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text 2017-09-19 14:27
Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 357 pages.
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books - Martin Edwards

Well, I've read chapters 1 through 5, and I suppose this is what it sounds like when you get a walking encyclopedia talking. Even though it's, in a way, the print equivalent of having your favorite actor reading the phone book (which I expected going in -- the format itself suggests as much), it's addictively compelling, and I am racing through this book much more than I expected I would.  I also know I'll be revisiting it often for reference in the future.

 

When reading the chapters on the beginning of the Golden Age and on the Great Detectives, I also dipped into Edwards's Golden Age of Murder for further background, "met" the members of the Detection Club ... and learned that Ngaio Marsh was not a member (which I admit I'd heretofore taken almost for granted she was), but rather, "dined for weeks" on the experience of her one invitation to a Detection Club dinner.

 

Incidentally, for those who are interested, I've created a reading list for the "100 [main] Books" presented by Martin Edwards in "The Story of Classic Crime" here:

 

Martin Edwards: The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books -- the "100 Books" Presented

 

I've also started a listing of the other books mentioned by way of further reference in the individual chapters.  As Edwards easily manages to toss in an average of 20+ extra books per chapter, I've decided to break up the "other books mentioned" listing into several parts, with the first list going up to the end of chapter 5 (i.e., as far as I've read at present):

 

Martin Edwards: The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books -- Other Books Mentioned; Part 1 (Ch. 1-5)

 

I'm reading The Story of Classic Crime for the free (center / raven) bingo square, as well as by way of a buddy read.

 

 

Merken

Merken

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review 2017-09-19 14:07
Book 2 in Dublin Murder Squad a Disappointment (DNF)
The Likeness - Tana French

FYI, I DNF this book at page 122. I skimmed the rest of the book and only fully read the last four chapters to see about the resolution of the story. 

 

Please note this book will have spoilers from book #1, so read at your own risk. 

 

Image result for you try my patience gif

 

So instead of me posting gifs of people running away I am just going to try to keep this short. The entire premise of this book was absurd. I could not get past it.


Cassie, the partner of Rob (who was the lead character in book #1) is back as the lead in book #2. It makes sense to showcase Cassie after the brutal breakup of the partnership between these two in book #1. Cassie transferred to Domestic Violence and is now in a relationship with Sam who is still in the Murder Squad (part of the Rob/Cass trio).

 

When Cassie is called to a murder site by Sam, she runs across her old boss (Frank Mackey) in undercover. They tell Cassie to cover up and be there quickly. When she is there, she finds a young woman that could be her twin that is murdered. The young woman also is using the name that Cassie used in her old undercover days, Alexandria Madison. Frank has a crazy idea though, he wants Cassie to go undercover as the dead woman and live with the dead woman's four roommates in order to flush out a murderer.

 

Image result for seriously gif

 

I can't. The whole plot was dumb. We then have Cassie waffling about being involved, but wanting to be involved and getting talked into via Frank. Sam the only person with any kind of damn sense sees how stupid this is. Also how did any superior sign off on this mess???

 

Cassie looks at some videos on the dead woman's phone so she is going to use that in order to see how to impersonate her.

 

Image result for seriously gif

 

Cause you know, you going to live with strangers who could be part of the reason why the woman is dead is totally a smart thing to do. I just hated this whole thing. I also hated how obsessed Cassie gets with the entire group of friends. She needs to see a therapist. Considering how she broke open the last case, I am wondering who this impostor is, she had no damn sense as far as I could tell the entire book. 

 

Cassie is adrift and feeling anxious since the last murder case she worked. I honestly don't get what she was anxious about. Was it the breakdown of her friendship with Rob (by the way he is barely mentioned which drove me up the wall) or was it the actual case itself? I felt like I got more insight into Cassie in book #1 and she wasn't the lead character. She is mysterious in this one and I will say it, kind of a moron. Did I say that already? Well she is. 

 

There is no character development at all in this book. I saw a couple of asides to her friendship with Rob, but not a lot. I honestly don't get what Sam was doing in this one and why he even put up with Cassie. Frank, eh, I know he is the subject of book #3, since Themis recommended that book that is the only reason why I am reading it. Only reason. 


The roommates are paper thin dolls. They make absolutely no sense. Three people being told what to do by one of the roommates who makes all their decisions for them. All four of the roommates are obsessed with not sharing their pasts and fixing up an old house. I hope you like reading about how lovely Cassie finds everything.  

 

The writing and flow of this book was nothing like book #1. I was over everyone which is why I DNF this book. Cassie becomes obsessed with the dead woman's life and thinks she knows her cause in some other life or something this could have been Cassie's world. I don't know guys, I just wanted to drink some wine and not think about this book. I just didn't have the patience for it at all. 

Eventually we find out what happened to Alexandria Madison. I didn't really care, but honestly anyone who read a book had to know where this was going. I ended up just feeling disappointed in Cassie and just over her. She jumped all over Rob for not seeing what was right in front of him for book #1, and I wanted to yell pot meet kettle at her when I read the last couple of chapters. If French had ended the book with Cassie trying to reconcile with Rob months later at the conclusion of this case it would have worked better for me. 


