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review 2019-04-15 01:43
By a Spider's Thread
By a Spider's Thread (Tess Monaghan #8) - Laura Lippman

Audience: Adult

Format: Kindle/Owned


They were in one of the "I" states when Zeke told Isaac he had to ride in the trunk for a little while.

- first sentence


I purchased this book in February and I don't remember why. Maybe I saw a review I liked or maybe it was on sale and sounded good to me. Anyway, the Snakes and Ladders square called for a book I acquired in February and I didn't have many options. So, even though this is not the first book in the Tess Monaghan series and I don't think I read any of the others, I decided to go with it.


Tess is an interesting, relatable character and even though I don't know her background or what she has been through, I enjoyed this book. Tess is a PI and her client is an orthodox Jewish man (Mark) whose wife (Natalie) and three children have disappeared. But, it looks like Natalie left of her own volition, and took the children. Mark says there were no problems in their marriage and there was no reason for Natalie to leave. But, after looking into things, Tess realizes that there is more to it, and Mark isn't telling her the whole truth.


I spent most of the book trying to figure out why Natalie would leave her husband and go off with Zeke. He's an asshole and he is horrible to her children, especially Isaac. Who would put up with that? But I guess she has romanticized their relationship and thinks things will eventually get better. The main question I had was will she eventually put her children first?


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review 2019-04-12 14:00
Said the Spider to the Fly...
By a Spider's Thread - Laura Lippman


I honestly don't have much to say here except that I really enjoyed this updated look at Tess's life. She is still suffering some aftershocks after the events in the last book. Having to kill someone or she would be killed left a hole in her. She and her boyfriend are living apart since she feels like he is trying to "fix" her and keep her safe. She is back to rowing and doing investigations again. Her uncle brings her a new client who is trying to track down his wife and three children. He doesn't understand why she left and the police won't help him. When Tess starts digging deeper she figures out there are half-truths going on and a whole lot of lying. When she finally starts pulling things apart she figures out a long-standing conspiracy.

Tess was great to me in this one. She still has her two dogs and her family and her favorite aunt. Though she is a bit lonely without Crow around, she's making due. Lippman references a few times how the last case shook Tess's confidence. She doesn't know if she can be strong again, but we get to see her do just that a bunch of times throughout the story. I also think that Tess's cynicism was softened a bit in this one, but she's still no one's fool. Via Tess, Lippman always does a great job breaking down the history of the places that Tess is traveling to. 


We get introduced to a couple of new secondary characters in this one. We have Mark Rubin that has hired Tess to find his wife and children. I honestly didn't know what to make of him earlier on, but really liked that Lippman had things leaning one way until we get some shocking reveals here and there. Lippman also switches the POV's to Mark Rubin's wife Natalie, Rubin's son, and a mysterious man that has an unending hatred for Mark for some reason. 


We also get some familiar characters in this one, Tess's best friend Whitney, her aunt, and her aunt's long-time boyfriend too. 


I thought the writing was very good and that Lippman incorporated some more background on Orthodox Judaism which gave the book a different feel than prior ones. Rubin's religion definitely plays into what is going on or what he chose to not see. 


The flow was a bit off after a while though. I think once we realize as readers what is going on you may start to feel a bit impatient for things to get moving. 

The setting of Baltimore per usual seems to always have a presence in these books. We do have Tess traveling back and forth in this one, but for once the book stays centered in Maryland though Rubin's wife travels back and forth across multiple states.


The ending was really good and I didn't see the twist coming. I loved the epilogue and that we do see a hint of Tess's older cynicism rearing it's head. 

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text 2019-04-09 21:46
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
By a Spider's Thread - Laura Lippman

Bangs head about cover. Sorry, tried to fix, but oh well. It's still the right book :-)

Great installation in the Tess Monaghan series!

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review 2019-03-25 14:20
The Callahan Touch / Spider Robinson
The Callahan Touch - Spider Robinson

Opening Night at Mary's Place is the hottest ticket in the galaxy - a brand-new bar with some old familiar faces. Jake's back, along with Doc, Fast Eddie, and the rest of the Callahan's gang. And just when things couldn't get crazier, guess who shows up in the Mick of Time to make sure they do...


Once again, I find myself wishing that I liked the Callahan’s books more than I do. Robinson tries for a much more obviously optimistic view of the world than most other authors and he obviously holds dear the concepts of acceptance of those who differ from ourselves, true friendship, and solid romantic relationships. I can appreciate those aspects of his writing.

He’s obviously a socially progressive guy—but he really hits the reader over the head with it in this book. Jake, our narrator, is a stand-in for Robinson himself. And Jake is really busy showing us how un-prejudiced and liberal-minded he is, while also espousing a very right-wing Libertarian outlook. In these characteristics, he very obviously follows in the footsteps of Robert A. Heinlein and John Varley, both of whom receive mention in this volume.

Of course, the punning continues and I’ve almost (almost) become inured to it, but it’s become the sand in the unappealing sandwich. You know what you’re going to get when you pick up one of the Callahan’s books and it has been repetitive for some time now.

Book number 314 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2019-03-21 20:52
So I'm gonna share a person story on why I'm not crazy about this...
Miles Morales: Spider-Man (2018-) #1 - Saladin Ahmed,Javier Garron,Brian Stelfreeze

Before Black Bolt, the author, worried by something political that got an artists fired, said his comics wouldn't be political.   Sweet!   Especially since Christians and Jews were targeted by an artist, particularly Jews. 


The author is also palestinian.   Which makes me nervous because the standard lefty views - and yes, the immigration politics in this are lefty - is that Jews should not be allowed to raise their hands in self-defense, especially against palestinians.   Ignore everything, especially the open calls to murder all Jews, from the palestinian leaders, ignore the many murders commited by palestinian terrorists, don't defend yourself. And so I have no safe place: lefty politics in my comics may mean this subtle antisemitism creeping in, and so I refuse to continue with this series if it insists on being political.   I refuse to give money to someone who complains when Jews defend themselves, ignoring the violence against them by his own people. 


I found the storyline decent other than the anxiety provoking aspect of worrying about lefty palestinian politics creeping into Spider-Man, and the art was meh for me, so thus the low rating.  I got this for free as a Marvel Insider - you get points for things, and can get free digital comics with your points - otherwise I wouldn't have read this at all. 

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