters of previous books for this pivotal story, and some wonderful characters they are. It’s thanks to his skill and imagination that we have Bob, the intelligent spirit who love trashy romance novels; Molly, Harry’s apprentice; Mouse, the amazing Foo dog, and all the others; human and inhuman.
The story is non-stop with some breath-catching moments, both in terms of pacing and suspense. It is touching, suspenseful, gruesome, emotional, violent and occasionally funny. The book’s ending is as much a shock to us as it is to Harry. I’m one who usually abhors cliff-hanger ending, but then realized Butcher did play fair with us by the lead up to the ending.
I am concerned about where the series is going from here, as I know the series is continuing. I’ll just have to trust to Butcher’s wonderful writing and go along for the adventure.
First Sentence: The date was April 14, 1912, a sinister day in maritime history, but of course, the man in suite 63-65, shelter deck C, did not yet knFirst Sentence: The date was April 14, 1912, a sinister day in maritime history, but of course, the man in suite 63-65, shelter deck C, did not yet know it.
This true-crime story is set against the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Larson’s book is of two stories; Daniel H. Burnham, the architect of the fair’s construction, and H. H. Holmes (nee’ Herman Webster Mudgett) who is purported to have killed between 27 and 200 people, mostly young single women.
The only problem with reading on a Kindle, is you don’t know what page you’re on, so I don’t know where I stopped. I started the book and found it interesting but it soon reminded me of the way I search the internet; the author starts on one subject, and then segues to the next, and the next, and the next.
I’ve been told that, once you really get into the story, it’s very good. Unfortunately, it didn’t hold my interest enough for me to get that far. The description of the book sounds so interesting; I am determined to give it another try sometime.
THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY (True Crime-Chicago-1893) – DNF Larson, Erik – Standalone Vintage, 2004, US Paperback – ISBN: 978-0375725609
WHAT TIME DEVOURS (Ama. Sleuth-Thomas Knight-Chicago area/England/France-Cont) – G+ Hartley, A.J. – 2nd in Thomas Knight series Berkeley, 2009, US PaperWHAT TIME DEVOURS (Ama. Sleuth-Thomas Knight-Chicago area/England/France-Cont) – G+ Hartley, A.J. – 2nd in Thomas Knight series Berkeley, 2009, US Paperback – ISBN: 0425226239
First Sentence: Thomas Knight froze, one hand on the coffeepot, the other extended to the faucet over the sink.
The morning starts badly for high school English teacher, Thomas Knight. The body of an unknown dead woman is pressed up against his kitchen window. He then receives a call from a former student, David Escolme, who asks that Thomas come see him at the Drake Hotel in Chicago as he needs the help of someone who is familiar with the writings of Shakespeare.
Arriving at the hotel, Thomas finds a frantic Escolme. Someone has removed several pages of, what is purported to be, “Love’s Labour Won,” one of the missing Shakespeare plays. When Escolme is murdered, it sends Thomas off on an international search for the play, while trying to stay alive himself.
As a fan of Shakespeare, I was really looking forward to this book. It definitely has a creepy grabber of an opener. Unfortunately, it delivers less than it promises and both the writing and pacing were very uneven. The book, for the most part, reads very flat.
There is very little character development beyond the protagonist. We are almost one quarter of the way through when we learn about the situation with Thomas’ marriage. However, I did like Thomas’ thoughts and realizations about his wife and their marriage when she is facing a health crisis.
Thomas makes some decisions that almost fall into the “too-stupid-to-live” category and he is fairly casual about breaking the law. There are massive coincidences. The timing of when Thomas is in threatening situations becomes overwhelming convenient. Interesting observations about the academic community and just how tightly focused is it; everyone knows everyone and if not enough people know you, you are no one.
There are constant references to Thomas being involved in solving his brother’s death the year before. If found it annoying as, rather than giving information, it felt to be a plug to read the previous book.
The suspense and action scenes are the strongest and most interesting part of the story. There is a very enjoyable reference to “The Da Vinci Code.” The historical information, and that on Shakespeare and his plays, is fascinating. The sense of place is very strong with wonderful descriptions of the various locales.
