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review 2018-06-08 23:24
Upstaged
[Death of a Hollow Man: A Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery] (By: Caroline Graham) [published: March, 2006] - Caroline Graham

Once more I'm delving into Caroline Graham's world of detective fiction but this time it's with the second book in her Chief Inspector Barnaby series. Death of a Hollow Man takes place primarily in the Causton theater. It begins with the death of a prominent member of the local acting community committed during a performance of their newest production. Very dramatic, eh? [A/N: I have to restate my dislike of Sgt Troy who is misogynistic, homophobic, and generally vile. I understand he's used as a literary device to highlight how different he is from the main protagonist of the novel but I really wish he wasn't in the books at all. Something I do like is the relationship between Tom and his wife Joyce which is portrayed quite a bit differently from the TV series which I am more familiar with (and like better). The reader learns more background knowledge about how they met each other and fell in love (turns out Joyce is an excellent singer while Tom possesses admirable artistic skills). In fact, a lot of relationships are explored in this sequel and the majority of them are quite ugly beneath the surface. There's quite a lot of flippant talk regarding mental illness which I didn't particularly care for especially relating to Alzheimer's. I think the only really good thing I can say about this novel is that the mystery itself is fast paced and interesting so it kept me turning the pages. Graham knows how to write a gripping mystery but I don't think she's especially adept at character portrayals (or sensitivity). All in all, I think this will be my last foray into this literary series but I will continue to watch Midsomer Murders (especially after we visited the place where it's filmed). 5/10

 

What's Up Next: Ghostbusters by Larry Milne

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-04-08 13:09
Death of a Hollow Man (Chief Inspector Barnaby series #2)
Death of a Hollow Man (Chief Inspector Barnaby Series #2) -

Compared to the previous book in the series, this was a slow one. The body doesn't show up until the half-way mark. Due to the complicated relationships between the characters and the fact that Inspector Barnaby was familiar with most of the suspects, having worked on previous sets for the CADS, a certain amount of set-up was necessary for the story. It would have felt forced and unnatural to shoehorn all that information and backstory in after the murder. However, just because I understand why the book was laid out like this doesn't excuse the fact that it ran a little long. This was a re-read and I remembered quite a lot from the first time and I still kept thinking, "When is he going to die already?"

 

The ending itself was also a bit of a letdown from The Killings at Badger’s Drift. The way Inspector Barnaby revealed who the murderer was felt out of character to me. After recovering the razor, would Inspector Barnaby really go to the theater and confront everybody like that? From my reading of his character he would be more likely to pull the killer aside, mention how he had a few follow-up questions for everybody and then arrest the killer. He never struck me as a showboat and that's what the ending felt like, showing off. I gave this book 3 1/2 stars it just wasn't as good as The Killings at Badger's Drift.

 

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review 2014-05-03 07:56
IRS agent. That's new.
Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure - Diane Kelly

My reviews are starting to sound alike:

This was fun!

This was a quick read!

I liked the main characters as well as the side characters! I want to see what happens with them.

 

Having said all of that, what grabbed me in this book was Tara's occupation. Weak, I know. But I didn't feel bogged down in all the explanations. Maybe the talk of Ponzi schemes, Bernie Madoff, WorldCom and the like made it all easier to understand. I'm curious to see what happens with the next book and how Tara is going to get out of whatever mess she gets into. I have a feeling Brett isn't going to last. I hope Christina comes back. Tara and Christina were fun together.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-03-03 09:19
Death, Taxes and Green Tea Ice Cream (Tara Holloway, #6)
Death, Taxes, and Green Tea Ice Cream - Diane Kelly

A great series, but this one will go down as my least favorite.  If you haven't read this series and think you might be interested, be warned there's at least one spoiler here from previous books.  I'm not saying anything that not on the back cover, but you've been warned.

 

Tara is having a Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Fired at the end of her last book as the result of a bust that didn't go well, she's facing the repercussions in ...Green Tea Ice Cream.  And the author is hitting her with both barrels.  I don't like reading about my MC's being kicked when their down, but I like this series and it was worth the effort.

 

Tara is smart, confident, independent and a sharpshooter, but this book is her crisis of faith in who she is and how she defines herself.  I'd love Tara as a friend, although I think working with her would be a hazard to my health.  She has two best friends that are equally strong, intelligent and independent and of course, the very hot boyfriend who is also an IRS agent in criminal investigations.  

 

Tara has some scary personal moments in this book and I think the author did a very credible job with her emotions; they felt realistic and sincere and I found myself as nervous for her as she was at least once.  Luckily there's a bit of humour throughout too, so the book doesn't bog down in excessive angst; Tara has no problem laughing at herself, or at least finding humour where she can.

 

Do you know what's great about this series (or, at least one of the things that's great)?  NO nemesis!!  Ok, well, there is one that pops up once in awhile in the series, but she's not at all over the top and we actually rarely hear from her.  She's a little bit catty, but not stupidly so.

 

Summarising the plots of these books is neigh to impossible, as there are normally several different plot lines and Tara chases down a multitude of tax evaders.  Add to that her personal troubles that she's dealing with in ...Green Tea Ice Cream and it's a busy book, although the first half is noticeably slower that the last half, where everything comes to a head and gets wrapped up.  Thank you Ms. Kelly for sparing me from a cliffhanger that would only make me irritated; instead, the book ends with just a small mention of one of the plots for the next book, Death, Taxes and Silver Spurs.

 

I'm looking forward to reading it - especially now that Tara's got her groove back.

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review 2012-12-13 00:00
Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch: A Tara Holloway Novella
Death, Taxes, and a Sequined Clutch - Diane Kelly I love this series, and this little novella was a nice addition! I really like Tara and enjoyed this tale about identical twins in trouble with the SEC. If you like this series you'll want to read this one! RECOMMEND!!
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