Friday, 24 May 2019

A Friday Quickie - Some New Books

It's a busy day. I dropped off some books at my local book store and picked up a few as well. One of my orders arrived in the mail. As well, Jo and I put in an offer on a house in the area. We'll see what happens in that regard, but if it's accepted, it might be a busy summer.

Anyway, the purpose of this quick entry is to let you know about the books I bought, maybe some might sound interesting to you.

New Books

1. Dennis Wheatley - The Launching of Roger Brooks.

"28 Jul 1783 - Nov 1787
This is the first of Dennis Wheatley's famous historical series in which appears the young man who was afterwards to become Prime Minister Pitt's most resourceful secret agent: Roger Brook.

The scene is the England of George III and the France of Marie Antoinette; the tale is that of the tall, blue-eyed Roger, who set out to seek fame and fortune in the year 1783.

He might never have set out at all had it not been for that ravishing creature, the wicked Georgina Thursby, and he most certainly would never have been involved in the secrets of French foreign policy had it not been for the fair Athénais de Rochambeau; but once on the way, his adventures provide us with an immense variety of entertainment."

2. Kate Ellis - The Bone Garden (Wesley Peterson #5).

"An excavation at the lost gardens of Earlsacre Hall is called to a halt when a skeleton is discovered under a 300 year old stone plinth, a corpse that seems to have been buried alive. But DS Wesley Peterson has little time to indulge in his hobby of archaeology. He has a more recent murder case to solve. A man has been found stabbed to death in a caravan at a popular holiday park and the only clue to his identity is a newspaper cutting about the restoration of Earlsacre. Does local solicitor Brian Willerby have the answer? He seems eager to talk to Wesley but before he can reveal his secret he is found dead during a 'friendly' game of village cricket, apparently struck by a cricket ball several times with some force. If Wesley is looking for a demon bowler this appears to let out most of the village side. But what is it about Earlsacre Hall that leads people to murder?" 

3. Colin Dexter - The Riddle of the Third Mile (Inspector Morse #6).

"Inspector Morse isn't sure what to make of the truncated body found dumped in the Oxford Canal, but he suspects it may be all that's left of an elderly Oxford don last seen boarding the London train several days before. Whatever the truth, the inspector knows it won't be simple--it never is. As he retraces Professor Browne-Smith's route through a London netherworld of topless bars and fancy bordellos, his forebodings are fulfilled. The evidence mounts; so do the bodies. So Morse downs another pint, unleashes his pit bull instincts, and solves a mystery that defies all logic."

4. Ken Bruen - Headstone (Jack Taylor # 9).

"In Headstone, an elderly priest is nearly beaten to death and a special-needs boy is brutally attacked. Evil has many guises and Jack Taylor has encountered most of them. But nothing before has ever truly terrified him until he confronts an evil coterie named Headstone, who have committed a series of random, insane, violent crimes in Galway, Ireland.

Most would see a headstone as a marker of the dead, but this organization seems like it will act as a death knell to every aspect of Jack’s life. Jack’s usual allies, Ridge and Stewart, are also in the line of terror. An act of appalling violence alerts them to the sleeping horror, but this realization may be too late, as Headstone barrels along its deadly path right to the center of Jack’s life and the heart of Galway."

5.  C.J. Box - Winterkill (Joe Pickett #3).

"It's an hour away from darkness with a bitter winter storm raging when Joe Pickett finds himself deep in the forest edging Battle Mountain, shotgun in his left hand, his truck's steering wheel handcuffed to his right-and Lamar Gardiner's arrow-riddled corpse splayed against the tree in front of him.

Lamar's murder and the sudden onslaught of the snowstorm warns: Get off the mountain. But Joe knows this episode is far from over. Somewhere in the dense timber, a killer draws back his bowstring-with Joe as his prey.

Joe's pursuit of the killer through the rugged mountains that surround the snow-packed town of Saddlestring takes a horrifying turn when his beloved foster daughter is kidnapped. Now it's personal-and Joe will stop at nothing to get her back."

6. James R. Benn - The First Wave (Billy Boyle #2).

"Billy Boyle is dispatched to help arrange the surrender of Vichy French forces in Algeria. But dissension among the regular army, the militia, and De Gaulle's Free French forces allows black marketers in league with the Germans to divert medical supplies, leading to multiple murders. Billy must find the killers and rescue the woman he loves, a British spy.

7. Iain M. Banks - Transition.

"There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

So there you go. Some book ideas for the weekend. 

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A Thursday Reading Update and some Other Things

It's been a busy week, lots of spring cleaning and some other things which may or may not bear fruition. The puppies are quite tired as they've been out for some long drives with me... Poor puppies. ;0) Yesterday I took them for a drive around the local Little Free Libraries and found 3 book. Unfortunately two of them have either closed or moved to new locations. Today in the mail I received one of my book orders, so I've 4 new books to update for you. Since my last update I've finished three books. I'll update those as well as the books I've started reading since. I'll also do my first entry in my continuing look at the Mystery genre, this time focusing on American cop series.

New Books

1. Agatha Christie - The Golden Ball and Other Stories.

"Is it a gesture of good will or a sinister trap that lures Rupert St. Vincent and his family to magnificent estate? How desperate is Joyce Lambert, a destitute young widow whose only recourse is to marry a man she despises? What unexpected circumstance stirs old loyalties in Theodora Darrell, and unfaithful wife about to run away with her lover? In this collection of short stories, the answers are as unexpected as they are satisfying. The Queen of Crime takes bizarre romantic entanglements, supernatural visitations, and classic murder to inventive new heights."

2. John Sanford - Extreme Prey (Lucas Davenport #26).

"After the events in Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation—no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend the governor is just cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. “Should be fun!” he says, and it kind of is—until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor . . . and anyone who gets in the way."

3. H.E. BatesA Breath of French Air (Pop Larkin #2).

"‘I should like to go to France,’ said Ma.

‘God Almighty,’ Pop said. ‘What for?’

‘For a holiday of course,’ Ma said. ‘I think it would do us all good to get some sun.’

And so at the end of a rainy English August the Larkins – all ten of them, including little Oscar, the family’s new addition – bundle into the old Rolls and cross the Channel to escape the hostile elements.

