Blog Posts by Uncle Will

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by Michael Connelly

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11/07/09
In his latest novel, Connelly joins together for the first time two of his most memorable characters:  Mickey Haller and Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch.  An old rival of Mickey's is murdered and he is appointed by the court to pick-up the deceased lawyer's 30 cases.  One of the cases is  big-time Robert-Blake-O.J.-Simpson-like; a televised courtroom drama starring a Hollywood studio-head-defendant on trial for allegedly shooting his wife and her lover.  If you are an avid Connelly fan you'll enjoy the banter between the boys in this book.  The ending might be the biggest surprise.
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by John Sandford

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10/22/09
"...That ******* Flowers..."  is back.  Virgil Flowers works for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  He is a surfer-dude- lookin' investigator that has long blond hair.  His wardrobe consists of blue jeans, polished cowboy boots and T-shirts that feature the names of abstract music bands.  He has been married a few times and likes the women.  He works for Lucas Davenport and always is assigned the most troubling cases.  In his up-time, he writes articles for outdoor magazines.  To complete his character, he travels from case-to-case in a pickup truck pulling his bass boat on a hitch. 
 
In this book, which is 3rd in a series, he is sent to a remote resort that caters to rich, single, successful women that might or might not be lesbians.  A successful owner of a affluent ad agency is assassinated.  There isn't much evidence left at the crime scene because she was paddling a canoe in the middle of a lake when she was struck down by a single sniper's shot.  Virgil's job is to sort out the suspects and bring closure to a case that touts a killer with little or no apparent motive.
 
As usually, Sandford has several suspicious characters tossed into the plot to provide a well-structured whodunnit.  As Sherlock Holmes had his cocaine to help solve his mysteries, Virgil has his bass fishing pole to aid in his deductions.  Once again Sandford has a story that flows like a stream from Eagle Mountain Minnesota; full of likable characters and witty banter.
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by Alex Bledsoe

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10/12/09
I usually don't read a lot of SF, but I find this author's books irresistible.  This book takes place back when knighthood ruled and damsels always seemed distressed.  Eddie LaCrosse is a medieval private-investigator who packs a mean sword.  He is hired by a king to prove that his queen didn't eat their newborn baby.  In his travels to find the truth, Eddie runs up against a plethora of kooky characters including a diabolical dwarf and a Horse Goddess.  This book is not only a well-written mystery, it is also quite clever.  A lot of detail is spent describing fictional sites, sounds and cities.  There are love stories and plenty of action.  Eddie is quite the hero.  Like most of his kind, there's no telling where or when he will draw a line in the sand.  By the end of the book Eddie even has a new perspective on horses.  Go figure!  This book would make an interesting addition to someone's book discussion group.   It is only 230 pages long.  It's refreshing reading a mystery that takes places hundreds of years ago and still is hip and happening.
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by Alex Bledsoe

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10/09/09
"...Peace, love, dove, beads, bells, incense, light shells, crash pads and Hari Krishna all you groovy freaks.  You having a good time?  Far out and solid..." 
 
What a hip-happenin' book this is.  Vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginskiis outed in 1915 England by Sir Frances Colby and staked with a gold crucifix.  75 years later, the Baron gets a new lease on the dead-life.  He is brought back in America to a world that has vampires who read and believe all the Hollywood press clips.  They don't even realize that the sun has no effect on them.  The Baron has to deal with this mass ignorance while he tries to plot his revenge against the one man that caused his forced retirement for the last 65 years.  There is a cast of righteous characters that brought back memories of the bell-bottoms and tie-dye days of past. 
 
This is Bledsoe's first novel.  I am already reading his 2nd novel, a SF story about a quirky private investigator from c.1250, who packs a fast sword and likes faster blonds.
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by Kelley Armstrong

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10/08/09
There's the never-ending battle for truth, justice and search for a good vampire/werewolf story. 
 
This one is written from the non-hereditary, female werewolf point of view. This book backs the theory that there are three types of werewolves:  The Hereditaries, who are born from righteous bloodlines and live in packs; the Mutts, who are outcasts of the packs; and the Bitten, humans who were attacked by a werewolf and converted.  This category can be the most vicious. 
 
As the story goes, the only werewolves worth keeping at birth are the males.  They are then raised by their brothers in the pack.  It is in the pack that they learn how to survive in society.  They can be lawyers, bankers, or any profession they choose.  They are taught how to hunt and change shape at will.  They can be destroyed just like any other human.  Silver-bullet-shooters need not apply.  The storyline is simple.  The bitten, Elena, has left her pack to try to make in on her own in Toronto.  The pack calls her back to NY when it is put in crisis.  Some mutts have join forces and are out to destroy her loved ones. 
 
There is an interesting love-hate relationship between Elena and Clay, the pack werewolf that converted her.  Will Elena join forces with her brethren, defeat the mutt-attack and choose to remain with her own kind or after her mission is completed, go back to Toronto and a human boyfriend that she can never marry or have his children?
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by Keri Arthur

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09/28/09
This is a sexy, adult paranormal-romance that is first in the Riley Jensen series.  Riley is a dhampir. . .half werewolf /half vampire.  She works as a secretary for the Directorate; an agency that polices non-humans.  The enforcers for this ruling body are called Guardians.   She has a brother, Rhoan, who is a Guardian.  Riley's boss wants her to become like her brother, but she insists that she is not born for the violent aspects of that career choice.  Like all werewolves, Riley is subject to drastic mood swings during the week of the full moon.
 
