Books Read 2018

July 2018
The Last Mile by David Baldacci
  My friend loans me these Baldacci books after she reads them.  She wants them back.  They go fast.   They're like a fast paced episode of a crime show.  This one is no different and features character Amos Decker, a former football player who got whacked in the head during the first play of his first NFL game, causing him unusual brain syndromes, one of which is a perfect memory.  Also, he's huge, and, grossly overweight.  Usually Baldacci's male characters are uber everything and can do no wrong--fight better than anyone, aim better than the worlds greatest snipers, drive better, run better, like robots.  Amos Decker's mind can do everything better than everyone else's.  He's with the FBI now, solving cold cases and he and the team take up the case of Melvin Mars, who is about to be released from a Texas jail after being 20 years on death row and nearly executed.  Someone else on death row in Alabama confesses to the crime Mars was accused of and knows details only the murderer would know.  But did he really do it?  Or is yet someone else involved?  Fast read.  Fun.  Satisfying.

Three Stars
June 2018
Silent Partner by Jonathan Kellerman
  Silent Partner finds Alex Delaware at a party, where he runs into an old flame from college years, who wants to talk.  But should he get involved?  She was big time trouble when he knew her before.   He doesn't get the chance to deliberate long.  She's found dead, suicide its ruled.   This book is really really boring.  This book could kill you boring.   I wanted to throw it on fire somewhere.   I'm recycling it as nobody should bother reading it, so its not going to a thrift store for another round.  Sorry for the bad review Kellerman but this one seems like you wrote it because you had to or something and didn't care if it was a piece of trash.  

Zero Stars
Motive by Jonathan Kellerman
  This is twisting turning murder mystery that finds detective Milo Sturgis upset by his inability to solve one murder, that of a quiet shy woman found really dead, I mean severely messed up murder, in her own home with a staged dinner for two on the table.  The misfit chef boyfriend seems the likely suspect.  But his alibi is ironclad.   As similar murders mount, misdirection becomes the major plot line.  Sturgis and his psychologist friend Alex Deleware soon are investigating the ex husband of the latest victim, then various attorneys who work in the same building where one victim was killed.  In a murder case, this might be normal to focus on the wrong people at first, but it seems forced in this book, to draw out the length of the book. And to add details about unrelated lives and sordid humanity.  When the real killer is identified, I was happy because the book was done with and I wanted it over.

Two Stars
The Murder Book by Jonathan Kellerman
  Love the Milo Sturgis/Alex Delaware character series by Kellerman.  They make an odd but interesting pair.  Delaware is the psychologist friend of awkwardly large not good looking gay detective Sturgis, who is extremely good at his job.  In this story, Delaware is going through relationship difficulties but suddenly gets a strange arrival--a Murder book, delivered mysteriously.  He calls his friend Milo over, and Milo is immediately affected by the photos of death scenes in the book, especially one in particular, labeled Never Solved.  The pair immediately begins to investigate why the book was sent, who sent it, and they delve into the decades old murder of a young girl, last seen at a party put on by rich kids.  The rich kids are now powerful wealthy men.  Where will this end up?    
Four Stars
May 2018
The Fallen by David Baldacci
  The Fallen features Baldacci characters Amos Decker, who has an unbelievable memory, following a head injury, and his journalist friend Alex Jamison.  Decker and Jamison are visiting her sister, whose daughter is having a birthday.  That's when things go a little nuts.  Seems the entire town of Baronville is getting murdered, or, doing the murdering.  There is a lot of hatred directed toward the one remaining Baron, who lives in a falling apart mansion on the hill.  His ancestors exploited the town, working its people to death in factories and mines, but at least they had work.  When the rich Barons went bankrupt, mainly out of greed and mismanagement, so did the town.  The anger falls on the last Baron who is a likable guy and has no money.  Amos Decker must rely on that memory of his and his best friend Alex Jamison, to get to the bottom of all these murders.  Not much of a vacation for the pair.  Plot is erratic with too many characters to keep track of half the time.

Three Stars
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

  This book features character Jack McEvoy, who is a reporter.  It switches from first person narration, by McEvoy, to third person accounts when you are "watching" the killers' actions and "hearing" his thoughts.  The book is a bit jumbled and unlike Detective Harry Bosch's precise investigations, this one jumps around without direction and without the detail provided in Bosch character books.  I just wanted it to be done with.  McEvoy is on his last two weeks on the job at the LA Times, due to force reduction of older employees.  In fact, he's got the embarrassing task of training his replacement for the cop beat.  Angela is young and knows how to cut throats in taking over a story.  But she doesn't last long.  McEvoy is working an angle on a young black male pegged for a murder he claims he didn't do.  The black 16 year old is no angel, a rough character, and in a gang.  His alleged victim was found stuffed in the trunk of a car the the black youth left at the beach.  He doesn't deny he stole the car but claims to not have known about a dead body in the trunk.  Meanwhile, Angela finds an intriguing website:  trunkmurder.com, but there's no content in it and another victim killed in the same fashion, whose husband was convicted of the murder.   And who's next on the killer's list?  Well, maybe its sweet career oriented Angela.  Or Jack himself.  And is there just one killer?  And will his former love Rachal, the FBI agent become involved?  Well read it if you have the patience for the convulsions of the book.   I barely did.

