Sunday, 2 October 2016

Book Purchases - September 2016

It's another rainy day in the Valley. We had some real heavy downpours last night. Just as I took the pups out for the nightly walk, it decided to soak us. Timing is everything. My subject today is my monthly book purchase update. For the most part I searched out mysteries but I also found a few interesting SciFi/ Fantasy books. Most were purchased locally, a mix of used and new. I also received one online book order, which is always fun. So here we go, in no particular order or genre, my September 2016 book purchases.

1. Jack of Spies by David Downing (Spy). I have enjoyed my other David Downing series, featuring US newspaperman John Russell, as he spies on the Nazis during WWII. This is the first book in Downing's Jack McColl series.

"It is 1913 and the world is teetering on the bring of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, moonlights collecting intelligence for the British Secret Service wherever his sales calls take him: Tsingtao, San Francisco, New York. But espionage is in its infancy, and jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London. He knows, though, that now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious Irish-American suffragette journalist his wiled her way into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her family might be embroiled in the Irish independence movement. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And will he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?"

2. Sliver by Ira Levin (Horror). This book was made into a not-so-good movie starring Sharon Stone and one of the Baldwin brothers. I have enjoyed the other Levin books I've read, especially Rosemary's Baby, so I'm looking forward to giving this a try.

"Thirteen hundred Madison Avenue, an elegant 'sliver' building, soars high and narrow over Manhattan's smart Upper East Side. Kay Norris, a successful single woman, moves on to the twentieth floor of the building, high on hopes of a fresh start and the glorious Indian summer outside. But she doesn't know that someone is listening to her. Someone is watching her."

3. The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith (Fiction). Highsmith is one of the more unique writers I've read. I don't always like her books but she has interesting ideas and creates different situations.

"Walter Stackhouse's love for his wife is dead: now he wishes she was.  His wish comes true when Clara's body is found lying at the bottom of a cliff. But there are uncanny similarities between her death and that of a woman called Helen Kimmel, who was, in fact, murdered by her husband.
The apparent connection is not lost on Lieutenant Corby of the Newark police. The object of close scrutiny, Walter is forced into a string of blunders that claim his career and his reputation, cost him his friends -  and ultimately threaten his life."

4. The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton (Fiction).

"Set in a future of stultifying dullness, the ordinary citizen Auberon Quin is chosen from a list to be King. His whimsical desire to inspire local patriotism in the London boroughs seems an outrageous and hilarious prank as he lectures to an antiquarian society on the significance of style and vast discomfort for the provosts of the boroughs. But Adam Wayne, the provost of Notting Hill who has no sense of humour at all, wears his red robes with pride and his fanaticism soon ha the city plunged into savage street warfare."

5. White Night by Jim Butcher (Fantasy). The Dresden Files series is one of my favourites. I like to try and read one a year for the enjoyment and so it will last longer.

"Someone is targeting Chicago's magic practitioners - the members of the supernatural underclass who don't possess enough power to become full-fledged wizards. Some have vanished. Other appear to be victims of suicide. But now the culprit has left a calling card at one of the crime scenes - a message for Harry Dresden.
Harry sets out to find the killer, but his investigation turns up evidence pointing to the one suspect he cannot possibly  believe guilty: his half brother, Thomas. To clear his brother's name, Harry rushes into a supernatural power struggle that renders him outnumbered, outclassed, and dangerously susceptible to temptation.
And Harry knows that if he screws this one up, people will die - and one of the will be his brother..."

6. Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris (Fantasy) - Cool! A new series from Harris, who also created Sookie Stackhouse and Lily Bard, amongst others.

"Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and the Davy highway. It's a pretty standard dried-up western town.
There's a pawnshop (someone who lives in the basement is seen only at night). There's a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there's new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he's found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own)."

