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Monthly "Reads" > june 2011 - sandi

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Sandi (sandin954) | 514 comments Had some ups and downs this month. Here are my June reads:

Top Reads

The Pope of Greenwich Village by Vincent PatrickThe Pope of Greenwich Village
Vincent Patrick
A very good read which hit all the elements I like in a crime novel. Great characters who, while not at all admirable, were very realistic. I found myself really caring what would happen to them. Loved the straight-ahead no frills plot and the gritty New York City in the seventies setting.

Lying Dead by Aline TempletonLying Dead
Aline Templeton
Another great entry in this police procedural series. I especially enjoy the rural Scottish setting and how it impacts the working conditions and outlook of the characters.

The Children of Men by P.D. JamesThe Children of Men
P.D. James
While I thought the movie that was based on this work was very good, I found the book even better. Meticulous plotting, fully realized characters, and great descriptions of a society that has no future. I listened to the audio version read by David Case who was perfectly cast.

Good Reads

Secret Prey (Lucas Davenport, #9) by John SandfordSecret Prey
John Sandford
At first I thought this would be a bit of a pedestrian outing in this series but the plot soon picks up and Lucas is as winning as ever. Perhaps a bit more angst than usual but the fascinating characters and the narration by Richard Ferrone made this an enjoyable listen.

Breakup (Kate Shugak, #7) by Dana StabenowBreakup
Dana Stabenow
Much funnier and frantically paced than I remember the previous books in the series being. From the first page Kate must deal an escalating set of calamities. Very quick, entertaining read.

Black Maestro  The Epic Life of an American Legend by Joe DrapeBlack Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend
Joe Drape
I'll admit that I had never heard of Jimmy Winkfield, the last African-American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, until I came across this book. Intensely researched, this books provides the definitive story of the talented jockey who led an extraordinary life.

The Jugger by Richard StarkThe Jugger
Richard Stark
Parker must travel to Nebraska to resolve a sticky situation dealing with a bunch of amateurs. Nice plot and writing all done in just over 200 pages.

Tip-Off  How the 1984 NBA Draft Changed Basketball Forever by Filip BondyTip-Off: How the 1984 NBA Draft Changed Basketball Forever
Filip Bondy
After watching the 2011 NBA draft, which may go down as one of the worst in history, I enjoyed this look back to 1984 draft which produced numerous Hall of Fame players. A nice overview of the various people involved in the whole process including players, coaches, scouts, and front office types.

Money to Burn by Ricardo PigliaMoney to Burn
Ricardo Piglia
Written in a sort of disorientating and hallucinatory style this book, which was based on an actual event, was at first a bit hard to get into. After I got my bearings, I found this a gripping, though graphically violent, look at the underbelly of Argentine life in the sixties.

And Party Every Day  The Casablanca Record Story by Larry HarrisAnd Party Every Day: The Casablanca Record Story
Larry Harris
The author, who was one of the founders of Casablanca Records, gives his spin on the company's meteoric rise and almost as quick downfall.

Sleeping Dog by Dick LochteSleeping Dog
Dick Lochte
While the plot was a bit convoluted and somewhat darker than I expected the lead characters (a fourteen year old girl and a veteran PI) made this a real page-turner. I especially enjoyed the alternating narration by chapter employed by the author.

Disappointing Reads

The Quiller Memorandum (Otto Penzler Presents...) by Adam HallThe Quiller Memorandum
Adam Hall
I had a really hard time getting through this book which was surprising since I usually enjoy espionage books written during the sixties. This book won the Edgar for Best Novel in 1966 and the series has been compared favorably to John Le Carré's Smiley but I found the plot hard to follow and the characters poorly drawn. Luckily it was short and had a pretty decent ending but I doubt that I will read further books in the series.

On the Line  A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel (Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novels) by S.J. RozanOn the Line: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel
S.J. Rozan
Quite a letdown after the previous book in the series,The Shanghai Moon, which was so good. Too much action (much of which seemed strained to me), repetitive dialogue that did not seem to really add much except to the word count (I hope to never come across the words Dude or lunatic again anytime soon), and an entirely over the top bad guy made this a bit of a slog for me.

The Magicians by Lev GrossmanThe Magicians
Lev Grossman
One of those stories where the premise is much better than the execution. Far too long with characters who just seemed to drift along. Listened to the audio read by Mark Bramhall who did an acceptable job.

Susie in KS Fevella (SusieinKS) | 1019 comments Looks like some good books Sandi! Guess I won't be in a big rush to read the Rozan book.

Daniel | 1302 comments The movie of The Pope of Greenwich Village is even better than the book which was great. Breakup was a riot, and the computer dude in On The Line was a pain in the processor. '84, Jordan, 6 titles, Lebron who?
Interesting month, Sandi.

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 2152 comments The Pope of Greenwich Village WAS a great movie! As was Children of Men! Most movies with Clive Owen in them are good........:-)

Sandi (sandin954) | 514 comments Susie in KS wrote: "Looks like some good books Sandi! Guess I won't be in a big rush to read the Rozan book."

I know most everyone else here liked this book a lot more than I did so you never know. I am just not a huge thriller fan anymore. Too much action wears me out.

Dan and Melodie,

I will definitely look into getting the movie version of The Pope of Greenwich Village. Dan, I remember that you mentioned it was one of your favorites last year sometime which prompted me to read the book.

And Mel, I agree about Clive Owen!

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