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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 2013-12-02 00:00
The Hollow Living (Age of Waking Death, #3)
The Hollow Living (Age of Waking Death, #3) - C.N. Faust Book – The Hollow Living (The Age of Waking Death #3)
Author – C.N. Faust
Star rating – ★★★★★
Would I read it again – Yes
Plot – as brilliant as the first two.
Characters – even better than before.
Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read.

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** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

I have been in love with this series since Book 1: The Dragon’s Disciples. Book 3 is even better than the ones before. I am so happy to see Pharun back, not only as mean and as clever as ever, but showing his true colours more openly. I have a feel this won’t be good news for Felix, but I will just have to wait and see. I have my fingers crossed, however impossible it might be, that the pair stay together. They’re my golden couple of this series.

I also have to admit that I really enjoyed meeting the new characters, such as the Ercole family. I find Adriel to be a little like Pharun, only less brutal and in a much tamer way. Narissa is very much like Encarz’s mother, the belated Queen, though I have a feeling she doesn’t have the same weaknesses that the Queen had, which led to her death. She may just be the formidable character the Queen aspired to be.

It’s also very nice to see Nisroch back again. I do love him and if Felix has to love Pharun for anyone, I want it to be him. Just call me a FanGirl and get it over with. Lol. I FanGirl for this series so bad it’s just not right. It’s that lovely kind of wrong that we all love so much.

I do have to admit that I think Shrukian could be a surprise dark horse in this book. He’s been gone for a while, hiding in shadows and so on and I really think he could just creep into the story and change everything. He’s unpredictable that way. I’m very excited to see what the rest of the book holds. (I’m only 25% through just yet.)

Now that I’m 50% through let me just take back when I said about Adriel being tamer than Pharun. I was wrong. Lol. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. Total moment of ‘he-did-not-just-do-that!’.

I do admit that I feel bad for Felix. He’s so lonely and ignored by Pharun in this book, and when he’s not ignored he’s not treated the best by Pharun, who says he loves him. I believe he does, but I also think he pushes Felix away so he can focus on his politics. It’s a shame because they are the most incredible couple when he allows them to be. But at least Felix has Sterling now. On the other hand I’m worried Pharun is going to kill him or send him and Felix away. He’s either going to get jealous or not care and either way it’s going to hurt Felix. He would never think of cheating on Pharun, but Jhauril will make it look that way if it suits him.

I really want Jhauril to die. It sounds cruel, but you’d feel the same if you read it. What does he offer Pharun that Felix can’t? Pharun should have killed him when he hid Felix’s letter last time.
I think Domenico and Austric together will be very dangerous and formidable, but very interesting to watch develop. Already they could sneak in and change everything.
The ‘Atlas’ story in Malhii’s history definitely puts things in perspective. It’s sad and it makes a lot of other things make so much more sense.

I do have to say though that as much as I love Pharun, I have to give it up for Morre. Dude, you seriously know how to stand up for your kid. :) What he did for Felix was just amazing. No-one else would dare mess with Pharun and although it could have hurt Felix, he knew that it would have more benefits than downsides for his son. Saldon never did anything that selfless before, for either of his kids. But it does make me wonder, since I’ve not read much more after this event, yet, how this will impact on Felix and just what Pharun is going to do about it. If he hurts Felix…well, let’s just say that I won’t be loving him any more and I’ll be doing a Morre on his ass.

The court audience with Meridith and Encarz was just a piece of pure Pharun genius. I have to say. It was classic and had me giggling like a fangirl at Pharun’s sneaky plan. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can say about the last 20-30% of the book, without giving the game away. And I don’t want to do that. I want you to read it and be sitting reading it at 2am in the morning, covering your mouth at the Holy Crap! Moments, unable to make a sound, the way I did. I’m nice that way. So get to an online store, or bookstore, buy the book or the series and then you can find out exactly what I’m talking about.

I will say this: turning that last page and seeing 100% on my Kindle was a very conflicting moment for me. On one hand I was silently screaming “Nooooo! It can’t be over!”, because I don’t want it to end. Book or series. And then I realised how utterly perfect an ending it was.

Maybe the story isn’t wrapped up with a nice pink ribbon, telling us what happens to absolutely every character. But it’s certainly implied, and I think I like not knowing. That way my imagination does the rest. I imagine everyone eventually getting the happily ever after the book deserves, but I can’t tell you what that means without giving away spoilers, so let’s move on. ;)

* Favourite scene – Felix and Pharun in the snow.

* Favourite bad guy – Adriel – for the WTF moment.

* Favourite character of all time – Felix and Pharun. You didn’t think I’d choose between them, did you?

* Most adorable moment – Pharun’s last words to Meridith and their meaning. Because I remember very clearly what he promised about the vessel for Ravenel’s soul – “He will be the most beautiful in the world. Aside from myself.” And that perfect explanatory moment at the end, where you realise what that means. (Again, I’m not telling you. GO READ THE BOOK!)

* Favourite good guy – Morre. I know, not a good guy really, but this is for the Pharun ‘incident’, because he loves Felix so much. And a guy who loves Felix as I do, can’t be all that bad.

Overall, this book and series were perfection. One of the best stories, individually for each book and as a whole for the series, that I’ve read in a long time. There was nothing I didn’t like about this series, except maybe Jhauril. Okay, except for Jhauril, who I hated. I couldn’t stand to have him between Pharun and Felix. I mean, seriously? Even the Gods wanted them together. *sigh* But I get my happy ending. Why? Because Jhauril doesn’t appear in the last 20% of the book. I choose to believe that the most perfect thing happened. I choose to believe that Pharun killed Jhauril, for threatening Felix after the Pharun ‘incident’ with Morre. And I don’t want anyone to tell me otherwise. I’m quite happy believing that, thank you!

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Sidenote:

Please, Please, Please…someone has to make this series into a TV series or a Movie. I want to see this on the big screen, or any screen. And I really, really want to see this cast in action: Cillian Murphy as Meridith, Chris Hemsworth as Shrukian, Jesse Williams as Pharun, Bill Nighy as Encarz, Amy Lee as Olympia, Jared Leto as Felix, Tom Hiddleston as Raul, and Rooney Mara as Brisha. Can you say ‘lush’?
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