Blog Posts by Uncle Will

Posted by Uncle Will on 05/29/13
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What do Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, Lebron James, Devin Hester, Don Mattingly, David Beckham, and John Sandford's newest Prey series book all have in common? The number 23!
 
Silken Prey is the 23rd novel in this long-standing mystery series. And it is a doozy. Davenport might have met his match in the form of a ruthlessly rich female politician who has the moral standards of Cleopatra. Her name is Taryn Grant and she wants to be the next senator from the great state of Minnesota. Taryn and her security team - comprised of a couple of ex-Black Ops assassins, make formidable foes for Davenport. They devise a pathological scheme to defraud the incumbent senator - hoping to turn the election polls in their favor. Nothing can hurt a campaign more than the accusation that ones opponent is a child pornographer. Taryn's team will stop at nothing to win the senate seat. Multiple murders is an occupational hazard. 
 
There is nothing haphazard to Davenport's investigation. He is well aware that the arena the governor asks him to enter could be a career-breaker. He knows that politics is a dirty game and up until now, Davenport has only dressed for the games and sat on the sidelines. This time around he is put into the line-up and it's winner take all. 
 
Davenport groupies will not be disappointed. He flirts with both danger and femme fatales effortlessly. He even gets to the Mall of America a couple of times to make sure that he is dressed appropriately.
Mystery, Suspense
Posted by Uncle Will on 05/01/13
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This November marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and the cold-blooded killing of Dallas patrolman, J. D. Tippit. What better way to remember it than a new suspense novel by Pulitzer Prize winning author Stephen Hunter? This is the eighth book in the Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger series. Bob the Nailer is back and this time he is solving the crime of the century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
 
Swagger is asked to investigate the death of journalist Jean Marquez's husband, James Aptapton, who was a well-known "gun guy." Just as Swagger begins to unfold the facts, he becomes the target of an international hit man. Swagger immediately goes from prey to hunter. The book is written in two narratives. One is the voice of Swagger and the other is Hugh Meachum, the CIA agent that manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald. 
 
Although this new novel can stand alone, readers should check out Hunter's previous novels in this series:   
Point of Impact (1993)  adapted to film in "Shooter" (2007) starring Mark Wahlberg
Black Light (1996)
Time to Hunt (1998)
The 47th Samurai (2007)
Night of Thunder (2008)
I, Sniper (2009)
Dead Zero (2010)
 
Anyone who has read Stephen Hunter knows his reputation as a respected author of historic fiction. This book does not disappoint.
Posted by Uncle Will on 03/25/13
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Extra! Extra! Read all about it...three Paul Doiron reviews in one!
During our last snowstorm I was trying to find a new mystery author that I hadn't read. I stumbled upon Bad Little Falls which is the 3rd book in the Mike Bowditch series.  
 
Bowditch is a young rookie game warden in upstate Maine.  He has a troubled past, a new ex-girlfriend, a severe loner complex, and a very large-sized chip on his shoulder. In his relatively short law enforcement career he has managed to get himself exiled to the most remote county in Maine.
 
I didn't have a choice (because of availability) and read the trilogy out of order...knowing full well that this was a major no-no in the "Official Guide to Mystery Readers'" handbook. I'm glad I did.  In retrospect, I learned that by book three, Doiron had smoothed out the sharp edges on his main character, Bowditch, making him a little more likeable. 
 
Hooked on the cold, vast setting of northeastern Maine and the remarkable characters, I then read the second book in this series: Trespasser, which involved a mysterious missing murdered female, who was a car accident victim, and several similar past crimes.  Bowditch, who again has the misfortune of occupying the right space at the wrong time, becomes entrenched in a multiple-murder investigation where he is considered one of the primary suspects. 
 
Consuming these 2 books lead me to the inevitable: reading Doiron's first award-winning novel: The Poacher's Son. In this story, Bowditch's estranged father, Jack, was on the run for multiple-murders.  Against direct orders, and all reason, son Mike sets out to prove his father's innocence. In all three books there are the reoccurring themes of man-against-nature and bitter cold vs. bitter people. Can a damaged man ever find peace within himself?   
Posted by Uncle Will on 02/04/13
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Set in post-war Los Angeles, this new nonfiction book reads like historical fiction.  Lieberman has an easy-going narrative style that keeps his recounting moving fluidly. 
 
