Jackson Brodie is a former police inspector turned private detective. He is hired for three separate cases in Case Histories. Case one involves the La...moreJackson Brodie is a former police inspector turned private detective. He is hired for three separate cases in Case Histories. Case one involves the Land family. One night during the 70s when the four Land girls were young, Amelia and Olivia were permitted to spend the night outside in their tent. When Amelia woke up the next morning Olivia was gone without a trace. Thirty years later when their father died, they came across Olivia's toy that went missing with her. Case two involved Theo Wyre or rather it involved the death of Theo's daughter, Lara. Lara was stabbed to death in Theo's law office and the murderer was never discovered. Theo left his law practice after Lara's death and spent ten years mulling over every detail of the investigation before he turns the case over to Brodie. And finally, case three involves Michelle. Michelle took a wood axe to her husband's head in a fit of rage. Michelle's sister hires Brodie to find Michelle's daughter.
I listened to this book on the BBC audiobook read by Susan Jameson. I can't say as she is one of my more favorite readers. The biggest problem I had was with the Land sisters who were supposed to be in their late thirties, early forties. However, all I could picture from Jameson's reading were 60-70 year-old bitties. The Golden Girls continually came to mind. And twenty or thirty years down the road they may very well resemble Blanche and Dorothy, but I don't think that was what Atkinson had in mind for these characters. While I try to be tolerant of gender differences - I've yet to discover a great male reader who does great female voices and vice versa - Jameson's higher pitched voice made the male voices especially female-sounding.
For those of you who disliked Tana French's conclusion to In the Woods, you will definitely love this novel. Atkinson ties up each story line with the events as they happened. This happens after Brodie concludes his investigations and essentially solves the cases. So, all the little missing details that no one would know are flushed out at the conclusion.
I enjoyed this novel overall, but found it hard to like Jackson Brodie. I liked his role as father, but as a person, he was overly judgemental and harsh on other people and he definitely lacked empathy. I especially disliked his shallow assessment of the female characters.
I felt a great deal of sympathy for both Theo and Amelia; Atkinson did a wonderful job of eliciting that emotion for these two survivors who have struggled for so long with their losses. Julia was the comic relief to the novel. The third case history involving Michelle was a bit on the odd side. I almost wonder if it wouldn't have been a tighter novel without the inclusion of that case.
The plot is a slower-moving plot, but as I mentioned earlier all the ends are tied up at the conclusion of the novel. That approach creates a definite feeling of closure for the novel. The three cases do end up having connections, so it isn't as though there are three separate short stories, but the connections are loose enough that it is three distinct case histories Jackson is investigating.
I thought the plot was unique. It wasn't predictable, but it's also the kind of novel that doesn't give you the necessary clues until the conclusion so you really don't have much of a chance to logically deduce the outcome.
Overall, I found Case Histories to be an enjoyable mystery on audiobook.(less)
Spenser is hired by a Boston University to recover an ancient manuscript, the Godwulf Manuscript, that was stolen and ransomed. In the process of loca...moreSpenser is hired by a Boston University to recover an ancient manuscript, the Godwulf Manuscript, that was stolen and ransomed. In the process of locating this manuscript, people start dying, and a young woman is set up to take the fall for at least one of these murders. The young woman's parents also hire Spenser to clear her of the murder charges.
I LOVED this novel. I love the plot, which was complex but didn't vear off into unnecessary subplots. I loved the dialogue. Spenser's wit is hysterical! Parker could stand to use "he said"/"she said" etc. a little less, but otherwise, I loved his writing. Quirks character is an excellent support: he's dynamic and his straight-laced ways are a great counter-part to Spenser's wit.(less)
When reporter Jack McEvoy learns his twin brother, a police detective, has committed suicide, he starts to notice some "hoaky" details. Those details...moreWhen reporter Jack McEvoy learns his twin brother, a police detective, has committed suicide, he starts to notice some "hoaky" details. Those details soon lead him to discover that Sean's death was only made to look like a suicide - in reality it was murder, part of a nation-wide serial spree by a Poe-quoting killer. Jack sets off to find his brother's killer and the story of a lifetime.
I was convinced that Connelly was going to let me down on this book. It was getting to the end of the novel and it appeared that the ending was going to mirror The Black Echo. I couldn't believe that the talented man who wrote Black Echo was going to have the same conclusion in this book as well. But, he threw a wrench in at the last minute and I didn't see it coming. Maybe I was too preoccupied with something else, but I sure was caught off-guard. It was awesome. I loved the tie-ins to Edgar Allen Poe. I also really enjoy the depth to Connelly's characters. The aren't cookie cutter or stereotypical. And his use of first person allows you to experience the internal conflict first hand.
