Tuesday, September 3, 2019

summer reading list

Before I get to the book reviews, here's a progress report on the heron box: I'm right on schedule, got all the excess off the bottom, flattened and cleaned up the top rim, cleaned up the edge of the recess, and I'm working on fitting the heron head piece.

Save Me From Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk – when Nikki Griffin was 12 she and her younger brother suffered a tragedy when both their parents were killed during a home robbery. Split up and sent to different foster homes, Nikki was helped to restrain and train her anger and tendency to violence by her foster father when he taught her to box but her brother Brandon didn't fare as well and he turned to heroin. After Nikki graduated from college she bought a building to store her accumulation of books which eventually morphed into a bookstore and she hired Jess to run it because Nikki's real job is private investigator and her other job was convincer of abusive men not to abuse their victims any longer. Nikki kicked ass and then explained why. She could be very persuasive. She is hired by the CEO of a big tech firm to follow an employee suspected of selling company secrets and so begins her involvement in an investigation that turns out to be not what it was represented as and when the employee turns up dead and the murder pinned on her, she ends up in a race against time to derail an internet program before it goes 'live', battling 3 goons determined to make her death look like a suicide, in order to save the lives of hundreds of people.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield – along the Thames are many inns, each having its speciality...music, gambling, brawling, tobacco aficionados...but the one at Radcot was all about storytelling and one winter's solstice there began the story of the girl who died and lived when toward the evening's end the door opened and a monster carrying the body of a child stumbled in and collapsed. The inn's owner's only son and youngest child caught the child while the innkeeper and patrons discovered that the monster wasn't a monster but the local photographer whose face is smashed and broken. The local healer/midwife is called and after she does what she can for Daunt she turns her attention to the body of the little girl which has been placed in the summer room. After examining the body and sure that there is not the least flicker of life but still hesitant to leave for some reason, the impossible happens and the child's pulse returns, she breathes, and lives. When the story travels, three people come to claim the child but all three know in their hearts that the child isn't theirs. This is a wonderful story and told as if someone is telling the story as opposed to writing a book. Five story lines or streams intertwined with the river and each other all centered around the girl who died and lived. That's all I'll say. It's definitely worth the read if you come across it.

Seeker by Jack McDevitt – 7 pages in I was sure I had read this before and yes, I had. Still enjoyed it though. Science fiction far in the future...Alex and his pilot/assistant Chase are antiquities dealers in a future where humans have colonized 100 planets and one day a woman calls wanting to know the value of a cup she came into possession of with an unknown language and symbols on it. Modern technology confirms that the language is 22nd century English and this cup is 9,000 years old and from a famous, mythical even, interstellar ship that set out to found a new colony to escape the religious authoritarian culture of Earth's North America (the prediction is chillingly accurate to what's going on today and if not right on the nose it's where we are headed if current tendencies continue). The Margolians kept their destination a secret and were never heard from again. Alex and Chase set out to trace ownership of the cup, prior to offering it for sale, which eventually turns into a search for the interstellar itself, the Seeker. With help from friends Chase made while she was a pilot for Survey, the organization whose job it is to map the galaxy, and clues they pick up by other means including a trip to one of the worlds of the only other intelligent and space faring life forms, escaping several attempts on their lives by persons unknown, they find the Seeker in a system with no habitable worlds. From there they set out to discover where Margolia was and what happened and eventually, against all odds, the survivors of the catastrophe that threw their world out of the system.

The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman – if you enjoyed the Tony Hillerman books about law enforcement in the Navajo Nation, the tales with Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernie Manualito, don't bother with these. Her writing isn't terrible but she's no Tony Hillerman. Joe Leaphorn, mostly recovered from the bullet in the head that ended his career with the Navajo tribal police force and who works now and then as a consultant and private detective, is asked by his housemate Louisa to help out a friend of hers who directs the Navajo Nation Museum. An anonymous donation arrived at the museum and two of the items on the list included in the box , a dress woven and worn by an important tribal historical figure during the Trail Of Tears and the later repatriation of the Navajos to their ancestral lands as well as a bracelet, are missing. Joe begins his investigation, Bernie finds a dead body and while that investigation is handed over to the FBI, she continues her own inquiries, and Jim investigates a string of burglaries. Unknown to them, all three investigations are linked to the disappearance of the dress and bracelet. Between the three of them, all three cases are solved.