Mickey Cohen was the major mob boss in L.A. in 1946.  A certain captain in the LAPD realized that the only way to bring Cohen down was to work outside the law.  It was the old adage of fighting-fire-with-fire. Sgt. Jack O'Mara was selected to lead a team of detectives that would be the firefighters that were to put out Cohen's flames.  This book is the historic account. 
 
Lieberman's book rights were purchased by Hollywood and a major motion-picture was released last month starring Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin.
 
If L.A. Confidential was to your liking, this book will not displease. 
 
 
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
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The book jacket reads:  "...Based on a screenplay by Mario Puzo, award-winning author Ed Falco's thrilling,all-new prequel to The Godfather continues the saga of the Corleone family..."
 
For those of us that have not gotten enough of the family Corleone in either literature nor film, this prequel will be a satisfying read.  The story's set between the years of 1933-1935.  Don Corleone's eldest son, Sonny, is a seventeen-year-old stud.  He is the ringleader of a mixture of Irish and Italian cronies who augment their meager weekly paychecks by ripping-off the most powerful gangster in New York City...Giuseppe Mariposa.  Sonny is not the sharpest blade in the silverware drawer, but he is savy enough to know that his identity as "boss' must never be discovered by Mariposa or more importantly, his father.   So Sonny's gang steals from one mobster and sells these goods to another...Luca Brasi.    
 
We learn that Luca is the most feared "hitter" in all of NYC.  He is not a soldier in any of the families because he's his own boss and swears he'll never answer to anyone.  He takes pleasure knowing that he can do almost anything he wants at anytime.  He also knows that somewhere down the road he will be held accountable, but Luca does not fear God, the reaper, or any mortal man.
 
Readers get the back-stories of Sonny's siblings:   Orphan-college-boy Tom Hagen, slight and sickly Fredo, bookworm Michael, and the little princess, Connie.  The Don is a successful olive oil importer, but the favorite target of Mariposa's mistrust. There is the subplot that details the hate amongst the Irish and Italians and mobsters and how this festers into tragedy and extreme sadness.  
 
Ed Falco has written four previous, independent novels.  Hopefully he will find enough success in this prequel to continue the Corleone saga.    
 
  
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/26/12
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Charles Todd is the American mother-and-son writing team (Caroline and Charles Todd) that has produced fifteen Ian Rutledge and four Bess Crawford mysteries.  
 
I'll be honest.  This was a novel that I had to read since I'll be leading AHML book discussions on it in January and February 2013.  I was pleasantly surprised how well-written and engrossing it was.  
 
Elizabeth Crawford is a British nurse during World War I.  She is the only daughter of a stalwart Colonel and supportive mother.  She is attractive, intelligent, compassionate, and fiercely independent.  She is the "son" that Col. Crawford always longed for.  
 
Bess is aboard the hospital ship, Britannic, when it hits a mine and sinks.  She severely breaks her arm in the process and is fortunate to survive.  Before the ship went down, Bess, was falling in love with a wounded officer in her care...Arthur Graham.
 
On his deathbed, Graham made Bess promise to deliver this message to one of his remaining brothers:  "...Tell Jonathan that I lied.  I did it for Mother's sake.  But it has to be set right..."  Thus Convalescing Bess visits the dysfunctional home of the Grahams to fulfill her promise. What unfolds is a sorted tale of jealousy and betrayal.
 
All the characters were believable and the pacing of this book was marvelous.  The 3-sentence mystery was perfectly composed and will challenge any reader who professes to be able to solve the most challenging of "whodunits."    
 
 
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 11/09/12
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This book weighs in at about 15 ounces.  It has about 150 pages.  It takes about 15 minutes to read.  It is the product of a brilliant marketing strategy:  Why not offer, to the millions of fans of fictional character Jack Reacher, a road map of his moral code? 
 
AHML's very own Jon Freier and I have had discussions as to who is the "badest" of fictional characters.  Our short-list usually comes down to Robert Crais' Joe Pike and Lee Child's Jack Reacher.  
 
This book adds new meaning to the words machismo and hubris.   
 
Until Crais copycats Child's brainchild-publishing-ploy and releases a tell-all book like this, my vote goes to Major Jack...hands-down and knuckles-up.
 