7. Shift by Hugh Howey (Science Fiction). This is the second book in the Silo trilogy. Wool, the first, was fantastic.

"In 2007, the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech outlined the hardware and software platforms that would one day allow robots smaller than human cells to make medical diagnoses, conduct repairs, and even self-propagate. In the same year, a television program aired about the effects of propranolol on sufferers of extreme trauma. A simple pill, it had been discovered, could wipe out the memory of any traumatic event. At almost the same moment in humanity's broad history, mankind discovered the means to bring about its utter downfall - and the ability to forget it ever happened."

8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Fantasy). This book has always kind of interested me and the fact that it has just been released as a movie tweaked my interest again, so when I saw a copy at one of my local bookstores, I decided to give it a whirl.

"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine's children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desert island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though tit seems - they may still be alive."

9. Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton (Mystery). This is the second book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series.

"When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiancé home to Lochdubh, everyone in town is delighted... except for love-struck Hamish Macbeth. But affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla's engagement party, has just been found dead during a grouse shoot - murder most fowl! Now with so many posh party guests as prime suspects, each with their own reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must take care to smooth ruffled feathers in his hunt for the killer."

10. Simple Genius by David Baldacci (Thriller). This is the 3rd book in the King and Maxwell series.

"Near Washington, D.C., there are two clandestine institutions: the world's most unusual laboratory and a secret CIA training camp. Drawn to these sites by a murder, ex-Secret Service agent Sean King encounters a dark world of mathematicians, codes and spies. His search for answers soon leads him to more shocking violence - and an autistic girl with an extraordinary genius. Now, only by working with his embattled partner, Michelle Maxwell, can he catch a killer... and solve a stunning mystery that threatens the entire nation."

11. The Judas Pair by Jonathan Gash (Mystery). I do like to start a new series from the beginning. I have already purchased another of the Lovejoy mysteries, but this is the first, so I can finally start it.

"Not so long ago, like any other antiques dealer worth his salt, if you had asked me to find the Judas Pair, I would have laughed till I fell down. Everybody knew that they simply didn't exist.
The antiques business is riddled with myths and this supposedly exquisite, unique pair of 18thcenture duelling pistols was one of the greatest. Even when a thoroughly respectable new client offered me hard cash to track them down, I had to tell him that the pistols were a fantasy.
But he knew different. The Judas Pair, you see, had been used to murder his brother..."

12. Rumpole for the Defence by John Mortimer (Mystery). This is another of those fun series that I like to dust off once in awhile so it was nice to add to my small collection of the cases of Rumpole. The collection of short stories contains 7 stories.

13. Devices and Desires by P.D. James (Mystery). One of my favourite mystery series, featuring Inspector Dalgliesh. This is the sixth book in the series.

"A serial killer of women is on the loose in a remote area of the Norfolk coast. Overshadowing the bleak landscape and the lives of the local community is the Larksoken nuclear power station, run by the charismatic Alex Mair. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, who is staying at his aunt's converted windmill, becomes involved in the hunt for the murderer, a search that implicates him in the concerns and dangerous secrets of the headland community. And then one moonlit night it becomes chillingly apparent that the mass murderer isn't the only killer at work in Larksoken."

14. East of Suez by Howard Engel (Mystery). I've only recently begun reading the Benny Cooperman mysteries again. This is Engel's last book in the series.

"Beloved private eye Benny Cooperman is ready to hang up his gumshoes after an attack leaves him with lingering memory problems. But then an old chum goes missing...
Hot on the trail of Jake Grange, a school friend who ran a scuba-diving business, Benny heads to sunny Miranam, where he encounters a bon-vivant priest, a pretty marine biologist and an Englishman in search of kosher food. Of course, any of these charming locals could be responsible for Jake's disappearance. But when dead bodies start to appear, Benny knows he must be getting somewhere. Despite the head injury that impairs his reading ability, Benny is dogged as he uncovers layer upon layer of deceit."

