Death of an Honest Man review

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Goodreads: Sergeant Hamish Macbeth–Scotland’s most quick-witted but unambitious policeman–returns in M.C. Beaton’s new mystery in her New York Times bestselling series.
Nobody loves an honest man, or that was what police sergeant Hamish Macbeth tried to tell newcomer Paul English. Paul had moved to a house in Cnothan, a sour village on Hamish’s beat.

He attended church in Lochdubh. He told the minister, Mr. Wellington, that his sermons were boring. He told tweedy Mrs. Wellington that she was too fat and in these days of increasing obesity it was her duty to show a good example. Angela Brody was told her detective stories were pap for the masses and it was time she wrote literature instead. He accused Hamish of having dyed his fiery red hair. He told Jessie Currie–who repeated all the last words of her twin sister–that she needed psychiatric help.

“I speak as I find,” he bragged. Voices saying, “I could kill that man,” could be heard from Lochdubh to Cnothan.

Started this book a little after midnight and had it done at 7:30 a.m.  It was true to the other Hamish books and it was good to read one for it seems like it took forever to become available.  I kid you not, I was 148th on a list for this book at the library.  I went ahead and bought it rather than wait.
Some would think that, this being the 33rd book, the series would be getting old but, alas, it does not.  I enjoyed this book as much as the first one I read.  Hamish is such a character that it is hard not to love him.
The story line keeps a person interested and while we really don’t get much of a chance to get to know the self-declared “honest” man (who isn’t very honest) before he is done off, I still didn’t like him.  With Blair up to his usual tricks, Hamish has to stay on his toes.
The book does do one thing I found a bit anti-climatic and that was its constant referral to something evil coming but failed, I think, to deliver on it but it is a small thing.
The hardest thing about reading this book is that I will have to wait another year or longer before the next one comes out.  I give it an A.
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The Great Alone review

The Great Alone

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

This was my first book by this author.  It was recommended to me by my sister who thought it was a pretty good book.  I read this book on Tuesday – it took me just over 6 hours to read it cover to cover.  I had minor interruptions and bathroom breaks but otherwise kept it in my hand. Was so deep in it that I forgot to eat the soup I had bought for supper.

Yes, I liked the story and thought it moved rather smoothly throughout.  It would have been exceptional except for those last couple over-emotional chapters. I felt like the author was trying to make me cry rather than sneaking something in so subtly that the tears come.  But whatever.  It was a small thing.

Quite frankly, I would have liked to see more about the awesome animals of Alaska too – more encounters – because the one encounter included was short and rather anticlimactic.  But maybe the author thought it would be too cliché.  Personally, I would have liked it a lot better.  The characters emphasis all through it that a person has to be armed and prepared for bear and wolf encounters but then nothing happens in that area.  Why bother stressing it so much then?

The book is good, I do recommend it.  It is not my normal genre, for sure, but it is good to stray now and then from the norm.  I give the book an A.

The Chalk Man review

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Goodreads: In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Well, let me say up front that I am not a fan of books that go back and forth between timelines.  It just isn’t for me.  Tell me the whole story from the present view and share old parts via conversations or dreams.  Hate going back and forth.

Having said that again, I did like this story of the full grown Eddie more than the youthful one.  Had the killer figured out pretty quickly but there were still a couple questions that didn’t get answered till the end.  I didn’t care for the ending – I just didn’t but that is me.

The story is decent and the characters often reminded me of several other books that center on events that started out with them as youths and ended with them never reaching their potential as adults.

This is a good book to sit down and read on a long, snowy weekend. I would be inclined to read the author again and give the book an A.

Girl in the Ice review

28233082Goodreads: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

Just finished this book.  I have to say, I knew the killer long before mid-book which made me happy to know I haven’t lost my touch.  The protagonist is Erika Foster, a detective newly reinstated after a previous investigation ends up in the loss of several of her team. A bit raw and still recovering herself from the tragedy, Erika throws herself into her new case – the girl in the water.

I did like Erika though I think she felt a bit stereotypical.  Still, one tends to jump in her corner early on.  The story flows nicely and keeps one intrigued even after guessing the killer.  How much did I like the book? Well, I went and bought the four so far in the series.  The library didn’t have #2 available so figured I’d just buy them all – if I don’t like the way it goes, I won’t keep reading them.  I give the book an A.

Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death review

344665Well, all through this book I swore I had already read it.  I find nothing to indicate I did but I knew it all so well that I’m sure I must have.  Guess I didn’t think enough of it to do a review – or whatever.

So Agatha has solved another crime whilst almost being offed herself in the process.  A little thickheaded towards who the killer could be though the rest of us saw it a mile away.

I’m still not sure why people love and rave so much about this character – I find her barely tolerable.  She is rude and crude one moment and off crying in her bedroom over hurt feelings the next.  It is a wonder she ever figures anything out.  However, having said that, I didn’t hate her so much in this book so maybe that is a good sign.  Maybe by the end of book eight, I’ll think she is as superb as so many others rave.

Anyway, this was a decent story and yes, I will give this series another chance. The writing is well done with lovely descriptions of gardens, quaint little towns, tea parties and crumpets.

House of Lost Souls review

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Well, this book was not what I expected – was hoping for more of a “Supernatural” spin of an evil house but this was more about ghosts from long ago. I’m not a big fan of any book that jumps generations, as I know I have said many times.

An alright read, long…very long.  Am really taken by the cover – no idea why but it was what made me read the book.

The Montauk Monster

18371375Goodreads: It Kills. . .On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .

It Breeds. . .In another part of town, a woman’s backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What’s clear is that they’re hostile–and they’re ravenous. . .

It Spreads. . .With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can’t help them; FEMA can’t save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

Finally finished this little gem – I’m surprised it isn’t a movie.  Yes, it is a familiar plot – the bad government makes these monsters with the idea that they’d be great soldiers but have no way to control them.  Uh, yeah, it doesn’t do anyone any good to create monsters you can’t control – they tend to kill their makers.

But, I liked the characters enough to be angry when they were killed off by these deformed killing machines.  It felt like the author enjoyed the killing spree.

The book is fast paced and full of action – I can say that there wasn’t a dull moment throughout and I don’t see how they could have cut it down from the 300+ pages without taking out some of the action.  Just once I’d like to hear the government bad guy be sad and ashamed of the slaughter of innocent people but guess they have to be tough asses or they’d never give the order in the first place.

First book I’ve read of this author but imagine I will read more.  I give the book an A.