Hanneri's 2014 Categories Challenge

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Hanneri's 2014 Categories Challenge

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Modificato: Dic 4, 2013, 3:57 am

I have been looking at this challenge since I joined LT and decided to join in 2014!

My categories are:

1. Books I should already have read
2. Booker Prize winners or Orange Prize winners
3. Scandinavian crime
4. Crime, Mysteries and Thrillers
5. History
6. Romance
7. Europe Endless Challenge
8. True Crime
9. Books set in France
10. Books set in Italy
11. Cozy mysteries
12. WW II fiction
13. Anything from my TBR pile
14. Just because

I am aiming to read at least 70 books - I am not limiting myself to a specific number of books in each category.

Let's see how it goes!

Modificato: Dic 19, 2014, 6:22 am

1. Books I should already have read

There are books that you just have to read - I am hoping to read some of those this year.

1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
3. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence
4. The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

Modificato: Lug 22, 2014, 2:02 pm

2. Booker Prize Winners, Orange Prize Winners or Pulitzer Prize Winners

Just another way to read good books!

1. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner
2. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
3. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Modificato: Nov 18, 2014, 12:52 am

3. Scandinavian Crime

1. Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
2. The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell
3. Helsinki White by James Thompson
4. Helsinki Blood by James Thompson
5. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo
6. The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen
7. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
8. A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen
9. Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates
10. The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen
11. Jar City aka Tainted Blood by Arnaldur Indridason
12. The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen
13. Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates

Modificato: Dic 16, 2014, 9:10 am

4. Crime, Mysteries and Thrillers

My favourite!

1. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
2. Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
3. Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt
4. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
5. Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
6. City of Dreadful Night by Peter Guttridge
7. Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride
8. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
9. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
10. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
11. The Dark Heart of Florence by Michele Guittari
12. Dead Simple by Peter James
13. Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter
14. The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt
15. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
16. Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt
17. The Silent World of Nicolas Quinn by Colin Dexter
18. B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
19. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black

Modificato: Mar 30, 2014, 8:32 am

5. History

1. Night by Elie Wiesel

Modificato: Dic 21, 2014, 9:39 am

6. Romance

1. I Heart London by Linsey Kelk
2. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
3. Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich
4. The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch
5. Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

Modificato: Nov 8, 2014, 6:55 am

7. Europe Endless Challenge

I had hoped to be further along with this challenge, so I am hoping this will motivate me!

1. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
2. The Expats by Chris Pavone
3. Walking into the Ocean by David Whellams
4. The Colonel's Mistake by Dan Mayland
5. Red Station by Adrian Magson
6. Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare
7. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M C Beaton
8. Resistance by Anita Shreve

Modificato: Nov 19, 2014, 2:18 am

8. True Crime

Some of life's realities.

1. Killers: the Most Barbaric Murderers of Our Times by Nigel Cawthorne
2. Jack the Ripper - The Pocket Essential Guide by Mark Whitehead, Miriam Rivett
3. The Murder Room, The Heirs of Sherlock Homes Gather to Solve the world's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo
4. The Mammoth Book of True Crime by Colin Wilson

Modificato: Dic 19, 2014, 2:43 am

9. Books set in France

One of my favourite countries in the world!

1. Sixty Frenchmen can't be Wrong: Why We Love France but not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau
2. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
3. Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas

Modificato: Nov 7, 2013, 6:39 am

Welcome from another first-time challenger! I'll be looking forward to your choices for your ninth category.


Modificato: Feb 25, 2014, 1:19 pm

10. Books set in Italy

Another one of my favourite countries!

1. Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy by Sergio Esposito
2. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi

Nov 7, 2013, 6:38 am

Venice! Oh yes!

Modificato: Dic 27, 2014, 4:46 am

11. Cozy Mysteries

Need I say more?

1. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich
2. They came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie
3. Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie
4. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
5. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
6. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames
7. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
8. Crooked House by Agatha Christie
9. Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
10. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
11. Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames
12. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
13. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
14. Cover Her Face by P.D James
15. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham
16. Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham
17. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
18. The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J Duncan
19. Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
20. Christmas is Murder by C S Challinor
21. Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

Modificato: Nov 13, 2014, 4:08 am

12. WW II Fiction

1. Zoo Station by David Downing
2. Silesian Station by David Downing
3. Stettin Station by David Downing
4. Potsdam Station by David Downing

Modificato: Dic 3, 2014, 1:30 am

13. Anything from my TBR pile

Hoping to make a dent in the pile!

1. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
2. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
3. The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds
4. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
5. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
6. The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro
7. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
8. Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

Modificato: Ott 12, 2014, 9:11 am

14. Just because

Books you don't need a reason to read!

1. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
2. Sister by Rosamund Lupton
3. Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith
4. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
5. The Secret Place by Tana French
6. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Nov 7, 2013, 6:57 am

Hi MissWatson - thank you! I am really looking forward to this challenge! Will be following you!

Nov 7, 2013, 7:48 am

Great categories! Will definitely have to keep my eye on your picks :)

Nov 7, 2013, 7:54 am

Great categories, Hanneri, and I apologise for "hijacking" your thread before you were finished with listing your categories. I'm always peeking at other people's threads and I didn't realise that you were in the middle of posting them.

Nov 7, 2013, 8:18 am

great categories. welcome!

Nov 7, 2013, 8:30 am

Welcome to the challenge. Just remember it's not about the numbers, it's about enjoying the books you read!

Nov 7, 2013, 8:55 am

#19 - Thank PolymathicMonkey! I am looking forward to 2014!

#20 - Not to worry!

Nov 7, 2013, 10:25 am

Great list of categories here! I'm doing a WWII category also, so I'll definitely be stopping by for your picks in that category!

Nov 7, 2013, 12:07 pm

It's good to have fresh blood to the category. I'll be interested to see what you choose to read.

Nov 7, 2013, 1:33 pm

Great categories!

Nov 7, 2013, 2:21 pm

Welcome! Wonderful set of categories. Good luck with your challenge.

Nov 7, 2013, 3:57 pm

Welcome Hanneri, this is my first year at a category challenge too. Nice to see you here as well as at the Europe Endless group. You've chosen great categories, I'll look forward to seeing your reading choices.

Nov 7, 2013, 4:20 pm

Welcome to the Category Challenge, and you've picked some great categories for next year. I'll be looking forward to see what you choose to read.

Nov 7, 2013, 5:30 pm

Love your categories, especially all the mystery and history! Nice illustration for the Cozy Mystery category, too :)

Nov 7, 2013, 10:23 pm

Welcome to the challenge and I love the categories you have chosen!

Nov 9, 2013, 12:36 am

Welcome! Looks like you'll be having a great reading year - looking forward to seeing what you read.

Nov 11, 2013, 11:42 am

Thank you for the warm welcome! I am really looking forward to get cracking next year!

Modificato: Gen 24, 2014, 3:15 am

1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Beautiful, fascinating, dazzling, precious. It’s simply The little prince! A book that can send the adult you've become to sleep – blame it on time - and wake up the child within you.

I opened my eyes and saw this gold light shining in my direction; shining through my soul. I thought it was a star and it did. This one was particular though. I felt like I've seen it before, talked to it, loved it… And that's when I heard a giggle coming from this blinding glow that seemed to be approaching me. It came closer, and closer, and closer so much that I had to cover my eyes. As far as I remember, the laughing grew louder when I felt a warm little hand touching my face. “Hello, I’m back”, a soft voice whispered to me. So I slowly opened my eyes and caught the sight of him, my old dear friend the little prince. The one who's always been able to put a smile on my face when I'm sad, to make me feel like a princess when no one does, but mostly to give me hope despite all these wars! And thus our journey started again with a world of beauty, wit, joy and tears.

As far as I know, I never woke up and the child lived forever..

Gen 1, 2014, 1:06 pm

>34 Hanneri:, as you say It’s simply The little prince!. I try to read it every 5 years, it's simply magical ...

Gen 1, 2014, 4:09 pm

When I was eight I visited my grandmother in France and ended up spending time in the hospital. This was the only book in English she could find for me to read. It will always hold a special place in my heart!

Gen 2, 2014, 11:17 am

I'm planning to read The Little Prince this year for the first time! I hope I love it as much as everyone else seems to.

Gen 7, 2014, 8:07 pm

Yes, The Little Prince is timeless and full of wisdom... *goes looking for my copy*

Gen 9, 2014, 2:55 am

I had a great time reading the Little Prince - I am looking forward to more good reads!

Modificato: Gen 24, 2014, 3:16 am

2. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Loved, loved, loved this book! I'll admit that I jumped on it as soon as I found out JK Rowling is really the author, and why not, I love her writing! Harry Potter will forever hold a place in my heart. The Casual Vacancy was a completely different sort of read, but still very good.

This book though was just a complete page turner. Not for the reason you are probably thinking...the mystery. The mystery was good and I enjoyed it. I just loved the characters and wanted to spend more time with them. There were several likable characters and that was wonderful. I am always happy when I find new characters to love. In this book though, I even found the undesirable characters interesting. Rowling just has a way of creating characters that you care about. Good or bad, they get under your skin and into your mind.

Even after the killer is discovered and many things were wrapped up, I wanted more. I wanted to know what each of the secondary characters was doing after the fall out. I just could not get enough! I would be happy to see some of these characters show up in the next book!

A very enjoyable read by a great author!

Gen 9, 2014, 5:49 pm

This one is a must for the wishlist. Thanks Hanneri.

Gen 10, 2014, 12:03 am

Great to head more good words about Cuckoo's Calling - it's coming up for me.

Gen 10, 2014, 2:51 pm

I am also adding this one to the wishlist.

Gen 10, 2014, 3:28 pm

Hanneri, I just wanted to say that I appreciated your appreciation of The Little Prince. It is one of my favorites from childhood and holds a place of honor on my bookcase. It was also the first book I read to my son as a baby. Granted, he probably didn't grasp much of it, but I wanted to start him on the right foot.

Gen 12, 2014, 9:25 am

I also liked The Cuckoo's Calling.

Gen 12, 2014, 12:16 pm

The Cuckoo's Calling is definitely worth putting on any wishlist!

Modificato: Gen 24, 2014, 3:16 am

3. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

Is it just me or are these books getting less and less interesting? I'm so disappointed because Stephanie Plum is one of my favorite heroes...she's feisty and flawed. I love that she is hard on the outside but soft on the inside. That being said...this latest installment left me feeling like I was reading a schtick comedy...picture a revolving door....Lula comes in in her same ol' same ol' spandex and delivers a few lines then leaves. Ranger comes in...says "Babe" plants an unsolicited hot kiss and leaves. Joe limps in with his bullet wound, gripes about her klutziness and her job, has a sleep over and leaves....there is no substance to any of these characters anymore!!!

The conversations are not satisfying, the dialog is shallow and contrived and the mystery that's at the heart of this book is so obvious and that I found myself almost thinking that there had to be another plot twist because this one was too obvious. Nope! That's all she wrote. I'm so sad... I loves these fun books but based on how much Ms. Evanovich has slipped over the last two books. I'm afraid this will be my last one. Too bad.

Gen 13, 2014, 5:39 pm

I'm impressed that you made it to book twenty in the series. I think I gave up somewhere around 11 or 12 for many of the same reasons you gave. After a while it just became the same old thing with no substance or character growth.

Gen 13, 2014, 7:59 pm

I'm reading Ten Big Ones right now, and I hate to hear the negative reviews of the future books from the series, but I can see it coming. I wish writers could be content to end a series on a high note rather than churning out more and more of the same old stuff, which is obviously just for the money.

Modificato: Gen 24, 2014, 3:16 am

4. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The simple writing style of Hemingway produces a most forceful and beautiful short story. Hemingway’s style has always been straight-forward which in some stories has made for a plodding and somewhat cumbersome read.