But far from being the balmy, sunny and perfect spot Ma Larkin hoped for, France proves less than welcoming to an eccentric English family. The tea’s weak, the furniture breakable and the hotel manager is almost as hostile as the wind and the rain they’ve brought with them! And when the manager learns that Ma and Pop are unmarried yet sharing a room under his roof, the trouble really begins…"

4. Dorothy B. Larkin - In a Lonely Place

"Dix Steele is back in town, and 'town' is post-war LA. His best friend Brub is on the force of the LAPD, and as the two meet in country clubs and beach bars, they discuss the latest case: a strangler is preying on young women in the dark. Dix listens with interest as Brub describes their top suspect, as yet unnamed. Dix loves the dark and women in equal measure, so he knows enough to watch his step, though when he meets the luscious Laurel Gray, something begins to crack. The American Dream is showing its seamy underside." 

Just Finished

1. Elizabeth Daley - The Book of the Lion (Henry Gamadge #13).

"The Book of the Lion is the 13th book in the Henry Gamadge mystery series by Elizabeth Daly. I've read a few of the books so far and this is one of the best. As I grow used to Henry Gamadge, I'm liking the stories more and more. In some ways the American bibliophile (hired to look at and verify old books and documents) and a criminologist.

This story, like the others, is light and easy to read but also an excellent mystery. Henry is asked to take a look at correspondence of a poet / playwright who had been murdered a few years back. (The story is set in May 1947. The client has heard that there is a market for such correspondence (maybe up to $1,000) and he asks for Gamadge's opinion. Before he can do this, the widow sells the letters to a rich investor. The whole thing intrigues Gamadge and he begins his own investigation into the previous murder and of the lives of those involved.

As he delves in, he discovers that the poet may have had a somewhat shady past. Back in the 20's he was part of a group of writers who lived in Paris and may have been involved in forgeries. This is where the title comes in. The Book of the Lion is purportedly a lost manuscript from Gregory Chaucer.

As Gamadge continues his investigation, we are introduced to a number of interesting characters; both suspects and Henry's friends and helpers. He seems to have a cadre of friends who assist him in parts of his investigation. There is a lightness to the story, even with the previous murder and some threats to Gamadge and others. He is a great personality, reminds me of Peter Wimsey. There is enough exploration of the art of bibliophiles that adds to the interest. It all resolves very nicely, but is still satisfying. I enjoyed very much and will continue to explore this classic mystery series. (4 stars)" 

2. Dean Koontz - Intensity.

"Dean Koontz has been hit or miss with me over the years. Some books I've quite enjoyed; Odd Thomas, Phantoms, Watchers, etc but others have been forgettable. Intensity, originally published in 1995 leans towards the forgettable. The premise is that a serial killer invades the home of the Templeton family. Laura Templeton is home for a long weekend from university and she is accompanied her best friend Chyna Shepherd, herself a child of a troubled upbringing.

The worst happens and for various reasons (amongst them being an attempt to save her friend), Chyna finds herself hiding in the killers motor home and on the way to a potentially catastrophic ending. Chyna and the nameless / faceless killer travel to Oregon to his hidden home, patrolled by trained Dobermans, along the way, he kills others. Chyna is discovered in his home as she sneaks in and tries to save Ariel, another girl held hostage by the killer. Chyna is also taken prisoner and then begins the great escape effort.

In many ways it's all paint by numbers. The killings are more intimated at as are the killer's motives. Who is the girl in his basement? Every thing is vaguely glossed over. And what the heck is that mysterious elk that appears at the killer's home that the Dobermans either can't sense or maybe even fear? The ending is much better than the beginning and middle, there is more tension and the very end is pleasingly satisfying. But all in all, I think this is a thriller where Koontz is going through the motions somewhat. If you like all of his work, it's worth reading, but he has done better in my mind. (3 stars)" 

3. Jane Haddam - Baptism in Blood (Gregor Demarkian #14).

"Baptism in Blood is the 14th book in the Gregor Demarkian mystery series by Jane Haddam. I haven't followed this series in any particular order and for some of the character development it might have been a somewhat better idea (I refer to the development of the relationship between Gregor and Bennis Hannaford), but the books for the most part stand well on their own.

In this story, the Armenian - American, ex-FBI profiler, now consultant, Gregor Demarkian is asked by an old friend to come to North Carolina to help investigate the murder of a baby. Gregor is having some personal issues; he also thinks his friend Tibor, the priest is having troubles coping. But he still is persuaded to go to North Carolina to assist the local sheriff.

Gregor finds himself in the Bible belt, a small community that is just recovering from a hurricane, and a community that is also dealing with another community living on the grounds of a local mansion, a group of women, escaping from their own issues. They are accused of Satanic worship, they are lesbians. It's a fascinating dichotomy, especially in light of the daily issues I'm reading these days; anti-abortion, LGBTQ rights at risk, etc. Trump even makes his presence in this story, albeit only as a brief mention. (You can't escape the man!!) (Just kidding)

A young woman is accused of murdering her baby and is in jail. She accuses members of the lesbian community of practicing Satanic rituals and killing her baby. This is the situation wherein Gregor finds himself. Gregor is also somewhat adrift at sea; dealing with issues of his own past. He is having difficulties coping with the death of his wife, even thought it happened quite a long time in his past. And he is coping with is feelings for Bennis, the fantasy writer who lives back in his Armenian community in Philadelphia.

So that is the scenario. As Gregor and the local sheriff gather information, there are other murders which add to the urgency. Protests from the religious community against the lesbians, etc. The story is peopled with many fascinating characters, all with their own unique personalities and issues. It's a most enjoyable story, more than a mystery. The Demarkian series is a favorite of mine and the stories never disappoint. And Gregor is an interesting 'detective', his description as the Armenian - American Hercule Poirot is very apt. Excellent as always (4 stars)" 

Currently Reading
I've begun picking from my June Freebie list as I've completed the last couple of books. I chose 10 freebies for June.