It’s not a terrible book, but it’s not great either. ...more
TURN COAT (Supernatural/PI-Harry Dresden-Chicago-Cont) - VG Butcher, Jim – 11th in series RoC, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780451462565
First Sentence: TTURN COAT (Supernatural/PI-Harry Dresden-Chicago-Cont) - VG Butcher, Jim – 11th in series RoC, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780451462565
First Sentence: The summer sun was busy broiling the asphalt from Chicago’s streets, the agony in my head had kept me horizontal for half a day, and some idiot was pounding on my apartment door.
The last person PI Harry Dresden, wizard of the White council, expects to find on his doorstop, is Morgon. Morgan had tried to kill Harry once and they were anything but friends. When Morgan tells Harry he is innocent of killing a Council member, Harry believes him and decides to help. Morgan is not Harry’s only problem. There is a nearly invincible skinwalker on the loose and looking for Harry.
This is not a light, happy wizard book. This is a tough, occasionally brutal, supernatural-among-the-humans book and I loved it. Butcher includes just the right amount of humor to offset the horror, even down to some of Harry’s expletives: “stars and stones,” “god’s beard,” and “Hell’s frickin’ bells.” I love that even the supernatural use Craigslist and compare themselves to John Steed of the Avengers.
Butcher creates his world so well, down to providing an interesting prospective about the White Council being involved in mortal politics. The characters are wonderful, particularly Harry, about whose Mother we learn more; his apprentice, Molly; his brother, Thomas; and his Foo dog, Mouse. He brings them to life, as he does the entire story.
Butcher’s writing is wonderfully visual. We believe Harry’s world exists and it is not a comfortable place to be. There is a ritual on the mountain top that is particularly visual. The story is very well plotted and the suspense is palpable.
This series is not for everyone, but I plan to keep going as long as the author does. ...more
KILLER.APP (Pol. Proc/Susp-Suze Figueroa-Chicago-Cont) - Ex D'Amato, Barbara - Standalone
From Fantastic Fiction: To Chicago cop Suze Figueroa, cyberspyKILLER.APP (Pol. Proc/Susp-Suze Figueroa-Chicago-Cont) - Ex D'Amato, Barbara - Standalone
From Fantastic Fiction: To Chicago cop Suze Figueroa, cyberspy is not in her job description--until a mysterious accident sends her computer engineer sister into a coma. Targeted by a network of online henchmen and ruthless flesh-and-blood assassins, Suze uncovers a plan far more sophisticated and insidious than she could have imagined, and finds herself in a race to stop a computer genius from taking control of the information age.
Very suspenseful; great plot. A bit heavy on the high-tech element for it was an absolute page turner. Excellent....more
TRIGGER CITY – (Priv. Invest-Ray Dudgeon-Chicago-Cont) – G+ Chercover, Sean – 2nd in series Wm. Morrow, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780061128691
First SeTRIGGER CITY – (Priv. Invest-Ray Dudgeon-Chicago-Cont) – G+ Chercover, Sean – 2nd in series Wm. Morrow, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780061128691
First Sentence: Facts are not truth.
PI Ray Dudgeon took a serious physical and emotional hit during his last case. When the ex-military, grieving father of a murdered woman wants to hire Ray to confirm the police’s determination of the case, it seems an easy 50 grand.
Ray is nothing if not thorough and finds both the victim and her killer had worked together in accounting at a company which provides paramilitary troops to the government. The deeper Ray gets into the case, the more people, including the police, the FBI, the company involved and members of an unknown agency, try to dissuade him from pursuing it .
There is much to like about Sean Chercover’s writing. I enjoy his style and, particularly, descriptive phrasing; i.e., “I dug into it like the next day was lent.”--and the strong sense of place his brings to his story. The book has a very effective opening and kept my interest all the way through.
Ray is an appealing protagonist. He is determined, not without his own issues and a bit idealistic, which is rather refreshing. The supporting characters are there but not very memorable.
Chercover seems to like plots which start out deceptively simple but quickly shift to the really bad, bad guys and a much bigger enemy that originally thought. It makes the point of the vulnerability of the individual against the organization, whether it be illegal or legally sanctioned.
