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review 2017-07-22 14:04
Jackaby
Jackaby - William Ritter

This book was an unexpected delight. It’s nothing new or groundbreaking; just your standard Sherlockian detective novel with a supernatural twist. But goodness me, it’s fun! And full of memorable characters, both living and formerly living, human and formerly human. Jackaby is adorably insufferable and Abigail is adorably ordinary. Jenny is adorably transparent (hah!) and Douglas is adorably, er, adorable. The one downfall for me is that the mystery is a bit lacking. I identified the murderer right away, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment much (and looking at the GR reviews of people I follow, this seems to be a common occurrence). I’ll be picking up the next book in the series for sure.

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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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text 2017-07-22 05:10
Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 384 pages.
Midnight Crossroad (A Novel of Midnight, Texas) - Charlaine Harris

Got started on this a bit earlier today. Hope to get into it more over the weekend. I had a loooooong day today, and can barely keep my eyes open.

 

I am participating in the buddy read, and will be tagging my posts with MidnightCrossroadBR.

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review 2017-07-22 02:59
A fun little mystery that's just this side of a must-read
One by One (A Daniel Hayes Mystery Book 2) - Robert Germaux

Daniel Hays and his Special Assignment Squad -- a Major Crimes squad set up to help smaller cities in the county around Pittsburgh -- haven't had a lot to do since being formed. That changes when the chief him Hampton Township has a strange homicide show up. He doesn't need the help necessarily, but is concerned that the strangeness of the murder indicates that there could be something "big" coming. Another few homicides (at least) with the same strange element.

 

There's a note left on the corpse, it reads "Blue is Better" and has a big, red check mark underneath. Daniel and his partner agree, they probably don't need to be involved, but should be familiar with the investigation, just in case.

 

Good thing, too -- because one week later in a very different part of the county, here's another murder. With another note. Now things are getting serious and the SAS has to jump into action.

 

There's no connection between the victims that they can find, no clues, no anything for them to go on. Just the notes, and repeated homicides on Fridays.

 

From there, we get an interesting twist or two there, some wrong turns, until after a lucky stroke, all the pieces fall together.

 

The characters are nice to spend time with, professionals who get along and work for the common good. They could possibly be a little more interesting if they were a little less professional, if there were a glitch or two in the teamwork. <b>One by One</b> falls into something like a "blue-sky" drama on TV -- like <b>NCIS</b>, <b>Burn Notice</b> or <b>White Collar</b>, not the grittier <b>Homicide</b>, <b>The Wire</b>, or <b>Bosch</b>. This is not a dig at <b>One by One</b> to compare it to those shows -- people love them, I've watched every episode of <b>NCIS</b> and enjoyed over 87% of them. But readers should go into this with eyes open -- just because it's a detective squad working multiple homicides, don't go in expecting Michael Connelly, Owen Laukkanen, or Ian Rankin -- expect Chris Grabenstein, David Rosenfelt, Aaron J. Elkins (check my archives, you'll see that I've really enjoyed all those authors -- again, this isn't a knock, this is me describing where this belongs on a spectrum).

 

That said, Germaux could've given us a little more sense of urgency, had the characters seem less casual in their approach to this work. They did a lot of run of the mill, interviews with people that didn't get them anywhere -- even just showing more of that, would've been something. Maybe all of the smaller departments weren't as cooperative with the task force. It wouldn't have to be much, the book could've used a little something to intensify the drama. This was a good read, a light and enjoyable mystery; it's <i>thiiis</i> close to me saying it's a must read, but instead, I'll leave it as a good read. You will enjoy it.This is a quick, easy story with a nice puzzle and some charming characters. I planned on reading the previous novel in the series, <b>Small Talk</b>, I just hadn't got around to it -- I'm going to work a little harder on that now.

 

If nothing else, read it for the recommendation on your new favorite version of "Over the Rainbow." Wow.

 

<i><b>Disclaimer</b>: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the Book Tour.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/07/20/one-by-one-by-robert-germaux
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review 2017-07-22 02:18
Death in Japan.
Fallen Idol: A Kyoko Nakamura Mystery (Nakamura Detective Agency) (Volume 1) - Percival Constantine

Fallen Idol was a crime mystery set in Japan, and I was hoping for a bit more of a feel for Japanese life. There was a fair bit of bowing and reference to items like tatami mats, but otherwise it could have happened pretty much anywhere. The low-life and hostess bars were certainly not unique.

 

I was offered this as an audiobook for review from Audiobook Boom and I enjoyed the narration by Andrea Harbin, though it could have been a little faster. 

I struggled with the Japanese names at first and I have to admit that they are going to make this review difficult as I have no idea how to spell them.

 

Arkanay Suzuki is a former pop idol who falls from her balcony in the first scene. The police label her death as suicide and prepare to close the case, but Kyoko Nakamura is approached by Arkanay's parents to look into the circumstances of their daughter's death. Kyoko was a police officer until she left the force in disgrace and she is now running a detective agency with her two colleagues.

Together they follow clues, chase suspects and generally put themselves in danger, to solve the mystery of Arkanay's death.

 

The ending was disappointing and I think I was all set to give 4 stars until the last few minutes; the mystery is solved but is justice served?

3 1/2 stars.

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