When it appears a rowing buddy of hers murdered his fiancee's boss and lover, underemployed Tess Monaghan sets about trying to clear his name. But did...moreWhen it appears a rowing buddy of hers murdered his fiancee's boss and lover, underemployed Tess Monaghan sets about trying to clear his name. But did Rock kill ace attorney Michael Abramowitz? If he didn't, who did and why? And can Tess find out before she winds up as dead as the lawyer?
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the girl I was seeing at the time told me I would like Laura Lippman. Since she was always pushing books on me, I ignored her. Maybe she was right in that one particular instance.
Baltimore Blues is a mystery that has many more layers than it first appears, like baklava. See, I could have said "onion" but that's what everyone says when they talk about layers. Anyway, it was Laura Lippman's first trip to the dance and she did a lot better than most first time novelists.
As the title indicates, Baltimore plays a big part in the book, almost a character in and of itself, much like George Pelecanos' Washington DC, Dennis Lehane's Boston, and Lawrence Block's New York. Much like Detroit, Baltimore doesn't get by on looks. It has to work for a living, to paraphrase Elmore Leonard.
Since this was the first book in the series, Lippman had some groundwork to lay and she did it in a fairly painless way. We know Tess is into rowing, has an on again/off again reporter boyfriend named Jonathan and used to be a reporter but we don't get clubbed over the head with any of it. I liked that Tess isn't hot, wasn't involved in a love triangle, and generally behaved like a real person instead of being a moron like most fictional detectives wind up being in order to advance the plot. Also, she works in a bookstore. A lady detective that works in a bookstore? Hard to top that, ladies.
Like all great mysteries, it took me forever to figure out what really happened and it turned out I was still wrong. Part of it was misdirection but I have to say I think another part of it was that it was such a convoluted affair. That was my only gripe with the book. I thought the mystery was way too serpentine and not readily solveable. Also, I'm still pretty sure Ava was boning somebody besides Rock but that was never revealed.
So, I liked Baltimore Blues quite a lot but not enough to take it into a bus station men's room and have rough intercourse with it. I'll be reading more of Laura Lippman's chronicles of Tess Monaghan. 3.5 out of 5 stars.(less)
An assassin called The Spider strikes her targets at will and it's up to consulting detectives Wainwright and Bartleby to stop her. Can the scientist...moreAn assassin called The Spider strikes her targets at will and it's up to consulting detectives Wainwright and Bartleby to stop her. Can the scientist and the fop stop her before she ruins Queen Victoria's platinum jubilee?
This was a kindle freebie. How could I resist a Holmeseque mystery featuring an assassin dressed as a Jester?
And They Called Her Spider is a short steampunk mystery set in an alternate London with all the usual steampunk trappings. However, unlike a lot of steampunk that uses goggles and boilers as set dressing, the steampunk elements are actually important to the tale! How refreshing!
Wainwright, the reclusive inventor, and Bartleby, his social butterfly partner, aren't Holmes and Watson but they make a good team. The Spider was a capable threat and the way they discovered her origins was very Holmesian. It was an enjoyable little morsel.
The only issues I have with this book is that it was too short. I wanted more of everything! More Wainwright and Bartleby! More Spider! And more of the world they all inhabit! This was just some cheese fries when what I was really wanting was a mountainous brisket sandwich! 3.5 out of 5 stars. I'll be on the lookout for more of Michael Coorlim's tales of the Galvanic Century.(less)
Remember you were in college and one of your friends was in a band that you were afraid sucked so you avoided seeing them at all cost? That's how it i...moreRemember you were in college and one of your friends was in a band that you were afraid sucked so you avoided seeing them at all cost? That's how it is when one of your Goodreads chums writes a book. However, my fears were unfounded. Not only is Jason Koivu a funny guy and gentle lover, he's actually a darn good writer.
Go Home, Oaxaca. You're Drunk is a travel journal about Jason and his wife living like entitled college kids in Oaxaca, Mexico, for a month and a half. Supposedly, they are there to work, but it seems like they're living the high life to me. Aside from an unfortunate bout of the grizzly shits, Jason makes it sound like an amazing place to visit.
Normally, I find travel books as uninteresting as listening to someone describing a dream they had but Jason Koivu, Esquire, has a way with words, as smooth as a Tequila shot first thing in the morning. I had no trouble staying engaged while he described Mexican plumbing, hunting for a laundromat, and sharing the travel tip of throwing away your clothes before returning home. I found myself getting sad along with him as the Koivu clan's time in Mexico ran out.
Four out of five stars. I'm deducting points since they didn't eat any roasted grasshoppers or attend a donkey show on the trip.
While dying of radiation poisoning, the Doctor finds himself at The Village, a strange place where every day is April 8th and everyone must pretend to...moreWhile dying of radiation poisoning, the Doctor finds himself at The Village, a strange place where every day is April 8th and everyone must pretend to be happy or the Princess will strike them down...
I got this from Netgalley.
The latest Doctor Who Time Trip sees the Third Doctor find himself in The Village, a small town that resembles Oxfordshire that no one can leave. Doc Pertwee is portrayed true to form, complete with bow tie and frilly velvet coat. It's actually surprisingly deep for a Doctor Who short story.
The tone is somber, not surprising since the Doctor is heading back to earth to die and regenerate into Tom Baker.
Since it's a short story, that's all I'm prepared to reveal at this time. Unlike a lot of the Time Trips, this one feels authentic and is a very worthwhile addition to Who-lore. 3.5 out of 5 stars.(less)
When two women are found dead, smothered on their couches with tapes of Claire Hunt and her Home Mall shopping show playing in their VCRs, Claire and...moreWhen two women are found dead, smothered on their couches with tapes of Claire Hunt and her Home Mall shopping show playing in their VCRs, Claire and her husband Gil decide to play detective and find the killer themselves...
I really wanted to like this. After a so-so experience with another Randisi novel, I had the chance to take part in a phone interview with Randisi and his wife, the co-author of this piece, Christine Matthews, and they were hilarious. Too bad the book wasn't great. I didn't precisely hate it but it was not good. Is that clear enough?
The book went back and forth between illogical and just annoying. First off, the police treat Claire like a suspect because a video of her was playing on the victim's TVs. What the hell kind of sense does that make? Beyond that, the police are just set dressing while Gil and Claire coo over one another and run around Saint Louis tracking down leads.
The blurb on the back compares Gil and Claire to Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man. Yeah, they're a married couple but they lack the alcohol and sense of humor that makes Nick and Nora so entertaining. They're much more like Spenser and Susan Silverman, except less competent or interesting. They were like that annoying couple you're friends with on Facebook who are constantly updating their status with crap like "I love my wonderful husband!" Getting reminded how perfect their relationship is on every other page got old really fast.
The writing was really bland. Randisi has a reputation for being one of the last pulp writers but I don't think they mean that in the Chandler-Hammett sense, more in the sense of how Walter Gibson could churn out 2 or 3 Shadow novels a month back in the day. Of course, when you're busting out one or more of those Gunsmith dirty westerns every month under a pen name, you don't have time for similes, metaphors, or colorful adjectives, I guess.
I enjoyed the St. Louis references and the fact that Gil owned a bookstore but that was pretty much it. I guess the story was engaging but when there are only two suspects and one of them has cutaway scenes, you pretty much know who's doing the killing. It wasn't total crap so I'm giving it a two. It's definitely not recommended, though. I think I'm done with Randisi unless I pick up one of his Gunsmith books for comedy reasons.