The story is fast paced and does have terrific dialogue. It wasn’t a “wow” book for me, but it was a cracking good Sunday afternoon read. ...more
THE BLADE ITSELF (Suspense-Chicago-Danny Carter-Cont) - Poor Sakey, Marcus – 1st book St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780312360313
FirTHE BLADE ITSELF (Suspense-Chicago-Danny Carter-Cont) - Poor Sakey, Marcus – 1st book St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780312360313
First Sentence: The alley wasn’t as dark as Danny would’ve liked, and Evan was driving his crazy, spinning the snub-nose like a cowboy in some Sunday matinee.
Seven years ago, Danny Carter and his friend Evan were living their lives on the wrong side of the law. During a break-in, Danny escaped but Evan was caught and served seven years in prison.
Now he’s out and, although Danny has been legitimate and now successful, he feels Danny owes him. Evan wants Danny to plan and partner with him on the kidnapping the son of Danny’s boss.
I was so incredibly disappointed in this book. It has one of the most beginning-to-end predictable plots I’ve read in a long time. I even saw the final twist coming. And what the predictability of the plot couldn’t do, coincidences did.
Even the characters were predictable, stereotypical and, for most, without a lot of development. Unfortunately, I’ve already bought Sakey’s next book. I hope the library sale enjoys them both. ...more
USED AND RARE (Memoir-Goldstone-MA/NY/Chicago) – G+ Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy – standalone St. Martin’s Press, 1997, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312156820USED AND RARE (Memoir-Goldstone-MA/NY/Chicago) – G+ Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy – standalone St. Martin’s Press, 1997, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0312156820
First Sentence: We came to book collecting because our birthdays fall eight days apart.
[Dust Jacket] Years ago, the Goldstones fled high-paying jobs in Manhattan to live and write in the Berkshires. Enough of an overachieving spark remained to ignite a contest when the search for inexpensive birthday gifts began. While Lawrence settled for a bath brush, Nancy tracked down a ten-dollar copy of “War and Peace,” and the couple’s love affair with book collecting was born.
For those who love the combination of books, history and collecting, this is a delight. Although there is a tone of being dismissive toward other people, and the phonetic spelling of speech from a New Zealand dealer was annoying, there was much that was good about this book. There were times I found myself laughing out loud. Being set in locations I know quite well also made it fun for me. The best part was the instructive, informative information about book collecting woven into the story and I did find myself taking notes. ...more
As cold winds rattled through broken windows and loose doors. Farnum's Castle felt like an icebox. MarCRY FOR THE MOON - Good Stuart, Anne - standalong
As cold winds rattled through broken windows and loose doors. Farnum's Castle felt like an icebox. Marielle Brandt couldn't complain to the landlord - she was the landlord, having inherited her husband's mounting debts and title to the weirdest apartment building in the history of human habitation.
The plumbing was shot, the stairs were treacherous and the place was haunted. The tenants were a raggle-taggle group of refugees, witches and warlocks. But he weirdest part was that Farnum's Castle felt like home, and the tenants like family. Especially Simon Zebriskie, who gruffly dispensed help and advice, and felt like someone Marielle had been seeking all her life to warm her heart on even the coldest Chicago night.
I enjoyed this. I liked the Chicago setting, the characters, the apartment building and their relationship. Very nice....more
Chicago business executive Robert Cooper is trudging in the northern woods when young Luke McCain chargeLIE DOWN WITH DOGS - Ex Gleiter, Jan - 1st book
Chicago business executive Robert Cooper is trudging in the northern woods when young Luke McCain charges toward him, saying that his friend Lisa Jacobi dropped him out of her cabin window and told him to run away from the men breaking in. Making her own escape and catching up, Lisa explains that Luke's father, Carl, left the boy in her care six weeks earlier. Cooper invites the pair to stay with him in Chicago. Increasingly pleased with his live-in company, he opposes Lisa's scheme to track down Carl, reminding her that people are still hunting for her. The situation grows grimmer when an old college acquaintance of Carl and Lisa's is found shot in the head.
