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review 2018-12-18 21:34
24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 - St. Nicholas' Day / Sinterklaas, Book
Desert Heat - J.A. Jance,Hillary Huber

 

I needed a break from all the Christmas and winter reads I've been indulging in lately, so I squeezed this one in -- the print version has been lingering on my shelves way too long as it is.  And I'm happy to have finally started on a series that I've long had a feeling I would like: There's a tiny bit of TSTL syndrome and a few somewhat implausible character actions / choices, as well as a bit of tautological writing at the beginning (surprisingly so, since by the time she published this book, Jance already had another successful series under her belt that had been running for almost a decade), but all of this is essentially over and done with -- and Jance and her protagonist Joanna Brady have found their book series feet -- by the end of the second or third chapter, and from then on we're off to very solid enjoyment.  The solution is clear pretty much from the word "go", too, but once the book finds its feet, it's fun to just come along for the ride.  This is definitely a series I'm happy to have added to my library.

 

And go figure, the audio version I listened to even has a bright red and orange cover, so it qualifies for the St. Nicholas square in 24 Festive Tasks!

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review 2018-12-17 11:04
Bookcrossing: "The Partner" by John Grisham
The Partner - John Grisham

(Original review, 1997-05-30)
 


This morning on the Tube I saw a Grisham lying around, “The Partner”, and I was tempted to take it, but it was not marked as a bookcrossing book - so I wondered if somebody had only forgotten it or lost it out of his backpack when leaving the tram in a haste. So I left it in there. Of course, somebody might have finished it and let it lie there for somebody else to take it. But since there was no affirmation that it was fine to take it I did not want to commit trover and left it.
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-12-12 15:05
24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 - Thanksgiving, Book
Six Geese A-Slaying (Meg Langslow, #10) - Donna Andrews
Six Geese A-Slaying - Donna Andrews,Bernadette Dunne

I decided to backtrack a bit to the series's first (I think) Christmas entry, which is set right after Meg and Michael's marriage and in which Meg is in charge of organizing Caerphilly's annual holiday parade -- emphatically not a "Christmas" parade, since it includes a nod to Diwali (complete with elephants), as well as a Kwanzaa float, which obviously makes this book a fun match with "24 Festive Tasks".

 

Andrews had definitely found her Meg Langslow legs by the time of this book, and the writing and plotting is great fun ... of course a holiday parade themed on The Twelve Days of Christmas offers countless opportunities for things to go hilariously haywire, but you still have to be able to hit just the right balance of humor and storytelling instead of simply stringing together a series of (wannabe) quirky incidents and characters, which not every writer is able to pull off convincingly.  Perhaps the one tiny letdown was that the murderer (and their motive) was fairly obvious well before the conclusion of the book, but still, I very much enjoyed my annual return to Caerphilly for Christmas the holidays.

 

And since a whole rafter of turkeys show up in various parts of the book -- they march in the holiday parade, they're being offered as charity gifts to the local poor, they're roasted at one of the local church community's food stand, and a turkey also features in the Christmas dinner "in the off" at the end of the story, to be prepared by Meg's mother -- I feel justified in using this as my Thanksgiving square read in "24 Festive Tasks" ... even if the turkeys are not accorded quite as prominent a role as the titular six geese (or actually, 37 geese ... or make that 38, counting one deceased of natural causes).

 

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review 2018-12-11 14:31
Similar Story Archs: "Past Tense" by Lee Child
Past Tense: (Jack Reacher 23) - Lee Child



I have said elsewhere that crime fiction seems to flourish in times of stress, such as our era now. I fully expect more great detective fiction in the near future as it is one of the few genres that can show society from top to bottom: the detective, investigator or whatever, in many of the best novels, talks to both the monied and the moneyless at the same time against a puzzling foreground as broad and as complex as the society, or the human beings, that carry out and solve seemingly deeply baffling crimes at the outset of any great novel.

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-11 13:30
Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon
Doctored Evidence - Donna Leon

A grumpy, old woman who was hated by everyone and died with five blows on the back of the head

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