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review 2019-10-31 03:16
The Cat Caper (Pet Whisperer P.I. #5) by: Molly Fitz
The Cat Caper (Pet Whisperer P.I. #5) - Molly Fitz




Octo-cat is on the move and it's up to Angie to get him back where he belongs. Her best asset has become her greatest weakness. Will the dynamic duo find their way back to each other? Fitz continues to score gold points with one of the most unusual sleuthing duos in print. Frustratingly fun, always intriguing and totally unpredictable. The Cat Caper will put a smile on your face.

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review 2019-10-06 15:36
Valour and Vanity - Mary Robinette Kowal
Valour and Vanity - Mary Robinette Kowal

     The Glamourist Histories start with an extremely well-done Jane Austen sort of Regency  romance with magic as an art form. Then with each subsequent book Kowal makes great leaps in the development of the art, development of the characters within their marriage, the opportunity to take her couple places Austen never went like the Napoleonic wars and the slave trade, while always managing to maintain the Austen tone.

It's kind of astounding even though Novik does essentially the same thing with the Forester/O'Brien tradition of naval war novels.


And now I'm off to read, because writing this up I realized that I skipped the second book in the series entirely. I knew my September was rough, but, wow, that's a pretty huge error to make.


Library copy

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review 2018-10-17 19:01
The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt #2)
Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt) - Clive Cussler

A lazy Sunday afternoon at a U.S Air Force base on a quiet Greek island is shattered when a WWI-era German fighter attacks and then finds itself in a dogfight with a WWII-era seaplane.  The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler was the first published book featuring Dirk Pitt and started off a four decade long series of books that sold millions of books and multiple times on the bestseller list.


Dirk Pitt and his best friend Al Giordino, heading to the Greek island of Thasos on a special assignment to a NUMA vessel, fight off a WWI German fighter attacking a nearby U.S. Air Force base in a WWII-era seaplane.  The next morning Dirk takes an early morning swim and meets Teri von Till, niece of a reclusive shipping magnate who lives on the island.  After meeting with the NUMA vessel’s captain, Pitt goes to meet Teri’s uncle Bruno for dinner and finds out he was a German pilot in World War I with a model submarine in his study.  Von Till attempts to kill Pitt with his dog, but Pitt escapes and the next day with Giordino invade von Till’s mansion and kidnap Teri only to be detained by a member of an INTERPOL drug task force.  Pitt and Giordino learn that von Till is a suspected drug smuggler and are ordered by the NUMA director to aid INTERPOL in stopping a massive shipment of heroin from reaching the U.S.  After boarding the suspected cargo ship with the heroin, Pitt figures out how von Till hasn’t been caught.  Pitt then leads a group of scientists to look for and find a massive cave in which they find several submarines, though caught by von Till and a mole from the INTERPOL task force it’s an elaborate trap as Giordino, several INTERPOL agents, and military personnel had raided von Till’s mansion and listened in on Pitt explaining to von Till everything he had figured out including that he was actually a Nazi war criminal which von Till didn’t deny.


This is a quick pacing book and has numerous cliché elements that one would expect to find in an early 1970s adventure novel with the main character notably inspired by James Bond.  While I could knock the disjointed narrative flow or the weak character development of some of the other characters given the time period it was to be expected, the biggest eyesore is Dirk Pitt himself.  The term “jerk” is a cleaned up way to describe Pitt’s interacting with anyone in the book including his best friend, Al, and his way to make a woman interested in him, slapping her for still mourning her late husband.  This is not the same Pitt that appears in Pacific Vortex! or later in the series and would be a definite turn off for anyone encountering the character for the first time.


The Mediterranean Caper is a quick adventure that is sometimes fun, but today has a lot of problems.  Though Clive Cussler’s portrayal of Dirk Pitt has improved over the last four decades, I would not recommend this book for those either interested in reading or listening to a Dirk Pitt novel.  If you have read or listened to later books then be warned this is not the same Dirk that you’ve encountered.