1. Cornell Woolrich - Rear Window and Four Short Novels

"The story that inspired the Alfred Hitchcock film masterpiece! Cornell Woolrich. His name represents steamy, suspenseful fiction, chilling encounters on the dark and sultry landscape of urban America in the 1930s and 1940s. Here, in this special collection, are his classic thrillers, including 'Rear Window', the story of Hal Jeffries who, trapped in his apartment because of a broken leg, takes to watching his neighbors through his rear window, and becomes certain that one of those neighbors is a murderer. Also included are such haunting, heart-stopping tales as those involving a man who finds his wife buried alive; a girl trapped with a deranged murderer who likes to knife his victims while dancing; and a woman seizing her chance to escape a sadistic husband, only to find her dream go terrifyingly wrong.


Rear Window (a.k.a It Had To Be Murder)
Three O'Clock
Change Of Murder

2. Lynda La Plante - The Red Dahlia (Anna Travis #2). 

"Detective Anna Travis is working on a murder case that has created a media frenzy. The victim, Louise Pennel, a 24-year-old girl, was last seen in a London night club. Her body was found dumped by the River Thames. Anna must summon all her strength and guile to hunt down this sadistic killer."

3. Rex Stout - Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe #1).

 "As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man. When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's getting dreadfully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president. As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda -- whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who's still got poison in his heart."

My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - American Cops Part 1
Because this has been a pretty long post already, I'll limit myself to the first series on my list of American cop series (or equivalent coppish forces).

Nevada Barr
1.  Nevada Barr - Anna Pigeon (US Park Service). Nevada Barr was born in Nevada in 1952. During her life she has worked as a seasonal park ranger and gradually has moved into becoming a law enforcement ranger with the US National Park Service. Her series featuring Park Ranger Anna Pigeon has obviously been influenced by this career choice. The series moves from National Park to National Park as Anna's jobs have changed, so not only do you get interesting mysteries but you also get to experience the varied national parks. It makes for an interesting series. Since 1993, she has written 19 books in the series. I've read 13 of the books so far and have one other sitting on my bookshelves. For the most part it's been an entertaining and often suspenseful series. I'll highlight 3 or 4 of my favorites for you.

a. Hard Truth (#13 / 2005).

"Since I discovered the Anna Pigeon series a few years back, I've tried to read one or two every year or so. Hard Truth by Nevada Barr is the 13th book in the series and the 12th I've read so far. Anna Pigeon is a US Park Ranger and each book is generally set in a different US National Park, where Anna has found herself transferred for one reason or another.

In Hard Truth, Anna, newly married, has been transferred to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, filling the position of district ranger. This will mean a year away from her husband who stays back at Natchez, Mississippi. She has arrived at this position as the park has conducted a search for 3 lost girls, all belonging to a religious commune that resides just outside the park proper.

The story starts with Heath and her aunt Gwen Littleton who are camping in the park. Heath is an ex-mountain climber who was paralyzed in a fall and is still adjusting to her new life as a paraplegic and not going about the process too smoothly. The two discover two of the lost girls, both traumatized, both suffering injuries and dehydration. This brings Anna into the situation as well. The story now moves between the two women, Heath coping with her new limited body and trying to help one of the young girls, Beth, or as she calls her, the limpet. Anna, while working to learn the job in her new area and also to learn more about the other rangers who work there also works to discover where the other lost girl might be and who might have been involved in kidnapping them. The two girls, themselves, still traumatized, offer not too many clues as to what happened to them.

It's is at times a slow-paced story but still very interesting as Anna tries to sort things out in her mind and to find clues to what might have happened. We get a decent view of the park as well. The story gets darker and grittier as it moves along and the pace picks up rapidly as everything starts to fall together. There are many suspects that Anna must try to sort through and in the end must try to close out the case all the while trying to keep herself, the girls, Heath, and others alive from a dangerous, psychotic killer. As in most of her stories, Nevada Barr doesn't disappoint. (4 stars)" 

b. Ill Wind (#3 / 1995).

"In Ill Wind, Barr's powerful new novel, Park Ranger Anna Pigeon confronts death among the ruins. Colorado's Mesa Verde National Park is noted for its well-preserved cliff dwellings, the sole legacy of the Anasazi civilization, which vanished without any other trace in the twelfth century. Separated from friends and family and haunted by personal demons, Anna finds solace in these quiet ruins, their pinon-scented turrets and towers backlit by the fading blue of distant mountain ranges. But the rugged beauty of the park and the mystery of the Anasazi are cruelly overshadowed by danger and death. An unusually high number of medical rescues and the unexpected death of an asthmatic child are followed by the sudden demise of a fellow ranger who is found neatly curled up in one of the ancient kivas, his hat and shoes at his side. Anna had thought she'd found a friend in this man, had seen him as a kindred spirit, but his death transforms him into an enigma. Puzzled and more deeply wounded than she'd ever dare admit, Anna immerses herself in the ensuing investigation. As she sifts through shifting loyalties and struggles to honor the past, she must face forces both seen and unseen which threaten her career - and her very life. (4 stars)" 

c. Firestorm (#4 / 1996).

"As part of the army battling the Jackknife fire in northern California's Lassen Volcanic National Park, Anna, in her capacity as spike camp medic and security officer, tends the injuries and the frayed nerves of the firefighters. When the National Weather Service predicts a cold front followed by snow, promising to all but extinguish the fire, the camp is demobilized, but a last-minute rescue of a firefighter with a broken leg detains Anna and the San Juan crew. Driven on by the erratic thunderstorm of the front, wind shears in the steep canyon, creating the deadly weather conditions for a firestorm. As the ravine explodes in flames propelled by the racing winds, the crew tries desperately to outrun the blaze, ultimately seeking refuge in their individual silver fire shelters wryly referred to as shake 'n' bakes. When the fire finally passes, Anna emerges from her shelter to check on the fate of her companions. The sound of each exhausted voice, the sight of each bruised and blackened figure, is cause for celebration - until one member of the crew is found inside his shelter with a knife in his back. With darkness comes snow, making immediate rescue impossible, and Anna must tend to the physical and emotional wounds of the crew while seeking the identity of the murderer in their midst. (4 stars)"

d. Deep South (#8 / 2000).

"Deep South is the 8th book in the Anna Pigeon mystery series by Nevada Barr. I have read 10 or so books in the series and I have to say this is one of the better ones.

