I’m still here! Incredibly busy through the middle of the semester. I will divide the news into a series of short(er) blogs. We’ll start with the Fall “To Be Read” (TBR) update. There are ten books to be read before December 21. I’m currently on number 4 – Jane Haddam’s Bleeding Hearts. If anyone is reading along, let me know. There’s lots to share about travel, opera, university, grandchild, choral music, etc. All that is for later – stay tuned! Meanwhile, here are my reviews for the first three books on the list. All can be found on Amazon.com. I would tell you to stay warm as winter approaches, but it was 83 today here in South Georgia! Cheers! -JAS
Lee Child – Make Me
A Bit Formulaic But Who Cares – It’s Reacher!
It’s always a difficult wait for we Reacher-ites for the next saga to become available. We are never disappointed and “Make Me” certainly does not disappoint! The action leaps off the very first page with no preliminary verbiage. By the way, that’s the way we like it! Child sustains interest by incorporating several mysteries to contemplate, not the least of which is the name of the locale known as “Mother’s Rest.”
While this is a very satisfying read, particularly if you are up to date in the Reacher canon, there are some formulaic elements that sometimes give pause. Reacher randomly encounters a situation that ignites his code of ethics and requires his involvement. He hooks up with a strong female partner and experiences the requisite bedroom scene that has become another hallmark of the series. He is fascinated with technology, although sometimes not very good at it. He is tough – very tough, and he knows how to prevail in seemingly outnumbered situations.
In a noted departure from other tales in the series, Reacher does his familiar walk (or drive) into the sunset at the end, but this time not alone! Hmmm ,,,
All in all, this is a cracking good tome that will satisfy the desire for continued Reacheralia. You simply must read it! The final mystery of this latest Child opus is: When will we get the next installment?
Tim Ellis – Souls of the Dead
This Quirky Series Continues With Another Winner
I came to the Tom Gabriel series while waiting for the next Parrish & Richards book. Now I am hooked into two Tim Ellis series! While I’m not usually enamored by sc-fi elements in my reading selections, I am not bothered in the least by Tom Gabriel’s ability to see and communicate with dead people! It just seems to be part of the fascination of this remarkable character.
In “Souls of the Dead,” Ellis revisits characters and locale from the previous book to achieve some closure to that unfinished tale. He also weaves a new mystery into the mix as side-kick Butterfly takes on a new case on her own. Ellis skillfully moves his camera back and forth on these parallel developments as Gabriel tries to manage events from afar.
One of the main attractions of this series is the locale descriptions provided by Ellis as he takes us from St. Augustine, Florida to New York City, to the swamps of Georgia. As with the Parrish & Richards series, the dialog is energized through wonderful sarcasm and interesting interplay among all the carefully delineated characters.
As always, I suggest you start the series at the beginning, but you won’t be disappointed even if you start with No. 3. Kudos to Tim Ellis for providing us with such a rich tapestry of plots, twists, and quirky characters.
Sue Grafton – X
A Delightful Cozy As The End Of The Alphabet Looms!
It seems like it’s been a long time between Milhone episodes. However, Kinsey is still the same loveable, girly PI stumbling onto a case where perhaps none existed! Once she takes the gig, the twists and turns come flying in. The cast of regular characters remains the same. The paradigm that Grafton has created is familiar and helps to turn this series into somewhat of a succession of “cozies,” Still, Grafton, writing in the first person through Kinsey’s eyes, manages to maintain our interest through the labrynth of situations.
What’s really fun is the series of “gotcha” moments where the reader might say “I didn’t see that coming!” All this makes sense because when writing in the first person, we only know what Kinsey knows. Without a variety of points of view or the benefit of an omniscient narrator, we experience the events in real time along with Kinsey. As difficult as first person writing is, Grafton accomplishes it masterfully! Finally, while I usually advocate reading a series in order from the beginning, the stories of the Milhone alphabet series really can stand on their own. Meanwhile, let’s all place bets on the titles for “Y” and “Z!” Hey – how about Zamboni!