Loved the connections to Poe in this novel. Mike Chapmen is one of my all time favorite supporting characters. Sometimes the fact that Alex is always...moreLoved the connections to Poe in this novel. Mike Chapmen is one of my all time favorite supporting characters. Sometimes the fact that Alex is always needing to be saved by him is a little irritating, but otherwise it's a fun read.(less)
Mickey Haller is a Los Angeles defense lawyer who conducts business out of his Lincoln Town Car. His practices sometimes bend the rules of ethics, and...moreMickey Haller is a Los Angeles defense lawyer who conducts business out of his Lincoln Town Car. His practices sometimes bend the rules of ethics, and his clients are often unsavory. However, when a bail bondsman calls Mickey to hook him up with a "franchise" client - someone who will pay top dollar for his services - Mickey thinks he may actually have an innocent client. His fear has always been that he wouldn't recognize innocence when he saw it. Maybe Louis Roulette will be the client that answers that question for him.
There is a reason Michael Connelly is as well-respected in the genre of crime fiction as he is. He consistently publishes fresh plots, dynamic characters, and excellent suspense. The Lincoln Lawyer is no different.
Mickey Haller is the type of character who completely baffles me. He's a dispickable lawyer. He epitomizes all the stereotypes and lawyer jokes. There is no doubt he's in this business for the money. But, this book is told from the first person point of view and you get insight into Haller's thoughts, which aren't always dispickable. It's almost as if there's a disconnect in his character. He adores his daughter; he doesn't think twice about agreeing to take her to the mall for the Build-A-Bear store. He still loves his ex-wife and goes to bat for her when a fellow prosecuter tries to feed her to the wolves when she isn't around. But in the end, I don't think there's actually a disconnect in his character, but rather he's part of a spectrum of good and evil. He's a human...an America, after the America dream; he's competitive and driven. Maggie, his ex-wife, may be a little closer to the good end of the continuum. Whereas the bikers, maybe they're a little closer to the evil end of the continuum. And then there's the far end of the continuum, pure evil.
Connelly is true to form with his signature plot twists. I can't say every part of it was jaw-dropping surprises, but at the same time, I wasn't predicting much.
While I haven't read Connellly's entire bibliography, he hasn't let me down yet. Another great crime caper. (less)
Missing Justice is the second novel in Alafair Burke's Samantha Kincaid series. This book finds Deputy District Attorney Samantha promoted to the Majo...moreMissing Justice is the second novel in Alafair Burke's Samantha Kincaid series. This book finds Deputy District Attorney Samantha promoted to the Major Crimes Division of the Portland District Attorney's office and investigating her first major murder case: the murder of Clarissa Easterbrook. Clarissa Easterbrook is an administrative law judge in Portland and her husband is the attending surgeon at Oregon Health Sciences University.
Everything seems to be in the bag when Melvin Jackson is found with the murder weapon and access to the body dump site. Jackson had also been harassing Judge Easterbrook because he was about to be evicted from his public housing and would lose his children because of it. Thus, motive. The District Attorney and the Portland Police Bureau's Major Crimes Team are delirious to have this case in the bag, but Samantha isn't quite so sure. The defense for Melvin Jackson posed some questions Sam couldn't answer, questions that motivated her to start poking around a little more. When that poking brings her ex-husband onto the scene, all hell starts to break lose.
Alafair Burke is truly a master of female protagonists. I love how spunky Samantha Kincaid is. There are a lot of Sam's characteristics that I can identify with, but I am in awe of her gumption. And she sure needs it as she's surrounded by so much testosterone. Along with all that spunk is a down-to-earth gal who finds herself in some rather embarrassing predicaments as well.
Burke's characters are among the best in crime fiction, especially her females. Sam (like Ellie Hatcher) doesn't always have her hair perfect; she doesn't always make the best choices; and sometimes she doesn't say the right things. But she's intelligent; she's resourceful; she's hardworking and dedicated - and she has a dog. Burke shows how the everyday woman can be just as great a protagonist as a superhero or someone overcoming a huge life hurdle.
The Samantha Kincaid series is written in first person and it works well. First person brings the reader closer to the character who is narrating, and Samantha is a character you want to know intimately.