Anna Pigeon is a Park Ranger for the US National Park Service. Each story highlights a different national park around the US. In this story, Anna decides to bite the bullet and apply for a promotion and gets the job as District Ranger on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. With some trepidation she moves to this new job; it being a new area for her and she feeling somewhat nervous about becoming a boss and dealing with the the administrative aspect of the job and of having to lead Rangers instead of just being one.

She gets off to a somewhat rocky start as her two subordinates feel some resentment in being bossed by a woman and leave her to her own devices in the first two incidents. Anna gets involved in a ruckus at the campground where she is housed, two cars of teenagers causing problems with the campers. During this Anna discovers a young girl, drunk an abandoned. It turns out another girl is missing and she is found later, nearby and unfortunately, murdered. The body has been covered by a white hood with eye holes cut out and a noose placed around her neck. During the upcoming investigation, Anna and her two rangers and the local sheriff must keep racial implications in the back of the mind.

In its way, it's one of the more straight-forward mysteries of this series. As incident after incident crops up, Anna deals with it and continues with the investigation. She is threatened by an alligator (maybe left at her place on purpose), she deals with feelings for this new sheriff, she deals with the obstructionism of her deputy rangers and all the time she learns of her new district and continues to investigate.

It's an excellent mystery, lots of tension and sufficient action to satisfy you. Anna must deal with being somewhat of a stranger in a strange land, being a woman, white and a Northerner in this area of the US. The story works on many levels. My one minor complaint is that I find it somewhat difficult to believe that she would gain such familiarity with the areas so quickly, since she only just arrived there. But it's a minor complaint as the story is totally engrossing. And, you'll understand this when you read it. Give you doggie a hug. Excellent story! (4 stars)" 

The complete list of books in the series can be found at this link

So there you go. I hope you find some interesting ideas here. Have a great Friday. 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

And a minute passed.. er, well more like a Week..

It's difficult to believe that a week has passed since my last entry, but there you go, eh? I guess I've actually been a bit busy this past week; some yard work, the missus and I did some spring house cleaning, I had my physio appointment. I also finished 3 books this past week. Two books arrived in the mail (one of which makes up the list of 'finished' books). As I finish books the next two weeks I'm going to switch from my normal challenges to my June 'freebie' challenge. I've picked 10 books that I've had on my bookshelf for ages and read them.

At the moment, Jo and I are in the family room watching the Veronica Mars movie. The patio door is open and we've a nice cool breeze blowing in. We've had some rain this week and the temperature is a bit more comfortable.

So today, I'll update my new book purchases, books finished and any new books I'm reading. I'll also continue with my ongoing look at the Mystery genre, with my last entry in the American PI category.

New Books

1. In the Heat of the Night by Matt Pelfrey. This is the stage adaptation of John Ball's book. I'll discuss it more in my review as I read it this week.

2. Get Wallace! by Alexander Wilson (Wallace of the Secret Service #4).

"Sir Leonard Wallace, the famous chief of the Secret Service, finds that the peace of Europe is threatened by a gang engaged in the theft and sale of national secrets. Wallace gets busy, and is assisted by the gang leader's own fear of him and his anxiety to get the Englishman into his power. Wallace's investigations, his startling discoveries and his escapes from death make this one of the most exciting books ever written by Alexander Wilson."

Just Finished

1. In the Heat of the Night by Matt Palfrey.

"In the Heat of the Night is an adaptation for the stage by Matt Pelfrey of the novel by John Dudley Ball. This was the first in a series of books featuring African American police detective, Virgil Tibbs. The book was turned into an award winning movie and also an award winning TV series. I've tried to find a copy of the book and when I ordered this copy was surprised to find it was, instead, Pelfrey's adaptation.

With all that preamble, I must say I enjoyed this tremendously. My normal reading of plays is both haphazard and more often than not, not all that enjoyable. But this adaptation caught me from the very beginning and held my interest until the end. It was, to say the least, excellent.

I've seen the movie and have enjoyed the TV series from the late '80s / early '90s as well. This short play grabbed all of the salient aspects of both perfectly; the racism of Alabama when the story / play is set, the intelligence of Virgil Tibbs and his ability to transcend this racism as he tries to help the local sheriff (almost against both of their wills) solve the murder of a local realtor, and the realization by the sheriff and one of his deputies that there is more to a man than just the colour of his skin.

Briefly when local realtor Charles Tatum is found murdered in the middle of the road in Argo Alabama, local sheriff Gillespie has one of his deputies, Sam Wood check out the train station to ensure the possible suspect isn't trying to leave by train. Wood arrests a black man, thinking he is the murderer. It turns out to be Virgil Tibbs, who is a police detective from California, waiting for his train after visiting with his mother.

By various circumstances, Tibbs is thrown into the murder investigation and during this time, the feelings of Gillespie and Wood towards him evolve very quickly. Not so with other members of the community, especially those of the Klan. For a short play, it manages to run the gamut of emotions and personal feelings quickly and effectively. The story is developed in a logical, swift manner and it drags you into the characters immediately. I will still have to find a copy of the original book, but his adaptation was excellent and I can't recommend highly enough. (4.5 stars)"

2. Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad (Canaan Crime #1).

"The first book in the Canaan crime series by Eric Rickstad, Lie In Wait is also my first exposure to his writing. Based on this story, I look forward to reading more. There are three books in the Canaan crime series and he has also written two standalone novels.

The town of Canaan is located Vermont. The story starts with the violent murder of a young girl, baby-sitting for a local lawyer and his wife. The lawyer, Jon Merryfield, is assisting two gay men in their case against the state. This is not popular with a certain group in the community and this is one possible story line for investigation. Local detective, Sonja Test, is involved in the murder investigation, but in a subsidiary role to the State police investigator, Detective North. There is friction between the two, although they also make a reasonable team.

Other suspects begin to come to the surface as the two investigate. Could it be the star football player, who may have been having a relationship with 'underage' Jessica Cumber. Could it be his father, trying to protect his son? Could it be the lawyer himself? What about Jed King, the local trouble maker, who may have been trying to implicate the lawyer? It's an interesting group of suspects, each with seeming secrets to hide and the investigation moves along nicely.