Please note:  On December 21, 2012 the film Jack Reacher will open at theaters around the country.  It is based on the 2005 novel One Shot:  A Jack Reacher Novel. This will be the first film adaptation for Lee Child's brainchild.  The 6'5" 250 lbs. part of Jack Reacher will be played by the 5'7" 165 lbs. actor Tom Cruise.  Oh, the magic of Hollywood!     
 
 
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/23/12
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Billy Boyle is born in Boston.  He comes from a long line of Irish policemen.  Just when he gets promoted to detective, he is drafted into the Army.  There's a war on and every able-bodied man is needed.
 
Some men are more able than others.  Some are just better connected.  It turns out that Billy's uncle is Dwight D. Eisenhower, the  Supreme Commander - Allied Armed Forces - Europe.  Strings are pulled and Billy becomes a commissioned officer and sails for England to join his uncle's intelligence team.
 
Before Lt. Billy can become acclimated to this new country, yet alone being an U.S. Army officer, he's assigned (whether he chooses it or not)  to uncover a spy.  A spy who is imbedded somewhere in the Norwegian network that is planning the invasion to recapture their homeland from German occupancy. 
Billy's new teammates are a beautiful British WREN officer and her unlikely lover...a member of Polish royalty.
 
To convolute things further, a Norwegian officer commits suicide.  The more Billy investigates, the less he is convinced that the suicide was a well-disguised murder.
 
If readers like World War II historical fiction, then this book will be an entertaining quick-read.   
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/23/12
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Keigo Higashino is the author of The Devotion of Suspect X, one of my Top-5 picks for 2011 and the choice of AHML's most recent Mystery Book Discussion on October 8, 2012 .  This newest title is only the second time one of his works has been translated into English.  This mystery series is quite controversial and an internet sensation.  The main character is the "brilliant, yet eccentric physicist," Professor Manabu Yukawa, who has been called the Japanese Sherlock Holmes
 
Playing Watson to Yukawa's Holmes is the Tokyo policeman, Detective Shumpei Kusanagi.   Together the two team-up to solve the most improbable of the city's criminal cases.  One minor difference in the Sherlock Holmes comparisons is that the Tokyo team is a threesome.  It includes Kusanagi's keen-sighted and demure assistant, Kaoru Utsumi.  Kaoru brings the much-needed female perspective to the two bachelors' deductive-reasoning discussions.  
 
In The Devotion of Suspect X, a strain was put upon the personal and working relationships of Yukawa and Kusanagi.  When a case of possible suicide/probable murder is investigated by Kusanagi, his junior detective/partner begins to feel that her boss and mentor is crossing forbidden boundaries and falling for the main suspect.  Utsumi's only recourse is to enlist the services of "Detective Galileo", aka Professor Yukawa.  The author is a master at intertwining the brilliance of all three main characters. 
 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes story was written 125 years ago.  It was entitled:  A Study in Scarlet.  This book serves as a true testament that that style of writing is still popular today.   
Posted by Uncle Will on 10/23/12
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Karin Fossum is a very successful Scandinavian mystery writer.  The Caller, recently translated into English, was published in 2009.  It is the tenth book in her Inspector Sejer Mystery series.  It is the simple story of a set of childish pranks gone bad.
 
Johnny Beskow is anything but simple.  He is a teenager that has too much time on his hands and is emotionally disturbed.  His hate and loathing of his mother is just second to the respect he has for his grandfather.  This respect is based on the fact that Johnny's grandfather accepts the lad for who he is; unfortunately, the grandfather has no idea who the lad really is. 
 
Johnny is a vindictive prankster.  The pranks that he devises are so diabolical that even though no physical damage occurs, the psychological effect of his stunts is devastating and has the potential for long-lasting results.  The cruelty increases with each new attack. 
 
Inspector Sejer is a kindly old detective with the keen insight expected in a law enforcement agent who has seen just about every cruelty that man can conjure up.  His partner, Skarre, is a generation younger and less worldly.  Together they combine all their experience to solve the mystery behind the rash of devilish deeds that are turning a small town into "Nightmare City."
 
 
Several of Fossum's works have been adapted to film and TV in Norway.  The most famous probably is the 2007 adaptation of her novel The Girl by the Lake.  If interested, AHML has nine of her books and one DVD available for checkout.   Readers that enjoy mysteries that are shockingly realistic, but not gory, should take a stab at Fossum's collection.
 
Want recommendations on what to read next? Email advisory@ahml.info and we will be happy to assist you in finding a great book to read.
 
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6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
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