I listened to this one on audio book, and I didn't really warm up to the reader. He wasn't bad, but something just didn't seem to fit with the character of Jack McEvoy. It makes me wonder what Connelly envisioned McEvoy sounding like. (less)
In Connelly first Harry Bosch novel, the once great celebrity Robbery-Homicide detective has been demoted down to Hollywood Homicide where he catches...moreIn Connelly first Harry Bosch novel, the once great celebrity Robbery-Homicide detective has been demoted down to Hollywood Homicide where he catches a case involving an old colleague from his days in Vietnam, Billy Meadows. While being hounded by the IAD, Harry teams with Eleanor Wish from the FBI to try to unravel the mystery of a major bank heist that resulted in Meadows murder.
I try, whenever possible, to begin a series at the beginning. So, this is my first experience reading Michael Connelly. He is truly amazing. When I read toward the beginning of the novel, "you can't patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid," I knew it was going to be a phenomenal piece of work. Connelly's use of metaphor is truly artistic. Sometimes authors will use metaphor and you can't help but scrunch up your face and say, "what was he/she thinking?" Not with Connelly. Instead, your face lights up and you think, "Wow! That's exactly it."
Connelly has also done an amazing job of developing a complex character in Bosch. He has his faults, his vices...he's human, and that attracts me to characters. As a reader, I'm better able to relate to characters like that. I may not understand everything that character feels, thinks, does, but the character evokes emotion from me.
I'm looking forward to making my way through the entire Harry Bosch series. (less)
Anna Pidgeon has taken a job in Mississippi on the Natchez Trace that promotes her to a managing Ranger. Given the fact that she's the first woman to...moreAnna Pidgeon has taken a job in Mississippi on the Natchez Trace that promotes her to a managing Ranger. Given the fact that she's the first woman to hold this position in Mississippi, she isn't greeted with the warmest of welcomes from the two Rangers who work for her, and they aren't the only ones. Anna's arrival is also greeted with the discovery of a dead teenage girl. This murder is especially sensitive given that she's found in a KKK-like hood with a noose around her neck.
I enjoyed this novel. I definitely love the character Barr has created in Anna. She's fiesty and determined but she isn't bullet-proof. She doesn't have a super sixth sense to "know everything", but she figures things out through investigation and common sense - and sometimes trial and error. I also appreciate that she isn't a 20-something stunning beauty.
I also really liked Barth. While Randy Thigpen is not a likable character, he isn't supposed to be. Barr does a great job making him unlikable. And I just love that name for him, Thigpen.
The complexity of the plot was especially fun in this book. The law enforcement agents were following the logical clues only to find out things aren't always what they seem. I appreciate that almost nothing in the plot is "unnecessary." Everything contributes to the conclusion. There were a couple parts where I started to zone out when she was getting a little prolific with the description, but otherwise, the plot was tight.
I had trouble with the scene where the alligator attacks her dog - dog lover that I am, but still appreciated its role in the book.
I listened to about a third of this book on audio before finally turning it off. I didn't manage to connect with the book at all and found myself thin...moreI listened to about a third of this book on audio before finally turning it off. I didn't manage to connect with the book at all and found myself thinking about other things. The plot just wasn't keeping me entranced. The audio reader may have had something to do with it, and I may go back at a later date and read the book myself. But for now, there are too many other things I want to read than to force myself to stick with something that just isn't holding my attention.(less)
I did not finish this novel. I was listening to it on audiobook and finally gave up at disc 4. It seemed to be a very popular book this year, but I si...moreI did not finish this novel. I was listening to it on audiobook and finally gave up at disc 4. It seemed to be a very popular book this year, but I simply tired of waiting for the writer to get to his point. The best that I can recollect is that this novel was SUPPOSED to deal with the murder of a talented, Yiddish chess player, who also happened to be the son of the "head hancho" in the Russian Jewish population. The son and the father were estranged for many years. Meyer, the investigator on the case, lived in the same hotel where the son was found dead. Ironically, Meyer has a great hatred for chess because his father was so obsessed with it when Meyer was a boy. That is the extent of what I could discern about the plot in the course of 4 audio discs. The remainder of the time these discs were playing the reader was spewing all the fancy literary devices used to move the plot nowhere. My mind was constantly wandering off because the story was moving nowhere...I wanted to scream, "GET TO THE POINT ALREADY." Literary device is extremely powerful when used to move the plot...but when the plot starts to move in circles or just stand still, it serves no purpose at all. This author could benefit from reading a little Aristotle. He had far too much "stuff" going on. One plot is sufficient for one novel. (less)
Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming, a place where everyone knows your name and probably your business. Walt's been a widower f...moreWalt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming, a place where everyone knows your name and probably your business. Walt's been a widower for three...no four years now. His home is worse than a bachelor pad, his deputy Vic is forever giving him a hard time about being overweight, and there's mouse droppings on his cooking utensils.