While Sonja is the main character, the story does move between the various main characters, adding to the texture of the story. There are enough incidents throughout the story and an ongoing feeling of menace which adds to the tension that Rickstad develops. It's not a perfect story by any means but it is well-written, flows along very nicely and all in all, it's a satisfying mystery. (4 stars)"

3. Louisiana Lament by Julie Smith (Talba Wallis #3).

"Louisiana Lament by Julie Smith is the 3rd book in the Talba Wallis mystery series set in New Orleans. I've read books in Smith's other series, one featuring New Orleans cop Skip Langdon and the other San Francisco lawyer, Rebecca Schwarz. This was my first exposure to Talba Wallis.

Wallis is a PI who works for Eddie Valentino. In a previous book she had met her sister, Janessa (same father, different mother). Janessa had told Talba in no uncertain terms that she didn't want anything to do with her. Suddenly she gets a call from Janessa to come help her. On arrival, Talba discovers the dead body of Alyson Brown, Janessa's employee. We discover later that Alyson's daughter has also been murdered. Janessa and her friend, Nathan are both suspects.

Talba persuades her boss to take on the case and this begins the investigation into the murders or murder / suicide. One other aspect of Talba's character that needs to be highlighted is that she is a published poet, under the pseudonym of the Baroness of Pontalba. The story uses poetry at times provide clues to the mystery, an interesting aspect of the story.

There are no shortage of suspects' Alyson's son and other daughter, Janessa and Nathan, Alyson's business partner, etc. it's a meandering story that wanders between Talba and Eddie as they track down the suspects to gather clues. You get a nice picture of parts of New Orleans as the investigation is followed.

It's an interesting story. I found New Orleans interesting and also the main characters. I do find it interesting that Talba is black and the author is white and I wonder how accurate her portrayal of that culture is. At any rate, while not perfect, it is an interesting story and mystery. I will check out the other books in the series. (3 stars)"

Currently Reading
Latest books I've started are below.

1. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (John Hannay #1). I've read this a couple of times previously. I'm reading this for my Mystery Book Group as I'll be moderating the Group Read discussion in June.

"Adventurer Richard Hannay has just returned from South Africa and is thoroughly bored with his London life - until a spy is murdered in his flat, just days after having warned Hannay of an assassination plot that could plunge Britain into a war with Germany. An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for the killers, Hannay picks up the trail left by the assassins, fleeing to Scotland, where he must use all his wits to stay one step ahead of the game - and warn the government before it is too late. One of the most popular adventure stories ever written, The Thirty-Nine Steps established John Buchan as the original thriller writer and inspired many other novelists and filmmakers including Alfred Hitchcock."

2. The Book of the Lion by Elizabeth Daly (Henry Gamadge #13). 

"It should be a fairly routine job for Henry Gamadge: Examining the papers of a dead poet and playwright with some early promise but not much commercial success. But it's not so much the life and letters as the death of the author (murdered in Central Park) that interests Gamadge. Add in a dead witness and the odd behavior of the family, and Gamadge decides something criminal is afoot."

3. The Master of Rain by Tom Bradby

"Shanghai, 1926: a sultry city lousy with opium, warlords, and corruption at the highest levels. Into this steamy morass walks Richard Field, an idealistic Brit haunted by his past and recently appointed to the international police. He's not there long before called to the flat of a Russian prostitute, former daughter of privilege found sadistically murdered, handcuffed to her bed. When he discovers among her possessions a cryptic shipping log, he senses that this murder is more than a random crime of perverse passion. What unfolds is a searing story that propels Field into a confrontation with the city's most ruthless and powerful gangster, and a dangerous attraction to another salacious Russian whose sordid connections seem destined to make her the next victim"

My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre, American PIs (The Final One)
In my last entry, I looked at Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series. This is the final entry in my look at American PI's

John Straley
1. John Straley - Cecil Younger. John Straley is an Alaskan author / poet who has also acted as writer laureate for the state of Alaska. From 1992 - 2018 he has written 7 books in his Cecil Younger mystery series. Younger is a PI who works in Alaska. I have yet to start the series, but will this year. I have the first 4 books in the series sitting on my bookshelves.

a. The Woman Who Married a Bear (1992). 

"Sitka, Alaska, is a subarctic port surrounded by snow-dusted mountains. In addition to honest work, there is a lot of alcohol consumed and other people's money appropriated. Bars are loud, fights are mean. Rowdy youths party in the ancient Russian cemeteries, sitting on overturned gravestones. Sitka is hardly straight-laced, but murder is uncommon enough to be widely noted—like the Indian big-game guide killed by an ex-miner obeying voices from the earth's center. The victim's mother, a Tlingit Indian, summons to her nursing home a local investigator named Cecil Younger. The case is old and ostensibly solved. She wants him to investigate anyway. What he unearths is a virtual fairy-tale contrived to hide a primal conspiracy."

2. The Curious Eat Themselves (1993).

"P.I. Cecil Younger is in a jam. Louise Root had hired him after she was raped at the Otter Creek gold mine where she was working as a cook. She was the best friend of his ex-girlfriend, Hannah. Louise had come to him for help, and now she's being fished out of the ocean, her throat slashed. He has disappointed Hannah once again, yet suddenly everyone wants Younger's help: his old friend, Doggy, the D.A.; his autistic roommate, Toddy, whose Labrador retriever has disappeared; an image-conscious environmental activist; even the sleazy executives of Global Mining, whose interest in the case is suspicious. This is no longer a simple investigation, but a complicated murder case involving Global's environmentally incorrect waste disposal program and the implications of dumping cyanide into the ground. Dead bodies are piling up faster than Younger can count and he has his hands full just trying to stay alive, tracking down the suspects and some missing documents which could lead to the truth."

3. The Music of What Happens (1996).

"Younger's got the child custody case from hell, and a client to match. Shrill, confrontational, and obsessed, Priscilla DeAngelo is sure her ex is conspiring with a state senator to wrest her son from her. When she storms off to Juneau for a showdown, Younger's custody case swiftly turns into a murder. Fired from her defense team, Younger stays with the investigation. He's not sure what keeps him bulldogging the case—Priscilla's sister, his lost love; his regard for truth as a rare commodity; or the head injury Priscilla's ex gave him—but he won't let go until it's solved."

