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review 2017-12-07 15:20
Podcast #80 is up!
The Gray Fox: George Crook and the Indian Wars - Paul Magid

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it I interview Paul Magid about the second volume of his biography of the 19th century U.S. Army general George Crook. Enjoy!

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review 2017-12-06 18:01
Giveaway & Review – A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray @Alexincrimeland @partnersincr1me
A Pound of Flesh - Alex Gray

A Pound of Flesh

by Alex Gray



A female vigilante. I love it!


Her friends death haunts her and she can find no relief, not even in the killing. Doesn’t matter. She will not stop until she finds HIM.


DS William Lorimer has been promoted to head of the Serious Crimes Squad. What’s on the agenda? Four murdered prostitutes.


BUT, when Deputy First Minister Edward Pattison is murdered, he must pass the prostitute murders to other divisions. He is not happy with it at all. Do some see the prostitutes as less valuable? They deserve justice as much as anyone else.


Instinct and compassion are two of William’s best traits. He cares about ALL victims. He would rather be on the streets, than shuffling paperwork, doing press conferences, and playing politics.


“Killing Time” has a double meaning for HER. SHE is smart, bold, and on a mission. I feel so much compassion for her. I know she has a tragic story and I can see why she did what she did. Sometimes we have to take justice into our own hands and I love that she did just that. My biggest worry…what will happen to her in the end?


As the investigation ramps up, connections are made. Police procedures unfold, piece by piece the clues are gathered. More than one persons secrets will be exposed.


The danger is subtle, yet permeates the pages, lingering, creating tension and a sense of urgency. Lily…what will become of her? Will she make it out alive? I have much empathy and concern for this young girl who doesn’t deserve what life has dealt her.


I LOVE the ending. Alex Gray did a fabulous job of leaving me satisfied.


I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray.


Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars


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review 2017-12-04 10:30
Simply sublime
The Dark Gray Blanket - Robert Burns

In the winter of 76 and 77 in the area of Oakland in the county of Michigan four children aged between the ages of 10 and 12 were abducted, held for days before finally being brutally murdered their bodies being left either naked or partially clothed in the frozen landscape. The babysitter killer, as he came to be known, was never apprehended and The Dark Gray Blanket is a fictional novel about this event.


Frank Pellegrini, an experienced detective, works with the Child Victims Investigative Unit of the Detroit Police Department. He is tolerated by his boss Captain McDougal who knows that Frank has the best wishes of the greater community at heart even though at times his methods are somewhat unorthodox. He lives a lonely bachelor life having been greatly affected by events in his childhood disclosed later in the novel. His days are days of routine usually complemented with a visit to his favourite watering hole "O'Malleys"..."Frank's evening up until now had been predictable the medicinal shots of Wild Turkey 101 at O'Malleys, his favourite meal, two hours of mulling over his cases at his desk while dressed only in his underwear, and the final dose of Wild Turkey launching him into a deep, worry-free sleep." When the naked body of a child is found partly buried in snow Frank, together with his new partner Jimmy Wilson, is tasked with the job of bringing the killer to justice. As the body count rises, and the word serial killer is uttered, the good citizens of a frightened community are demanding answers exerting justifiable pressure on an overworked Detroit Police Dept.


The writing of The Dark Gray Blanket is sublime narrated in unhurried deeply descriptive prose. We learn a little of the history of the area made famous by the automobile industry in particular Henry Ford and also two renowned musicians; Vincent Damon Furnier and Robert Clark Seger better known as Alice Cooper and Bob Seger. The cold frosty snowbound Michigan winters of 76 and 77 add a frosty and chilly feeling to the developing nightmare...."The dark black night sky was being punctuated with the soft, fluffy, white falling snow, and the huge boughs, stretching in every direction from the gigantic Douglas firs, were gently swaying under their white burden and the gently blowing wind."....


Pellegrini's personal mission to solve a difficult case, his dogged unflinching determination and the relationship with his new young partner Jimmy Wilson create a spell bounding work of genius and a story that I found once started was very difficult to leave until completed. Throughout is a lingering uneasiness and a sense of morbid anticipation as we wait for the killer to strike again..."He still could not believe his eyes. In all his years, he had never viewed a scene quite like this-the solemn, cold, naked isolation of the frailest among us, having endured the most unimaginable horrors form something so evil."....


I always wonder when reading a detective novel if the author will have the ability to create a unique conclusion something that will be totally unexpected. The final chapters produced a sequence of events that thrilled me in their audacity and inventiveness, naturally I cannot disclose them to you (dear reader of my review!) for to do so would spoil your enjoyment of a novel that I rate as totally unique, and possibly the best book I have read this year. Many thanks to the good people of netgalley and publisher Howard Schrack for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written. Highly, highly recommended.

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review 2017-11-25 08:00
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde,Jeffrey Eugenides

A friend of mine told me about The Picture of Dorian Gray and she is quite a fan of it. I wanted to read it as well, to see if it really was as good as she said.


I enjoyed reading it. For me, it wasn't the best book I've ever read and there wasn't much surprise for me in it (my friend told me the story) but it was still interesting to read in my opinion. It took me quite some time to finish the book, but that hadn't to do with the story.


It was also the first book I read online (instead of on paper; it was a free read on GR and this was still before I had an eReader) so I had to get used to that as well.

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review 2017-11-22 17:31
Lack of World Building Causes Problems in Defy the Stars
Defy the Stars - Claudia Gray

I think I should have known there would be a problem when the book just starts off with one of the characters (Noemi) going into why her planet (Genesis) is at war with the planet Earth. We hear about a fatal run they are gearing up to do, Noemi worries about her best friend, and only friend it seems, and then we segue into another character (Abel) who we find out is a mech (not human, a robot without a soul or some thing). 


I don't want to get into it too much cause I am ready to head home and eat my face off for Phase I of Thanksgiving 2017.


I just really didn't like this one much. We have Noemi and Abel eventually meet and they both go around realizing that they care about one another though Noemi knows it's impossible.


They also fly around to other planets and see what Earth has done to them and a resistance starting to form. I just felt like there was way too much happening here in book #1.


The writing was perfectly serviceable, I just think that things needed to be explained a lot more since the world building wasn't that great. I didn't understand a lot of things with the planets. Maybe in the next book Gray can include an illustration that shows all of the planets or something. Or a prologue that even describes how Earth started a war. 

The flow was off. The first 1/3 of the book just moved slowly. And then it dragged once Noemi got into trouble (no spoilers) and a deux ex machina showed up that made me roll my eyes. 


The ending also didn't work for me either. I think I was supposed to feel moved. I just don't think that we got a chance to know and even fall in like with either Abel or Noemi. 


I am confused about so much that I started to make a list. 

1. I still at the end do not even get why Earth started a war with Genesis.


2. I don't get how Noemi is considered human still and then it took me several chapters later that Genesis people left Earth behind to form their own colony (I think that's what happened). 


3. I also don't even get why Genesis thought yes let's send children off to do a fatal run and than go yes we care about lives. It was such a contradiction. I think that Gray was trying to work a little Ender's Game in here, and it just fell flat.


4. I really don't understand how Abel was made unique from the other mechs. I am supposed to buy he has a soul or some sort of empathy? I just think it was sloppy storytelling that didn't get a chance to resonate. 


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