The plot of this novel is completely engaging. The constant mystery of "who dunnit" keeps you engaged and turning the pages. Alafair doesn't include players who are fluff. If they're there, it's for a reason. So as the reader you're constantly trying to figure out how each character comes into play in the whole scheme of things.
Alafair had me snowed on this ending. I was waiting for another character to turn out to be the culprit and I was so off base, I was on another ball field! - Did I mention her use of sports analogies?
And finally, I have to add that Alafair Burke has the best sense of humor. I have a hard time with crime fiction that doesn't include any humor. Crime fiction lends itself to being very dark. When an author can lift some of that darkness with humor, he/she has the potential for a great work of art. Missing Justice is exactly that - a great work of art!(less)
When a homeless man is threatening to jump off a bridge unless he can talk to the only daughter of Miami's Mayor, Vince Paulo, a blind hostage negotia...moreWhen a homeless man is threatening to jump off a bridge unless he can talk to the only daughter of Miami's Mayor, Vince Paulo, a blind hostage negotiator, is brought in to talk him down.
Once Falcon, the homeless man, is down, Jack Swyteck is called in to defend Falcon with his legal proceedings stemming from the bridge incident. But the bridge incident turns out to be the least of Falcon's legal issues. The Mayor is dead set against his daughter going anywhere near Falcon, even though she is a trained police officer. What are all the secrets about and why does Falcon want so desperately to speak with a woman he's never even met before?
WHEN DARKNESS FALLS is the first book I've read by Grippando. I did not realize it was the sixth in the Jack Swyteck series. I tend to like to start at the first book in a series, and WHEN DARKNESS FALLS is a prime example why. I think I missed a lot of what others might find appealing, having no background on any of these characters. From a newbies point of view there seemed to be three kind of mini-plots (Falcon, Vince and Alicia, Jack and Theo) that all converged on a hostage situation in a motel - none of them seemed to stand out as the "main" plot until later in the novel, and it didn't really have anything to do with Jack Swyteck. And that's perfectly fine! In a series about a lawyer, every case can't be personally connected to the lawyer. But as I was explaining, not having known this was a series about Jack beforehand, I didn't realize he was the series regular just from this book's plot. It was almost like there needed to be more focus in the book.
I listened to this book on audio, read by Jonathan Davis. I've listened to other works recorded by Davis, and I always feel like he's overly dramatic, and I know that takes a bit away from the book for me.
At the beginning of the novel I felt completely lost. There were two entirely different plots (one containing the three mini-plots mentioned above and then a second major plot) taking place and no connection between them whatsoever. The second plot seemed to come out of the blue with no warning and then vanished just as quickly. A couple discs later I was wondering what happened to it. Eventually it did come back, though. Then at about the midpoint of the book, everything was completely clear and the ending was very obvious. There was no mystery to it for me. Therefore, I wasn't that impressed with the plot. There were several elements I found cliche - which was why I was able to predict the plot.
For the most part the characters were O.k. The character I really loved was Jack's friend, Theo Knight. Grippando has a gem in that character! He's funny, sarcastic, intelligent. He was also wrongly convicted and on Death Row before Jack exonerated him; that gave him a distinction; it added to his complexity as a character. The character of Theo Knight made the whole book worth listening to.
I kind of expected Grippando to do more with Vince. He was an intriguing character given the fact that he was blind and a hostage negotiator. I really wanted to know his character more.
Overall it was an enjoyable book to listen to on my rides to and from work. (less)
After a large chemical company is found liable for the cancer deaths of Jeanette Baker's son and husband, the jury awards Baker a 41 million dollar ve...moreAfter a large chemical company is found liable for the cancer deaths of Jeanette Baker's son and husband, the jury awards Baker a 41 million dollar verdict. The chemical company sets out to do everything in their power to get this verdict reversed.
I found that the first three quarters of this book went VERY slow for me, but the end made it all worth while. I'm glad I stuck around and didn't give up. When the book starts out about big business contaminating the water and making people sick, I thought, "really? hasn't this plot been done a million times already? Please tell me Grisham has a different agenda here." He did.
