Tuesday, March 3, 2020

winter reading list

I thought I would have finished my current book (and no it's not the one listed on my sidebar since I'm terrible at keeping it current) in time to add it to my recent book list but alas, no. I've hardly read any in it the last week and a half. Good thing it's not a library book but one I got out of the Little Library across the street from the post office.

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris – Lisbeth Rose is a gunnie is a world where the United States had broken up when it could no longer defend itself after Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated and followed by the Great Depression. Canada took a chunk as did Mexico, the original colonies decided to align with the UK, the south formed the new country of Dixie, south central America became Texoma, the Russian tsar escaped their uprising and grabbed California and Oregon, the rest became New America, and magic is real. Her crew was hired to move two families out of Mexico to Texoma but was set upon by bandits and Lisbeth, the only survivor of her team, tracked them down and completed the job. Back home, grieving for her crew mates, she is hired to be gunnie and guide for two Russian wizards who are searching for a particular descendant of Rasputin and the search takes them into Mexico but before they even start out, they are attacked at Lisbeth's house by a hired gunnie. As they travel through the lawless spaces between towns and even in those towns they are constantly beset on by wizards and their minions determined to prevent the success of Eli and Paulina's quest and the only thing that stands between success and failure is Lisbeth Rose. I'm not going to go into more detail. It's a great little thriller and well written and I do recommend it.

Storm Prey by John Sandford – a neighbor gave us a stack of books and this is one. It was handy so I picked it up. A coke head resident (doctor) at a hospital steals a key to the pharmacy and gets three dumbasses to rob it only one of the dumb asses kicks the old man pharmacist so hard for trying to sneak a call to the cops that he bleeds internally and dies but not before the old guy scratches the dumbass and gets his DNA. The surgeon wife of a detective sees the driver of the get away van, Joe Mack, as she pulls to the hospital parking garage only she doesn't know then that these are the robbers. Joe and his brother Lyle decide that the other two dumbasses need to be got rid of before they get caught and give up the Mack brothers so they hire a guy to kill them, which he does. While the cops are trying to figure out the crime and the culprits, dead bodies start popping up when the killer and the coke head doctor go on a killing spree. Will the cops catch them before they kill the wife of the detective who is on the killers' necessary victims list? It was OK. I would never have picked it up if I had seen it at the library though.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris – Midnight TX is a blink in the road with just a handful of residents with nearly as many boarded up houses as occupied ones and if it weren't for the stoplight at the crossing of the Davy Hwy and Witch Light Road it would have disappeared long ago. There's the Gas & Go, the Home Cookin Restaurant, the Antique Gallery and Nail Salon, the new age Inquiring Mind, the Wedding Chapel and Pet Cemetery, and Midnight Pawn, the oldest building in town which was there before there was even a crossroad for the town to grow up around and as eclectic as the shops are, the inhabitants are even more so with secrets of their own. It's a quiet place, and that's the way the residents like it, which is exactly what Manfred was looking for when he rented the vacant house next door to the pawn shop to set up his internet psychic business. A month or so after Manfred settles in, Fiji, the resident witch and owner of The Inquiring Mind, decides the town needs to have an annual picnic and so one bright fall day they head to the bank of the Rio Roca Frio where they discover the decayed body of Bobo's girlfriend missing for over 6 months. The police discover that Aubrey was not who she made herself out to be to Bobo but was a member of a militant group that is convinced Bobo has a huge stash of weapons that belonged to his grandfather who was also a member of the group and they want them. There are other significant characters but I don't want to spoil the whole book. It's a good story well written, the first of three in the series. If you have ever seen the TV show Midnight Texas on NBC, this is the book series it was based on.

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris – second in the Midnight TX series. Someone has bought the abandoned Rio Roca Frio Hotel and is spending ridiculously large sums of money refurbishing it as a temporary residence for old folks waiting to get into a permanent assisted living facility and while it seems a little hinky to the permanent residents of Midnight they haven't been able to find out what is really going on. One weekend Manfred is in Dallas staying at a fancy hotel for the two days of personal readings he has lined up when he was surprised to see another one of Midnight's residents, Olivia, having dinner with a couple in the hotel restaurant who were found dead the next morning, an apparent murder suicide. Then during Manfred's first reading of the day with one of his favorite older clients who had been ill with pneumonia and still wasn't fully recovered died as he channeled her dead husband while holding her hands. The woman's son accuses Manfred of murder and stealing his mother's jewelry though she had confessed to Manfred that she had hidden her jewels from her son before she died. Manfred returns to Midnight and the Rev enlists Olivia's help in solving the problem of the whereabouts of the jewelry since reporters and media had descended on Manfred's house and the town and the last thing the Rev wants is nosy reporters hanging around asking questions about the rapid growth of the child he has taken under his wing. Olivia and Manfred come up with a plan enlisting the help of two of the old codgers from the hotel in a bid to get rid of the reporters before the coming full moon.