I'm not much of a cozies reader but this was so good. It had a great opening and made my 1996 top reads list. It also won the 1995 Malice Domestic contest for best first mystery....more
HARD WOMEN - VG D'Amato, Barbara - 4th in Cat Marsala series
Does anybody care about a dead hooker? That's the question Chicago journalist Cat Marsala iHARD WOMEN - VG D'Amato, Barbara - 4th in Cat Marsala series
Does anybody care about a dead hooker? That's the question Chicago journalist Cat Marsala is wrestling with. The hooker, Sandra love, is sleeping on Cat's couch in exchange for the Inside scoop on life as a prostitute. Now she's dead in a gutter outside Cat's building and nobody seems to be in a hurry to solve the crime.
Except Cat. Digging into the netherworld of prostitution, from the streetwalkers who trade sex for food, to the enormously high-priced independents, Cat's search for a killer takes her deep into the motives and motivations of hard women--and men--on both sides of a dirty game.
This wasn't quite as good as some of her earlier books, but it was still very good....more
JUNKYARD DOG - Okay Campbell, Robert - 1st in Jimmy Flannery series
Chicago is Jimmy Flannery's kind of town. A tough Irishman with street smarts, he'sJUNKYARD DOG - Okay Campbell, Robert - 1st in Jimmy Flannery series
Chicago is Jimmy Flannery's kind of town. A tough Irishman with street smarts, he's part of a political machine that runs on favors and friendships. Flannery's particular piece of the patronage pie is the 27th Ward, and anything that happens there is his business. Even murder.
So when an antiabortion demonstration ends with a bomb blast that kills a pretty young girl and an old woman, Flannery takes it personally. But someone's stonewalling the investigation, and Flannery's starting to wonder if the bombing was political, or a cover-up for murder. Something smells rotten—from the Gold Coast to the South Side. And when the killer goes after Flannery's lady love, Flannery doesn't just get mad— he gets as mean as a junkyard dog —on the scent of dirty politics mixed with passion and revenge, a very deadly combination....
This book won both the 1987 Edgar and Anthony awards but I just couldn't get excited about it....more
THE MAN WHO UNDERSTOOD CATS - Ex Dymmoch, Michael Allen - 1st in Thinnes/Caleb series
Chicago detective John Thinnes doubts the evidence pointing to anTHE MAN WHO UNDERSTOOD CATS - Ex Dymmoch, Michael Allen - 1st in Thinnes/Caleb series
Chicago detective John Thinnes doubts the evidence pointing to an accountant's suicide. Dr. James Caleb, the dead man's psychologist, also refutes the evidence; pooling their talents, they search for proof of their suspicions. Station-house talk and details of street procedure provoke nerve-wracking tension as small incongruities arise, followed by arranged accidents and finally murder. W
In spite of the title, this is not a cozy novel. It is a very good police procedural. I enjoyed the characters and the interaction between them. I appreciated that it didn't stereotype gays or straights. I shall definitely read more of this series....more
TELL ME NO SECRETS - Okay Fielding, Joy - 3rd in series
People are inexplicably disappearing from Chicago prosecutor Jess Koster's life. First her motheTELL ME NO SECRETS - Okay Fielding, Joy - 3rd in series
People are inexplicably disappearing from Chicago prosecutor Jess Koster's life. First her mother vanished without a trace eight years ago. And now a client, the victim of a brutal, sadistic rapist, is also missing. Someone is disrupting Jess's neat, ordered existence with chaos and terror. And from the shadow of her past, a maniac is watching her . . .stalking her -- until there is no one Jess can trust her mysterious tormentor is perilously close -- and that the next person to vanish from the face of the Earth will be Jess Koster.
A FAREWELL TO YARNS - Good Churchill, Jill - 2nd in series
Life's hectic enough for a housewife who must survive the politics of a church bazaar and finA FAREWELL TO YARNS - Good Churchill, Jill - 2nd in series
Life's hectic enough for a housewife who must survive the politics of a church bazaar and finish the afghan from Hell—without having to entertain house guests as well. So Jane Jeffry isn't exactly thrilled when her old acquaintance Phyllis Wagner arrives with her ill-mannered teenaged son. Phyllis visit turns out to be a short one—and suburban tongues start wagging.