The Night Window by Dean Koontz – it's been a while since I read one of his novels since the last one I read had all this character development and then the story ended abruptly and unsatisfactorily in the last few pages as if he didn't know how to end it. This is a Jane Hawk novel, the fifth and I think the conclusion of the story started in the first. I enjoyed this one and didn't really realize it was a continuation until several references were made to things that happened in previous books so I don't think you need to read the others first to enjoy this one and now that I know how it ended and can surmise some of the action in the previous books, I don't think I'll be backing up. Essentially, Jane Hawk, an ex-FBI agent extraordinaire, has uncovered a secret plot to take over the US and eventually the world by using nanotech and turning people into slaves or 'adjusted' people who will follow orders even to the point of murder and suicide and with the help of her friend, computer hacker genius Vikram, also late of the FBI, they set out to identify all 5,260 Arcadians, those unadjusted members of the cabal led by and financed by the richest man in the world, and the nearly 17,000 'adjusted' in all levels of government, police, media, and intelligence agencies. It's a race against time for Jane and Vikram to get the information and put their plan in place before they themselves are captured and adjusted.

Look Alive Twenty-Five by Janet Evanovich – more Stephanie Plum bounty hunter, more Lula, more Morelli, more Ranger. This one made me chuckle more than a few times.

The Night Before by Wendy Walker – Laura, younger sister to Rosie, thinks she is broken, impossible to love. Her mother even said she was hard to love, that she had fists for hands. She spent her childhood wanting nothing more than her father's love but that love was reserved only for Rosie. At 17, her first real boyfriend was brutally murdered right in front of her and while the police accepted her story of what happened that night no one who actually knew her was certain that she was telling the truth. Laura left her hometown for college, changed her name, and never returned making a life in New York City until once again the man who said he loved her breaks up with her via text. Devastated, she returns home and moves in with her sister and her sister's husband Joe. Five months later she makes a date with a man on an internet dating site and never returns home. Thus starts the search by Rosie, Joe, and Gabe,  a family friend who she and Rosie grew up with,  to find Laura before she is killed or kills. Secrets are revealed and not everyone is who they seem.

Conviction by Denise Mina – Anna likes to get up early and have the house to herself before her husband and daughters get up. This particular morning Anna started listening to a podcast about a sailing yacht that motored out to sea, suffered an explosion, and drowned a man, Leon, and his two children and she was surprised to hear that it was a man she knew in her past. The doorbell rings after the rest of her family is up. It's her best friend with a suitcase and her husband comes downstairs with a suitcase. Surprise!He's leaving her, the best friend is leaving her husband and they are running off together and want to take the girls on a 3 week vacation while Anna finds a new place to live and gets settled and here's a wad of cash. The ex-best friend's husband, Fin Cohen, a famous musician/celebrity with a large internet following, shows up. A passing neighbor recognizes Fin and takes his and Anna's picture while they are standing in front of Anna's house and posts it on the internet. Anna is immediately recognized, her past and the people who tried to kill her that she's tried so hard to hide from is exposed, and she goes on the run taking Fin with her. Neither Fin nor Anna believe that the woman convicted of sinking the yacht nor the podcast's conclusion that Leon committed murder/suicide and they set out to solve the mystery while doing their own podcasts and trying to stay one step ahead of the people trying to kill them until they finally confront the one person responsible not only for the original attempt on Anna's life but also the sinking of the yacht. It turned out to be a much better book than I thought it would be at first. It's a stupid title though that has very little to do with the story.


  1. I think I would enjoy Once Upon A River and also, Seeker. I'll look for them.

    1. you'll like Once Upon A River. there are 2 or 3 books that precede Seeker with the same characters. I liked all of them.

  2. God, I'm so impressed with your list! I'm so distracted lately, hard to get through anything. I find myself reading several books at once, in dribs and drabs. Thank you for these reviews. Several sound interesting to me!

  3. This is a very good list. A lot of variety too. I have three more books to read and then I'll be starting my Fall/Winter book list.

  4. Dang it - I didn't need to add MORE books to my list. Thank goodness I've already read one of these (the Evanovich).

  5. Oh - and I loved Denise Mina's Alex Morrow series.

  6. FYI - I finished Once Upon a River this week Oh it was LOVELY! Thanks for the recommendation!


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.