Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The 3rd and 4th books in the series following Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. KINDNESS takes place in Philadelphia where Walt has come to visit his daughter, Cady. But he arrives to find Cady in a coma after a beating and now Walt is after the men who did it. The western tone and atmosphere survives the East coast just fine and ends with a beautiful sequence in a city park. MOCCASINS is set back in Wyoming with large sections flashing back to Walt's first murder investigation 40 years before in Vietnam. When the body of a Vietnamese girl is found alongside a Wyoming highway, Walt has to dig into the past to find the killer of today. Johnson is a wonderful storyteller and if you ever have a chance to hear him speak in person--grab it. He's phenomenal.

The pen name that Ruth Rendell uses for her stand-alone psychological suspense novels. Ivor Tesham becomes a Tory MP at 31 and seems destined for stardom. But his propensity for sexual games proves his downfall. When a birthday gift for his married mistress ends in her death, Ivor spends months trying to pretend it had nothing to do with him. But his mistress had a friend who knows too much, a twisted and difficult woman who may or may not want to blackmail Ivor. Not my favorite of Vine's novels, but she would be hard-pressed to write anything that didn't satsify as a story.

INK EXCHANGE/Melissa Marr/A-
Leslie was once Aislinn's best friend. But since Ash has started hanging out with Keenan (whom Leslie doesn't know is actually a fey and the Summer King), Leslie has kept her distance. She has secrets of her own, painful ones she'd do anything to hide. But Keenan's friend, Niall, is watching and Leslie begins to think he might be her answer. Everything changes when she gets her tattoo--a symbol that links her to Irial and his Dark Court in a terribly personal way. Leslie's choices have been taken away--can Niall help her find her way to independence? This is easily my favorite of Marr's books and I hope she plans to bring Leslie back in future stories.

Wealthy spinster Rachel Innes is persuaded to take a country house for the summer by her wards, Gertrude and Halsey. Set at the turn of the last century, this story has things that go bump in the night, a dead body, ill-fated love, a bank scandal, and a possible hidden room. What really works in this dated story is the voice--Rachel Innes is marvelously sarcastic and self-aware and refuses to take her own fears seriously. It was a fun read for the beach.

Gotten lots of word of mouth and big promotions, but just not to my taste. Liz is the girl with tattoos (the dragon being just one) who does freelance work investigating security risks. When she's asked to investigate a journalist who has just been convicted of libel, Liz can't get him off her mind. The main story is Mikael's (the journalist) who is asked by a wealthy recluse to help him discover who killed his great-niece 40 years ago and has been taunting him with it ever since. It's a classic closed-circle mystery (in this case, an island in Sweden) and Mikael's work soon stirs up threats against himself. The premise is solid, but the execution didn't work for me. It didn't help that I didn't really like any of the characters.

SONS OF THE PROFITS/William Speidel/B-
A history of the first 50 years of Seattle, starring the profit-minded men in all fields who helped Seattle evolve from a mud-swamped camp to the Northwest's biggest city. The voice is distinct and brash, but mostly worth it for the funny stories layered in. Like the men lynched by a mob--on their death certificates, the coroner listed as Cause of Death "Irate Citizens."

INTO THIN AIR/Jon Krakauer/A
In May 1996, journalist Krakauer reached the summit of Everest just hours before a storm blew in and killed 7 people, 5 of them from his team. This is an amazing adventure book and a meticulous account of a disaster that should never have happened but is in the nature of attempting the world's highest mountain. Krakauer brings to life not just the people, but the conflicts and the mountain itself. Highly recommended.

THE LACE READER/Brunonia Barry/A+
Ah, a book one will either love or hate. Towner Whitney tells the reader in the first paragraph that she lies, setting you up for a fabulous story about the past, memory, and identity. Towner left Salem, Massachusetts 15 years ago after the death of her twin sister, Lyndley and Towner's own stay in a mental hospital. Now, at 32, she comes back home when her aunt vanishes. Coming home means confronting her mother, who takes in abused women on her tiny island, a past lover, and a police chief who suspects a cult leader of more than brainwashing. The title refers to the practice of lace reading, wherein gifted women could look through lace and see a peron's future. Read it! And then let me know if you're in the love it or hate it camp :)

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