I wanted to give this three and a half stars but since I couldn't, I rounded it up to four.
The story is gripping. John Ray is the white sheep of a criI wanted to give this three and a half stars but since I couldn't, I rounded it up to four.
The story is gripping. John Ray is the white sheep of a criminal family. His brother died violently, his former crime lord father is in a nursing home, and John tries hard to stay on the right side of the law. But events always conspire against him.
When a man John remembers fondly from childhood, a crony of his now elderly father, is tortured and murdered, John agrees with the others on the scene the cops aren't needed. But the current mobster who took over for John's father, insists John find out who killed the man. Seems he may have blabbed stuff the mobster doesn't want to come to light.
John is eventually fingered by the cops and has to run. His ex-girlfriend, a cop banished to another city because of her relationship with him, tries to help. It takes sifting back through his childhood memories and those of his forgetful father to discover the truth. And John's past, without his knowledge, is tied into the reason for the murder.
As I said, the story is gripping, with unexpected twists and turns that seem to be the author's trademark. If the editing had been better (things like breaking for braking, point of view shifts that left me confused for a moment, and other editing problems), this would have been a solid four star read. ...more
Two thieves are hired to steal a sword. Turns out the sword is in the chapel. And the King is also in the chapel. Dead.
The thieves, naturally, are bla Two thieves are hired to steal a sword. Turns out the sword is in the chapel. And the King is also in the chapel. Dead.
The thieves, naturally, are blamed for the murder, but the princess secretly comes to their rescue. She has a condition: they must kidnap her brother (now the king)and spirit him away to protect him from her father's killer. When they're attacked after the breakout, the new king is nearly killed, and the thieves wonder who's telling the truth.
This held my attention from the beginning. It's adventurous, with twists that leave you never quite certain who the bad guy/women are and what exactly's going on. There's a magician -- with his hands cut off to keep him from doing much damage -- a dwarf, elves, archbishops, knights...And of course swords.
Not a heavy read but very enjoyable. A perfect fantasy for whiling away an afternoon....more
John Ray is the white sheep of his family. His father, now in a nursing home, was a well-known crime figure in Leeds as was his older brother. Even hiJohn Ray is the white sheep of his family. His father, now in a nursing home, was a well-known crime figure in Leeds as was his older brother. Even his mother had her own string of knock-offs going till her death.
John tried to escape. He went to Cambridge and took jobs out of Leeds until his father's stroke brought him home to help his brother decide what to do with the family's used car business on Hope Road, a business that fronts for various criminal activities.
As they discuss options, an unknown killer shoots his brother. A police officer, Denise, shows up and wipes the blood and brains off John's face. This begins their relationship. It also begins John's ownership/running of the car company as a regular business.
A year or so later, when a girl is murdered, her body is found in one of John's cars. Denise's superior, an ex-lover, would love to arrest John, but Denise is his alibi. They were together at a banquet where John got Used Car Dealer of the Year, and in bed afterward. So her boss focuses on John's employee: a young man John's fond of, a man who's more like a partner, a man who could never kill anyone. The police don't agree.
John is going to have to find out who killed the girl and why, or his employee is going to take the rap. Fighting the police, trying not to lose Denise, getting on the bad side of the crime lord who took his father's place, trying to keep his own reputation clean...He barely has time to eat but manages to make us drool with luscious food/wine descriptions.
And all along the way, little hints tell us more is going on than we're being told. Each twist and turn proves John is not the most reliable narrator.
This is a really good read. I plan to look for more John Ray mysteries.
Movie star caught on tape elbowing street person? Maggie's company moves in: the star's just given bocoodlesOur heroine, Maggie, does damage control.
Movie star caught on tape elbowing street person? Maggie's company moves in: the star's just given bocoodles of money for a homeless shelter; the man deliberately grabbed her.
Football player gets arrested for drugs? Her company puts the best face on it. Yeah, he was arrested, but he didn't know they were in his car. Easy enough to persuade one of his posse to take the fall. Not that Maggie's company does anything illegal. She hopes.
You get the picture. Putting the best spin on questionable actions but staying within the law. That's what Maggie does.