By the end of this book, Grisham had evoked such strong emotion in me as the reader. He brings to the forefront issues that are very relevent to the present. These are also issues I feel very strongly about in regards to our legal system.
I want to avoid any spoilers, so I'll leave my comments to the fact that I kept waiting for something to happen in this book, and it never does. I applaud Grisham for that choice.
The characters for the most part were o.k. Nothing outstanding as far as characterization goes. Had the first three quarters of the book been stronger, this would have been an absolutely outstanding novel. (less)
Chase Riordan is a former assistant district attorney turned defense attorney who is making a big name for himself - defending murder suspects. When t...moreChase Riordan is a former assistant district attorney turned defense attorney who is making a big name for himself - defending murder suspects. When the conclusion of Chase's third murder defense ends with the third defendant being found not guilty, Chase begins to wonder about commonalities between all of these cases. And a fourth suspect shows up on his doorstep asking for his help, but before she can be brought to trial, the charges are dropped and Chase becomes the murder suspect.
As if this wasn't enough for one lifetime, Chase also has a twin brother, Jared, who was in the Army and is now in an Army mental health facility. Each Sunday when Chase goes to visit a practically comatose Jared, he feels that things are not right in this place, and those feelings are reinforced when an old superior of Jared's pays Chase a clandestine visit.
The final element of this book is the circle of friends: Chase and his four closest friends Lionel, Ev, Peter and Randy. They've been friends for the better part of two decades. And Chase's ordeal puts their friendship to the ultimate test.
I have not read a legal thriller this good in years. This is James Fredericks' debut and it is in the vein of early John Grisham. Absolutely OUTSTANDING. This book has lawyers, reporters, the FBI, the Army, and of course political elements. What more could you want from a legal thriller? And while it may seem like a lot for one book, I can tell you that Fredericks did a magnificent job of crafting it altogether so that if any one element was missing, there would be a significant hole in the plot. The book is a long one, and under most circumstances, I would have said maybe Jared's events should have been one book and Chase's another, but the way Fredericks uses the two subplots together is ingenious. And those two subplots together with the circle of friends highlights all the multitude of meanings that the title holds for this book. It is really masterfully written.
Fredericks subtly develops the characters in this book so that by the last page you know each of them as though you, yourself, were in the "circle." True to the title, the book is primarily a group of male characters. However, the one main female character, Reagan, is a credit to Fredericks. Reagan is a strong character, but not a superwoman. She's intelligent. She's supportive, but not subordinate. And while Fredericks does initially describe her as being very beautiful, he doesn't focus on this quality at all. I also enjoyed his supporting character, Kasey. Another female character who doesn't fall into a stereotype. These two female roles are a credit to Fredericks' ability to craft unique, rich characters.
Fredericks most amazing character work is definitely with Chase and Jared, though. Twins can be a recipe for cliche disaster. However, Fredericks uses the twin element in the most effective way possible. He doesn't abuse it or overuse it. It's in the background and it creates a link for two brothers who, for all intents and purposes, couldn't be more different.
And finally I have to touch on some of the gripping writing style. I was mesmerized reading this passage from a courtroom scene:
"There were key moments in every trial, Chase found, when the world came into better focus. It had been the same on the basketball court. A moment came when the world stopped and the texture of the basketball, the lines in the floor, the colors in the crowd, the coordinated movements of his teammates and the opponents, all could be perceived as part of an elaborate mosaic. In court it sometimes came during the questioning of a witness, or after opening arguments. Today it came as the crowd filed out of the courtroom. All of a sudden he could hear every sound clearly - the fabrics moving against skin, the low whispers, the pressing of cell phone buttons, the rubber and leather of footwear padding along the floor. He smelled the tobacco, the perfumes, the aftershaves. He noticed the patterns in the wood grain of the table. Rufus came and sat next to him. Chase could swear he could smell the fear, the anger, the weariness."