But “The Old Man and the Sea” is a perfect tapestry of man, boat and fish and towards the end sharks. We feel tremendous sympathy for the fisherman and for the swordfish that he comes to kill.

Hemingway’s unequivocal prose brings full life to all the features of man and his elements – the sea, the weather, the boat, the fish and birds following the boat along with the passage of time. A remarkable and tender story.

Gen 14, 2014, 1:35 pm

Glad you enjoyed Hemingway's classic.

Modificato: Gen 24, 2014, 3:16 am

5. Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo

The second Harry Hole novel and a huge step up from Nesbo's debut The Bat. There is a real sense that both the writer and his hero have matured in the time between books. The narrative is a lot fuller, as is the character of Hole. As with the first novel was a bit taken aback that the setting was not Norway, but again Harry has been sent abroad, this time to Thailand to help investigate the murder of the Norwegian ambassador and close friend of the Norwegian prime minister. The brief is not to make any waves and prevent any political embarrassments for the government.

Harry who has fallen of the wagon is apparently selected as it is felt he will be too inebriated to investigate the crime fully. This turns out not to be the case and Harry's full talent for noticing the small things really surfaces in this novel. The subject matter may not make comfortable reading as the spectre of Norwegian paedophiles living in Thailand is part of the plot. That said it does add to the sense of horror that Nesbo is so adept at creating & again is not precious about killing off characters. I enjoyed it and can recommend it.

Gen 27, 2014, 3:41 am

6. They came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie

Victoria Jones is a somewhat impulsive but sharp minded young woman. After meeting mysterious young man she decides to follow him to his new work-place, distant Baghdad.

At the same time, world leaders are planning a secret meeting in Baghdad and a shady world organization is planning to stop the meeting and sow discord among polarized states (after all we are talking 1950's here). Of course, Victoria Jones ends up in the middle of this cloak-and-dagger war.

To be honest, I never expected Agatha Christie to write a spy novel, let alone James Bond-like novel but with this one she proved that she can write whatever she likes. Story drags a little bit from time to time, but again I take this as a mark of the time novel was written. Nevertheless, the book has a very interesting story and heroine.

Gen 27, 2014, 11:28 am

I really liked They Came to Baghdad, even though I generally think Christie's "political" books aren't quite as good as her straightforward mysteries. Another good one in a similar vein is Destination Unknown.

Gen 28, 2014, 12:37 am

7. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This is a beautiful, but heartbreaking story of a teenage girl who is dragged from her home in the middle of the night and deported to Siberia.

I read this in one afternoon. It was so well written and compelling that I needed to know what happened. I needed to know whether Lina and her brother and her mother made it through.

I could really identify with the characters in this story. They were all incredibly real and honest, and even when I disliked them, I felt that they could have easily stepped off the page and started walking around. I loved Lina's mother, Elena, most of all. I loved how she refused to give up hope, how she refused to let the situation change her or make her bitter or cruel. She was able to see the humanity in people who treated her as if she was less than garbage, and I admired her for that.

I would have really liked to find out more about what happened at the end, in the epilogue, since the ending was rather abrupt. But even for that, this story is amazing. I would definitely recommend it. And be forewarned, the writing is beautiful, but the things that are shown are not. Just like in real life.

Gen 28, 2014, 12:41 am

#54 - Thanks Christina! Will put Destination Unknown on my TBR list!

Gen 29, 2014, 2:57 pm

Gen 30, 2014, 10:46 am

8. Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie

This was Christie's last novel, but it's also one of the most confusing of her novels. There's lots of talking, and when I say lots of talking, I mean that it could probably do with being about 100 pages shorter. The idea behind the mystery is intriguing, but so much time is spent getting to it and then lots of time wasted investigating the past that I found myself flicking forward to see how many pages I had left before it was all over. The most frustrating thing though is that the revelation about the mystery all happens in the last three chapters and yet none of the investigating beforehand seems to have built up towards said conclusion. The whole novel ends up being a mish-mash of random ideas, none of which really follow through and I found this somewhat disappointing. There were moments when the pace of the story picked up or the characters were particularly engaging, but overall it felt like you really had to work at reading this story to get anywhere.

Gen 30, 2014, 5:20 pm

I have Postern of Fate on my shelf and am eyeing it with trepidation, given all that I've heard about it. I know I'll read it eventually, but it seems a shame that it was the last novel she wrote.

Feb 6, 2014, 2:32 am

9. Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy by Sergio Esposito

A story of food, wine, and family in Italy. Author Sergio was born in Naples, Italy and moved to the United States as a small child. He grew up with an appreciation for good food and wine - a talent for wine really. As an adult Sergio eventually opened his own business with the goal of teaching Americans to appreciate Italian wine the same way they appreciate/esteem French wines.

This business takes Sergio to Italy for several weeks year to taste wines in whirlwind travel around the country. A bulk of the book takes place the year Sergio gets wise and decides to not kill himself with crazy travel in the name of his business and to enjoy life - by bringing his wife and children, and his parents to Italy with him for a two-month tour.

Foodies who enjoy the focus on natural methods of production will appreciate many of the characters Segio introduces in this book - growers and wine makers who return to the roots of winemaking in order to create a truly great vintage. The food, the wine, the Italian culture all make this a fun, light, semi-escapist read.

Feb 9, 2014, 5:08 am

Hi Hanneri, finally found you and stared. I wish you a gorgeous reading year :-D

Feb 9, 2014, 8:15 am

Hi Ameise, thank you for the kind words! Wishing you a good reading year as well!

Feb 13, 2014, 3:17 am

10. The Pyramid: And Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell

The book contains five stories, which set the stage for the Wallander novels. The stories here, which follow Wallander from his early twenties to around forty, are eminently readable - I eagerly went from one to the next and finished the book quickly. Wallender is a fully realized character, a ratheer downbeat one, to be sure. Maybe that's due to the weather: spring always seems to arrive late, or winter early, in these atories. If there's a fault here for my tastes, it's that these police procedurals don't have an element of puzzle-solving. There aren't any twists - once Wallender and his fellow cops are led to a killer, it's only a matter of following through on what the evidence has yielded. There are no surprises at the end of these stories. But they do provide an atmosphere of what it was like to live in Sweden in the Ninetee-Seventies and Eighties.

Feb 13, 2014, 3:48 am

Hanneri, in reality in Sweden spring is coming late and winter early:-D. Nice review. I had read some Wallander, but to be honest I don't read them anymore. As you mentioned, it's mostly the same.

Feb 17, 2014, 8:38 am

11. Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

This is the first in the Inspector Morse series. I enjoyed these books for not only the mystery, but for Morse himself and his relationship with his colleague, Lewis. Morse is a snob who drinks too much, loves opera, and is very protective of his Jaguar. Poor Lewis, his long-suffering sergeant, admires Morse's talents for solving the cases, but recognizes that Morse has serious flaws. There's often an undertone of classism as suspects stereotype Morse as working class and Morse returns their disdain. Meanwhile Lewis is a reminder that "regular folk" are more than regular.

Feb 21, 2014, 3:01 am

12. Helsinki White by James Thompson

I have enjoyed this mystery series, set in Finland, since its very first installment. Each book has had something of an ominous ending, making me eager to read the next in the series as Kari Vaara continues to develop. This book, however, was a much darker read than any in this already fairly grim series. His career takes quite a turn, and as the plot builds, one thing leads to another, making Vaara a different man than the one I at least first grew to like in the series' debut, Snow Angels.

The ending was a bit more hopeful than some of the others, and I will definitely continue to read this series where the Finnish setting is perhaps even a larger character than Vaara himself. I just hope that the next one is a mystery with a bit less of a political focus... Race relations in Finland are certainly interesting, but the mystery behind this plot was not as well developed as the other two installments in the series.

Feb 21, 2014, 3:09 am

Wonderful review. I'll have a look, if our local library has a book of James Thompson.

Feb 22, 2014, 8:36 am

13. Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

This is an incredible work of narrative reporting. It’s also a vital document that gives voice to the citizens of a nation that’s committed probably the worst repression of free will in modern history--a nation that keeps its people believing they have “nothing to envy” and that things are much worse in the rest of the world. It’s assembled from a series of interviews with a handful of North Koreans who defected to South Korea at enormous risk, and their stories give a deeply human dimension to what everyone in the first world knows mostly through headlines alone.

One by one, these North Koreans--Oak-hee, Mrs. Song, Mi-ran, Hyuck, and Jun-sang, among others--come to face a snowballing misery: theirs is a country without electricity, industry, or even privacy, abandoned by once-Communist nations turned westward, wracked by starvation, and blanketed with the constant threat of execution for even a whiff of dissent to Kim Jong-il’s delusional, nuclear arms-obsessed regime (which still refers to the dead Kim Il-sung as “eternal leader.”) But out of hunger and desperation--and as untold hundreds of thousands (and eventually as many as 2 million) of their countrymen die of famine--these increasingly intrepid North Koreans come to “unlearn a lifetime of propaganda” and conjure the will to survive. Their dramatic escapes, and their struggles to start bewildering and often seriously disorienting new lives in South Korea, are hallmarks of one of the most enthralling awakenings anyone could imagine.

Highly recommended.

Feb 23, 2014, 2:56 am

Hanneri, I wish you a lovely Sunday

Feb 23, 2014, 7:42 am

Thanks Ameise - same to you! good luck for the week ahead!

Feb 23, 2014, 7:44 am

14. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy begins Steve Berry's succession of historical novels featuring his character, Cotton Malone. The story seems at times like a poor man's Dan Brown story as it evolves with its religious symbolism and nasty characters. It is a well written story beginning in Copenhagen and progressing to the religious sites in France.

Malone, a former U.S. Justice Department agent, now a retired bookseller becomes involved in a quest by his former boss and the plot evolves from there. It includes the reemergence of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon or the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Templars. The book has a somewhat overdrawn concept dealing with Christ and some of the the characters are the typical wise cracking types that are common in this genre. There is a serious component and if you are taking a long plane ride it might be a useful companion.

Modificato: Feb 25, 2014, 1:16 pm

15. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi

This is a great book. Nothing as I thought it would be. Pleasantly surprised. It is so very rich in identifying the culture of the Italian life and rich history of friends, family and relationships and how it is intertwined with the food and traditions of Tuscan living.

Marlena De Blasi builds a fabulous story of truth and tribal knowledge steeped deeply in what we are only beginning to realize has been present for hundreds, maybe thousands of years in Italy. Detailing the blurred line of family and friends. How the celebration of life is so closely tied with the reality of death and the paradigm we view it through. And of course the ever present fascination with food and wine and traditions and history steeped in such a simple thing as olive oil and how the olives are harvested and how they are pressed and the profound differences of tastes and textures and pairing with how and with what it is eaten with.

De Blasi is an exquisite writer with a freshness of language that adds immensely to the simple story she tells of a chaotic yet simple life that she writes about. It is also a deep and enriching love story on several levels that will make you laugh with envy and cry with the touching reality of a crushing, inevitable truth we all must face. You will be uplifted and glad you read this little gem.

Feb 26, 2014, 5:36 am

Hi Hanneri! I've read number 1-5 from the Cotton Malone serie and so far I liked them. I also read some other books written by Steve Berry.
I wish you a lovely day.