Who's the killer? Was it her estranged tycoon husband, her smarmy, resentful stepson, or Jane's nosy, evil-tempered neighbor? And who dumped a second corpse in the dumpster at the mall?
It's Detective Mel VanDyne's business to find out—but Jane is making it hers. VanDyne is a handsome cop, and even if he calls her help ""damned dangerous meddling," Jane calls it "solving the case"...and a good bit more interesting than her knitting!
Chicago freelance journalist Cat Marsala, in her third outing here (after Hardball and Hard Tack ), watches the stoHARD LUCK - VG D'Amato, Barbara - VG
Chicago freelance journalist Cat Marsala, in her third outing here (after Hardball and Hard Tack ), watches the story of her career land--literally--in front of her when Jack Sligh, an Illinois lottery official, plummets to his death from a skyscraper. Cat recognizes the corpse because she'd made an appointment with Sligh in regard to an article she was writing on the proposed Central States Lottery. Convinced Sligh was pushed, Cat begins an in-depth investigation of his co-workers at the Illinois state lottery as D'Amato develops her solidly plotted story. Many of the employees Cat talks to belong to the large family of Sligh's estranged wife Doris Furman: her sister, brother, nephew, and her father, who may well have mob connections. Cat explores the ramifications the Central States organization might have on the Furman-controlled state lottery to determine what, if anything, Sligh knew or intended to reveal that might have gotten him killed.
This book is a wee bit weaker than the previous two, but it is still a very good read....more
BIG CITY BAD BLOOD (PI, Ray Dudgeon, Chicago, Cont) –G+ Chercover, Sean – 1st book William Morrow, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN:9780061128677
First SentenceBIG CITY BAD BLOOD (PI, Ray Dudgeon, Chicago, Cont) –G+ Chercover, Sean – 1st book William Morrow, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN:9780061128677
First Sentence: In the shadows of the John F. Kennedy Expressway, surrounded by warehouses, factories and auto-body shops, stands Villa d’Este, a family-run restaurant that serves generous portions of decidedly untrendy Italian-American food at reasonable prices.
Ray Dudgeon is a former newspaperman turned PI. Bob Loniski is a movie location’s manager who saw something he shouldn’t have. He is one of three prosecution witnesses against a member of the local mob. Ray has been hired to keep Bob safe and alive. The job is harder than Ray thought when the FBI, Chicago police and the mob after them.
Chercover’s debut book gives us a new, but classic PI. There are bad guys and beating, sex, cigarettes and booze, beautiful women and crooked cops, working inside the law and breaking the law, suspense and humor and a touch of pathos.
When I finished it, it didn’t make me go “Wow,” but I did enjoy it. Dudgeon hasn’t become my favorite PI—Spencer, Elvis Cole have a lock on that--but for those of us who enjoy this genre, he’s a darn good one. ...more
SMALL FAVOR (Para/PI, Harry Dresden, Chicago, Fan) - VG Butcher, Jim – 10th in series ROC, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780451461896
First Sentence: WinteSMALL FAVOR (Para/PI, Harry Dresden, Chicago, Fan) - VG Butcher, Jim – 10th in series ROC, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780451461896
First Sentence: Winter came early that year; it should have been a tip-off.
Wizard Harry Dresden is having an enjoyable snowball fight with his apprentice and her siblings. It comes to an abrupt, and violent, end when they are attacked by three Billy Goats Gruff. These are no mild fairytale creatures and Queen Mab is calling in one of the favor’s Harry owes her. With a missing mobster, creatures galore and even his friends not quite trusting him, Harry has to fight to save himself and those important to him.
Once you get past the oozy, gory descriptions, these are great books. The character of Harry is a wonderful one—he’s tough, loyal, brave, dedicated and has a wicked, wry humor. Even though this is part of a series, there is always enough back story so you understand the relationships.