4. Death and the Language of Happiness (1997).

"Cecil Younger is a man who takes comfort in the absurdity of the universe.  And the universe is obliging him, with a joint phone call from his lawyer and his shrink, to convey a job offer from another client: all Cecil has to do is kill a man.

Though common sense tells him murder just isn't a good career move, his finances tell him it can't hurt to meet his potential client. The decision will lead Cecil from a pathetic small-time murder to a decades-old slaughter that is still reaching into the present—and its dark and chilly grasp may extend to Cecil Younger himself…"

The other books in this series are -
- The Angels Will Not Care (1998)
- Cold Water Burning (2001)
- Baby's First Felony (2018)

That finishes my look at American PI's. Next in line in my look at the Mystery genre will be American cop series. Can't wait, eh? Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday, 10 May 2019

A Friday Update

It's been a wonderfully warm week; temperatures in the low 20's (Celsius that is.. 70's if you still use Fahrenheit). I did a bit of work this morning, dropped off our recycling bottles. That paid for my haircut and a coffee and bagel for Jo and I. It's a bit warm to want to do much else... my excuse anyway. So we watched Deadline: White House this afternoon and are now setting up for our evening's viewing.

I finished my 3rd book of May this morning and started a new one that I think will be somewhat challenging. I also received a new book in the mail yesterday. I'll finish off today's entry with my ongoing look at the Mystery Genre.

New Books

1. Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson (1997). I've enjoyed a few of Atkinson's books, both her Jackson Brodie series and her standalones. This is her second novel.

"Once it had been the great forest of Lythe--a vast and impenetrable thicket of green with a mystery in the very heart of the trees.  And here, in the beginning, lived the Fairfaxes, grandly, at Fairfax Manor, visited once by the great Gloriana herself.

But over the centuries the forest had been destroyed, replaced by Streets of Trees.  The Fairfaxes had dwindled too; now they lived in 'Arden' at the end of Hawthorne Close and were hardly a family at all.

There was Vinny (the Aunt from Hell)--with her cats and her crab-apple face. And Gordon, who had forgotten them for seven years and, when he remembered, came back with fat Debbie, who shared her one brain cell with a poodle. And then there were Charles and Isobel, the children. Charles, the acne-scarred Lost Boy, passed his life awaiting visits from aliens and the return of his mother. But it is Isobel to whom the story belongs--Isobel, born on the Streets of Trees, who drops into pockets of time and out again. Isobel is sixteen and she too is waiting for the return of her mother--the thin, dangerous Eliza with her scent of nicotine, Arpege and sex, whose disappearance is part of the mystery that still remains at the heart of the forest."

Just Finished

1. Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan #8).

"Cross Bones is the 8th book in Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan forensic mystery series. I found it to be one of the more interesting ones so far.

Temperance is working at her 2nd job as forensic anthropologist assisting the Montreal coroner. (For those not familiar with the books, Temperance works in South Carolina most of the time, but spends time also in Montreal as part of an arrangement.) This story starts off with Temperance assisting with two bodies, one who is found in a chimney and another who may have committed suicide. His autopsy is witnessed by members of the Jewish community as well. During this autopsy, Tempe is given a photo of a skeleton and is advised that is the reason for the victim's 'murder'.

Thus starts an adventure that will take Tempe and her lover, police detective Andrew Ryan to Israel in search of further evidence and also to discover if the bones might be those of Jesus Christ. It's an intriguing story; a murder mystery and an investigation into the history of Jesus' family. The story moves along very nicely and provides an interesting history of the archeological digs in Israel as well as a nice glimpse of the country itself.

I did find some of it confusing, especially the story (which is based on a true one) of the discoveries in Masada. As well, the possible implications of discovering the body of JC, if it turns out to be the case in this story, and its impact on Christianity, Judaism and even Islam are examined, sometimes a bit too much. There is lots of action and the interactions between Tempe and Ryan are excellent. All in all it was a fascinating mystery and a joy to read. I have found that sometimes Kathy Reichs seems to be going through the motions, but not in this story. (4 stars)"

Just Started

1. Natchez Burning by Greg Iles (Penn Cate #4). I've started this already. I think it's going to be a heavy, dark read. Time will tell.

"Raised in Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows from his father, Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering the African-American nurse with whom he worked in the 1960s. Now Penn is determined to save his father no matter the cost.

The quest for answers sends Penn deep into a dark conspiracy involving the vicious Double Eagles, an offshoot of the KKK controlled by some of the state's most powerful men. With the aid of a local reporter and his fiancée, Penn uncovers a bloody trail stretching back forty years, and is forced to confront a wrenching dilemma: does a man of honor choose his father or justice?

Rich in Southern atmosphere, Natchez Burning marks the return of an American master of suspense. Tense and disturbing, it's the most explosive and ambitious story Greg Iles has ever written."

My Ongoing Look at the Mystery Genre - American PI's #19
In my last entry I looked at Dana Stabenow's Alaskan PI Kate Shugak.

Rex Stout
1. Rex Stout - Nero Wolfe. Mystery writer Stout lived from 1886 - 1975. He was born in Indiana and died in Connecticut. Between 1934 - 1975 he wrote 33 novels and 39 novellas. He is most well-known for his Nero Wolfe mysteries. I've read two of the Nero Wolfe books so far. There are still a few left and I've a bunch on my book shelves.

a. The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe #2).

"Rex Stout is another of those authors that I have come to late in my reading life. My first experience was with one of his last books, a short story collection, Death Times Three, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I've been trying to find his first book, Fer de Lance (1934) but so far with no luck. But I did find this book, The League of Frightened Men, his second book, originally published in 1935.

From being someone who enjoyed my first experience of the great detective, Nero Wolfe, I now find my self an unabashed fan. This book was excellent, a fascinating, entertaining, great mystery. Nero Wolfe and his partner, Archie Goodwin are a great team and both interesting in their own rights. Wolfe is an oversize detective, basically housebound, whose life, while he works to solve mysteries, is quite regimented. Each morning and each afternoon, he works upstairs in his home, tending his multitude of orchids. While he can be visited, no business is conducted. He settles the remainder of his day, in his office, tending to business.

