November 29, 2010

The Poet ***

*** The Poet, Michael Connelly, 1996

The first non-Bosch novel Connelly did. Rachell Walling from the first novel surfaces, along with a new character, Jack McEvoy, a Denver journalist. I'm not as enamored with Jack as with Bosch, but Connelly still deals from the arm with finesse.

Here's the thing about Connelly:

Opening a Michael Connelly novel is like opening a bag of potato chips. It's very difficult to stop.

With chips, you can fill a bowl, close the bag, and put it away. With a novel, the next chapter is only a page away. Several after-midnight sessions with this one.

November 25, 2010

Levi's Will **

** Levi's Will, W. Dale Cramer, 2005

I got this book a long time ago because Cramer was chewing through the Christy awards. I thought Bad Ground was OK, but everyone was raving about Levi's Will, so I had to check it out. It's a decent book, but too much front-loaded back story, exposition and on the nose narrative for my liking. YMMV.

November 22, 2010

The Last Coyote ***

*** The Last Coyote, Michael Connelly, 1995

Great, as usual. However, I detected a small chink in the otherwise flawless armor of the Bosch novels. There were two spots, a few pages apart, where I came across one of the things we all love to hate in whodunits.

You know that thing where the protagonist sees something that could be worriesome, but then dismisses it? Yeah, that thing. Where you say, dang, I'm no cop, but even I know better than to ignore a guy changing his tire right next to my car late at night in an abandoned parking lot, and turn my back on him. Especially when powerful men are looking for me to kill me. And here is a guy who just happens to be next to my car, holding a tire tool.

So, that's one page out of hundreds and no reason to write off Connelly. It mainly serves to let me know he's human after all.

November 18, 2010

Treasure Island ***

*** Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883

I made a reference to Treasure Island in my current work-in-progress and thought there might be multiple parallels the protagonist, so I zipped through it in a few nights. It's 127 years old and still a quick and entertaining read.

November 15, 2010

The Concrete Blonde ***

*** The Concrete Blonde, Michael Connelly, 1994

The third Bosch novel serves to demonstrate Connelly's ability to start off at high tension (Bosch the defendant in a trial that could destroy his career) and continue to ratchet it up for hundreds of pages. I practically ripped through this one, reading much later into the night than is proper for a man of my stature in the community. It also ratchets him higher up on the pedestal in my view. Three home runs in a row. From a writing standpoint, he deserves the success he has enjoyed. I heard him speak at the Texas Book Festival last year and he seemed like a great guy, also. Good for him.

November 11, 2010

The Help ****

**** The Help, Kathryn Stockett, 2009

This book was left lying around by a cousin and I finally got around to reading it. Incredible, moving, captivating. It was so good that I actually pulled it off the elliptical and read it between workouts to find out what happened.

Highly recommended.

November 8, 2010

The Black Ice ***

*** The Black Ice, Michael Connelly, 1993

Connelly's second Bosch novel proved he wasn't a one hit wonder. Every bit as good as the first. Maybe better. If you haven't read these, then get with it. Now.

November 4, 2010

Something Nasty in the Woodshed **

** Something Nasty in the Woodshed, Kyril Bonfiglioli, 1979

Yet another entry in the Books Sent To Me By The Learned One series. Total change of venue from the first two in the trilogy. Set on the Isle of Jersey with the story line moving from international crime and intrigue to trying to catch a brutal serial rapist who is using pagan/satanic paraphenalia/symbols. The bulk of the story is taken up with a bizarre scheme to hold a black mass to intimidate the bad guy into stopping. Then, at the end, it just blows up.

Bonfiglioli has an entertaining style, but no clue about story structure.

November 1, 2010

The Black Echo ***

*** The Black Echo, Michael Connelly, 1992

Trying to get The Woman hooked on Connelly, I dug around and found the first few books in the Harry Bosch series, and of course, I had to read them. Now I'm hooked again and will probably read the whole thing from the beginning.

I'd forgotten how good of a writer Connelly is. Dang.