Thursday, July 23, 2009


I finished The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly late last night, a good thriller. Connelly's history as a newspaper crime reporter lends great authenticity to the story. Jack McEvoy, the protagonist, (seen earlier in the Poet & The Narrows) is pink slipped due to downsizing by LA Times. He wants to go out in a blaze of glory so writes a story about a wrongfully accused young gang-banger of murder and rape. I'll admit some of the scenes are sadistic and scary, so be aware. McEvoy calls Rachael Walling (seen in previous books)to help him find the killer. Unfortunately the cyber-bully villian is already tracking McEvoy and Walling and causing havoc for the two.

Connelly tells a great story. I missed the character development that is more prevalent in his other series. My only other quibble, he has a great beginning, but the ending I saw coming at midpoint. However Connelly's writing is still heads above most. He also did several book trailers about Rachael Walling back-story just prior to her appearance in the book. I'm embedding the first one here. The rest can be found on Connelly's website or You Tube.

Max, A Maximum Ride novel by James Patterson. Lord knows James Patterson needs no extra money. This is for all the parents who still have butt numbing summer rides with pre-teens ahead of them. Get the audio-books from the library and take them with you on the trip. Max, a teenager, is leading her flock of genetically engineered half-human, half-bird hybrids. The flock must rescue Max's Mom who has been kidnapped by a criminal mastermind. Patterson spins a good tale. I'm not saying this is well written fiction, it lacks character development, has implausible plot twists, however the kids won't notice. It has lots of dialogue and quick action scenes that will keep them enthralled. I personally dislike audio-books which add music to increase the tension in a book, however in this instance it works and my preteen enjoyed it and didn't whine as often "are we there yet?". The lack of tension from the back seat was a balm for my soul. Give it a try.

Blood Groove by Alex Bledsoe I couldn't finish. I picked this up while browsing in the bookstore. I even read the first chapter, unfortunately I should have read further. Chapter two was where the problems started. Baron Zginski a vampire from 1915 goes into forced hibernation until the 1970's. When he is revived he must adapt to his new world. The premise has potential. However, the blaxploitation dialogue was lame, characterizations were stereotypical, and the misogynistic treatment of women and minorities was over the top and so offensive I just put it down. It never became apparent why the writer set the novel in the 70's, which further distracted from it's readability.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Why do we continue to read or watch a series when the reader knows the plot? We continue to read even when the characters show no growth. What is it that entices us to open the cover when we know the sad truth is the series has run out of steam? Well in my case it's to visit old friends and predictability.

Finger Lickin Fifteen by Janet Evanovich. It's time to visit Stephanie, Lula, Grandma and the boys, Morelli and Ranger. Stephanie is currently not involved with either of her men nor have her bounty hunter skills improved. Lula is still wearing spandex that is stretch to its limits. Grandma and Lula are both carrying a gun and neither one can hit a damn thing. Sounds about like we left them last year. Janet E's Plum series, for me is the novel version of watching I Love Lucy reruns. It's funny and predictable.

This time Lula is witness to a murder. Throughout the novel the assassins try to take Lula out, Lula perseveres, even will ducking for cover she decides Stephanie, Grandma and her should enter a million dollar barbecue sauce recipe contest. One small problem, the only thing they now about barbecue sauce is eating it. One can only image the trouble they get into with this contest. The sauce thread alone is worth the read.

Ranger, I do love a dangerous man, needs Stephanie to help him figure out who has broken into his data base at Rangeman headquarters and robbing his customers. Stephaine skates along the edges of the envelope trying not to fall in bed with Ranger while working for him. Personally I won't skate. I would take a leap and land in the middle of the bed. Morrelli's nice but Ranger is definitely my pick for Stephanie's love interest. Actually Stephanie ends up solving a problem with her brain this time instead of luck.

The Plum Series isn't the most lyrically written, nor does it have a multitude of plot twists. What it does have is lots of belly laughs and a wonderful afternoon of reading. Three stars on my billboard anyday.
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