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review 2018-03-05 21:33
The King of Detectives
Echo Park - Michael Connelly

I could say that Echo Park was my favourite Harry Bosch novel but I would be lying, they are all equally brilliant. Harry is back out of retirement working for the Open Unsolved Crimes Unit with the LAPD, cases that have gone cold and need a revaluation with fresh eyes. He is partnered with Kiz Ryder and one day they receive a call from the District Attorney's dept in respect of the case of Marie Gesto, an unsolved murder that has bitter memories for Bosch.


When a van driven by Raynard Waits is routinely stopped, and during the search body parts are discovered wrapped in black plastic, the resulting fallout brings into question the handling of the Gesto murder inquiry some 15 years ago. It would appear that Waits is prepared to admit his culpability in the Gesto homicide. As Bosch delves deeper into the records it becomes clear that a valuable piece of evidence had clearly been overlooked in the original investigation. The case is further complicated by the political ambitions of a future DA candidate Richard O'Shea and when a dangerous life threatening  situation develops on a field trip Bosch is annoyed and confused over the lies and deceit directed towards him. At the same time Harry is presently surprised when he rekindles relationship with FBI agent Rachel Walling but it remains to be seen if the two have a future together.


Echo Park is an all consuming, edge of the seat thriller. Michael Connelly gives some great insights into the mindset of Bosch. He is an officer not accustomed or prepared to follow instructions or directions from his immediate superiors...."Bosch considered himself a true detective, one who took it all inside and cared. Everybody counts or nobody counts. That's what he always said.".....He always gets results but he is a maverick and as such his stubbornness and gung ho attitude creates dangerous and politically damaging situations for the LAPD


Rachel Walling must look within herself and question whether she is prepared to accept and indeed love a police officer who appears to go through each day without fully understanding how his dangerous conduct affects those around him..."Are you saying all is forgiven? There's nothing to forgive. The past is past and life's too short. You know, all of these clichés. She smiled and they sealed it with a kiss.".......


I am always astounded at the high quality of Connelly's writing his descriptions of the city of angels..."it was said that LA was a sunny place for shady people" and his deep understanding of a flawed but brilliant police officer so shaped by his difficult childhood and his experiences in the hell of Vietnam...."He had come many years and many miles but it seemed to him that he had never really left the tunnels behind, that his life had always been a slow movement through darkness and tight spaces on the way to a flickering light. He knew he was then, now, and forever a tunnel rat.".......Story telling of the highest order and highly highly recommend

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review 2018-02-25 20:36
Beautiful and lyrical
Travelling in a Strange Land - David Park

Sometimes you read a book and the affect it has on you is one of sheer astonishment...astonishment that the written word can be so powerful, so all consuming. David Park is one of the few authors who has the ability to retain my 100 percent attention and to transport me to a time and location that is profoundly sad but yet so lyrical. Tom is on a journey from Belfast to Sunderland to collect his unwell son Luke, and return him home to the family nest for Christmas. The weather is bad, airports are closed, and the journey involves Tom treacherously navigating a frozen landscape. In this desolate setting there is much time to reflect on family life, decisions taken, regrets examined and a haunted memory..."Something brushes a branch further up the slope and snow falls almost in slow motion. I know its Daniel even though I can't see him"....... It soon becomes clear that tragedy has befallen a family member and in the passing of those lonely snowbound hours the full extent and heart break of Daniel's story is laid bare.


What follows is a brilliant wretched story, that demands the reader's attention and sympathy, a sadness and situation that a family must accept and are powerless to change the inevitable ending. Let the words of David Park overwhelm you with their sparse and translucent prose...."The city looks like one of its sleeping homeless, huddled against the cold and layered in borrowed clothes"....."so I have to think things out on this journey but I don't know if the monochrome world I'm travelling through makes it easier or harder"....."life now ebbs and flows only as an inescapable welter of thought and image."....."Strange to be nursed by your child but I guess that reversal of roles is one that probably awaits us all down the road."....


A truly wonderful novel by an exceptional author, many thanks to the good people at netgalley and publisher Bloomsbury for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2018-02-17 10:04
Playing Beatie Bow
Playing Beatie Bow - Ruth Park

An Australian YA book from the 80's, this was a RL book club read.  Though not science-fiction so much as historical time-travel, the book feels akin to the Australian equivalent of A Wrinkle in Time.


Abigail is an unhappy 14 year old, bitter and bratty after her parents' separation.  She spends time with her next-door neighbour, Justine, helping her out by taking Justine's two kids to the playground, where the youngest, Natalie, likes to watch the other kids play a game called 'Beatie Bow'; a cross between Bloody Mary and tag.  Natalie and Abigail notice another child that only watches, the 'furry girl' that stands in the shadows.  One day, Abigail sees the girl and approaches her, then gives chase as the girl runs away.  As she runs down the street, she suddenly finds herself in 1873, stuck there until she helps the furry girl, who turns out to be Beatie Bow, and her family figure out how to save the family 'Gift'.  


More than a few of my friends here consider this a beloved classic, so imagine my chagrin when I showed up to book club and had to admit I didn't like it.  Fortunately, I wasn't alone.  The book has a lot going for it: the writing is beautiful, the setting evocative; Park puts you in Sydney in 1873, and let me tell you, it's filthy.  Park won the Australian Book of the Year Award in 1981 and it was well deserved.  


But...I don't like time travel books, I'm not a fan of the dark edge so prevalent in even Australian YA, and most unfortunate of all, I didn't like a single character in this book.  Abigail was a spoiled, whiney, brat; Beattie Bow was too ornery to be considered charming and the rest didn't get enough page time to be anything other that friendly shadows.  Abigail's first love was just too trite; I couldn't buy it, it was all too neat and pat (although to be fair, I might have totally bought it when I was 12). 


The book is a worthy read, I just wasn't the right audience for it. 

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text 2018-01-31 14:59
Reading progress update: I've read 188 out of 281 pages.
Soldiers of Paradise - Paul Park

pretty far along now--I'll finish it up tonight. it's turned into an extended battlefield scenario, and it looks like we've had our first major casualty. the book doesn't seem designed to make me feel much for the characters, though--maybe Thanakar--so I'm not having emotional reactions to characters in danger. still, a fairly entertaining SF story that is running about 3 stars, as far as I'm concerned.

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text 2018-01-31 03:02
Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 281 pages.
Soldiers of Paradise - Paul Park

ok. that's all the pages I'm gonna conquer tonight.


Aspe has arrived, on behalf of the emperor, shaking things up for Thanakar, and especially making trouble for Abu, who is never happy and makes enough trouble for himself.


wanna finish this tomorrow. good, but not totally my thing.

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