Then a scandal arises involving a glamorous political family Maggie once knew; a family she pretended were her own as she grew up. Even the tragedy that rent the friendship never stopped her missing them.
Her boss knows she was once an insider and deliberately puts her in with them as they try to put the best face on the scandal. Maggie's once again drawn into their world, but she walks a fine line between friend and informer.
All the while we wonder what's going on, the secret of one tragic summer lies behind it all. And not till the riveting climax do we discover what really happened.
Great read if you like psychological suspense. ...more
What I expect from Mary Kay Andrews. Women friends come together at a beach house to think things out. In the process, they meet new people and somehoWhat I expect from Mary Kay Andrews. Women friends come together at a beach house to think things out. In the process, they meet new people and somehow learn to face their problems and make life-changing decisions.
This story also throws in a woman none of the others know, running from her husband and taken in by the three friends.
If you like women's fiction, this is a good read....more
This is an unsettling short novel. The beginning is full of description of a Houston hotel by the woman living in it and I can tell the author's masteThis is an unsettling short novel. The beginning is full of description of a Houston hotel by the woman living in it and I can tell the author's mastered her writing craft. It slowly but surely catches the reader, unwinding the story of Mimi, a Vietnam refugee as a child. She was once an up and coming lawyer in DC. Now she's a writer, living in this hotel.
Then she receives a postcard from Nam. Not from Vietnam, but from a person called Nam. This isn't the first one. They began to arrive when she was a lawyer. She couldn't remember anyone named that. Not at first.
Through recollections, we learn how she gradually realized who Nam was: a childhood friend left behind when Saigon fell. Through Mimi's research, we are taken on Nam's journey as he tries to escape the war blighted country. We learn about human goodness and human savagery. We learn about the effects of war and how people struggle to continue on afterward. We learn how they take remains of the past and weave them into their new lives.
I won't reread it. The ending left me dissatisfied and sad. But the story itself continues to haunt me. An excellent literary read....more
A disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from its author, an acquaintance of an online group I belong to. He's a nice writer and has put out a gooA disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from its author, an acquaintance of an online group I belong to. He's a nice writer and has put out a good read.
This is a dark mystery, not quite noir but close. The hero is a junkie, Mark Mallen, who sets out to find why a former friend was murdered--while holding onto Mallen's name and address. Mallen's immediately a suspect but the detective is another old acquaintance. He was once with Mallen on the force until Mallen's undercover role became all too real and he turned into a druggie. He lost his wife, home, and job to the needle, and is all but in the gutter.
Somehow, when he lands in jail overnight, Mallen gets up the energy to ask the detective to keep him there as long as possible. He knows this is the only way he'll get clean. The detective obliges. Mallen goes through withdrawal, then sets out to find the killer.
True, there are some false notes. Seems strange a man Mallen meets in jail takes to him and offers him all kinds of assistance so soon. Seems strange that when Mallen keeps telling people, "Trust me," they do with scarcely a second thought.
But overall, it's a nice crime mystery. Anyone who likes Michael Connelly, Andrew Gross or Robert Craig will probably like it. ...more
A friend gave this book to me, thinking I'd like it. I did enjoy it and started to give this four stars, then decided three was more accurate.
Not thatA friend gave this book to me, thinking I'd like it. I did enjoy it and started to give this four stars, then decided three was more accurate.
Not that the writing isn't good; it is. And the characters are interesting. So is the setting.
It was the plot that left me a little confused. When a tax collector is reported missing with the tax money due in tribute to Rome, Ruso (a doctor) is unwillingly caught up as investigator. Seems everyone says the tax collector and his brother took the money and fled. But the man's pregnant wife says no. And Ruso must find out what happened and why. He eventually uncovers the truth. Both men were murdered. But the money is still missing.
So the premise starts off just fine. It's later, when Ruso decides who's guilty, that it frays. I couldn't quite see why, other than his strong feelings of dislike, he fingered one man as the villain. Some more things happened -- a lot of things including corruption, bribery, forgery and more -- and I still couldn't figure out why Ruso was so convinced the man was guilty.
The end turned out okay, but I was left dissatisfied. I wanted the ends tied up and the guilty person put away. The finale didn't quite do it for me.
Thus the three stars instead of four. Nice read if you like historical cozies....more