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review 2019-03-19 21:33
When the Music's Over (Robinson)
When the Music's Over: An Inspector Banks Novel (Inspector Banks Novels) - Peter Robinson

You could probably say I give Peter Robinson a bit of an advantage amongst mystery writers because I always start any of his books expecting to enjoy it thoroughly. But to tell the truth, I've never been disappointed, and that's the case again with "When the Music's Over".


I wish that the split plot (2 cases half a century apart of sexual assault of young girls, with subsequent loss of life; linked only by theme) seemed less universal and at the same time less timely. But it would be a rather oblivious mystery author who did not at least consider dealing with the issues so very much front of mind with the #MeToo movement.


Banks has accepted promotion and is solely investigating the cold case of rape by a prominent entertainer - shades of Jimmy Savile, I suppose. That one has all sorts of political and internal police implications - past cover-ups and bribery in the force - and Banks is struggling for the first time with being the establishment instead of the righteous rebel. Of course he stays abreast of the modern-day case, which involves grooming and racial tensions between working-class white people and the local Pakistani enclave, and that enables us to see the expected interactions with the other main characters we've come to know and like.


I very much appreciated the expanded role for Banks' team, especially the female members of it. Annie Cabbot and Gerry Masterson take on the modern rape/murder, while Winsome Jackman accompanies Banks (and gets much opportunity to roll her eyes) as Banks tracks down witness memories relating to the now elderly entertainer.


Though the actual perpetrators of the individual crimes get their just deserts in various ways, Robinson doesn't leave us with an easy feeling at the end, showing us instead, heading out into danger, yet another potential young victim of the longstanding blight on society that not even Banks and his team can hope to eradicate. It chimed well with the feeling of anger and sadness that so many of us, women and men, have been feeling lately.


Recommended, as always.

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review 2019-03-19 19:09
Daughter of Fortune (Allende)
Daughter of Fortune - Isabel Allende

By coincidence, this was one of several works I've read in the past year set (or set partially) in the California gold rush of 1849. I'd say this is by the far the most successful. The others, by the way, are The Sisters Brothers, and the novelized version of Lola Montez' life.


The title character, Eliza Sommers, grows up in early 19th century Chile, but in a very specialized sub-culture (as you can tell by her name) - the British colony of Valparaiso. Eliza is a abandoned doorstep orphan and so her identity from the very beginning is shrouded in storytelling. The novel, in its largest terms, is the continuing story of her discovery of that identity, and her increasing control over that narrative.


In the early chapters about her girlhood and adolescence, Eliza is presented with two contrasting mother figures: indigenous Mama Fresia, housekeeper and nursemaid, overwhelmingly practical but superstitious and a keeper of secrets; and spinster Englishwoman Rose, who has conventional ideas about women and marriage as tightly bound as her corsets, but (or perhaps therefore) keeps a secret or two of her own.


Matchmaking efforts for the growing Eliza go awry, as do the efforts of a couple of unsuccessful suitors for Rose, and each chapter is crammed with fascinating historical detail, well-integrated, about that period and place. Eliza has a quick dream of adolescent love, which finds its expression upon a pile of unused curtains in an unused room, and then her first love, who is a political idealist, leaves her behind.


Eliza pursues him to California on a fairly horrible journey as a stowaway (Valparaiso is a port city, as of course is San Francisco), but what we might fear would turn out to be a rather conventional romance reunion turns instead into a series of fascinating adventures in fruitless pursuit of an outlaw who may be him,in the wholly lawless place that is gold rush California. As her adventures unfold, we also learn a great deal about the past and present of a companion who becomes increasingly important, a Chinese doctor named Tao Chi'en.


In the last paragraph of the novel, Eliza, having been permitted to view the remains of the notorious outlaw, turns to Tao Chi'en and says simply, "I am free." For what happens in between (including a two-page appearance by Lola Montez, expertly rendered), I strongly urge anybody who likes historical novels, or novels with psychological insight, or both, to read and savour this book. It really is very very good.

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review 2019-03-14 03:50
The Bone Collector
The Bone Collector - Jeffery Deaver

Audience: Adult

Format: Kindle/Owned



She wanted only to sleep.

- first sentence


So, this is the original Lincoln Rhyme novel - the first in a long series. I have read others, but I don't remember reading this one. I chose this book because I needed a book written between 1900-1999 for Snakes & Ladders. Finding one on my tbr was a bit harder than I thought but I managed.


Lincoln Rhyme is not particularly likable, even when you take into consideration that he is a paraplegic (and is entitled to be a bit angry). Meeting Amelia Sachs was interesting and I liked seeing how her relationship with Lincoln developed. The story is good, though not particularly original - serial killer taunts the police as he kidnaps and sets up elaborate murders scenes; sometimes the would-be victims are rescued, sometimes not. The killer's identity is a bit of a surprise so that part is good.


Overall, good story and I'm glad I read it. I will have to watch the movie again now.


I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #28. Written between 1900 and 1999 (it was published in 1998).

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text 2019-03-14 03:33
Reading progress update: I've listened 660 out of 901 minutes.
Fathomless - Greig Beck,Sean Mangan


I'm really enjoying this book, but there is one thing that is driving me crazy:


Every time I hear the narrator say the word "leant" instead of "leaned." I get that this is the word the author used, but I just don't understand why. I'm not sure if the word is used more often than usual in this book or if I'm just attuned to it. But every time I hear it, I just cringe (and think "leaned" in my head). It was driving me so nuts that I looked online to see if there is a reason to use "leant" instead of "leaned." There isn't. "Leant" is an older form of the word "leaned" and isn't used much in modern language. Modern grammar rules say either word works, but "leaned" is the more appropriate choice unless the book is a period piece and the author is trying to match the language with the time period.


So, I ask you Mr. Beck, "WHY???" 


The book takes place in modern times - there is no reason to use the word "leant." At least if I was reading instead of listening, I could change the word in my head.


Oh, and just now, he used the word leaned - why the change?? I was hoping it would continue for the rest of the book, but it seems like it was a one-time thing. :(


Btw, even spell check hates that word, it keeps asking me to correct it to leaned. *rolls eyes*


Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant. 

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review 2019-03-09 03:39
The Running Man - audiobook
The Running Man - Stephen King,Richard Bachman,Kevin Kenerly

Audience: Adult

Format: Audiobook/Owned



She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window.

- first sentence


I am a huge Stephen King fan since I was a teenager but it has been a while since I read some of his books. Lately, I started listening to the audio versions of his older books and it is quite fun to revisit them in a different format.


First, I have to say that if you are listening to the audio, and haven't read the book before, skip the author's note. It's not part of the story, and you can listen to it at the end. Otherwise, you will hear a spoiler that reveals the end of the story. :(


I enjoyed listening to this and am going to watch the movie this weekend just for fun and to see the differences. I do know that Ben Richards (in the book) is not built like Schwarzenegger. Most times, it's listening to his gut, his brains, or just plain luck that keeps him alive.



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