Feb 26, 2014, 10:02 am

>68 Hanneri: - I've picked that up a couple of times in bookshops and pondered buying it, been interested in N. Korea since a holiday in S. Korea and a visit to the DMZ a few years ago... sounds like i should get a copy, great review

Feb 28, 2014, 5:51 am

16. Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

Another stellar mystery by my favorite mystery author - this one is the first in the series introducing Miss. Marple. I thoroughly enjoyed being there with the sardonic vicar, his cute young wife, playful nephew, other eccentric characters, and of course, Miss Marple. I am proud to say that I guessed the killer right, though I had another character too in mind, fitting the bill of the murderer. The gist of the story involves the murder of a pompous well-hated church warden while he was visiting the vicarage and vicar was out of station. Miss Marple and a few other neighbours of the Vicar started meddling in the case, and finally the case was solved by Miss Marple to the consternation of the local police.

Feb 28, 2014, 9:47 am

75> It's been awhile since I read that one, but I remember liking it pretty well.

Feb 28, 2014, 9:50 am

> 75 - If I remember correctly, that one has a young female character named Lettice.... that struck me as such a strange name that it stands out for me as a memory of Murder at the Vicarage, more than the murder itself does! ;-)

Feb 28, 2014, 6:33 pm

I've seen the recent adaptation of Murder at the Vicarage but haven't read the book -- should rectify that soon.

Mar 6, 2014, 2:06 am

I loved Murder at the Vicarage when I read it last year, I am enjoying rediscovering Agatha Christie over the past few years and I appreciate Miss Marple a lot more now than when I first read them while in my 20's.

Mar 7, 2014, 9:27 pm

Judy, I really should re-read the Christies. In fact, I keep saying I'm going to do so. Even though I manage to sneak a re-read of one in once in awhile, I never seem to get around to a systematic re-read.

Mar 8, 2014, 2:20 pm

I am really enjoying reading through Christie! I read some of the books years ago, but I am appreciating her much more now!

Mar 8, 2014, 2:27 pm

17. Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt

The location is exotic enough, a small city in Canada, Algonquin Bay, where four young people go missing or murdered. There are two lonely type detectives, John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, both likable with their dark secrets and dreams you get to know, yet unlike the stereotypical Nordic detective, neither is an alcoholic (yet? Maybe later in the series). The two detectives have a nice balance and enough individual work and dreams between them. They set to investigate the missing and dead teenagers and to find out who's behind these serial killings. And you'll also get to know a bit of the killers too, what makes them tick, what they want and how they work. Perfect winter read, a solid 4 out of 5. I'll definitely look for more books of the same series.

Mar 8, 2014, 5:38 pm

Another series that I am very fond of. I have now read three of the Cardinal/Delorme books and have enjoyed them all.

Mar 10, 2014, 10:16 pm

I think I have one by Blunt on my wish/TBR list.

Mar 11, 2014, 4:47 am

Hi Lori - they are definitely worth the read. This was my first of the series and I will try and read the rest soon!

Mar 11, 2014, 4:54 am

18. Sixty Frenchmen can't be Wrong: Why We Love France but not the French by Jean-Benoit Nadeau

This was a fun introduction to French culture. The two authors, Canadian journalists who relocated to France for two years, set out to explain why the French are the way they are, and why Americans and the French often have so much trouble getting along. There are chapters dedicated to the influences of World War II and the war with Algeria, chapters dedicated to the education system, and sections dedicated to the French insistence on precision in language, their ideas of personal space, and their opinions on which topics are appropriate to discuss in public and which are not. Nadeau's writing style is clear and lively and punctuated with personal anecdotes.

Mar 11, 2014, 6:23 pm

That's probably the one that is on my list if it is the first!

Mar 12, 2014, 1:52 pm

19. Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

Written in 1981, this book has had something of a cult status as one of the first popular entries in the international mystery/thriller genre. It is the first in the Arkady Renko series, the second being published much later, in 1988.

Arkady Renko is a chief investigator in the Moscow militia, the police section of the MVD. As opposed to the KGB, which investigates cases related to security, the militia are usually concerned with domestic violence, drunkenness and the occasional murder. Moscow, under communist rule, is ostensibly one of he safest cities in the world, since crimes that don't fit the socialist definition of acceptable are merely defined out of sight. But Renko's job is usually fairly dull.

Until 3 bodies, clearly homicides, are found in Gorky Park, a popular amusement center in Moscow's heart. The KGB shows both an unusual interest and a complete lack of willingness to step in and investigate these murders, particularly odd since one of the victims is most likely a foreigner. Renko, who smells a rat, is determined to make a case that will force the KGB to take the case off his hands.

The plot is excellent, building up in tension and with enough twists to keep the interest high. Set in 1977, Russian life under Brezhnev was not as bad as in the Stalinist era, but was still highly regimented and repressive; dissent was not allowed, although the mass murders and purges of the Stalinist era were gone. But rigid allegiance to the party line was necessary for any kind of decent life, and obligatory for career advancement. Smith ,as part of the story, shows what daily life for Muscovites was like; the hardships, the lack of decent consumer goods, the regimentation, and it is very well done.

What is a very nice surprise is that 33 years later, the writing is still good, not dated, but taut and spare, portraying both the mood of the average Soviet citizen and the lives they were forced to lead and an excellent plot line. Even given the events over the past 3 decades, the story line does not seem outdated at all, merely a Russian police procedural set in a particular era, which I think is an achievement. His characters seem almost contemporary, and are well-drawn.

Mar 12, 2014, 2:22 pm

Fantastic review. Have a nice evening.

Mar 12, 2014, 3:38 pm

I recently read the most recent Arkady Renko stories, Tatiana and still enjoy the series.

Mar 17, 2014, 8:16 am

20. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

This is a terrific debut novel by Australian Terry Hayes. It's a big book in more ways than one, fast paced and an absolute page turner.

'Pilgrim' is a code name for a man who was a spy in a service so secret it doesn't exist. He is trying to lead a normal life in his 'retirement' but when a friend calls him to the crime scene of a perfect murder he gradually finds himself embroiled in a life or death race to catch a terrorist. The novel swings easily between his past and present life to explain how he became a master spy and leads us on a breathtaking ride across Europe and the middle east. Many interesting characters are introduced along the way and my only criticism is that some of them are only seen fleetingly and could have been given a bit more dimension, particularly the more important characters. Without adding any spoilers I also would have liked a more original ending but otherwise this was a terrific read and I look forward to the next book from this author.

Mar 21, 2014, 4:34 am

21. I Heart London by Linsey Kelk

Angela is a Brit living in New York, she has a musician fiancée who thinks the world of her and a best friend whose family own a large magazine company and are letting the two of them start up their own global magazine. The idea of this book is literally my dream life. Then comes the drama.

Angela has to return to the UK to visit her parents and faces numerous distractions and problems along the way. Without giving too much away, more than half of the book is about the planning of a wedding - which is just a week away, and the relationships that come under strain because of this.

I haven't read any of the I Heart series before, and I'm not really sure I would again. Sure, it's a relaxing, easy read that will pass the time if you're sunbathing on a Mediterranean beach somewhere, but in general I prefer a book with a little more to it. The book was fun and Kelk is a talented writer, but I feel the characters could have done with a little more definition. I will probably read another book by the Author in the future, so I can get more of an idea of what her style is and what she's about, but it won't be one of the I heart series, as I feel the idea is kind of... done in one book. I might be wrong here, but it's just my initial feeling.

If you'd like an easy read to pass the time, I Heart London does the job.

Mar 26, 2014, 1:46 pm

22. Killers: the Most Barbaric Murderers of Our Times by Nigel Cawthorne

This was an interesting read , it certainly opened my eyes to further things to look into but in general I found this book to be pretty shallow in covering a lot of these very interesting cases. At times some of the coverage is somewhat gruesome but again it was really a very brief snapshot about the crimes not much detail into the killers minds that isn't already out there.

Mar 27, 2014, 8:36 am

Did the Cawthorne book give other resources so that you could find more detailed work(s) about specific cases that interested you?

Mar 28, 2014, 9:50 am

#94. Hi Jennifer, no unfortunately not. Will have to keep looking!

Mar 28, 2014, 9:52 am

23. Helsinki Blood by James Thompson

If you are a fan of Thompson's Inspector Kari Vaara, you will not be disappointed with this latest in the series. Policeman Vaara has been badly wounded in the last installment and his wife Kate has had a nervous breakdown in response to her part in this confrontation that severely injured her husband. Vaara and his friends can be vicious and violent in their attempts to mete out justice and seek out criminals to punish. Fast paced intense Finnish noir.

Mar 30, 2014, 8:35 am

24. Night by Elie Wiesel

This is an incredibly powerful book. There are many true accounts of concentration camps survivors, and they always move me, but Elie Wiesel made is tale so simple, crude, naked of complicated style figures or narrative complexities that make it much more powerful.

The things that hits me must about this book is not the horrors that happened and the knowledge of the cruelty of humanity, but that itchy feeling that stays inside may head, a little voice whispering to me that something like this could happen again, probably will. History is circular, a teacher of mine used to say, and we don't learn from our mistakes.

Mar 30, 2014, 8:52 am

Hi Hanneri, 'Night' is one of my favourite books. I fully agree with your thoughts.

Apr 2, 2014, 3:51 pm

25. The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds

For a woman who spent several years in prison for the murder of her husband (something she does not remember) Eva Blake doesn't seem very bitter...

Scholars have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible’s Library of Gold,a long-missing archive containing priceless gold and jewel covered books dating back to the ancient Greeks. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, and along with it the highly secret book club that owns the Library of Gold. When the CIA discovers a connection between the legendary library and a bank account linked to terrorists, they turn to rare books curator Eva Blake for help. Soon an attempt is made on Eva’s life. Determined not only to survive but to uncover the truth, Eva turns to the only person she can trust—Judd Ryder, a former intelligence agent with his own connection to the Library of Gold. Together, Judd and Eva embark on an fast-paced adventure from London to Rome, Istanbul, and Athens, escaping through secret tunnels, sailing fishing boats in the dead of night, and parachuting out of airplanes.

Apr 7, 2014, 7:46 am

26. Zoo Station by David Downing

I am definitely a fan of this series and will keep reading. The author knows the places he describes well, and he also has deep understanding of the culture and range of social nuances appropriate to this volatile and complex setting, too. The story start off in Danzig in 1939, move chiefly to Berlin, but will visit Poland, Czech, northern Germany and even England during the course of the novel as well.

The main character is John Russell, an Anglo-American forty year old journalist with complex ties to Germany that include a twelve year old son in the Hitler Youth and a strong willed actress girlfriend. He is fluent in Russian, German, and English, and is wise enough to see both the growing dangers the Nazis represent and the growing dangers to those who openly challenge them. He does not not see himself as heroic, but is a man of principle. Given whom he knows and where he goes, he becomes increasingly useful to representatives of different nations and political perspectives. Downing builds suspense at a slow but sure speed.

Apr 7, 2014, 8:58 am

#100 by Hanneri> I enjoyed Zoo Station very much and hope to read more of that series as well.

Apr 7, 2014, 10:22 pm

Just received a free copy of Zoo Station - happy to see such positive reviews!

Apr 8, 2014, 10:26 pm

I loved Zoo Station as well and really need to pick up the next book in the series.

Apr 11, 2014, 7:29 am

27. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

A short and entertaining read-- entertaining as much for its mystery as for the laughable sensationalism of its topic. Very timely for 1922-- all about Bolsheviks and revolutions and Labour Party members and secret treaties, with a hero and heroine full of jolly upper-class Britishness and levity, if not imagination, in tough spots. Very characteristic of an era.

The mystery, though constructed out of sensationalist and dated elements, has an excellent form. We are told quite frankly in the first few chapters that we will meet the Bad Guy before we know that he IS the Bad Guy-- and then we spend the rest of the book trying to figure out which of the characters he is. Very good, in that regard. Also, as in all good Christie, everyone's got their fingers in the pot somehow-- she manages to keep each character's critical discoveries secret from us until the end-- but even though we're lagging far behind most of the characters, we don't feel stupid because we, as the readers, have our own theories that we don't necessarily want to be spoiled.