Archie is his eyes, ears, arms and legs. Archie conducts the investigations, travels around New York and local environs, interviewing, gathering information. He can be Wolfe's strong arm man if necessary. The stories are told in Archie's voice, from his perspective. (Oddly enough, Wolfe does sometime leave his home, this I discovered in this story. But this seems to be a rarety, not the norm)

So this story; a group of men, Harvard classmates have a secret past. While in university, they hazed another classmate and as a result caused him to have severe injuries. Out of guilt, they have banded together to pay medical bills, etc. Now two have died, or maybe been murdered. They think that Paul Chapin is involved and that he plans to kill them all. Wolfe is hired and so the story begins.

I enjoyed so much how the story is presented; small details like how Wolfe decides how to bill each of the different members of the group, and so many other aspects. The story has a surprising menace throughout and the case is so very interesting (even when Archie and Wolfe seem to be grinding their heels trying to get information.) I love Archie's manner of presenting the case, his thoughts on Wolfe; a combination of affection and anger. Great story and now I will have to read the whole series. An excellent story and mystery. Can you figure out the ending? (5 stars!)"


2. Death Times Three (1985).

"Even though this was the last published book of Rex Stout's work, featuring Nero Wolfe, it was still my introduction to the famed detective. Death Times Three features three short stories/ novellas; Bitter End, Frame-up for Murder and Assault on a Brownstone. I didn't really have any sort of clue about Nero Wolfe and was interested to find out more about him and his assistant Archie Goodwin, who is, in effect, Wolfe's arms and legs. Wolfe never leaves his brownstone in New York and uses the investigations conducted by Archie to analyze and solve the cases brought his way. Wolfe is a curmudgeon, doesn't like his routine upset (breakfast, morning with his orchids, office work in the afternoon, then more work with his orchids, etc). He doesn't like women clients for some reason (maybe I'll find out more as I further explore his other cases), doesn't really need the work, but seems to take them on when his routine is disrupted or his character is called into question (at least in the three cases in this book.) They were nicely varied; an invasion by Treasury officials in the last, a case involving quinine in Wolfe's pate and the murder of a fashion designer. I enjoyed the cases, the dynamic between Archie and Wolfe and the interruptions by Inspector Cramer and how Wolfe works the information to solve the cases. Enjoyable reading and I'm looking forward to finding out more about this detective. (4 stars)"

3. Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe #1).

"As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man. When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's getting dreadfully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president. As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda -- whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who's still got poison in his heart."

4. The Rubber Band (Nero Wolfe #3).

"What do a Wild West lynching and a respected English nobleman have in common? On the surface, absolutely nothing. But when a young woman hires his services, it becomes Nero Wolfe’s job to look deeper and find the connection. A forty-year-old pact, a five-thousand-mile search, and a million-dollar murder are all linked to an international scandal that could rebound on the great detective and his partner, Archie, with fatal abruptness."

The remaining Nero Wolfe mysteries can be found at this link

There you go. One more entry in this category, then it'll be on to the next one; Mysteries with American Cops.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Mid-Week Reading Update

We've been having difficulties with our internet the past few weeks. Finally had the repair guy over. Things seem to be back to normal for the time being. *fingers crossed* It's been a lovely sunny day today. In fact, we've had lovely weather.

Well, I've finished two books in May so far and have started two replacements. I'll update that and also continue with my look at American PI's.

Just Finished

1.  Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #10).

"Ten Big Ones is the 10th book in the Stephanie Plum mystery series by Janet Evanovich.  Stephanie is a somewhat clumsy bounty hunter who works out of New Jersey for her cousin, Vincent Plum, a local bail bonds man. Her often assistant is Lula, an ex-prostitute who adds humor, as if there isn't enough already, to the stories. Stephanie is torn between two 'lovers', local cop Joe Morelli and fellow bounty hunter, Ranger, both of them hunks. Throw into the mix, Stephanie's wonderful family and you've got a recipe for fun and action.

In her latest adventure, Stephanie, in the course of trying to catch up to folks who are not meeting bond requirements, falls astray of a local gang and her life is threatened. In fact the gang purportedly has hired a West Coast hitman, the Junkman, to have Stephanie bumped off. Stephanie moves out of Morelli's house and hides out in one of Ranger's hideaways to ensure nobody in her family is put at risk.

All the while, stubborn as she is, Steph still takes Lula out with her on her bounty hunter duties, leaving a trail of burned out cars behind her as people take pot shots and other things at the terrible twosome. She also is involved in planning sister Valerie's wedding and escorting Grandma to funerals and letting her accompany her on her duties. As well, she is still torn between the two men in her life, desiring both but unable to sort out her priorities.. Oh, don't forget Sally, transvestite rock singer / school bus driver / wedding planner.

So it's more of the same and there is sufficient action and humor to keep you satisfied. A bit more of the sexiness from previous stories might have been appreciated but there is still enough to tease you along. Fun and games and chuckles. (3.5 stars)"

2. Savage Run by C.J. Box (Joe Pickett #2).

"Savage Run by C.J. Box is the 2nd book in the Joe Pickett and my first exposure to Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. I have to say I enjoyed very much, action, intrigue and a neat character, maybe a cross between Park Ranger Anna Pigeon and Sheriff Longmire... or maybe not.

I imagine I should have read the first book in the series first but it didn't seem to be all that critical as I was introduced nicely to both Joe and his family, Marybeth and their three daughters. This story starts with what seems to be an implausible bang, an environmental radical and his wife blown up when a cow explodes in front of them. But ultimately this won't seem so implausible and everything will make sense.

A mysterious person(s) has hired a pair of killers to get rid of a select group of environmentalists, with Stewie Woods the first. The main leader of the pair is an implacable killer, the other has doubts. Joe is involved only peripherally at first, assisting the local sheriff in investigating the explosion. The sheriff takes over and Joe is more involved trying to prove a local landowner, a nasty individual if I've ever seen one, killed an elk out of season, just for the head and antlers, and leaving the meat to rot.. This landowner is powerful and seems to have many connections.

The story moves between the killers as they take after the names on their list and Joe and Marybeth. It turns out that Marybeth knew Stewie from her past and she seems to be getting phone calls from someone pretending to be Stewie.