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review 2018-03-08 04:44
The Camelot Caper
The Camelot Caper - Elizabeth Peters

If you've ever read a romantic suspense title by Elizabeth Peters, you'll know what you're getting here.  If you haven't, expect a lot of narrative banter, outstanding atmosphere and setting, outstanding if superficial characterisations, a vintage version of insta-love, and an insanely silly plot that is nevertheless well researched and intricately laid out.  The villains are never a surprise, but their motives - at least for me - almost always are.


The Camelot Caper starts off in the midst of action, as Jess is on a random bus going to an unknown destination in England, escaping from men who are pursuing her for unknown reasons.  No build up, just bang!  Except then we're subjected to the flash back necessary to catch the reader up and I find that device dull, dull, dull.  I dislike the hurry-up-and-wait feel of it, so while the book started off great, it immediately bogged down for me until page 35 or so, when everyone gets on the same page (so to speak), and the silly bits of the plot start to kick in.  The scene on the bus might be one of Peters' best comic efforts I've yet read.


The rest is fast pace and fun and even though Peters' characters step in it at every opportunity, almost constantly putting themselves in peril, the writing at least made the constant beatings thrilling in a way not dissimilar to roller coasters designed for kids (Big Thunder Mountain at Disney World, for example).  That might sound like I'm damning the book with faint praise, but Big Thunder Mountain is just my speed:  fun without being terrifying and leaving me just a tiny bit exhilarated at the end.  The Camelot Caper is definitely a "C" ticket ride, at least.


This book qualifies for the Kill Your Darlings game's COD card "Antique Hunting Rifle":  the setting is never dated, though it was first published in 1969, but Elizabeth Peters first name shares an "E" with "rifle'.

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review 2017-12-20 17:34
The Cryptic Crossword Caper by Russell Atkinson
The Cryptic Crossword Caper: A cozy mystery - Russell Atkinson

Mags has settled in Buck's Gap, CA to enjoy a quiet retirement from her civil service job, spending her time solving crossword puzzles and discussing the latest thriller with her mystery book club. While her well-meaning friends try to set her up with wealthy crossword puzzle author Morris Butcher as the perfect match, Mags is content to enjoy the single life. But when she discovers Morris stabbed to death in his kitchen, the investigation uncovers a possible link to a jewel heist that occurred years ago and many of the missing diamonds have never been found. A series of cryptic puzzles could hold the key to the mystery, and Mags is determined to help Chief Rick Moran crack the case.


I'm already a big fan of this author, having read most of his Cliff Knowles FBI series, and when I saw that The Cryptic Crossword Caper had combined a realistic police procedural with a cozy mystery, I was intrigued; how well could these two very different genres work together, especially since the author hasn't written any cozy mysteries? Extremely well, as it turns out. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked and I read most of it in one evening! The cozy mystery blended with the hard-nosed procedural perfectly, with all the cozy elements you'd expect; a light read, a little bit of action, amateur sleuths, a sprinkle of light romance, and a lovable cast of characters. Combining it with Chief Rick Moran's methodical and realistic investigation makes for a riveting, suspenseful story that even Jessica Fletcher would envy.


Besides being probably the only book to combine cozy mystery with police procedural, what sets this book apart was that it was so interactive, with several puzzles that the reader can work on their own that, when completed, held several clues to the murder. (Don't worry, if you're not a puzzle fan, the puzzles are "worked out" in the book, so you can still follow along.) I really enjoyed trying my hand at the puzzles and while the cryptic crossword was a bit above my skill set, I had a great time working it and the cryptograms and Sudoku. For me, it added an extra layer to keep me involved and reading (not that the book needed anything more to keep me reading!)


The Cryptic Crossword Caper is an excellent read that will appeal to any mystery fan, there's something for everyone. I look forward to reading more adventures with Rick, Mags, and the rest of the charming citizens of Buck's Gap.

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