Apr 11, 2014, 12:00 pm

>104 Hanneri: Aww, I have such a soft spot for The Secret Adversary. You're right that the plot is quite dated and sensationalistic, but it's just such fun! :) Glad you enjoyed it.

Apr 11, 2014, 5:26 pm

The TV adaptation of The Secret Adversary is fun too, with Francesca Annis as Tuppence and James Warwick as Tommy.

Apr 20, 2014, 1:36 pm

28. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs

This just may have been the dullest book I've ever read. Too many characters, none of them endearing. The plot basically throws a bunch of people who are at a standstill in life together and attempts to make all of them find themselves. I would have much preferred if she concentrated on the main character and her daughters and explored more emotion. It was all superficial fluff.

Apr 20, 2014, 3:21 pm

Oh dear, it sounds like Comfort Food is one to avoid.

Apr 20, 2014, 7:37 pm

>107 Hanneri: That one was not in my wish list. I'll be sure to avoid it.

Apr 22, 2014, 12:25 am

Comfort Food wasn't on my reading list so joining the others is being very happy that you took this one for the team. Happily dodging.

Apr 22, 2014, 6:56 am

29. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry

The story was promising and in fairness to the author,this book was a result of a lot of research, creativity, imagination, and effort. The locations were interesting since most of them were in Europe, where great architecture stands, a lot of landmarks' descriptive writing was impressive. The complex plots and subplots in the story are tangled in a mess, no one is whom they seem, but some characters got the chance to develop, with a little background here and there. Given the things I stated above, I wasn't really pulled in the story. I still felt like an observer.

Apr 25, 2014, 1:51 pm

30. Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

I'm not entirely sure how to review this one. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't especially enjoy it. There were moments of it that I found interesting, and overall I think the language is quite nice, but overall my feeling towards the book is one of indifference. I am not a person who has to either like or identify with a main character, but I do need to find that character compelling in one way or another, and I just didn't find that here. Combine that with a moody and slow-moving plot, and you've got a book that was a bit of an effort for me to finish.

Mag 1, 2014, 3:10 am

31. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo

The book was a lot different than the first two. I think it had more depth, less horrid scenes and much more romanticism (of old times and new). The little surprises the author uses fascinates me the most. For example what Uriah did to the tree and how was explained later. The format with the messages to Helen's answering machine after her death was brilliant. The truth is that it was a little slow at the beginning probably because of the narration of Uriah in the WWII. The plot is really complex and you don't get to guess the killer. I think the ending was perfect. Some loose ends to pick up on next installment. Finally the way Nesbo portrayed the political situation in his country during the WWII and the consequences afterwards is captivating and I respected the fact that he took no stand on the matter but left the reader make his own conclusions.

Mag 4, 2014, 12:52 pm

Great review of The Redbreast. You have reminded me why I enjoyed that book so much.

Mag 4, 2014, 1:10 pm

I really need to put Nesbo higher on my list of authors to try.

Mag 5, 2014, 6:46 am

32. Sister by Rosamund Lupton

Beatrice returns to England after hearing that her younger sister, Tess, has gone missing. Before long her body is discovered in a toilet block. But rather than a hunt for her murderer ensuing, Tess's death is ruled a suicide and it's left up to Beatrice to prove otherwise.

This story is a narration by Beatrice to her sister outling her emotions as well as her actions leading up to the identification of Tess's killer. I enjoyed this style of storytelling very much. Not only is it well written, but there's enough mystery and suspects to keep readers guessing, if not till the end, at least for a good while. For me some elements of the plot didn't quite gel, but hey, this is fiction and most importantly I want to be entertained, which I was.

Mag 11, 2014, 9:51 am

33. Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham

A strikingly original and disturbing plot marks an impressive debut from this author. Billingham has crafted a compelling and chilling read which sets his protagonist, DI Tom Thorne, in pursuit of a cold and calculating killer with a haunting penchant for how they leave their signature on their victims. With the discovery of the last victim still alive in a vegetative state, the awful realisation soon dawns that this induced stroke victim, in what is termed a 'locked-in syndrome', is not as was assumed the first mistake, but rather the killer's first true success. Billinghman not only masters the craft of plot device and characterisation, but reveals literary skill in switching narrator, with great effect, to include the stream of consciousness of the paralysed victim. A British author to challenge the best in this genre.

Mag 11, 2014, 5:12 pm

>117 Hanneri: I am a fan of the Tom Thorne series, and I think the first one, Sleepyhead is one of the best!

Mag 14, 2014, 10:25 pm

>111 Hanneri: Thanks for the review of The Alexandria Link. I had this one on the shelves for a few years, too little time, too much books. This one is going on the To Give pile.

Mag 15, 2014, 5:57 am

>119 electrice: Glad I could help! Life is too short to read bad books!

Mag 15, 2014, 6:00 am

34. City of Dreadful Night by Peter Guttridge

Set in Brighton, England this is the first of a trilogy whose main theme is the solving of the very true life gristly 1934 Trunk Murder(s) and the fictional modern day investigation of a police action gone very wrong (or did it?)

Not the best of its genre but good enough for me to commit to the second book.

Mag 15, 2014, 6:10 am

35. Jack the Ripper - The Pocket Essential Guide by Mark Whitehead, Miriam Rivett

An informative compound of hypothesis and possible suspects about the Whitechapel murders and information about the victims' background. The book narrates how the case unfolded and which authorities got involved and what measures were taken to try to capture The Ripper. There's also a section about media references of Jack the Ripper, which I found interesting. It's a nice reference book and a good introduction for anyone interested in learning about Jack the Ripper's case.

Mag 16, 2014, 9:15 am

36. Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride

This is the first novel featuring Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, who is a very human and flawed character. When we meet him he has been off work for a year, after being seriously knifed in the stomach. We also learn that whatever happened on the day he was injured, resulted in his losing his relationship with pathologist Dr Isobel MacAlister. This is unfortunate, as their paths will cross many times in this book. In fact, almost as soon as McRae returns to work, the crime rate is about to soar.

This is a gritty and hard hitting novel, involving two different investigations, which somehow merge along the way. The first involves the fact that little boys are being abducted and killed. The second concerns the murder of a gangster, who has ended up in the river minus his kneecaps. Thrown into the deep end, McRae finds himself trying to solve the crimes, stay warm (which doesn't sound easy in the portrait the author paints of a freezing Aberdeen!) and try to discover who is leaking information to the press. There are some fantastic characters - DI Insch, with his constant munching of sweets, slimy journalist Colin Miller, possible future love interest WPC Watson and that isn't even mentioning the criminals encountered. Stuart MacBride manages to tie in several story lines in a believable way, has great dialogue and a fast moving plot. I look forward to following this series.

Mag 16, 2014, 9:25 am

37. Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich

This was one of the worst Evanovich novels I've read, even of her early romance novels. it's just plain silly, but not in a funny or whimsical way--just seems like bad ideas and bad writing. If you are a really die-hard Evanovich fan, you may enjoy seeing her style in its infant stages, slowly developing. Otherwise, I doubt anyone would enjoy this ridiculously badly written piece of nonsense.

Mag 16, 2014, 3:15 pm

The Logan MacRae series is one of my favorites. Definitely hard-hitting, gritty and violent and full of really dark humor. You are in for a treat with this series.

Mag 17, 2014, 4:55 pm

DI Insch is one of my favourite characters in the Logan McRae series! That reminds me I should pick up the third book in the series soon.

Mag 18, 2014, 11:15 am

38. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor

This was a good one -- satisfying in that the sleuth and his colleagues are likable and the mystery gets resolved and the bad guys dealt with. The descriptions of Paris are nicely done, evocative but not intrusive. The story involves a former FBI guy who works security for the U.S. embassy in Paris. He collects books on a small scale and has befriended one of the many street booksellers who have shops along the Seine. His friend is kidnapped before his eyes, and in trying to rescue him, he uncovers many secrets and ultimately helps the Paris police solve a big case with many tentacles. His journalist girlfriend and his alcoholic buddy from FBI days are both well drawn. This was Pryor's first mystery in a series, and I hope to see these characters again.

Mag 20, 2014, 9:02 am

39. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence

This book was a great look at the 1920's, the struggle between classes and the impact the further development of the coal mining industry had in England at the time. We get to see our protagonist fight an inner battle against form and custome to become her self and find happiness and fullfillment.

I admire the way Mr. Lawrence took on society at the time, he was a revolutionary man in the way he offered both social critique and his view of sex in a time where the written world was hardly an honest reflection of either.

I loved the ending, the way Mr. Lawrence finds the place for his characters in life without romanticizing their situation or finding an easy way out. It was as realistic as a novel can get, by the end you know the choices made were not easy, and to live with said choices won't be either, but those choices are what happiness means for them and that is more important than what should be.

Mag 21, 2014, 6:56 am

40. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

What an outstanding debut novel. One of the keys to successful writing (in my opinion) is to tell a compelling story! It's that simple, people, and wow, what a compelling story Smith weaves in this book.

Based upon a true story, the underlying premise is about a child murdering serial killer, but the primary story is about Leo, the book's protagonist, who tries to solve this case in Stalinist Russia. Smith was able to set such a mood in this book about how it felt to live in the Soviet Union after WWII that I found myself getting paranoid for no reason. This book is much more than an ordinary thriller-suspense novel; it is gripping, historical fiction that includes a true crime element that is rare for this genre. In addition, Smith tells the story in a fluid, logical way, where the reader doesn't have to suspend her disbelief in order to buy into the plot.

Overall, I highly recommend this book, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Mag 24, 2014, 2:31 pm

41. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames

It was not my favorite read. Ms. Aames introduced too many characters too soon. It was difficult to remember how each was associated to the protagonist. The town and the characters were not well drawn. Jordan, the love interest, has no background and no character traits to recommend him other than his looks. This, I believe, was supposed to create mystique, but it fell flat. Charlotte, the protagonist, is swayed by every suggestion and jumps to a new conclusion with every new “fact”. The clues are weak and speculative. She kept ruminating over the same theories and suspects. In fact the plot was all over the place, but did not build or really move forward. The solution was weak and unbelievable. It needed more support throughout the story. As for the cheese references, they were overwhelming. Only once did they eat anything that didn't have cheese in it, at the BBQ. The whole narrative was dripping with fancy artisan cheese for which I had no real frame of reference.

Mag 25, 2014, 2:06 pm

>130 Hanneri: I had higher expectations for that book than it delivered. I decided that I would not read any more in the series. It just didn't work for me.

Mag 31, 2014, 10:04 pm

>117 Hanneri:
Oh, I have Sleepyhead on Mt. TBR - sounds like I should push it higher up on Mt. TBR!

Giu 14, 2014, 7:01 am

42. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Story about the murder of Elizabeth "Betty" Short back in January 1947. She has been tortured, murdered, cut in half and left in a vacant lot just waiting for someone to find her. Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard set out to find out who murdered Betty who then becomes known as the Black Dahlia. Both Bleichert and Blanchard become obsessed with trying to solve her murder to the point that it begins to affect their mental and emotional well being. The story line takes us through the seedy day to day activities of the LAPD as these two police officers set out to piece together the Dahlia's last days and hours which lead up to her murder. Story line keeps your mind constantly wondering who and why would some set out to murder someone in this violent and brutal manner.

Giu 14, 2014, 7:14 am

43. The Dark Heart of Florence by Michele Ferrara

When Senator Enrico Costanza and his butler are murdered at the senator’s villa outside Florence, the police have few clues to find the killer. It almost appears to be the perfect crime. The killer, however, leaves a videotaped message to the police at the scene and forensic examination of the tape reveals images related to previous murders in the city. The murderer is convinced that the police will never catch him and taunts them with his genius.