Two Stars
April 2018
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
  Harry Bosch is at it again in this murder mystery, banging heads with bad guys and cops alike, as he navigates the intensely political LAPD along with lazy cops who want hard working case solving cops gone.   A man is found dead in the trunk of his car in an overlook and he's found by a cop with whom Harry has a history.  There's no love lost between the two.   The dead is rich and his wife is lonely and admits she and her husband had nothing anymore together, but they still were together.   The dead guy had been off to Vegas and soon they learn he was washing money for the mob there.  Off to Vegas goes Harry and soon involves his ex girlfriend, whom he still loves, but who picked up a criminal record after working for the FBI.  Its against rules for a cop to be with a felon.  Harry is in a dilemma but he doesn't see it that way.  The Vegas cops are not only not good at their jobs but not nice to LA cops trying to solve a murder with mob connections.  And their main suspect?  Ha!   What a surprise.  He's been in deep cover two years and now he gets busted for murder?  Yeah, he didn't do it, and this sends Harry back to the murder book, and a new look at the cop who found the body and his relation to Mrs. Dead guy.  Yup, the wife.  

Four Stars
Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
  Another interesting tale spun, this one centering around Detective Harry Bosch's half brother, criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller.  And boy does he get into deep water in this one.   He's got to defend a character who is not likeable.  He's an online pimp and swears he didn't kill one of his "employee's", but he does admit to choking her the night she died.   And Haller suddenly realizes he knows the victim, by another name, in another time.  He loved her and tried to save her from the life.   And how is her murder related to her help putting away a dangerous cartel gangster and did she plant the gun in his room that got him life?  And if so, why would she do that?   Haller's client will be judged by the Gods of Guilt, the jury.   He wrestles with his own guilt, over his daughter, the dead woman, and his defense of scumbags.   Nice read.

Four Stars
City of Bones by Michael Connelly
This was a repeat read, since it was in my car when I was out trapping, so I read it again.  I do love the Detective Bosch series of characters so this was like watching a movie I might like again.

4 Stars
March 2018
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
  This Bosch character book should be read before The Crossing, when Bosch begins working for his half brother after being canned from the LAPD Delayed Retirement contract.  He had just solved the Burning Room case when he was fired for picking the lock on his Captains' office door, to get some files for the case he and his partner, Lucia Soto, needed to see fast.  They solved two big cases, that of a Mariachi band member, shot years before, who had just died, as a result of the bullet.  Bosch and Soto work cold cases and while the shooting was cold, having happened two decades back, the mariachi's death was recent.  The case leads them down the path towards a politician and his biggest financial supporter.  And while working that case, Bosch finds that his partner, Lucy Soto, is working another case, although its not assigned to her.   When he confronts her over copying case files that are not hers, she tells him why the case haunts her.  She was there, as a child.  She survived a fire that killed 9 others, mostly children, when an apartment complex was set ablaze.  Bosch and Soto solve both cases.  Success is never taken lightly by the LAPD, nor anywhere else for that matter.  Good people good at what they do are almost always singled out for resentment and underhanded acts committed by the ineffective and inefficient.  Bosch gets fired.

Four Stars
February 2018
The Crossing by Michael Connelly
  The Crossing is another Detective Bosch character novel with a bit of the Lincoln Lawyer, his half brother, thrown in.  Bosch has been fired from the LAPD, during the time he was under his delayed retirement contract.  And for bogus reasons, as usual with the LAPD.  He's bored but his half brother, a criminal defense lawyer, needs an investigator.  His is out on medical leave after he got rammed riding his motorcycle.  Bosch doesn't want to cross over the line, to the other side, so to speak, as his former cop coworkers don't like it when a former detective turns to working for the defense of criminals.   But after reading the case, Bosch is convinced the man pegged for a murder is innocent, getting railroaded.  When Bosch sees someone innocent in jail, he thinks about the guilty party out there needing caught.  So he takes the case, and ends up ridding the LAPD of some really bad cops in the process.

Three Stars
End Game by David Baldacci
  A friend lent me this book, by a favorite author.  As I mentioned when I read other of his books, he likes his characters super human, men and women who can do it all and perfectly.  This book features two of his most lethal characters--Will Robie and Jessica Reel.  They've split up, at the beginning of the tale.  Will is off taking out a house full of terrorists in London while Jessica is off killing dozens in an Afghanistan blindside double cross.  However, they are thrown back together when their boss, Blue Man, on vacation in his Colorado home town, goes missing.  They do their thing, meet some high end freakazoids, several types, and eventually find Blue Man and get out alive.

Three Stars
January 2018
The Late Show by Michael Connelly

  This book by Connelly features a new character.  I wasn't impressed with the book.  It was a slow slog, one I just wanted done with mostly.   Detective Renee Ballard has been shifted to the Late Show, the night shift, after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against a lieutenant.  Her partner is just killing time til retirement although he seems to have her back.  He's not that interested in solving crimes.  Ballard is gung ho though, takes her job seriously, loves it.  Which means trouble for anyone in any job, most likely.   And in the three plot lines of open crimes she is investigating, either directly or quietly, without department approval, she solves every one of them.  And is brutally abducted by one perp, but gets free and saves a life, when she does, which makes the men of the department look a little pale by comparison.  In that regard, the book is pretty satisfying.  Very slow to get interesting however.  The grandma character is poorly developed and shallow.  This character series needs some work by Connelly before he spits out another.

Three Stars
Radiance by Carter Scholz
  This book is horrible.  I'd give it negative stars if I could.  I never finished it, would have wasted more of my time.  By a quarter way through, still without a plot, and with vague confusing interrupted unpunctuated conversation, often ending in partial words,  I was done. A reader can't even tell, in these frequent lengthy "conversations", who is "talking".  Besides the poor writing, there are misspelled words and grammatical errors.  This book is good only for fire starting.  

0 Stars (trash)
Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

  This is another Harry Bosch story.  A friend gave it to me for Christmas and it's already history.  This one wasn't quite as good as some of his Bosch books I felt, lacked the detail of a single crime investigation, covered too much territory and seemed dedicated to showing off what a good man detective Bosch is rather than his detective skills.  So this was not really that enjoyable a read for me.

Three Stars

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