The setting was not great. Most of the action (if you can call it that) is at an old house that Cassie lives at with the roommates. They all act like this place is the best thing ever. It's an old and falling down home. That's it. 

 

The ending was a shoulder shrug to me. We already knew where Cassie's life was heading towards since Rob dropped information on us at the end of book #1. I just rolled my eyes at Cassie acting like her investigating this dead woman's life was some great experience. 

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review 2017-09-19 09:42
Portrait of Vengeance (Gwen Marcey #4) by Carrie Stuart Parks
Portrait of Vengeance (A Gwen Marcey Novel) - Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here? No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter. As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Let me start off by saying that if you haven't read any of the previous Gwen Marcey stories, I'd recommend checking out the earlier books with this particular series. While the cases themselves could technically make for stand-alone works, there are characters and certain details of Gwen's life that are carried through all the books. 

 

In this fourth installment in the series, forensic artist Gwen Marcey is investigating the murders of a married couple within the Nez Perce tribe (Lapwai community) as well as the whereabouts of the victims' missing (presumed kidnapped) young daughter. Some of the particulars of the case, as far as clues at the scene and specifics regarding the profiling of the killer, appear to echo traumatic events from Gwen's own childhood. As the case / plot progresses, Gwen becomes more and more convinced that finding the answers within this present case will, in turn, answer questions about her own traumas that have plagued her for years.

 

The journey to the truth proves to be a solidly uphill battle, as Gwen finds that many of the key witnesses she is relying on for information have deep-seated prejudices against Caucasian people. In what's now become a signature mixture within this series as a whole, author Carrie Stuart Parks creates her characters and environments by bringing forth a compelling blend of historical fact, details / inspiration from actual true crime cases, and occasionally details from cases Parks herself worked during her own years as a forensic artist. While working within the Nez Perce tribal lands, our protagonist Gwen gets a crash course in the history of such traumatic events as Wounded Knee / Pine Ridge, as well as the development of AIM (the American Indian Movement). It takes little time for Gwen to see that she will need to tread lightly when working with the descendants of people involved in these painful moments within Native history. Though the years have passed, the hurt has hardly diminished. 

 

Having followed this series from the beginning, I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head to find 8 pages into this latest book that Gwen is STILL having fights & custody battles with her ex-husband. I couldn't help but think "it's been four books now, that kid can't have too much high school left for this argument to be relevant much longer.." I feel for Gwen there. On the happier side though, I'm loving that the stories within this series seem to be quietly steering toward a "Gwen & Beth Investigate" kind of trend. Beth has a bigger role in this book than in some of the previous ones. She's such a hoot, I love to see her getting more of the spotlight! Keep your dictionary nearby though. Beth loves her some "word of the day" usage and Parks works in some words that definitely had me feel like I was back in SAT prep days! 

 

The true star for me though has to be Winston, Gwen's Great Pyrenees dog. While Parks always gave him quite the humorously entertaining dog personality, he, like Beth, was more in the background in much of the previous books. In Portrait of Vengeance however, Winston gets solid book "screen" time, scenes that will make dog lovers cheer at the protectiveness of pups over their humans. Go ahead, hug your own pooch after this one. :-)

 

So far, the very first book in the series, A Cry In The Dust, still proves to be my very favorite. But this one is now in a close second. This book proved to be slightly more gruesome in parts than its predecessors -- in one scene, Gwen likens a crime scene to a Jackson Pollack painting. Yeaaah, I'll just let you art fans visualize that one. But if you're not scared off by a little edge, Parks yet again gives the reader one fun ride full of twists and turns that have you wondering who in this story is to be trusted! 

 

It was neat to read in Parks' acknowledgements that she wrote this story (at least in part) while participating in a writing retreat at author Colleen Coble's home. She further notes author Frank Peretti as a mentor in the process of developing this series as well. For fellow fans of Gwen's investigations: when asked whether a 5th book was in the works, Parks answered (via Goodreads):

 

"As of now, book 5 will be a stand-alone about an artist (caught up in a case) in Kodiak Island, Alaska. My publisher wanted me to take a break from Gwen. You'll be meeting Murphy."

 

 

I, for one, am looking forward to meeting this Murphy fella! 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: BookLookBloggers kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book with a request that I might check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

 

------------------------

ICYMI -- My reviews for the previous books in the series:

 

#1 A Cry In The Dust

#2 The Bones Will Speak

#3 When Death Draws Near

 

* Gwen Marcey also makes a cross-over appearance in Colleen Coble's Mermaid Moon AND Twilight At Blueberry Barrens

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text 2017-09-19 00:05
Reading progress update: I've read 122 out of 466 pages.
The Likeness - Tana French

D

N

F

 

Book gods, try me again and see what happens.

 

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text 2017-09-18 23:00
Reading progress update: I've read 37 out of 343 pages.
Blood Reckoning - Danielle Ramsay

hard-hitting, so far--hard-boiled. fierce. she's tough, this author. beautifully-written, and very promising. she handles bringing a new reader like me up to speed on traumatic events that (I'm betting) happened in the preceding book with masterful skill. and the first murder relevant to this book has happened in very nasty fashion. loving this, at this point. gonna see where it goes.

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