As the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that some highly-placed people were behind the murders and do not want them to be solved, but proving it is another matter.
As the murders continue, the police have a breakthrough. They manage to obtain a DNA sample from the killer. When the results come back from the lab, though, they show the murderer to be a man killed in a shoot-out at the end of a previous case.

It is clear that the author has an in-depth knowledge of Florence, Italian police procedure and the murky labyrinth of Italian politics. At one point, Superintendent Ferrara asks the population of Florence to avoid omerta, the Mafia code of silence, and is roundly criticised in the press for it, but he constantly struggles against the reluctance of the average resident to become involved and provide information to the police.

Giu 14, 2014, 10:11 am

44. The Absent One by Jussie Adler-Olsen

Detective Carl Morck, the head of Department Q, finds a tweny year old case file on his desk. The problem with it is that the case was solved and a person was found guilty. The case revolves around the murder of a brother and sister who were brutally murdered while they were staying at their family summer camp. At the time, suspicions landed on a group of wealthy spoiled kids who were known at the local boarding school for their sadistic behavior. Carl also finds that there are a few other murders and brutal attacks that are attributed to the gang. He begins to look into the case and finds that the members of the gang have become very wealthy upper society stars. The one exception is the one girl in the group, Kimmie, who seems to have disappeared. In face, Kimmie has become a revenging angel and is hell bent on destroying the other members of the group. Carl needs to find and stop her before she finds and stops all of the others. This was a great book. It was suspenseful and very well written. It picks up Carl's story right where it left off in the "Keeper of Lost Causes" and continues his story. I enjoy Carl a lot and look forward to the next Department Q mystery.

Giu 14, 2014, 10:31 am

45. Dead Simple by Peter James

Dead Simple is Peter James's first novel about the cases of Brighton's best cop, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. While the tale, with the amount and types of twists and turns, may be implausible - it is also a lot of fun! From the crazy start (stag night - guys playing prank on groom by burying him in a coffin - then they all die in a car crash!) it just gets worse for the victim - again, if you just allow yourself to go for the ride and forget about likelihoods and some such, you'll enjoy this book immensely.

The real strength of the book is, however, not the case, but the character. Roy Grace is an excellent cop who's wife has simply vanished nine years ago. Vanished without a trace. Grace has tried everything, including supernatural avenues, to find out about his wife. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Now, years later, he's a bit of a recluse but a great cop, a good friend to his partner and resolved to finding every missing person by whatever means necessary. Finding a man buried alive won't be easy! Another great plus is the setting - Peter James is at home and deeply rooted in Brighton - you feel it on every page - streets, places, procedures - all is clearly researched extensively and packed with loving care into this brilliant novel.

Giu 15, 2014, 9:33 pm

>135 Hanneri:
Yey - Adler-Olsen-love is always good!

>136 Hanneri:
Good to hear that the locale works - it's actually on my Mt. TBR purely because it takes place in my old hunting-grounds Brighton/Hove. :)

Giu 16, 2014, 11:36 pm

I've enjoyed both of your last two reads, and remember being quite taken with them. The Department Q Series has turned into a favorite and although you have to accept a couple of major coincidences in the first Peter James thriller, it really did keep the pages turning! I am going to be reading my 5th Peter James next month.

Giu 23, 2014, 5:05 am

46. Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

Nemesis is the fourth novel by Jo Nesbø to feature Inspector Harry Hole, alcoholic loner and excellent detective. In Nemesis, Harry meets up with an old flame and wakes up with a giant gap in his memory and a dead former girlfriend. Add to that a particularly violent bank robbery, an Albanian Gypsy convict with a liking for Sun Tzu, an overly affectionate Rottweiler and Harry's old nemesis, Inspector Tom Waaler, and a new sidekick who has a photographic memory for faces and you get quite a wild ride of a novel. Though not quite as good as The Redbreast, Nemesis is still engrossing and well worth a read!

Lug 1, 2014, 4:12 am

47. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

It's hard to explain how a book so bleak in subject matter and setting -- North Korea under Kim Jung il -- can be so full of heart, humanity and even humor, but it is. It worked for me both as a "good read," meaning a compulsively readable page turner focused on one young man's life, and as a serious, thought provoking book raising issues about, well, just about everything important: individual identity and society, torture, good and evil, family, love, survival. The portion of the book where our hero is at sea has lovely, haunting moments, and the interlude in Texas provides some comic relief ("you do know the south won?").

Lug 1, 2014, 2:03 pm

You did a great job explaining why this book was so readable. Thanks for that.

Lug 5, 2014, 7:43 am

48. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

The Mysterious Affair at Styles was a fun quick read. This book is Agatha Christie’s first published novel and the first to feature the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Beloved by many for being a completely pompous prig, this character launched Christie’s career and ultimately resulted in her books being the most widely read in history selling millions of copies. This author, perhaps being outsold only by Shakespeare or the Bible, has to have been doing something right.

In this debut novel, we cover some familiar territory. A rich old woman, living in an English Mansion, has been murdered. We have a body, a murder weapon, some strange clues, and a well experienced detective that already has it all figured out. So sit back on that cozy couch, sip some hot coffee, and read The Mysterious Affair at Styles. What more could you love?

Lug 5, 2014, 7:49 am

Styles was my first Agatha Christie and it holds a special place in my heart for that reason. Can't believe it was published 94 years ago!

Lug 11, 2014, 1:34 pm

49. A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Denmark's Department Q, cold case squad, is back on another case. A message in a bottle from 14 years ago has been found sitting around in someone's office. When Carl and his two "assistants", Assad and Rose, finally get it, they find a note written in blood and greatly faded by time. Deciphering the note is a project in itself, but it eventually leads them on the trail of a sadistic serial murderer, who has been kidnapping children from strange closed religious sects and living off the ransom money. He's extremely cleaver and has many names and exit strategies from every situation. Catching him before he murders more children sends Carl and Assad around the country.

This is the third book in the Department Q series and reads well alone, but the main characters have a background that is best enjoyed if you start from book one. The mystery is very sadistic and evil. The comic relief comes from the relationships of the three continuing characters, which is endearing and just plain hysterical at times.

Lug 15, 2014, 3:35 pm

50. Last Seen Wearing by Colin Dexter

Last Seen Wearing is the second in the Inspector Morse series. On the face of it a simple case of a missing girl and is she alive or dead. However, this novel is anything but simple and I simply loved it. I am on my way to becoming a really Dexter fan. The prose is good. the story intriguing. The reader is assumed to be intelligent and there are chuckle moments. Of course it's impossible to read these books without thinking about John Thaw and Kevin Whately but it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of reading them. I believe even without that foreknowledge these characters are spot on and I cannot wait to read book number three - The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn.

Lug 20, 2014, 8:37 am

51. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

The sweet youngest daughter in the family goes missing one hot summer night. A lawyer's teenage daughter is killed in a senseless act of violence at his workplace. A mother goes crazy after the birth of her daughter and goes to jail for killing her husband. What do these three cases have in common? They have all landed on the desk of private investigator Jackson Brodie. Brodie's got problems of his own. His wife has remarried, his precocious daughter is dressing way beyond her years, and the strange cat lady keeps calling. But all the cases are converging and Brodie keeps finding out things the original investigators missed, and now someone wants to end his life too. Funny, strange, and very personal, Atkinson shines light in the dark and funny spaces in her characters' heads.

Lug 20, 2014, 8:44 am

52. Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Having read numerous Agatha Christie books, I can safely say Crooked House is one of my favorite top five among her books. The story is of one big happy family living together in grand mansion. The head of the family is 88-year-old Aristide Leonides, who is poisoned by one of the family member. Aristide’s granddaughter Sofia’s fiancé Charles put his head together with police to find out the identity of killer.

Agatha Christie is just amazing as an author in this book. The family relations are analysed (the one thing I love best about her books), shocking revelations are made. It seems everyone has some secret hiding and all their secrets come out in open. There is greed, there is selfishness, and there is pride and vanity. Money seemed like a motive at times. At other times, freedom of living life without interference of loved ones seemed like a motive enough for murder. Relationships are tested and trust is shattered. Christie kept readers guessing about the identity of the killer until the end. When finally killer is revealed, one is left awed by the marvelousness of Christie’s grasp on the plot. The ending was chilling. However, it seemed very plausible. I simply loved this book.

Lug 20, 2014, 1:51 pm

I think I read Crooked House years and years ago, but it sounds like I need a re-read of this one. I'm looking forward to reading at least one Agatha Christie next month for the RandomCat.

I love Kate Atkinson and especially her Jackson Brodie mysteries. "Funny, strange and very personal" is an excellent description!

Modificato: Lug 22, 2014, 1:59 pm

53. Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith

In Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith conjured a claustrophobic atmosphere in Soviet-era Moscow; that task is simpler here, where the action takes place on a handful of ships and a single, small Aleutian island. Yet the overall feel is considerably more upbeat, perhaps because former detective Arkady Renko enters this story at rock bottom, cutting fish on the slime line of a fish processing ship. A young woman worker from the boat goes missing but, before anyone really notices, reappears from the depths of the ocean, hauled up in a fishing net. Renko is drafted to solve the mystery, then undrafted, but he's hooked; a combination of integrity, curiosity, and pressure from above won't let him drop it. The author makes Renko smart, tough, and canny. There's plenty of psychological complexity, but it belongs to other characters, so a reader can follow along as Renko sorts it out, without having to wade through pages of the detective probing his own soul. The novels in this series are pretty astringent, and would be hard to read straight through, but are a real pleasure with a break in between.

Modificato: Lug 22, 2014, 2:03 pm

54. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

This book was intriguing, yet very, very disturbing for a number of reasons. Eva, mother to the murdering teenage boy, is brutally honest about her misconceptions of motherhood, her feelings toward her shameless, saucy little boy, and her apparent guilt regarding his murderous rampage. Clearly, motherhood was not something that came easily to Eva; instead her maternal instincts were cold and contrived. Does that make her responsible for what her son ultimately became? Absolutely not. Although Eva is far from mother of the year, I truly believe that Kevin had something inherently wrong with him. Sure Eva wasn't always warm and fuzzy, but there is no denying that Kevin's actions (from a frighteningly early age) were premeditated, malicious, and calculating. This could not be the sole cause of the environment in which he grew up. Even so, I'd place more of the blame for Kevin's actions and behaviors on his father, Franklin. Although Eva was chilly, Franklin tried too hard to be Kevin's friend and defended him time and again when Kevin was questioned about, well, you name it--tormenting his kindergarten classmates, causing a neighbor's bicycle accident, throwing bricks from a bridge onto a highway, Franklin always saw good in Kevin; at least Eva saw her son for the monster he truly was. With that said, this is definitely a book I would recommend reading. Although I can't say I loved any of the characters (except, perhaps, poor little Celia), they were well developed and remained true throughout the novel. The pacing of the novel was good, allowing the reader to gain just the right amount of insight into Kevin and his family at the appropriate time in the book. What I liked best was that the author led up to a much needed climax with an excruciating ending that I didn't see coming.

Lug 23, 2014, 9:05 pm

One of these years I will read my copy of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Really, I will. Good review!

Lug 26, 2014, 8:25 am

55. The Delicate Storm by Giles Blunt

This is the second book in the series featuring detective John Cardinal. I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first one, Forty Words for Sorrow. The murders weren't as weird and gruesome as the serial killings in the first book. However, this book was compelling for its look at two significant events in Canadian history: the ice storm in Ontario, and the political execution of a diplomat by a Quebec terrorist group.

Lug 27, 2014, 12:27 pm

I'm not a fan of Giles Blunt, but this one sounds interesting. Added to the wishlist.

