Jack MacTaggart, attorney, is hired to defend Senatorial candidate Warren Burkett when he is accused of stealing a valuable piece of art, under bizarrJack MacTaggart, attorney, is hired to defend Senatorial candidate Warren Burkett when he is accused of stealing a valuable piece of art, under bizarre circumstances. The ultimate goal is to get the election back on track. Marta "Mayday" Suarez is his law partner; Bernadette Catalano is their secretary. They hook up with Officer Regan Fife of the Sierra Madre Police Department, and she unofficially helps them out.
Warren Burkett and his opponent in the Senatorial campaign, Larry Archer are polar opposites. Archer's politics are anti-tax, anti-union, and anti-regulation. Burkett's leanings are much more to the left. To make it more complicated, Archer's wife has ties to the art world and her brother is connected to the mafia.
From the start, I enjoyed the story. I am not sure how realistic it is. But fiction is not always supposed to mirror the real world, and in this case, any niggles I had were minor. I enjoyed being along for the ride. I liked the ending, especially some of the surprises along the way.
The story is told in the first person by a very likeable narrator. There was just enough tension between the people MacTaggart works with to make it believable; they are all sterling individuals, but not too goody goody.
Plus he has a nice dog.
The action in this book goes back and forth between Sierra Madre and Santa Barbara, California. Which was a bonus for me. If Greaves got Sierra Madre and other L.A. County locations down as well as he did Santa Barbara and surrounding areas, he did a really good job with the setting and atmosphere. The author practiced law in the L.A. area for many years.
I liked this book well enough to seek out the first in the series, Hush Money. That book has been nominated for the Private Eye Writers of America’s Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel, which is quite an honor....more
This book is a political thriller, not the type that I usually consider my first choice. I initially decided to read this book because it had a strongThis book is a political thriller, not the type that I usually consider my first choice. I initially decided to read this book because it had a strong woman as protagonist. The setting is present day London, also a plus.
This book grabbed me and held my interest from the beginning. Unfortunately, I had to read it in too many chunks, and toward the end I stayed up too late to finish the book because I had to know how it ended. For a first novel, I thought it was very well done.
There are actually several strong women characters, but Caroline Barber and her family are definitely the focus of the book. Caroline has a job in the Ministry of Education and has access to sensitive data. She becomes a whistleblower for a government cover-up due to her strongly-held convictions. The story makes the reader ask questions about how much we owe to others, and how much we should risk to right wrongs....more
Crooked House was published in 1949. The story is set following World War II. A couple that met in Egypt during the war has reunited in London. HoweveCrooked House was published in 1949. The story is set following World War II. A couple that met in Egypt during the war has reunited in London. However, their plans to marry are interrupted by the death of her grandfather. This is a non-series book, not featuring Poirot or Miss Marple.
The story focuses on a family that is very close. Each is protective of the others, even though they may see each other's faults. Each member is strange, in their own way, and the introduction to each member of the menagerie is entertaining. Some mystery readers fault Agatha Christie because of her characters (too stereotypical, too cardboard?), but I have not seen that in the books I have read. This one seems to be the perfect blending of puzzle, plot, and characters.
I did like this book, but if I could give half star ratings, I would make it 3.5 stars. I suspect later books in this series are better.
Plot and charaI did like this book, but if I could give half star ratings, I would make it 3.5 stars. I suspect later books in this series are better.
Plot and characterization are the two main things that I look for in a novel. This book has a fast-paced interesting plot. The mystery here centers around the death, possibly a murder, of a Hollywood producer. He died during a dinner party at his house, which four other couples attended, in addition to himself and his wife. All of the men in attendance share a history with a young actress named Samantha.
Where this novel was lacking was in the characterization. All of the characters, including Masuto, are stereotypes. I did find a lot to like about Masuto, but there was little depth to any of the other characters. The women were all young and beautiful, and most were married to their husbands for the money. Some of the women suspects eventually move from the one-dimensional portrayal to show their strengths to a certain extent. ...more
Constantine has written a series that mostly features the chief of police of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, Mario Balzic. Some of the later books feature onConstantine has written a series that mostly features the chief of police of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania, Mario Balzic. Some of the later books feature one of his detectives, after Mario has retired. The books were written between 1972 and 2000. This is the 2nd in the series. At 155 pages, it was a quick and enjoyable read.
The crime is discovered almost immediately. A dog finds a portion of a bone which looks to be human on hunting grounds used by the police department in the fictional town of Rocksburg, Pennsylvania. More remains are found subsequently and the body is identified. The book is a whodunit but it is primarily about how and why such a crime occurred. The book also examines the community, which has been hit hard by the loss of jobs and industry in the area. The protagonist is dealing with a new boss, who has troubling racial biases.
The author, K. C. Constantine, writes beautifully and has a good command of dialogue. All of the characters are very well developed, the policemen, the suspects and the witnesses. I highly recommend this book.