15. The Archer Files by Ross MacDonald (Mystery). Ross MacDonald was born Kenneth Millar and was married to one of my favourite mystery writers, Margaret Millar. I decided to check out his mysteries; he is known for the mysteries of Private Eye, Lew Archer. When I went to Nearly New Books the other day, I discovered this collection of all his short stories and it was in lovely condition. Fate was telling me I had to try it.

"No matter which case private eye Lew Archer takes on - a burglary, a runaway, or a missing person - the trail always leads to tangled family secrets and murder. Widely considered the heir to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, Archer dug up secrets and bodies in and around Los Angeles.
Here the Archer Files collects all the Lew Archer short stories ever published, along with thirteen unpublished 'case notes' and a fascinating biographical profile of Archer by Edgar Award finalist Tom Nolan."

16. Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville (Mystery). This is the 3rd book in the Inspector Jack Lennon mysteries set in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"Galya Petrova travels to Ireland on a promise that she will work for a nice Russian family, teaching their children English. Instead, she is dragged into the world of modern slavery and sold to a Belfast brother. She escapes at a terrible cost - the slaying of one of her captors - and takes refuge with a man who offers his help. As the gangsters she fled scour the city for her, seeking revenge for their fallen comrade, Galya faces an even greater danger: her savior is not what he seems. She is not the first trafficked girl to have crossed his threshold, and she must fight to avoid their fate.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Jack Lennon wants a quiet Christmas with his daughter, but when what looks like a Lithuanian mob turf war leaves bodies across the city, he knows he won't get it. As he digs deeper into the case, he realizes he is locked in a deadly race with two very different killers."

17. Bitter River by Julia Keller (Mystery). This is the 2nd book in the Bell Elkins mysteries. I also have the first book on my shelf awaiting my attention. When I saw this book, I thought I should pick it up.

"Phone calls before dawn are never good news. Especially when you're the county's prosecuting attorney. So Bell Elkins already knows she won't like what she's about to hear, but she's still not prepared for this: sixteen-year-old Lucinda Trimble's body has been found at the bottom of Bitter River. And Lucinda didn't drown - she was dead before her body ever hit the water.
With a case like that, Bell knows the coming weeks are going to be tough. But that's not all Bell is coping with these days. Her daughter is living with Bell's ex-husband, hours away. Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, one of Bell's closest friends, is behaving oddly. Furthermore, a face from her past has resurfaced for reasons Bell Can't quite figure. Searching for the truth, both behind Lucinda's murder and behind her own complicated relationships, will lead Bell down a path that might put her very life at risk."

18. The Blackhouse by Peter May (Mystery). This is the first book in a new series for me, the DI Fin Macleod series set in the Outer Hebrides. I saw it at The Laughing Oyster and it seemed interesting.

"When a grisly murder occurs on the Isle of Lewis that bears similarities to a brutal killing the mainland, Edinburgh detective and native islander Fin Macleod is dispatched to the Outer Hebrides to investigate, embarking at the same time on a voyage into his own troubled past.
As Fin reconnects with the people and places of his tortured childhood, the desolate but beautiful island and its ancient customs once again begin to assert their grip on his psyche. Every step toward solving the case brings Fin closer to a dangerous confrontation with the dark events of the past that shaped - and nearly destroyed - his life."

There you go. Anything of interest?


  1. Bill ... sitting in our friends home during our visit to Germany and thought I would scour the Weeb for any information about Lahr and the school there that I attended in the late 60s ... to my surprise I find a picture of our Grade 9B class! You center ... me bottom left!
    Next picture you mention your nickname and a picture of your yearbook. I signed it for ya! Top right, upside down to boot! Very kewl.
    My wife and I are going to tour Lahr next week and see how much has changed after 46 years!
    Take care Bill

    1. I'm glad you saw the photo, Ian and hope it brought back some good memories. Enjoy your trip to Lahr and thanks for your comments. 46 years ago... Egads!! Amazing isn't it.


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