Lug 28, 2014, 4:10 am

56. The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch

I found this charming and delightful. It was everything I expected and more. Sugar Wallace is a beekeeper who moves every year and helps the people she meets along the way. Her move to Alphabet City in New York is no different. This time, however, the people she helps rally around her to help her along with Queen Elizabeth the Sixth, the queen of her hive. I loved all the characters as well as the chapters that included the bees. Theo was the best with his steadfastness, determination and ineptitude. I loved the descriptions of Charleston. And the kilt was just the icing on the cake. A lovely piece of fluff that put a smile on my face the whole time I read it.

Lug 31, 2014, 6:31 am

57. The Expats by Chris Pavone

Kate Moore is a working mother who is trying to put on an impression that she loves her life. Raising kids is a burden and a blessing to her, they mean the world to her but she still questions if she is really living the life she dreamed of living. Married to a workaholic has not made matters any easier, especially when she is in dark on what he really does for a career. Although she has an idea on how her husband makes her income, she is still unsure that he is being completely honest with her. When she relocates to Luxembourg, she must learn the master the language, household duties and doing the necessities of a mother. Kate suspicion gets the best of her and starts to find clues that will confirm her constant worry that her husband is not the man she married.

I enjoyed the first half of the book. It was suspenseful in some parts but it was not something that grabbed me from the first page. As I kept reading, it interested me to find out about the secrets that was revealed. However, there were a lot of loopholes and some questions were left unanswered. I felt that the author wrote a decent debut novel but with minor inconsistencies.

Ago 1, 2014, 12:45 am

As far as I remember, the ending got a little frantic as if the author was rushing to get it finished. But the concept was good enough that I would try another Pavone book sometime.

Ago 7, 2014, 1:55 pm

58. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black

I enjoyed this book, although I felt that Black threw in too many characters too quickly, making it difficult to keep track of everyone. At one point, I realized that a character I pictured as a young man, was actually in his fifties. The writing is a little shaky at times, but not terrible. As a first effort, I thought is was fine. It intrigued me enough to start reading the second book in the series. She has an interesting character in Aimee Leduc, and I think that will help the series get stronger as it progresses.

Ago 7, 2014, 6:45 pm

>157 Hanneri: I think you succinctly summed up the problems with this book. I finished the second earlier this year and while I still want to read about Aimee, overall the book wasn't much of an improvement. Maybe number three Black hits her stride?

Ago 9, 2014, 6:06 am

59. Silesian Station by David Downing

This second book in the ‘station’ series by David Downing was just as riveting as the first one I read. These books are really more espionage than they are mystery or crime…and even then they are much more about the events that took place before start of WWI….and now into WWI.

The main protagonist is John Russell, a British free-lance journalist with an American passport living in Berlin so that he can stay close to his son Paul and his girlfriend Effi. Russell is forced to play more than one side in this book…for the Americans, the Germans, and the Soviets. Although the plots in this book are both political and espionage related, Downing focuses even more on the personal life of Russell and how he deals with the changing events in Europe. It’s this mixture that makes this a great book to read.

Ago 15, 2014, 2:04 am

60. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

This was something that I wasn't sure I would like, but it really held my interest from beginning to end. It's fascinating to think about what would happen if the earth actually stopped doing what we expect/need it to. More than the characters' individual stories, I was interested in the ways that the governments and scientists tried to cope with what was happening,the way that some people refused to accept that there are things beyond human control. It was a good one, I would recommend it.

Ago 15, 2014, 2:14 am

61. The Innocent: A Novel by Ian McEwan

Leonard, the titular "innocent", is a telephone technician who travels to Berlin in 1955 to work a secret project to intercept communications from the Russian embassy. He acquires a German girlfriend - his first - and settles into life in Berlin. However there are indications that things might be about to go wrong for him. His girlfriend's ex is a violent thug who shows up every now and then to beat her up. He has a new, mysterious neighbour who is showing too much interest in what Leonard is up to. And his boss is also all too interested in what is going on in Leonard's life.

I spent the first half of this book wondering where the book was going and why I was reading about such unpleasant characters. Then, around the halfway mark there is a major event which dramatically shifts the direction of events. The second half is much more of a thriller and the ending comes together in a very pleasing way. A cleverly crafted story.

Ago 17, 2014, 3:57 am

62. Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie

I have now read all of the Tommy and Tuppence books. Not one of Christie's best books but I enjoy Tommy and Tuppence. This was a set of short stories with an overarching meta-story but the interesting thing was that in each of the stories the characters decided to follow the style of another famous detective: Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, the Old Man in the Corner, and even Hercule Poirot! It wasn't incredibly clever or obvious but enjoyable nonetheless.

Ago 21, 2014, 2:05 pm

63. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

This is the first novel to feature Albert Campion. He actually plays more of a supporting role, but seeing as every time he appears he steals the show, it's not surprising Allingham quickly made him the star of his own series.

A group of young people gather at remote country house, but the party quickly turns into a hostage situation when it's revealed that some of the guests are members of an international crime syndicate. Throw in a mysterious murder and some social entanglements worthy of Bertie Wooster, and you've got mystery that's by turns witty and genuinely tense and creepy.

Ago 21, 2014, 2:11 pm

64. Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames

This is the second book in the Cheese Shop Mystery cozy mystery series. Charlotte is helping her friend Meredith for a fundraising event at an abandoned winery that the town hopes to turn into a liberal arts college. Complicating matters is the arrival of the ex-wife of her cousin and business partner, Matthew, who insists on seeing her daughters and intends to make life difficult. Surrounding the winery/mansion is a rumor of buried treasure. When Meredith's niece, an art student and some of her friends arrive for the event/art exhibition, there is much drama between them, ending in a shocking death. Charlotte must balance her relationship with Jordan, suspicions about the motives of Matthew's ex, Sophie, and working to exonerate one of her employees and Quinn, Meredith's niece, by finding the real killer. The story is a little scattered, and I found Meredith to be a bit scatterbrained herself, not like she was in the previous novel. I enjoyed the story, but thought there was a bit too much crammed in. I hope that the third book will rise to the level of the first in the series.

Ago 21, 2014, 10:07 pm

I read the Crime at Black Dudley last year and I have been avidly collected Margery Allingham books every since!

Ago 23, 2014, 6:27 pm

>163 Hanneri: I also read that one last year.

>164 Hanneri: I didn't really like the first one so I've been avoiding the rest.

Ago 27, 2014, 6:50 am

65. Frozen Assets by Quentin Bates

I enjoyed the setting and the characters, particularly the interplay of 'office politics' relationships between the police officers. The main character is pretty believable and comes across as a normal, very sensible woman who's just doing her job (though not afraid to flex the rules a little to get the job done). The plot was a little less convincing, though it's hard to say why without running into massive spoilers. I assume this is the beginning of a series (it's certainly set up that way) and I'll look forwards to seeing what happens to Gunna in the next book.

Ago 28, 2014, 11:22 am

66. The Art Forger by B. A Shapiro

The Art Forger is an absolute must-read for anyone with an interest in fine art. Shapiro weaves a wonderful work of fiction around a real event, the 1990 robbery at the Isabelle Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston during which 13 works of art totaling an estimated value of US$500 million were stolen. As the robbery remains unsolved to this day, it is the perfect vehicle for this speculative work of fiction.

The narrative shifts seamlessly between Isabelle's life as an art collector in the late 19th century and the life of Claire, a young modern day fine arts graduate whose naivety allows her to be unwittingly lured into the world of art forgery. The techniques used by forgers make for fascinating reading, but it is the reference to various works of art and artists that had me scrambling for reference books and the internet to increase my (very limited) knowledge of this fascinating subject. A thoroughly enjoyable read! (

Ago 31, 2014, 7:14 am

>160 Hanneri: : I'm happy to know that The Age of Miracles is interesting as I bought it at a sale this summer. Thanks for the review :)

Set 3, 2014, 2:27 am

67. Walking into the Ocean by David Whellams

There was something compelling about the protagonist, Peter Cammon. Cammon is a retired chief inspector from New Scotland Yard, but he is often called in as a consultant on difficult cases.

A husband is accused of throwing his wife over a cliff, and then disappearing. Is he dead or has he just arranged a successful disappearance? At the same time a series of murders has occurred along the Dorset coast and Cammon is persuaded that that both cases are linked. Cammon is well-known for his independent work ethic, although there are a few fellow officers he trusts implicitly. He's also well-educated having read English literature at Oxford. He is drawn to word games and word puzzles. I had a hard time getting to know Cammon and getting into the book, but as mentioned before there was something compelling about the novel. The writer's style is more inferential than direct, which may be part of the difficulty; the reader can't relax. I also think that some of the time spent on deciphering the Biblical references and word puzzles was distracting. I also did not care for the unrealistic dreams and meanings attached to them. I did like the relationship between Cammon and his wife, although I'm not sure the way he involved in his investigation was realistic. This was a debut novel, so I hope that some of the "kinks" will be worked out for future novels.

Set 3, 2014, 12:29 pm

>170 Hanneri: Walking Into the Ocean has grabbed my attention and I am adding it to my wishlist. I notice that the second book in the series is set in Canada which should be interesting.

Set 5, 2014, 5:43 am

68. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This is a very light, but enjoyable cozy mystery. For me, it provided a welcome bit of escapism. I would recommend it if you are looking for a break from reading material that is complex, and/ or tragic. If you enjoy baking, the book also contains many recipes for cookies and dessert bars.

Set 5, 2014, 7:58 am

69. The Colonel's Mistake by Dan Mayland

This was an enjoyable thriller set primarily in Azerbaijan but with diversions to Iran, Iraq, France and America as the plot progressed. Basically the plot is based around US fears of Iran. The lead character Mark Sava - an ex CIA head of station in Baku - displayed a marked weariness with US meddling in the region. That however is an aside. Primarily this is an easy read that propels itself along at a rapid rate, through a suitably intricate plot that had me wondering throughout as to how it would end. This is the first in a proposed series based around Mark Sava.

Set 11, 2014, 2:50 pm

70. The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Powerful story of Copenhagen's cold case unit as it discovers multiple missing persons from the late 1950's. Department Q, the cold case unit located in the basement of Copenhagen's PD HQ, is comprised of the most unique and entertaining characters I have read in any language. The boss, Carl Morck, assisted by Rose, his hot tempered and very astute admin and Assad, his Syrian #2 with a mysterious past, investigate these missing persons with ties to a mysterious elderly woman with a devastating past and an evil octogenarian working to establish a race-based political party in Denmark. These wonderful characters interact with each other in dynamic ways that you will not soon forget.

Set 12, 2014, 1:23 pm

I'm caught up on Department Q having gotten a review copy of The Marco Effect. The books just keep getting better.

Set 12, 2014, 11:11 pm

Always happy to see love for Adler-Olsen!!

Modificato: Set 13, 2014, 8:59 am

71. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Kinsey is a likable character with a strong voice, opinions that are hard to sway, and a non-nonsense feeling about her that makes her easy to like. While the the other characters are not as well-developed as Kinsey, most don't make appearances in later books so their depth really doesn't need to be explored.

The story itself I would describe as light. It did take me a while to figure out where everything was going but once the final twist happens you know immediately and the book wraps up in short order. Grafton does a good job of keeping you guessing and throwing in twists.

For a first book I found the title quite enjoyable and will probably continue to read the series.

Set 14, 2014, 2:33 pm

72. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

I have to be honest, when I read the last Stephanie Plum novel, I was really disappointed and I thought it would be time for Mrs. Evanovich to either make drastic changes or retire the characters. But I must admit, Mrs. Evanovich, seems to be back to her great writing performance!