Night Shift by Charlaine Harris – people are committing suicide in Midnight at the crossroad. Lemuel, a vampire of a rare sort that can siphon energy who works the night shift at the pawn shop, has been taking care of the bodies before the residents of the hotel see them and call the police. Something is coming and Lemuel is desperately trying to finish translating a book that he thinks has the answer and the answer isn't good. Meanwhile Fiji has finally given up hope that she and Bobo will ever be together, Olivia reveals some of her past to Fiji, Lemuel warns Olivia against against Teacher and Madonna who runs the Home Cooking Cafe, that they are not who they appear to be and Olivia seems to be who they are interested in. Lemuel finally gets the rest of the book translated with help from a traditional vampire and calls a town meeting...Lemuel the vampire, Fiji the witch, Joe and Chuy the fallen angels, Manual the psychic, Rev and Diederik and Quinn the weretigers, Olivia the assassin, the new resident Sylvester the half-demon, and Bobo who has no magic power but love. There is a demon imprisoned under the crossroad and it is about to break loose and it is up to Fiji to recast the spell that has kept it imprisoned for 250 years. A light and fun set of books.

The Fireman by Joe Hill – a new plague, Dragonscale, a spore that colonizes the human body, is spreading like wildfire...literally. Once it reaches critical mass, any stress causes it to self combust engulfing the host in flames and setting off wildfires. Whole cities are going up in flames. Those not infected form Cremation Squads that hunt down the infected and kill them before they can ignite. Some people though have learned how to control the spore and keep from being burned alive, some can even use the fire. An abandoned summer camp becomes a refuge for the infected who have learned to subdue the 'scale through singing and harmony but how long will it be before they are discovered. Harper, a nurse who becomes infected, discovers she is pregnant, is rescued by John aka The Fireman, so called because he is one of the few that can control and use the fire, and teenager Allie and 8 year old deaf mute Nick, when Harper's husband tries to kill her and they take her to the refuge. But the leader of the community, Father Storey is in a coma and his daughter Carol and the ex-cop Ben take over the leadership and turn to draconian measures to 'keep everyone safe'. Harper and the Fireman and others in the community secretly plan an escape in order to head to a mythic island where the infected are safe and well cared for until their plan is discovered and soon after so is the sanctuary. I don't want to tell you too much, it's a long book, 750 pages, but reads fast and it's a good story.

Verses For The Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – the newest in the Pendergast series though a new one is out this month. A woman is found dead and her heart, along with a hand written note containing literary references, is found on the grave of another woman who committed suicide and so FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is dispatched to Florida to investigate and solve the crime. His new superior is not as lenient as his old boss was and so Pendergast is forced to work with a partner, Special Agent Coldmoon. If you are a Pendergast fan that's all I need write, if you aren't, you should be.


  1. I have read practically every book that Charlaine Harris has ever put out. She seems to have an endless array of fun stuff to read. most of it has made it to TV. I have to go check out The Fireman. It sounds good.

  2. I'll look into the Charlaine Harris books.

  3. My current book is The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson. He has compiled a day by day, almost hour by hour and minute by minute sketch of the first year of Germany's war against Britain, 1940. Non fiction. Fascinating. Larson explains how he put it together, so I won't bother. Worth the read, so.

  4. Great. Dragonscale -- something ELSE to worry about!!!

  5. I'm so impressed with your summaries. I think I might have to pick up the The Fireman, you know why.

  6. Whoa, seven books are wholesome, Ellen!! I think I would be picking up 'The Fireman', from the lot as it has some connection with the recent pandemic, though not deadly as the concept. Thank you for the excellent recommendation. Great going, Ellen!!

  7. I love to read books. Hope the above list would be a saviour during this lockdown period. Thanks for the detailed reviews on each of the book. I must first try with Storm Prey. I have already read Day Shift that was shared by my friend in the Music institute in Coimbatore.


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