Monday, August 31, 2009

Father's Day by Keith Gilman

This book was the Winner of the PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition. I thought it was clumsily written and not that interesting of a story. The main character, a former cop and PI is asked to track down the missing daughter of his old friend who killed himself (or was he murdered?) The rest of the story is pretty boring.

Hunting Eichmann by Neal Bascomb

Subtitle: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi.

I LOVED this book but it was a hard read. It is all about how the young Israeli intelligence office captured Adolf Eichmann. The most interesting part of this book to me was the realization by the Israelis about how ordinary evil can be. Here was a man who masterminded the transportation of MILLIONS of people to be exterminated and he was just a sad, little, ordinary man.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

The interwoven TRUE stories of Marconi (the inventor of the wireless telegraph) and Crippen a very 'unlikely' murderer. Marconi is obsessed with his invention and stops at nothing to see it implemented. Crippen is a very ordinary man who probably (but maybe not) killed his wife, dressed his mistress as a boy and then fled with her across the ocean to America. Marconi's invention helped catch him. This book was good but a hard read. It took me forever to get through it. It was very educational and parts of it will really stick with me but it dragged in parts.

My Name is Falon by Kim Wiese

I copied this from the author's website: "Falon Macvail is barely fourteen years old when her family isforced to flee their home in Scotland, leaving behind everythingshe’s ever known in the hands of greedy landowners. As theirbeloved country struggles through a time of great civil unrestand class upheaval, Falon and her family travel to a raw wildernesscalled Texas. Far from the threat of their murderous evictors,the Macvail family must carve out a new life amidst the dangersof a new frontier.When the rumblings of a war with Mexico begin and an implacableenemy invades from the south, ravaging the countryside andleaving a trail of death and destruction behind them, Falon musttake a stand once more and find the courage to protect those inher care from the enemy crouching on her doorstep."

A lot happens in this book but so much doesn't. It covers about 20 years in minutes and parts of the book were really inplausible to me. It was interesting and would make for a good discussion, mostly about how unbelievable some of the main character's choices were. Gosh that was bad grammer!

Miracle Ball: My Hunt for the Shot Heard 'Round the World by Brian Biegel

LOVED this book. "On October 3, 1951 Giants 3rd Baseman Bobby Thomson hit the most dramatic home run in the history of baseball". The ball itself went missing. Who had it? Why did they never come forward? FASCINATING.

The author starts this book in a deep depression. His father's interest in the missing ball, which may be in his possession, fuels his interest. In a quest to prove his father has (or doesn't have) the ball, he starts a search. This search takes him across the country and ends with an unlikely solution. I really liked this book.

The Killer in the Attic by John Stark Bellamy II

The is short crime stories which take place around the Cleveland area. It was interesting to see that the world has always been as crazy as it is now. He choses really odd words to prove how smart he is (or something). This book was alright...probably not worth your time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Boring! This book is part of a series about a judge who has numerous horrible things happen to her. According to the flyleaf she is the author's 'most beloved charecter'. I hated her. Skip this book. You have read this story a million times in books much better than this one.

I'll give you the synopsis anyway. A woman is going around killing men who cheat on their wives. You meet the murderer, an FBI agent and the judge. They interact. It should be shocking, it's not. There is no mystery, no surprise reveal and no one that interesting.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder


It is spooky and macabre (just looking for an excuse to use this word) but not really scary. It's haunting though and stays with you. It makes you look at people around you quite a bit differently.

The author of this book was the neighbor to convicted murder Robert Weeks. In 1987, Weeks was convicted of killing 2 women but suspected in the deaths of several other acquantences who vanished after meeting him for dinner. The author met with Weeks in prison as part of a plan to write a book about him but couldn't bring herself to serve his need for fame. Instead, she used the information from the interviews to write a fictional story as told by a killer. It is narrated by Arthur Blume and is completely chilling. He alludes to his murders as well as gives heartbreaking stories from his childhood. It was completely fascinating. Did I mention I LOVED THIS BOOK. It reminded me of another book I loved We have always lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I will review that book another day when I start reviewing some of my favorite all time books.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell

Off the coast of Sweden is a tiny island. Living alone on this island in a delapadated house is retired physician Fredrik Welin. To say Fredrik is a hermit or a recluse would be grossly understating the situation. He has chosen to live alone with only an aging dog and cat (and an ant hill which is taking over his living room). His only contact with the outside world are the semi-frequent visits from the postman who services his island.

His world is shattered when his lost love who he abandoned years earlier shows up on the frozen ice. She requests that he fufill the promise he made to her those many years ago.

I liked this book. There were beautiful descriptions of the frozen country side. The charecters were interesting and true to life. It was quirky which I chalk up to the fact that it is a book written in Swedish and translated into english.

Henning Mankell is a Swedish author best known for his mystery series featuring Kurt Wallander.