This novel has a quick pace, which is natural for a thriller, but the intensity of this passage slows the pace down momentarily and makes you more aware of what's going on all around. It heightens the drama of a murder trial. But most importantly it pulls you, the reader, into the book. You're suddenly sitting in that courtroom seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling. And it's all happening in slow motion so you can turn a 360 degree circle and take it all in. That's the magic of great writing!(less)
Ken Isaacson's debut legal thriller SILENT COUNSEL centers around the attorney client priviledge. When a man driving recklessly simply for the thrill...moreKen Isaacson's debut legal thriller SILENT COUNSEL centers around the attorney client priviledge. When a man driving recklessly simply for the thrill runs down and kills an innocent six-year-old boy, no one is around to witness. The driver takes off but later has an attack of guilty conscience, but not so guilty that he wants to pay a high penalty. So, he hires an attorney to negotiate a plea for him. The catch is this: the attorney can't reveal the driver's name - attorney client priviledge.
The plot of SILENT COUNSEL mimics Vince's BMW Z4: sleak, fast, powerful. You needn't even bother trying to figure this one out because as soon as you think you have it pegged, Isaacson will pull the rug out from under you, leaving you to wonder what the heck just happened. Which is not to say that Isaacson pulls things out of the air. All the pieces parts are there, they're just weaved together ingeniously so you don't always see them there. Kind of like an Escher piece. It doesn't seem like it would be possible, but you're looking at it right there, so it must be.
The characters in this novel will cause your emotions to run the gamet. You want to feel sympathy but at the same time if they don't scare the be-geebers out of you, something's wrong. I would wring my hands and say out loud, "WHAT are you thinking?" And at the same time wonder exactly what I would do under the same circumstances. Isaacson interjects many viable ethical situations, and while they are at the extreme (or let's hope they're the extreme) of the possible circumstances, they are still viable.
The themes are infused with contraversy, many of the same contraversies that arise in our legal system on a daily basis. Exactly how far should our laws go, the laws that are in place to protect the innocent? The same laws that often end up freeing the guilty.
This is definitely NOT a thoughtless read. You're going to tax your own beliefs as you race through the events that compose SILENT COUNSEL. And at the end, you may have more questions than when you started. I challenge you not to think about them after you've closed the book!
The only criticism I might interject on this book is that at times the dialogue is a bit rough around the edges, which isn't uncommon for a first novel. And there were a couple times when some information was repeated. It was probably an unnecessary repeat for anyone paying attention while reading. But neither item undermined the plot, so the book definitely kept moving.(less)
Tina Barr, a conservator of rare books and maps, is discovered bound and drugged in her apartment with the suspect fleeing the scene in a fireman's ga...moreTina Barr, a conservator of rare books and maps, is discovered bound and drugged in her apartment with the suspect fleeing the scene in a fireman's gas mask. Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is called to the scene to discover if Tina was sexually assaulted in the attack. And when Tina refuses to cooperate and disappears, Alex is directed by District Attorney Paul Battaglia to find her. Alex does find Tina. She finds her dead in Bryant Park.
The search for Tina's murderer and the man who assaulted her in her apartment leads Alex, Mike and Mercer to the halls, tunnels, and secret rooms of the New York Public Library where they find "bibliomaniacs" willing to kill for their books. The only question is, "which one killed Tina?"
Reading a Linda Fairstein thriller is like taking an intimate look into a section of New York City. Every book focuses on an intriguing element of the city, and Fairstein takes you into the depths of that element to see it as you've never seen it before. LETHAL LEGACY is no different. In this Alex Cooper novel, Fairstein takes you not only in the New York City Library structure but into the history of the library as well. Being a bibliophile myself - not quite a cut-throat bibliomaniac, I don't think - I was absolutely mesmerized by this amazing institution. I finished the book feeling as though I'd not only been entertained but educated as well.
I was astounded to learn that books have been bound in human skin, anthropodermic binding. I had to look up some information on that subject after Wallace Mercer picked up Johan Krauss's inquest record that had been bound in the skin of the murderer from that very inquest. As Mike Chapman so acutely describes it, "It doesn't get much creepier than that."
I was also tickled to learn about Patience and Fortitude, to delve into the actual library history with the likes of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox. The entire institution is amazing and beautiful and in LETHAL LEGACY, quite deadly.
The characters in this series have always been among my favorites. In LETHAL LEGACY, a new character is introduced into the fold, one who would make a great addition to the regular crew. Shalik Samson is a twelve-year old street kid whose sarcasm and attitude fit perfectly with Mike Chapman's. And of course, Fairstein is true to form with the extensive, intriguing suspect list.