Stephanie Plum seems to be back to her catastrophic self, but for a change, she isn't the only one that needs help. Ranger is in distress and needs to rely on Stephanies' expertise. And of course Grandma Mazur and Grandma Bella can not be missing in this mix and add a few slapstick moments. We find out that Grandma Mazur has a bucket list and she is actually capable of accomplishing a couple of her items on it. Lola is as flamboyant as ever and can not be amiss either.

This book has a lot of comedic relief, but it is somewhat obvious of who did it. Over all, a great and fast read and Stephanie Plum fans will not be disappointed.

Set 19, 2014, 12:14 pm

73. Cover Her Face by P.D James

This was my first PD James. Since I'm a fan of mystery, I thought it was time I read the mistress of the genre. I decided to start at the beginning with first in the Adam Dalgliesh series written in 1962. It took me a while to get used to the style.

Cover her Face was quietly English. I enjoyed the slow rise of the detective work, no crescendo, but complete with novel twists and turns that kept me guessing. I'll read more of James, not in place of my typical escape mysteries but when I want to wrap my mind around murder.

Set 22, 2014, 7:47 am

74. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham

This is the first of the truly classic Campion books (in the first, the Black Dudley one, the character is being introduced, so much of the point of view is that of another character). It really does have everything - genuine mystery, danger and excitement, Campion managing his superb trick of being silly and brilliant at the same time - and a clever twist. This is archetypal early Campion. Allingham lets him age over the years, and he becomes a lot more serious after the Second World War, but here he is in all his 1930s glory. We also get seriously introduced to that other wonderful character Lugg. Brilliant.

Set 22, 2014, 2:44 pm

>180 Hanneri: Another one for my wishlist!

Set 25, 2014, 3:22 am

75. Red Station by Adrian Magson

An interesting plot. There is a place, called Red Station, where British intelligence sends agents whom they want to disappear. Harry Tate doesn't disappear so easily. While he is there, he is in the midst of an uprising between Russia and Georgia. The characters don't really do anything surprising, the one downfall of the story.

Ott 6, 2014, 5:12 am

76. The Secret Place by Tana French

It is a year old murder case and cold until Holly Mackey turns up at Detective Stephen Moran's desk one morning. He works Cold Cases. He sees his chance to get on Dublin's Murder Squad and Holly evidently wants to find a killer. She's found something she thinks will help. She has brought him something from "the secret place". Detective Moran takes this new clue to Murder Squad's Antoinette Conway and the investigation begins again. Set on the grounds of St. Kilda's School, a private girl's school, filled with secrets, lies, and the tangled relationships of young girls, the two detectives set about untangling those relationships and discovering those secrets to find that killer. It is the absolute best of the Dublin Murder Squad mysteries!

Ott 6, 2014, 5:59 pm

>183 Hanneri: Looking forward to getting to this one eventually! (I'm still at the second book!)

Ott 7, 2014, 12:40 am

>183 Hanneri:
Ooh, so many good words about that one - looking forward to getting to it!!

Ott 9, 2014, 3:56 pm

I've been enjoying the Tana French series as well, with three so far under my belt. I am looking forward to both Broken Harbour and The Secret Place. It's really great hearing that these books just keep getting better!

Ott 12, 2014, 9:02 am

77. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Private eye Cormoran Strike, now with new-found fame after having solved a celebrity murder, returns with his assistant Robin Ellacourt, to investigate the brutal murder of novelist Owen Quine. Well-paced and gripping, the mystery kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. The characters are well-fleshed out and realistically complex, and the dialogue is excellent.

Sometimes, in parts, the very gritty and grown-up Galbraith shifts and shows indications of one of the voices of my childhood, and hearing Rowling is like the joy of having a very good, old friend reach out to you again.

Ott 12, 2014, 9:17 am

78. Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare

Stunning, both poetic and blatantly raw vision of Albania in the 20th century. Torn between Turks, Austrians, Italians, Greeks, Chinese and eventually Germans a boy speaks about his childhood in a city made of stones. A series of striking characters are seen through his eyes and his innocence. Wonderful writing, amazing composition. A real trip into Karare's mind and his view of a country as it was during tormented times.

Ott 12, 2014, 9:44 pm

>187 Hanneri:
I just finished that one too! Such a great series.

Ott 14, 2014, 2:32 am

79. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M C Beaton

Agatha Raisin isn't a particularly nice person. Given the time period when this was written, I think the author was experimenting with a number of stereotypes by turning them backward. For example, Agatha loves James, but she spends loads of time with (& not surprisingly ends up sleeping with) Charles. If a male detective character did this in a novel in the late 80's to early 90's, it would be fairly normal, if he was the protagonist. If he was a love interest acting this way, then the reader would expect the (female) detective / protagonist to punish and/or drop him immediately. Neither happens to Agatha, although she is emotionally tangled up a lot.

The mysteries around this dynamic are pretty incidental. They are something for Agatha to run around finding out about so we can watch her be nosy & clever & not clever & embarrass herself & pretty much be Agatha Raisin, whom I can't seem to help liking in spite of her double standards & tendency to isolate herself with murder suspects & other silly behaviors. The murderer is usually just insane, which means the clues don't give us a logical puzzle to solve anyway.

Ott 14, 2014, 1:06 pm

80. The Murder Room, The Heirs of Sherlock Homes Gather to Solve the world's Most Perplexing Cold Cases by Michael Capuzzo

The subtitle of The Murder Room, The Heirs of Sherlock Homes Gather to Solve the world's Most Perplexing Cold Cases is an excellent description of the premise of this look into the sleuths of The Vidocq Society. The society was the dream of three men, William Fleisher, Richard Walter, and Frank Bender, possibly the best of the world's crime solvers. Named for Eugène François Vidocq, the ground-breaking nineteenth century French detective who helped police by using the psychology of the criminal to solve "cold case" homicides, NPR calls this a dedicated group who solve mysteries over soup. Part one of The Murder Room invites you to a luncheon like no other. After a 5 course meal including such gourmet food as pork and mallard duck sausage hosted in an elegant hall with glittering eighteenth century chandeliers, coffee is served to backdrop images of the battered remains of a blond young man cast aside in a restaurant alley. I'm hooked.

Capuzzo's style here, give the reader a teaser in each chapter, leave them hanging for the outcome, and then providing closure somewhere down the road, if known, can be a bit frustrating at times. But liken this to the "not knowing" that the families of cold case victims live each and every day, sometimes forever, and I decided Capuzzo's method was fitting, if not a dead on perfect way to format this book.

The Murder Room outlines many gut wrenching cases with many being solved but not all. What hits home loud and clear is the dedication and drive of the men and women who make up The Vidocq Society; professionals who will not rest until the case is closed, justice is done and the families know the victims have not been forgotten. Fascinating reading it is!

Modificato: Ott 18, 2014, 12:17 pm

>191 Hanneri:

You remind me that I started The Murder Room a couple of years ago and then had to give it back to the public library. I meant to check it out again someday. Maybe someday has come.

Ott 20, 2014, 1:05 pm

81. Stettin Station by David Downing

In late 1941, Downing's hero, American journalist John Russell, lives a precarious existence in Berlin just before the US enters the war. He's involved with Communists, Jews, his German actress girlfriend, and even some Nazi officials. While cut off from real news about the war, he's slowly discovering Western companies' active trading with the Germans, as well as the truth about transfers of Jews to cities further East.

Downing handles all these tangled affairs very well, and continually shows us the dull monotony of wartime life in Berlin, especially the constant search for decent food.

Ott 22, 2014, 10:42 pm

You've reminded me of how much I enjoyed the first John Russell story. Another series that I need to move off the back burner!

Ott 23, 2014, 1:43 pm

82. Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham

Campion's quirky mix of courage, intelligence, and superficial silliness charms again. The story has clever turns and supernatural events. A few minor characters are one-dimensional to the point of being potentially offensive stereotypes. Allingham's particular take on the female criminal is partly explained by one of her sources, though. I hope I am not giving away too much in pointing out that the title of the British edition of this book, Look to the Lady, makes an allusion to a particularly single-minded character in Macbeth.

Ott 26, 2014, 7:48 am

83. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black

A widower of a pathologist starts looking into the death of a young Irishwoman in 1950s Dublin and the trail leads him to some unseemly places and people who think they are doing God's work. Quirke, who seems to be a functioning alcoholic, finds his brother-in-law, an obstetrician, doctoring the woman's death certificate. Mal tells Quirke to leave it alone, but he can't.

The trail takes him to a back-door abortionist, to Catholic-run orphanages and homes for pregnant girls, and to Boston. On the way, Quirke runs into trouble with family, work, the coppers, do-gooders and no-gooders.

This is noirish novel that examines race, religion, class and country with an ambiguous ending that is now way joyful. The characters were bit cliched, but the writing in most places — there are a few rough patches — makes up for it. I'll definitely read the next one.

Ott 26, 2014, 10:54 pm

>196 Hanneri:
I thought the quality of the writing was really high, but I had a problem connecting with any of the characters, unfortunately.

Modificato: Ott 28, 2014, 2:00 pm

84. Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason (aka Tainted Blood)

This very intriguing novel introduces Inspector Elendur Sveinsson of the Reykjavik Police Department. Erlendur is in the throes of middle age and not in the best of health. He lives alone and has two troubled children, including a daughter who's in debt to drug dealers.

An elderly man is murdered in his basement apartment and the killer leaves an enigmatic note lying on the body. Some of Erlender's colleagues believe that the victim, whose name is Holberg, was killed by someone attempting to rob him. But the note makes no sense in that context and Erlendur continues to look for another explanation.

He discovers that over forty years earlier, Holberg had been accused of a particularly vicious rape but had not been convicted of the crime. Erlendur begins unraveling the tangled history of the victim's early life in the hope that it will shed some light on the mystery surrounding his death. The investigation resonates deeply in Erlendur's own life as he wrestles with the questions of family, love and obligation, both personally and in the crime he is investigating.

Because of the setting and the general circumstances of Erlendur's life, this book has a very Scandinavian feel about it. It takes a while for the momentum to gather, but once it does the reader is off on a compelling ride through a very tangled and unusual mystery. It's hard to imagine a crime fiction reader who won't put this book down anxiously awaiting the arrival of the second Erlendur case.

Nov 1, 2014, 6:43 pm

Always happy to see love for Erlendur!

Nov 2, 2014, 6:03 am

85. The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This book has the most physical action of the first five books in the Department Q series. A young gypsy boy witnesses a murder by his clan and as a result he has to run away in order to stay alive. The boy comes to the attention of Dept. Q as a result of a cold case In the mist of the investigation the main character in the book, Carl Mork, has to deal with girl friend, personnel and boss troubles. The book starts and finishes on a fast pace even though the middle slows down in places to a crawl. The complexity of the plot is excellent as is the author's dark sense of humor. A good addition to an already great series.

Nov 8, 2014, 6:58 am

86. Resistance by Anita Shreve

A somewhat sad story, but engrossing nonetheless. For the most part, I liked Shreve's writing style. It started out a bit slow, but I did eventually start to care about the characters and how everything played out. I thought she created some diverse characters, though I did find the American pilot, Ted, to be a bit flat. Occasionally, I also didn't like how she wrote out dialogue scenes involving more than two people. It was just words without quotation marks and it wasn't always clear who was saying what. That being said, I also noticed that overall she writes fairly tersely; the narration and various characters don't waste words getting points across. The language isn't frilly or frivolous, but is effective in setting tone and stirring emotions in the reader.

