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.
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