Who knew a place as quiet and distinguished as a library could house enough murder and mayhem to be the perfect setting for a thriller novel? Linda Fairstein definitely outdid herself in LETHAL LEGACY. It was the perfect kick-off read for me in 2009. I highly recommend it!(less)
When David Etheridge, a controversial author and scholar, returns to Eugene, Oregon for a speaking engagement, he rents an apartment from Robert McCru...moreWhen David Etheridge, a controversial author and scholar, returns to Eugene, Oregon for a speaking engagement, he rents an apartment from Robert McCrutchen, an old classmate from college. Robert is none too happy about this arrangement because he's involved in politics and wants to stay far away from the controversy that follows David. Robert also wants to keep a 22-year-old unsolved murder under wraps, a murder for which he and David were both investigated.
When Robert winds up dead, that old murder resurfaces and David becomes the prime suspect for both. David hires attorney Barbara Holloway and her father Frank to clear him of the murder charges.
I listened to Cold Case on audio, read by Carrington MacDuffie. The reading was nicely done.
I've not read Kate Wilhelm before and evidently this book is the eleventh book in a series with Barbara Holloway. I probably will not be clamoring to read anything else, though. Unfortunately I found Cold Case to be quite predictable and was relieved when Barbara finally locked on to the guilty party. I felt like the clues throughout were about as obvious as a large neon arrow. GUILTY *blink*blink* GUILTY *blink*blink.*
The other big factor for me was the dialogue. Much of it sounded contrived or forced, not natural or believable. When dialogue is stiff in that manner, the character development suffers. For example, there is a woman in her mid-30s in the book who sounds like she's an adolescent, not an accomplished career-woman. The one character I connected with and enjoyed the development of was Frank, Barbara's father. He's proud of his daughter but still has parental concern about her. He's an educated, insightful, wise character who has obviously learned from life's experiences.
There are several threads to the plot that seem to be left hanging. And I found myself wondering what their purposes were at all. They are definitely superfluous and could have been eliminated altogether, making the plot tighter and eliminating unanswered questions.
While it wasn't as big a factor in my opinion of Cold Case, the climax of the novel is a rather overused device. In order to avoid any spoilers, I'll refrain from describing it any further. Suffice it to say, I've seen it used often enough in books and movies that it's lost its effectiveness for me.
I wish I had more positive comments to throw out on this one, but sadly, I really was not impressed with this book. Unfortunately, you'll run in to those.(less)
Dismas Hardy returns in the third book from John Lescroart's series. The opening finds Dismas and Frannie married with baby Rebecca and another baby o...moreDismas Hardy returns in the third book from John Lescroart's series. The opening finds Dismas and Frannie married with baby Rebecca and another baby on the way. Dismas has left bartending behind and is now working for the San Francisco Prosecutor's office as an assistant D.A.
Dismas is the low man on the totem pole in the D.A.'s office so he's dealing with the crap cases. That is until he discovers a hand in the belly of a dead shark. When the rest of the body washes ashore with bullet holes, Dismas is assigned to work with Elizabeth Poolios (sp?) to prosecute the victims call-girl girlfriend. At least that's the side of the court room Dismas starts out on. By the end of the novel, he's working from the defense table.
I listened to this Hardy novel on audio book, which was read by David Colacci. He did a fair job but his range of voices isn't quite sufficient for the number of characters in this novel. Some of the characters begin to sound alike. But otherwise he does a decent job. He narrated both novels prior to this one as well, and I've come to associate his voice with Hardy.
There isn't a great change in characters for this novel. Dismas' ex Jane and her father Andy are back. Elizabeth Poolios becomes a major player in this novel and she falls into a stereotypical female with power role. For the most part I really enjoy Dismas as a character, but as a female reader his brush with infidelity rubbed me a little the wrong way. I wonder if that differs for male readers? I guess deep down somewhere I'm just an old romantic at heart!
The plot takes on a number of twists, but I was able to figure out the end quite early. It was still an enjoyable book to listen to and I'm interested to see where Lescroart takes Hardy from here.(less)