Nov 10, 2014, 1:40 am

87. Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt

A beautiful redheaded girl shows up in a Tavern in Algonquin Bay acting rather strangely and covered with black fly bites and leaves. She has no memory of who she is or what happened, but they discover she has a bullet in her brain. The bullet is removed, but homicide detectives John Cardinal and Lisa Delorme assume she is in danger, and try to protect her. She suddenly regains the memory of who she is, but still doesn't remember the shooting. She also doesn't give full information to the police such as she was visiting her brother, a drug addict because she doesn't want to get in in trouble. However, two murders are discovered and she keeps going out. Then she disappears. The plot is mixed up with drug trafficers, a motorcycle gang, and a central American shaman.

Nov 13, 2014, 4:07 am

88. Potsdam Station by David Downing

This is the fourth installment of Downing's John Russell series and has the journalist traveling to Soviet Russia in an attempt to ride into Berlin with the conquering Red Army. He hopes to use his previous "favours" to the Russians as means to early entry into Berlin so that he can find his girlfriend Effi, a former German film star, who stayed behind so that John could escape in 1941.

John's attempts to gain creditials through regular channels meet with no success, but he is taken by the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, who eventually press him into service as a guide through Berlin. John and his party are parachuted into Berlin ahead of the Red Army to gather secrets of the atomic variety from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. As their mission falls apart, John finds himself in a position to search for Effi and his son Paul, who is serving in the German army.

Told in three narratives - John's, Effi's and Paul's - we are given a view of the final days of the survivors of Hitler's Berlin. As the novel progresses, we are given a street by street recounting of the tenor of the end of the war. Soviets and Germans are both given a moral critique - there are good German, bad Germans and the same with the Soviets. This is a highly enjoyable series and I look forward to reading the next volume.

Nov 13, 2014, 3:36 pm

I just realized that I have Zoo Station by David Downing on my shelf - pretty sure I picked up a free copy earlier this year at a mystery book convention. Nice to see your positive review of the series which may urge me to inch the book higher on my TBR list.

Nov 18, 2014, 12:51 am

89. Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates

Gunna the cop is now working for the serious crime division in the capitol city. Rekyavik is still suffering from the fallout from the collapse of the economic system which hit the little man more than the big man and there are always consequences to desperation even in a usually low murder rate city. The first case to come across Gunna's path is that a low level celebrity. When one of the contacts of the victim is murdered the case grows in complexity.

Gunna takes everything in her stride and her team continues to move forward despite setbacks. Gunna is a great detective to read about and to work for. I am enjoying this series.

Nov 19, 2014, 2:16 am

90. The Mammoth Book of True Crime by Colin Wilson

I enjoyed this, but by the time I got to War Crimes just now (the very last chapter), I was completely burnt out on this book. Not a lot stands out to me, except maybe the chapter on Military Murders. The best, of course, was undoubtedly the chapter on Serial Killers (it was also the longest in the book). I definitely prefer books that are about either specific serial killers or serial killers in general.

A common complaint here is that Colin Wilson wrote mostly of old cases from England. This is true. I guess you had to realise before you picked up the book that Wilson is from England.

Nov 23, 2014, 9:29 am

91. Clobbered by Camembert by Avery Aames

This is the third book in the Cheese Shop cozy mystery series and is set in the winter. Things are hectic, as they are splitting their time between the shop and their tent at the winter fair. Charlotte is surprised to meet an old friend of her mother's, who has come to town with several business interests in mind, including the purchase of a farm where she plans to set up honeybees, a business that would be in direct competition with the boyfriend of Charlotte's employee, Rebecca. Charlotte is disturbed by some of the comments by her mother's friend about the accident that killed her parents, which gives her guilty thoughts. When a death occurs that implicates Ipo, Rebecca's boyfriend, Rebecca badgers Charlotte into using her skills and influence to find out who really did it. Relationship issues also flow through the novel, with her cousin's upcoming marriage, the continued presence of his wild, British ex, and the challenges of 9 year old twin girls. Also, there is some intrigue regarding Charlotte's boyfriend, Jordan. Overall, I found it to be a better mystery than the 2nd book, but it did have a lot of secondary characters, and some of the main characters got annoying from time to time.

Nov 27, 2014, 12:43 am

92. Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

The second installment of the series improved on the first. Hannah is obviously growing as a character. She makes better decisions, yet is still her impulsive self. Her relationship with her sister, Andrea, is also growing.

This time when murder strikes in Lake Eden, Hannah needs to help her friend, Danielle, who is suspected of murdering her battering husband. Andrea insists on helping Hannah and the two become quite the investigative pair. Andrea is the charmer and can get information from people when they don't even know they are giving it, which Hannah is good at the direct approach and putting the pieces together.

Once again, the mystery was good and kept me intrigued all the way to the end.

Nov 28, 2014, 10:46 am

93. The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J Duncan

This easy-to-read, cozy mystery was a first from this author. It has the same wit and charm that you find in Agatha Christie mysteries with a late middle-aged manicurist who finds herself in the middle of the mystery of a vanishing bride who was last seen at her nail salon. With a touch of romance, lots of twists and turns, and enough clues to help you possibly determine the murderer, it definitely keeps your attention.

Nov 30, 2014, 10:54 am

94. Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot received a letter asking for help, where the surprise thing was it came at once with the death of the writer. He was found in the golf course, almost buried. With the assistance of his best friend, Captain Arthur Hastings, they came to the place of incident. What was the connection between two murders happened during last 20 years? Between the millionaire’s wife and his secret lover lived next door? Between a beautiful entertainer girl and a blackmail? And then worse, the second murder happened. Hercule Poirot should struggle to find the murder before the third one being done. Meanwhile, Captain Hasting could not resist his true love to come.

Dic 3, 2014, 1:28 am

95. Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

"Dark Places" is the story of Libby Day, who was 7 years old when her mother and sisters were murdered in their rural Kansas home. She escaped by climbing out a window and hiding in the woods. Her brother, Ben, was charged in the crime and was accused of being a Satan worshiper.

The story alternates between the present day, when Libby is in her 30s and has been living a shiftless life, and the day before the murders in 1985. In the present, Libby meets a group of true crime enthusiasts who think Ben is innocent, and she agrees to track down some people from her hometown and ask them about what really happened that night. The flashback chapters tell the story from both Ben's and the mother's point of view.

What I like about Flynn's writing is how layered it is -- the story slowly unfolds and we see the different sides of the story. Did Libby actually see what she thought she saw? Was Ben really a Satan worshiper? Where was Libby's father that night? What happened to Ben's girlfriend?

If you like a good thriller that is hard to put down, I heartily recommend "Dark Places."

Dic 8, 2014, 3:09 am

96. The Silent World of Nicolas Quinn by Colin Dexter

My favorite of the three Morse books. On the whole, I really like the series. Morse comes across as a real person, making mistakes in deductions, jumping to conclusions, and so forth. The plots are pretty convoluted, but these are not the kind of mystery novels where the reader tries to figure it out before Morse. These are about how Morse goes about it, and about the characters involved.

I will definitely read more of the Inspector in the future.

Dic 9, 2014, 2:49 am

97. B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton

The author seemed to be more in control of her protagonist and the plot in this the second book in the series. The action moved on faster and Kinsey Millhone came across as a more rounded character this time. There were some lamentable lapses though; the policeman to whom she goes to reveal the killer's name isn't there ... so she says she'll return the next day! I'm no detective but I think I'd know to tell someone else and get the baddie arrested immediately! And going alone without a gun to where the baddies are headed doesn't seem like the action of a sensible person to me! Those inconsistencies apart, I still enjoyed this book and didn't guess the end as there were so many suspects to choose from. A good, light read.

Dic 9, 2014, 10:46 am

>212 Hanneri: I don't have this one by Dexter so I've just ordered a copy. Thanks for the book bullet!

Dic 9, 2014, 10:47 pm

I haven't read any of the Inspector Morse books but I do love the TV adaptations starring John Thaw. Kinsey's my go-to books when I need a change of pace that feels like coming home. I don't do cozies so Grafton's books count as cozies for me.

Modificato: Dic 19, 2014, 2:42 am

98. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black

I found this book to be confusing and depressing. It was OK, but it is just not the kind of mystery novel that really turns me on, and I found that I just did not care about the protagonist or the other characters that would continue from one book to the other.

Dic 19, 2014, 2:42 am

99. Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas

I love sweets, I love Paris; I was definitely interested in reading this book! Amy Thomas tells the story of leaving her beloved New York for Paris for work (as a copy writer for Louis Vuitton) - a dream of hers since a semester abroad in college left her smitten with the city. Amy has a sweet tooth and has lots of experiences visiting bakeries in both cities which are interwoven throughout the book. All in all, I thought the book was interesting - the experience of an expat (with limited french) living and working abroad. As much as she loves Paris, she misses New York and her life there (friends, family, full social calendar) and talks about that candidly. I did find it a bit repetitive at times and thought she worked hard to make some things align.

Dic 19, 2014, 6:21 am

100. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger is one of those classics that everybody says you have to read, Well I have read it and it just didn't have any impact on me at all.

Three things about this Novel annoyed me. Firstly the repetitive use of words like phoney, goddam, madman, crazy and sore, I know that these words accurately reflected the teenage colloquial speech of the time however the over use of this vocabulary really got on my nerves.

Secondly, Salinger presents The Catcher in the Rye through a first person point of view. I found this really interesting to begin with however I found myself getting tired of the narrator Holden Caulfield as he is not really a reliable character in his understanding and reporting of events.

Thirdly and most importantly Catcher in the Rye lacked a proper plot. I felt you have to dissect this book to really get the true meaning of what J.D Salinger wanted to get across with this story, and for me the book really is not worth the effort for that.

Dic 21, 2014, 9:37 am

101. Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

A wonderful holiday read! With shades of "The Holiday" in the Christmas swap, I loved watching Juliet and Gemma out of their comfort zones and gaining new insights into themselves and each other. The characters were wonderfully well-rounded and relatable, and the children had their own distinct personalities and quirks. Add in a good dollop of romance and holiday cheer... and you've got a recipe for a book I couldn't put down.

Dic 24, 2014, 9:53 pm

Just wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year ahead. I'm looking forward to sharing your reading in 2015!

Dic 24, 2014, 10:39 pm

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Dic 25, 2014, 7:03 am

Merry Christmas!

Dic 26, 2014, 12:11 pm

Thank you for all the kind wishes! I wish all of you a happy holiday season with friends and loved ones and a wonderful new year!

Dic 26, 2014, 12:12 pm

102. Christmas is Murder by C S Challinor

This is great fun to read. The first book in the series has Scots QC Rex Graves visiting the home/motel of his mothers best friend for Christmas. Arriving in the middle of a snowstorm, Rex is greeted with a dead body and a cast of characters that are as diverse as they are interesting. With more bodies showing up, Rex needs to solve the mystery of who is killing the guests, and why? There are a couple of small "bumpy" spots in the story but on the whole I loved it.

Dic 27, 2014, 4:45 am

103. Towards Zero by Agatha Christie

I really enjoyed this. This was one of Agatha Christie's best. I enjoy the character of Superintendent Battle, and the rest of the characterisation in this was just as good. I particularly liked the fact that any of the characters could have been the murderer. It makes it that much more satisfying a mystery. There were also a fair number of unrelated matters, snippets out of the characters' ordinary lives that helped make the story believable and more satisfying. Particularly as they were given without comment or anything relating them to the later bit they were to do with. At the same time, it still managed to be a quick, light read. All in all, I'd certainly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Modificato: Dic 27, 2014, 5:46 am

Scandenavian Crime - How about Bear Island by Alistair MacLean? I just finished it, and enjoyed it - does that count?

Gen 1, 2015, 2:17 am

Done for the year!

Gen 1, 2015, 11:04 pm

Congrats on finishing!!

Gen 2, 2015, 9:50 am

You've had a great reading year!

Gen 2, 2015, 10:13 am