Books Read 2017

April 2017
Certain Prey by John Sandford
  I find Sandford's Prey books entertaining.  He creates colorful killers.  In Certain Prey, an aggressive sociopathic attorney decides she needs the wife of a real estate man out of the way so she can have him. He's not that bright but he's good in bed. She hires a "hit man" through a drug dealer she once defended to kill the wife.   The hired killer gets the job done, but complications arise, requiring further collaberation between the hit woman and the attorney, who takes up killing also and decides she likes it.  Will Lucas Davenport be able to stop them both?   Hmmm.  Better read it to find out.

Four Stars
Invisible Prey by John Sandford
   This is a fast paced complicated plot murder mystery.  I enjoy Sandford's books because of his attention to detail and complicated plots with interesting complicated characters.  I can run the book like a movie as I read.   I'll just say I couldn't put it down and loved the characters!  Lucas Davenport in the end solves the crimes with the help of DNA off the mouth of a protective dead pitbull named Screw.

Five Stars
March 2017
The Whole Truth by David Baldacci
  This fast paced drama features Baldacci's character Shaw.  He has no first name.  He is an orphan, recruited into a secret security organization, that pays him for his skills.  On the other end of the good guy bad guy scale there is Nicolas Creed, who thinks the world needs an arms race.  Oh and by the way, he would profit immensely from that arms race since he runs the biggest arms production company in the world.  So how to get the world's countries, not the little Muslim conflicts, the big ones, America, China, Russia, into a frenzy of fear, buying up arms.  He hires a perception manager to get things rolling.  Meanwhile, Shaw is head over heals in love and about to propose to his girlfriend.  This is a new thing for Shaw, the perpetual loner.  She works at a research think tank in London, funded by the Chinese.   And then tragedy strikes.  A needle sharp strike team enters the think tank and kills everyone.  Shaw is devastated at the death of his beloved.   An out of work, dyfunctional alcoholic reporter happens to be in the area, after following Shaw, and gets drawn into Dick Pender's plot.  He's going to use her to put out the story on the strike that he wants the world to believe.  But Katie James is no pushover, despite her problems.  She won't be playing along and instead teams up with Shaw to get to the root of the problem.  That root would be Nicholas Creel, who may not survive the ire of a has been reporter and Shaw, whose beloved is now dead.

Three Stars
The Eye of God by James Rollins
  The Eye of God is a nonstop fantastical save the world from a meteor strike caused by a shift in time/space brought about by dark energy story.  Sigma Force is split up, at the beginning, with Gray and Kowalski off in Macau, with Seichan.  They've gotten a lead.  Seichan is trying to find her mother.  But, when meeting their contact, the three realize they've been sold out.  The north Koreans have a bit of a grudge against Seichan and want the Americans too.  They are attacked and Seichan is captured.  Now what?   Gray is not leaving Seichan to be tortured in N. Korea.  So, they go after her, and in epic fashion only possible by Sigma Force, they get her out.  They're needed elsewhere!  In Rome, meanwhile, Monsignor Vigor Verona is getting a visit from his neice.  Rachal has received a package containing strange relics and she needs the advice of her uncle, who is more like her father.  And in California, the rest of Sigma Force is watching a strange and dangerous occurence.   Their satelite has crossed the tail of a comet carrying a strange energy, and, that flashes a photo of the future somehow, across the live stream.  The future shows the east coast in smoking ruins.  And the time stamp is only four days away.  How could this be?   How do the relics now in Rome, sent to Vigor by an old friend, thought dead, now in a remote area of Mongolia, relate to the comet visible in the sky and the alleged end of the world coming in just a few days?   This is a fast paced outrageous tale that is very entertaining to read.

Four Stars
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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