Despite the fact that Walt's life seems to be in a shambles, the people of Absaroka County like Walt, especially his good friend and Cheyenne Indian Henry Standing Bear. As a matter of fact, there's a small conspiracy going on between Henry, Cady (Walt's adult daughter), and Ruby (Walt's strong-willed secretary) to coax Walt back into the swing of life.
But a murder throws a wrench in that plan. Cody Pritchard, Jacob and George Esper and Brian Keller were convicted a few years earlier of raping and assaulting a young Cheyenne Indian girl, Melissa, who suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The were convicted by served measly sentences. Many people in the community and on the Cheyenne Reservation were disgusted with the outcome of the trial, and the outcome haunts Walt. So, when Cody Pritchard winds up shot to death and shortly thereafter Jacob succumbs to the same fate, Walt has to figure out who of the multitude of suspects is behind the murders and protect both George and Brian from ending up like Cody and Jacob. The hardest part for Walt is the fact that Henry, Melissa's "uncle", is a prime suspect.
Had there been no plot to this story whatsoever, I probably would have been mesmerized all the same. The characters are some of the richest I've seen in a long time. By the time I reached the end of the novel, I wanted to go live in Absaroka County with them! Walt is just plain fun. There's no question why his constituents like him. He's kind and fair and aims to do the "right" thing. He's not perfect, and his altercation with Turk highlights that. Turk assaulted Jules, an old drunk man, while putting Jules in jail for peeing on him. Walt simply lost his control and assaulted Turk. While his actions are ironic, I had trouble feeling any sympathy for Turk. But Ruby was furious with Walt and even threatened to quit because she was disgusted with his behavior. And Walt was embarrassed for it. Me, I was cheering for him!
I love Walt, but I often have a special affinity for the supporting character in a duo-type story. I'm very fond of Henry in this book. He is an incredibly rich character. His sarcastic humor is phenomenal. I was almost in tears laughing at various parts in this novel, and they usually involved something Henry was saying. And Henry often ends up being the sarcastic voice of reason when Walt starts getting carried away.
All the characters in this novel are fascinating: Vic, Lucien, Omar, Jules, Ruby, George, Vonnie, Dena, Melissa and Lonnie Little Bird...yes, it is so. Johnson has a knack for breathing realism into his characters and bringing them to life for the reader. Their interactions with each other add a whole additional level of complexity to the novel. In and of themselves they would each be great characters but the relationships between them make them extraordinary characters.
But characterization isn't his only skill. Absaroka County is a tiny little place in Wyoming where very little out of the ordinary happens. This fact is reinforced when Vic is giving her crime updates to Walt at various times throughout the novel.
The element I enjoyed the most was the intertwining of the Cheyenne Indian culture. I've always been fascinated by mythologies. So, I thought Chapter 12 was beyond brilliant. It was moving and it carried a completely different tone than the rest of the novel. There was obvious and utter respect emanating from this chapter.
I was entranced for the entire chapter, more accurately the remainder of the book. This book made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think. I loved it. I just simply can't say enough wonderful things to do this book justice. If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend you do so. (less)
This is one of the most unique books I have run into in quite some time. I loved the integration with The Great Gatsby. Excellent twists in this novel...moreThis is one of the most unique books I have run into in quite some time. I loved the integration with The Great Gatsby. Excellent twists in this novel. (less)
This is Sean Chercover's debut novel about a private investigator, Ray Dudgeon. Ray takes on a case to protect a Hollywood locations manager from a mo...moreThis is Sean Chercover's debut novel about a private investigator, Ray Dudgeon. Ray takes on a case to protect a Hollywood locations manager from a mobster he has to testify against in court.
I'm hoping Chercover gets better with practice? There's potential in this book, but overall, I wasn't that impressed. The main reason being I didn't like Ray Dudgeon. His view of violence and his egocentricity are just unbecoming a protagonist in this setting.
Ironically, I LOVED the supporting cast: Gravedigger, Vince, Jill, Terry, even Johnny Greico.
I warmed up to Ray a bit at the end because I felt his view of journalism was a lot like mine for education so I could identify with him, but he still has a ways to go before I like him.
On the book jacket an author compared Chercover with Elvis Cole - uhm, not even close. Did I notice Crais' influence on Chercover? Absolutely, but Chercover doesn't have Crais' skill with humor. Chercover tried to be funny, but wasn't. And Dudgeon doesn't have anywhere near the depth of character that Elvis does. I also was disappointed that I didn't really see anything that seemed to be uniquely Chercover's style. Instead it seemed that he was imitating other writers. Being influenced is one thing, imitating is something else.
I may have gone into this book with unfairl expectations, as it was recommended by someone who compared it to the level of Michael Koryta's debut novel. As I mentioned, I think there is potential for this author, but this book is not at the level of Koryta's TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE.(less)