So there you have the gist of this entertaining story. Joe and the killers are drawn inexorably together as we near the climax and exciting finish. I guess it's a simple story in its own right but it was fun to read and to get to know Joe and his family somewhat. I will continue with the series. (4 stars)"

Just Started

1. Louisiana Lament by Julie Smith (Talba Wallis #3).

"Allyson Brown, the Girl Gatsby, is a woman of wealth, hostess of fabled parties, patron of the arts--especially of poets. Found floating in her own swimming pool, shot to death.

Poet and fledgling detective Talba Wallis gets an urgent call from the sister she barely knows: Janessa. To Girl Gatsby Janessa is close friend. But this call isn't an invitation to an elegant literary salon. Janessa wants off the hook as the principal murder suspect.

Investigating, Talba and her irascible boss, Eddie, find the reality behind the Gatsby glamour. Allyson was widely hated, a con artist who neglected her children, failed to pay her bills, and lied to everyone she wanted something from. The one person she loved may have ushered her to her death.

The case takes Talba and Eddie from literary parties to Gulf Coast bait shops, from biker bars to abandoned wharves, and finally, to the story of another Gatsby, which may yield answers, or greater mysteries."

2. Intensity by Dean Koontz.

"Edgler Vess is a sociopath intent on murder. He lives for one purpose only: to satisfy all appetites as they arise, seeking ever more outrageous experience. To live with intensity.

When he attacks her friend, Laura, Chyna Shepherd is saved by the instincts developed during a dark and turbulent childhood. Not knowing Laura is already dead, Chyna follows, hoping to save her friend, as Vess carries her body to his motor home - a dungeon and morgue on wheels. The killer, unaware of her presence, drives away. But Chyna is now trapped in his dangerous orbit.

Her sole aim is to get out alive, but when she learns the identity of the killer's next intended victim, she knows she must act to save that precious life - and take risks beyond any that she ever imagined she could endure."

Next book I should finish will be Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs, one of the better Temperance Brennan forensic mysteries I've read so far.

My Ongoing Look At The Mystery Genre - American PI's #1.
In my last entry I highlighted two female PI's created by Julie Smith, Rebecca Schwarz (San Francisco) and Talba Wallis (New Orleans). I'll take a look at another female PI in this entry. I've enjoyed one of this series set in Alaska.

Dana Stabenow
1. Dana Stabenow - Kate Shugak. Alaskan writer Stabenow has written a number of standalone novels and series in the mystery, science fiction and historical fiction novels. I'm focusing on her Kate Shugak mystery series. Kate is an ex investigator for the Anchorage DA's office. I've read the first book so far and she is asked to help the DA find some missing people. Since 1992, Stabenow has written 21 books in the series, so I'll be able to enjoy it for awhile.

a. A Cold Day for Murder (#1).

"A Cold Day for Murder is the first Kate Shugak mystery by Dana Stabenow. Kate was the lead investigator for the Anchorage ADA, Jack Morgan. Something happened on one of her cases which lead her to quit and move back nearer home in The Park. She lives alone with her dog (wolf) Mutt. Kate is an Aleut.

Jack and an FBI agent show up to ask her help in finding a missing Ranger and the current ADA investigator. The Ranger disappeared 6 weeks ago and his father is a US Senator who has pressured the FBI to become involved. Morgan had sent Ken Dahl to search for the young man and he also had disappeared two weeks ago. Morgan wants Kate to take up the search. (Morgan and Kate had previously had a relationship, it seems)

Taking on the assignment means Kate returns to her home town, Niniltna to find their trail. This means making contact with her grandmother Ekaterina (Emaa), who rules the roost and is a leading member of the Aleut community in Alaska. There is considerable friction between the two.
The story is a quick read, with action right from the get-go. We meet a great many interesting people, from her Uncle Abel, Bennie owner of the Road House and Bobby, the legless Vietnam Vet who provides weather reports and short wave radio communications for the community to the world at large.

There are many suspect, including family members of Kate and the story moves along nicely. We get an excellent feel for The Park and being winter, you can almost feel the cold. It's very much a Wild West (or maybe North is more appropriate) and a fascinating place. For a first story, it's an excellent intro to Kate. I hope we find out more about her past in future stories. (4 stars)"

b. A Fatal Thaw (#2).

"On her homestead in the middle of twenty million acres of national Park, Aleut P.I. Kate Shugak is caught up in spring cleaning, unaware that just miles away a man's sanity is breaking. When the sound of gunfire finally dies away, nine of his neighbors lie dead in the snow. But did he kill all nine, or only eight? The ninth victim was killed with a different weapon. It's up to Kate and her husky-wolf sidekick Mutt to untangle the life of the dead blonde with the tarnished past and find her killer. It won't be easy; every second Park rat had a motive. Was it one of her many spurned lovers? Was a wife looking for revenge? Or did a deal with an ivory smuggler go bad? Even Trooper Jim Chopin, the Park's resident state trooper, had a history with the victim. Kate will need every ounce of determination to find the truth before Alaska metes out its own justice...."

c. Dead in the Water (#3).

"Two crewmen of the crab vessel Avilda are missing—presumed dead—under very suspicious circumstances. The Bering Sea offers ample means and opportunity, but without bodies, a motive, or evidence of foul play, the DA doesn’t have a case. And so, freelancing again for her former employer, Kate Shugak finds herself working undercover in one of Alaska’s most dangerous professions: crab fisherman. It’s an assignment that will take her from the debauchery of Dutch Harbor to the most isolated of the Aleutians, and if the job itself doesn’t kill her, her unsavory crew mates just might."

d. A Cold-Blooded Business (#4).

"Work hard, play hard. That's the credo on the oilfields of Alaska's North Slope, where harsh conditions and long, isolated shifts make for some of the best-paid jobs in the state. Management typically turns a blind eye to off-hours drinking and gambling, but a spate of drug-related deaths means it's time for Royal Petroleum to get its house in order. Working on behalf of the Anchorage DA, Kate Shugak is brought in undercover to identify the dealer and shut down the flow of cocaine. Of course, the dealer might have some very different ideas."

The remaining books in the series are located here.

Two more series to go in my look at American PI's. Enjoy the rest of your week. Happy Hump Day!
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