Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries - Steve Hockensmith (kindle edition)
I've never gone out of my way to read a compilation of short...moreDear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries - Steve Hockensmith (kindle edition)
I've never gone out of my way to read a compilation of short stories and I'm sure I miss out on a lot of great material, but I want more than just a quick glimpse at a character. I want to follow a character's life, see them get in and out of different situations, and watch their interactions with a variety of people and places. I enjoy stepping into their world and following them around. That's probably the reason I get sucked into so many series, what's going to happen next? And starting a series from the beginning is a must in my book.
So I have the first novel of Steve Hockensmith's, Holmes on the Range Mysteries, appropriately named, Holmes on the Range, sitting in the middle of my to-be-read pile, when I read a post where the author was offering a free e-pub of his short stories pertaining to the series. I emailed and asked if the short stories were a lead-in to the novels, otherwise I wouldn't mind waiting until after I'd started the series to pick up this book as it's just under the price of a cup of coffee. Steve was gracious enough to email me back with assurances these were in fact a lead-in to the series, and he hoped I would dig them. What a treasure!
The first short story was originally printed in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and and is our first introduction to the brothers Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer, affectionately known as Old Red and Big Red.
The two protagonists are currently signed on as hired hands moving a herd of cattle west, and feeling as if their lives are about as interesting as watching grass grow. It all changes when the boys discover a copy of The Red-Headed League featuring the World Famous Detective Sherlock Holmes. Old Red gets to pit his new deducifying skills against cattle rustlers, while Big Red follows in the footsteps of Dr. Watson, becoming the chronicler for their adventures.
Each of the following stories easily stands alone, although the last few hint strongly at events that take place in the novels. One serious warning. If you're anything like me, do not be reading these stories next to a keyboard while drinking soda. I couldn't help but laugh aloud at Big Red's first-person take on things, and the author does a wonderful job of keeping his characters so down to earth likeable.
Time travel is possible as two of my favorite genres mix into a blend of the romanticized Old West meets mystery solving goodness. Don't be looking for car chases, bikini-clad supermodels, foreign-speaking terrorists or even high-speed internet in these small snippets of simpler times, rather be prepared to taste some dust, get a little sweaty and suffer through a few saddle sores while deducifying along with the Amlingmeyer brothers. In the meantime, I've placed Holmes on the Range on the top of my tbr pile. (less)
From the very first sentence Michael Connelly hooks the reader into Jack McEvoy's dark world. A newspaper reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, McEvoy...moreFrom the very first sentence Michael Connelly hooks the reader into Jack McEvoy's dark world. A newspaper reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, McEvoy has chased after death and written numerous articles dealing with not only the victim's story but the survivor's as well. How do you feel, one of his first line of inquiries when chasing a story, has now settled around him like a thick, wool blanket rubbing against bare skin when news of his twin brother's death reaches him.
Marred by an earlier childhood tragedy and his subsequent perceptions of failing to live up to his parent's expectations, Jack isn't ready to accept the idea that his brother Sean, a Denver Police Officer, committed suicide. Balancing the fact that Sean was working a brutal and unsolved murder case, that bothered him enough to seek psychiatric counsel, and his own knowledge of his twin's past, Jack isn't able to console himself with the obvious facts pointing to suicide. Seemingly chasing a dead end case and managing to alienate those that were close to his brother, Joe continues digging into the incident and discovers that not everything is as it first looks.
As a reporter, Jack uses the resources of the newspapers vast database to discover another death similar to that of his brother and travels to Baltimore searching for an elusive sliver of hope that he might find answers to his questions. What Jack uncovers is a slowly evolving pattern of a serial killer, and he finds himself in a struggle with the FBI to retain his exclusive story while trying to discover the murderer of lead detectives all staged as apparent suicides.
Connelly does a superb job of slowly building the intensity and then keeping it taut, while leading the reader through a high profile, quickly changing man-hunt as each new series of clues is discovered. Following the series of events through Jack's eyes keeps the reader grounded and feeling like an outsider looking in when the FBI gives him the slip. We are also charged with the moral dilemna of a man struggling to keep the gray between black and white becoming too shaded.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Poet, and consider this one of the better Connelly novel's that I've read. He does an excellent job of creating characters, giving them flaws that I can relate to and circumstances that are always believable. Slowly making my way through the Bosch series, which I will claim as one of my favorite series and characters, I discovered that I needed more background for the next novel in the list. Hence, me picking up an earlier work and one that is out of sequence, although I have already come across a few references to the Poet, and McEvoy as a reporter, in the earlier novels.
If you are looking for a fast-paced, high-octane thriller, this is not it. If you are interested in people and how their choices in life affect those...moreIf you are looking for a fast-paced, high-octane thriller, this is not it. If you are interested in people and how their choices in life affect those around them, then you are in for a treat.
This is basically the story of two men, Larry Ott and Silas (Thirty-two) Jones, and the fears and prejudices of a small town community in Mississippi.
Ostracized by his home town, Larry spends his days clinging to routine. There's the chickens to tend daily, his mother to visit weekly at the nursing home, and the garage, handed down from his father, to idly clean dusty tools as customers are non-existent. As a child, Larry was the kid with his nose in a book and forever seeking acceptance while never finding it. His first date with a neighborhood girl turned into disaster when she asked to be dropped off to meet with her boyfriend whom her father forbid her to see. She was never heard from again, prompting speculation, suspicions, and rumors involving Larry in her disappearance. Nothing is proven.
Having grown up in the same community, and befriending Larry for a summer, Silas moves on to pursue a career in baseball earning the nickname “32” from his playing days, and eventually returns to become Constable. He's currently working on two seemingly unrelated cases, a drug dealer shot to death and another missing girl.
When Larry falls under suspicion, the reader begins a journey with Silas, uncovering a buried past that reveals secrets unwilling to remain silent.
The quote that 'truth is a bitter pill to swallow' is amplified in this tale of bittersweet sorrow and possible forgiveness. The characters are rich and the relationships are as messed up as most prejudices, but the strength of the novel lies in the miniscule ray of hope that leaks in action and words from the underdog, Larry. (less)