She must mate and mate often.   She currently has two millionaire mates that meet needs.  Her brother is in a gay relationship with a renowned werewolf makeup artist.  The plot is simplistic:  Someone is killing vampires and the Guardians sent to investigate.  Cloning and plans to create super non-human beings appears to be the end game goal.  I have never read any romance books before, but this one hooked me.  Arthur has eight other books in this series published and her website says that she plans to end at the number nine.  I have already put holds on the next two in the series.  It looks like Arthur has a couple of more series books out there that I might investigate.
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by John Joseph Adams (editor)

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09/14/09
If you are into the current vampire-fiction-frenzy and demand well-written books instead of ones that appear to have been published without editing, this is the book to read.  There are over 30 authors contributing short stories that are each unique to the genre.  Renown authors such as Eric Van Lustbader, Ann Rice, Stephen King, and even King's son, Joe Hill, contribute.  There is a humorous tale starring Bela Lugosi, who, while in a morphine-induced state, meets Vlad the Impaler, who is in an equally opium-induced state that is quite creative.  There is a sort of Great Gatsby sequel with some character tweaks.  There even is an Old West tale.  I enjoy searching for new ideas on old themes.   This collection spins an assortment of short stories that each distances itself from the next.  No two tales are similar.  It also has a comprehensive  guide at the end of the book listing additional author recommendations.
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by Dennis LeHane

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08/13/09
This is one of the best mysteries that I have ever read.  It was so suspenseful that I let the last 30 pages drag out for 3 days; only reading 10 pages a day because I didn't want it to end.  The plot is simple.  U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, ferry to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of an inmate of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane.   The mystery is how could a female patient held in a cell that is no bigger than a closet, manage to escape out of a locked cell, past several locked and manned checkpoints, then flee a rat-filled island that is surrounded by pounding waves and 50 degree water.   Something strange is taking place on the island.  The government funded hospital should be able to easily house more than 500 patients, yet there are less than a hundred incarcerated.  There are almost three times as many staff and guards on the island than inmates.  The head doctor could be a former Nazi.  Rumors of illegal surgeries are hinted.  The time is the early 1950's when hallucinogens were first being introduced into psychiatric treatment.   This novel was optioned to Hollywood and Martin Scorsese directed the film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio.  It's supposed to open in early October.  The film adaptation will be tricky to pull off since this book is not bound to basic laws of physics.  Visualization of the intricate character studies might be compromised.  I recommend reading this book first if you are planning to view the film.
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by James Lee Burke

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08/07/09
This book surprised me.  The main character is a man well into his seventies; a troubled POW who spent an eternity in a dreadful camp in Korea.  He is a former lawyer, drunkard, and womanizer.  He passes time by acting as a small time sheriff in a more small-time town.  One night  nine young immigrant Asian women are lined-up in a ditch and brutally executed by a gang of sociopaths.  Their bodies are bulldozed over and a nonverbal message is sent to a mob boss.  A lone witness contacts Sheriff Hackberry Holland's office and the hunt is on.  Immigration and the FBI fight to take over the investigation.  Holland and his deputies are pushed aside; viewed as flies on a farm animal.  The team of killers are all guns-for-hire.  In-fighting amongst them begins.  Sides are drawn.  The most dominant killer, called the Preacher, has the ability to stay a step ahead of the law while dishing out his own form of twisted justice.  He is trying to backtrack and make certain that all witnesses leading to him are eliminated.  There is the usual assortment of colorful characters that Burke brings to all his novels.  This is the first in a new series for Burke.  It is a spin-off of the Billy Bob Holland books.   Billy Bob is mentioned a few times, but is not a character in this story.  There are three pairs of improbable romantic relationships;  all with their flagrant flaws.  This 430-page novel flows.  I snuck away to read it when I was supposed to be cleaning house.  It was worth the time invested.  I don't know if our future house-guests will concur.
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by Andrew Grant

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07/31/09
Andrew Grant is the younger brother of Lee Child.  This is his first novel.  Reviewers say that his main character, David Trevellyan, is a cross between Jack Reacher and James Bond.  I disagree.   The only similarities between Trevellyan and these characters is that he is tall, dangerous and a commander in the Royal Navy, ie. an English spy, with the license to kill.   This is a good 1st novel.  Grant has an easy-going writing style.  His words flow.  He starts each chapter with a lesson learned in the past, which is then applied to that chapter.  I applaud the fact that Grant found his own publisher and editors without having to drop his successful brother's name.  The plot is a little thick.  There are a lot of characters, but they are not confusing.  What is confusing is where this story begins and when it ends.  The setup is very slow and the results are left open for the hopeful sequel.  Trevellyan is in NYC having just completed a job for Queen and Country.  He cannot walk by a body that he spots dumped in an alley.  His brief investigation gets him arrested for murder.  Trevellyan is a wise-arse who, if he wasn't so deadly, would be slapped around daily by offended strangers.  He is a loner, but a man of his word.  Like most fictional heroes, he lives and will die by an inner code that is not always transparent.  In the book, he fancies a female friend, but their relationship never develops.  There are two major villains that he must battle:  Taylor, who runs a supposed security business in Iraq and Lindsey, who likes to keep certain anatomical parts of her failed employees in a jar full of formaldehyde as a reminder that she doesn't like to be let down.  I confess I got duped.  When I thought there were several pages left to read, they turned out to be all blank pages.  I will be awaiting the sequel.
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