Books Read 2017

March 2017
The Drop by Michael Connelly
  The Drop is another open/unsolved unit detective mystery with my favorite character of Connelly's books---Detective Harry Bosch.  Who couldn't like this gruff, to the point, no bullshit relentless pursuer of bad guys?  Connelly's Bosch series books are full of details that make the plots intricate and the books hard to put down.
  Harry in "The Drop" is working two cases, an open unsolved case where a drop of blood on a young woman murdered 20 years before has come back with a DNA match.  But the problem is the match is to a convicted sex offender who was only 8 years old at the time of the young woman's murder.  Harry must track down this man, in a treatment center, to get to the bottom of this murder and what he finds will not only solve this one case but shock the world.
  The second case is a political request from a councilman who has long butted heads with Harry and the entire LAPD!  Seems his son has nose dived off a balconey face first.  But...was it a suicide or a was it a murder?  Harry is tasked with finding the truth.  But why was he put on the case?  More politics?

Four Stars.
February 2017
Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman
  Mystery is not only the name of this Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis character detective story, but also one of the names the young blonde victim of a murder had gone by.  She was found with her face blown off, two weapon wounds, side by side.  This mystifies detectives.  Were there two killers who killed her at the same time, execution style?  Why was she killed?   Alex gets some subtle clues from a former Madame, who pimped whores.  She is dying of cancer, and wants Alex, a psychologist, to help her young son cope with her imminent death.   This "mystery" involves elderly lust, young girls, and cons, that turn bad.  The perp, in the end, may be playing out scenes from her old career, as a two bit movie star.

As always, its the banter and habits of the two leads, along with Robin, Alex's wife, that make the book interesting.  

Three Stars
January 2017
Alone by Lisa Gardner
This is the first book I've read by this author.  It started out as if it was another he man macho detective or cop, who would single handedly out fight out think out shoot, everyone else on earth and who is an expert on absolutely everything.
But after the first act of violence, committed by a SWAT officer when called out on a domestic scene, the switch to character studies and a more complex twisted plot made me look back to see if the book was woman written, by chance. It was.
The wife of the man the Swat guy shoots, turns towards the shattered window, through which the fatal bullet flew to kill her abusive husband, and mouths "thank you".  "Wtf?" Bobby, the officer involved, thinks.
Bobby's life quickly spirals down.  He feels guilty for killing a man, conflicted about the scene, and his fellow officers, seem out to get him, with the help of the dead man's father, a very very powerful judge, with his own twisted secrets.  And who was the wife, the woman, with the sickly child, whose husband he just killed?  Will the deadly psycho, from her childhood, make a reappearance?

Decent read, I thought.
Four Stars

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

  I enjoy John Steinbeck.  I'll admit he's a favorite author.  I read the book slowly because I didn't want it to end.   I didn't particularly care for how it ended.   The book is about the Joads.  Tom has been in prison for killing a man who was trying to kill him.   That's where the story begins, after a chapter describing the way things have become.  The dust bowl has begun.  Sharecroppers are being forced off the land they have farmed for lifetimes as banks take the land and the houses over and tractors replace horses and plows.  Tom Joad is out on probation and making his way home, through the old roads and trails.  He runs into an ex preached, Casey, on his way home, and they take up together.   But when he gets home, there's no one there at all.  He doesn't know where his family has gone.  The house is over run.  Along comes someone he knows, sneaking out of the fields, who tells him what's going on and where his family is, and that he's hiding out and they better too, because the deputies come along and arrest you, if you're there, on your own land.   It's not yours anymore, you see.  Bank has it.
   Well Tom finds him family and they're in the midst of leaving, for California.   They're with his grandparents whose house has been taken too.  His brother Al is off tom catting.  Al is good mechanic.  They have sold everything of any value to cobble money to get an old car.  Al's worked it over.   They pile on, Casy goes too, So does RoseofSharon, Tom and Al's sister, who is pregnant and Connie her beau.  So do Ruthie and Wilford, the kids, grandma, grandpa, ma, pa and Tom and Al and Noah, another brother.  All on one old truck.
  The rest of the story is of their struggles just to get to California and their growing concern as they hear stories from other migrants, that California is not what they've been told, in the pamphlets urging them to go because there is work there.  Grandpa dies along the way, then grandma.  Noah wanders off refusing to go further.  And when they get to California, to their astonishment, they are harassed by crooked deputies and good christian townspeople who burn the migrant camps and arrest and beat them.  Good book with many parallels to today.  They can't get fair wages that they can live on when they do find work.

Five Stars

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