Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Prisoner of Heaven, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Zafón writes with humor, imagination and heart.  Characters and places that first appeared in Shadow of the Wind and Angel's Game are back, Daniel Sempere, Fermín Romero de Torro, and David Martin and the loves of their lives. The book switches between Barcelona in 1939-41 and 1957-58.  The early years tell of Fermín's time as a political prisoner with David Martín, and the later tell of Daniel's encounters with ghosts from Fermin's past.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

India Black and the Gentleman Thief, by Carol K. Carr

The India Black books, about a madame who is lead into a second career as a spy by the ever-so-attractive Agent Lachlan French and the bossy Benjamin Disraeli, are very entertaining.  When a regular client has a suspicious bill of lading delivered to her, and some ruffians take it from her by force, India is more than ready to join French in a quest for answers and a bit of revenge.  She gets a little Emma Peel in this outing, and the bad guys learn that her bite can be just as bad as her bark.

You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Korelitz is so smart, her intelligence and insight just pulse through the book.  Grace Reinhart Sachs is a loving wife and devoted mother, who is on the verge of publishing a book based on her years of experience as a therapist that argues that attraction or a will to be in love make people ignore the clear signs that their future spouse is destined to become their former spouse.  And then one day her beautiful, perfect, pediatric oncologist husband disappears, and the blinders fall off her eyes about a lot of things.  Possibly the mystery part isn't handled as deftly as the social commentary parts.

The Black-Eyed Blonde, by Benjamin Black

I'm not sure why Benjamin Black has decided to resurrect Philip Marlowe, but he seems to be enjoying the freedom to employ Chandler's pre-PC language and craft a story around his college-educated, poetry referencing gumshoe. Marlowe is hired by an Irish perfumer's daughter to track down a missing boyfriend, but nothing about the case makes sense. Isn't this fan fiction?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Watching You, by Michael Robotham

Psychologist Joe O'Loughlin sees Marnie Logan twice a week to help her deal with the emotional and financial wreckage caused by her husband's disappearance.  When Daniel disappeared, he owed a loan-shark 30,000 £, and Marnie is expected to pay it back.  With two kids to support,  no access to any of Daniel's bank accounts, and a thug driving Marnie to her "escort" appointments and collecting on her debt, Marnie is in dire straits.  Joe recruits retired detective Vincent Ruiz to help him locate Daniel and get the loan shark off Marnie's back.  But the more they find out about Daniel's last acts, the more questions they have about Marnie.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ripper, by Isabel Allende

MIT-bound Amanda plays an online mystery game with her grandfather and gifted friends from around the world. They shift their focus from historical crime to modern-day true crime when a pyschic-predicted bloodbath hits San Francisco, and they isolate the clues that point to a serial killer.  Amanda's mother, Indiana, is a holistic healer with a odd clientele, supportive set of friends, and an excess of suitors; and her father, Bob, is a deputy police chief.  The book is filled with much enchanting and engaging detail about all of the characters, be they major or minor, and a riveting plot.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Outsmarting of Criminals, by Steven Rigolosi

After recovering from breaking her arm in a New York City mugging, Miss Felicity Prim decides to leave her position at a doctor's office and move to a small rural town in Connecticut to start a new career as an outsmarter of criminals.  She plans to start slowly, but is thrown full on into her new career by the discovery of a body in her basement.  All of the major characters seem to have sprung from a previous century, and look a little askance at the current tendency to rely on computers and other modern technologies.  The modern characters are a little put off by her doilies.