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review 2015-07-21 15:45
Private Vegas & High-Roller James Patterson
Private Vegas - Maxine Paetro,James Patterson

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results*, then it might seem crazy that I read nine of James Patterson's Private series, despite giving the books consistently lackluster ratings. But, in my defense, 1. they were all free (thanks library); 2. sometimes it's nice to have sort of mediocre mind-fodder; and 3. something has to follow a book that blows me away, and I'm always cranky about my “rebound read,” regardless of its quality.  


I rarely review these middling books (and this isn't much in the way of a review, I suppose), but the one note I wrote to myself while reading Private Vegas was something to the effect of: “Why all the designer name-dropping? Does Patterson get paid for product placement?” I mean make and model of cars is one thing, but saying someone slinked out of her Oscar de la Renta dress and kicked off her 4-inch Stuart Weitzman stilettos seemed like overkill.


So, fast forward to the other day when I overheard that James Patterson was listed as #7 on the Forbes annual list of World's Highest Paid Celebrities— just to clarify, that's a notch (or two) above Taylor Swift and Robert Downey Jr. who each purportedly pulled in a paltry $80 million last year. While I'm all for authors making boatloads of green, and can't even really comprehend making that kind of bank, this tidbit brought me back to my curiosity re. Patterson's business model/income stream. 

Forbes 2015 World's Highest Paid Celebrities

I don't have an answer (and am far too lazy to get my google judo on at the moment). But, if anyone out there happens to know if product placement is a “thing” in the book biz, I'd love to know more…


* Citation: Einstein (though I'm likely misquoting him).

† Yes, I realize it's unlikely that such placements would be the bread and butter of the Patterson fortune, but, still!

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review 2015-07-16 13:25
The Last Child
The Last Child - John Hart

Think Sling Blade meets Mystic River with a touch of A Prayer for Owen Meany. All three are among my favorite movies/books, respectively, but The Last Child made my concurrent reading about the Armenian Genocide feel uplifting by comparison.  

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review 2015-07-11 17:14
The Butcher's Boy (Butcher's Boy, #1)
The Butcher's Boy - Thomas Perry,Michael Connelly

Pretty tempted to round my 3.5-star rating to 4 because of Elizabeth Waring who, despite being a woman in the man's man's world of 80s government, and proclaiming that “I'm not even a field investigator. I'm a data analyst.” still manages to be pretty kickass.

Data nerds FTW!

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review 2015-07-11 12:24
Midnight Riot (Peter Grant #1)
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch

So this could be fun. I'm not all that in the know when it comes to genres, but if this is what urban fantasy is all about (tip of the hat to Carol for the intel), then it fits the bill for the sort of zone-out-friendly, but sufficiently compelling adventure read that I need every now and then.

“If you've ever heard a cowbell…you'd realize that they are not designed to be harmonious.”

The Only Perscription


It's not much in the way of a review, but I just couldn't let the opportunity pass me by.


More Cowbell


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review 2015-05-31 13:02
The Poet (Jack McEvoy #1)
The Poet - Michael Connelly

This is less of a review than it is a sort of caveat to my rating—the caveat being that I listened to this book. I don't know if there are multiple audio versions of The Poet out there, or if they just love to re-copyright things every few years, but the 1996 audible edition felt like it undermined the story's natural suspense. Don't get me wrong, Michael Connelly's brand of mystery/thriller writing isn't exactly subtle, but echo-chamber effects made moments of tension feel downright hokey.


That being said, the many twists and turns made it a worthwhile experience (and I definitely still trust Richard's recommendations). Jack McEvoy's role as a reporter makes him into a different sort of leading man. McEvoy is a storyteller by trade, so it feels natural that his narrative voice frames the tension so well. 

“Most homicides are little murders. That’s what we call them in the newspaper business. Their effect on others is limited, their grasp on the imagination is short-lived. They get a few paragraph on the inside pages. Buried in the paper the way victims are buried in the ground…Theresa Lofton’s was no little murder. It was a magnet that pulled at reporters from across the country. Theresa Lofton was the girl in two pieces.”

There were moments at which I had to make a concerted effort to suspend disbelief, but in the end, it was an enjoyable read, just not a recommended listen.

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