This book was a real page-turner. It is, sometimes, hard to keep track, among the fantasy creatures, of who is whom, and on whose side, but the action just keep you going. The story is not cliché and some of the more real characters have a strong moral code. For me, these books are always a treat to read. ...more
CITY OF THE ABSENT (Police Proc/Hist-Ins. Alastair Ransom-Chicago-1893) - NR Walker, Robert W. – 3rd in series Harper Mystery, 2007, US Paperback - ISBNCITY OF THE ABSENT (Police Proc/Hist-Ins. Alastair Ransom-Chicago-1893) - NR Walker, Robert W. – 3rd in series Harper Mystery, 2007, US Paperback - ISBN: 0060740124
First Sentence: Mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrison, a politician who split families and lovers over the issues of the day, a man both beloved and despised, lay dying of an assassin’s bullet.
On the closing day of Chicago’s Exposition of 1893, the mayor is assassinated in his front yard. The same night, a Pinkerton agent, posing as a prostitute, is murdered in an alleyway. Police Inspector Alastair Ransom wants the killer. In the investigation, Ransom uncovers the murder/disappearance of a number of homeless/dispossessed people.
On the personal side, Ransom is trying to restore his relationship with his lady love, Jane Francis Tewes, known to the public world, during a time when women weren’t permitted to practice surgery, as Dr. James Phineas Tewes.
Chicago, as true of most major cities in the late 1800s, was dark, dangerous and had, in large part, a corrupt government and police force. Walker evokes the feeling of this time very well, and that’s the positive.
For me, the negatives vastly outweighed the positive. Clearly, one should have, and the author seems to assume one has, read the first two books in the series to have a real feel for the main characters and understand the relationships between them to the point where it felt manipulative. Not having so done, the most of the back story and much of the character development was missing. There were several plot lines going on and it was all a bit of a jumble. I’m not certain we ever found out who sot the mayor. If we did, I missed it.
That no one suspected the duplicity of the female protagonist seemed completely improbable to me and the two females in the story did something so dumb and with an outcome so predictable, it absolutely made me scream with irritation.
The use of “Harry Bosch,” Michael Connelly’s protagonist, as the name of the snitch, is a nice homage, but it took me completely out of the story. I found myself not liking any of the characters, including the protagonist.
This book would have been an “Okay/Poor” for me but the ending was manipulative and made it a wall-banger. I shall definitely not be reading any more by this author. ...more
Hardball - Ex D'Amato, Barbara - 1st in Cat Marsala series
A bomb explodes, taking the life of Louise Sugarman and injuring reporter Cat Marsala. As a cHardball - Ex D'Amato, Barbara - 1st in Cat Marsala series
A bomb explodes, taking the life of Louise Sugarman and injuring reporter Cat Marsala. As a controversial advocate for the decriminalization of drugs and for treating addiction as a medical problem, Sugarman has many enemies. Outraged by the attack, Cat resolves to find the killer. The investigation forces Cat to confront the issue and the people on both sides of the debate.
This was very good. I'm definitely going to look for more of this series....more
Business has been slow for professional wizard Harry Dresden, who hasn't been able to dredge up any kind ofFool Moon - G+ Butcher, Jim - 2nd in series
Business has been slow for professional wizard Harry Dresden, who hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work, magical or mundane. But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.
Storm Front - VG+ - 2001 Honorable Mention Butcher, Jim - 1st of series
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at wStorm Front - VG+ - 2001 Honorable Mention Butcher, Jim - 1st of series
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things--and most of them don't play too well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a--well, whatever.
There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get... interesting.
What a fun, unique book. I am really looking forward to reading more of this series....more
Help Me Please - Ex (2001 Top Read) D'Amato, Barbara - 3rd in Figueroa and Bennis series
A chilling criminal kink in the World Wide Web could lead to aHelp Me Please - Ex (2001 Top Read) D'Amato, Barbara - 3rd in Figueroa and Bennis series
A chilling criminal kink in the World Wide Web could lead to a horrifying crime unless Polly Kelly of the Chicago Police Department can prevent it.
I love both D'Amato's series. The lady knows how to write. This was suspenseful and had an ending where I was particularly pleased to see the villian get their due. If you've not read D'Amato, give her a try....more