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review 2016-09-15 14:33
Murder on the Quai (An Aimée Leduc Investigation) - Cara Black

I am a big fan of the Aimée Leduc detective novels, but this one took me a while to get into.

A prequel to the series, this book gives us a 19-year-old Aimée struggling in medical school, losing her boyfriend to another woman -- and deciding on her own to take up an investigation that her father cannot handle due to urgent business surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In the process, Aimée winds up witnessing two murders that bring her into the purview of former Nazi collaborators and Resistance alike ... and we see a subplot related to World War II as well.

I didn't feel like this book and its mystery was as tightly constructed as it might have been. However, we do get to see Aimée's back story -- how she gets her dog, Miles Davis, how she meets computer genius René ... the whole shebang. I enjoyed it far more on that level than for the mystery itself.

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review 2016-08-27 15:46
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Spider Woman's Daughter: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel - Anne Hillerman
Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1735542302
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review 2016-07-09 01:53
Pedantic and Disappointing
Murder and the Making of English CSI - Ian A. Burney,Neil Pemberton

I majored in forensic anthropology, so I think I can confidently say that life is too short to finish reading this book. There really is no excuse for making such an interesting subject so very dull. After 93 pages, I think I've given this book more than a fair shake -- and I quit.


The book starts out with a rather dry treatment of Gross and Locard's early works on forensic investigation. Okay, I get it. You're looking at the founding fathers of forensics, in a time when we didn't have the same tools we do now. I'm okay with that. And then we move on to Sir Bernard Spilsbury's investigation of a rather notorious murder ... and I had hope, really, I did, that we would see how Gross and Locard applied to the case.


Alas, instead we saw Spilsbury's self-aggrandizing perspective of himself as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, bolstered by the media giving him what amounts to matinee idol status by talking about how handsome he was compared to ordinarily policemen, etc. And even *that* managed to be somnolent.


I just couldn't take it anymore, and I abandoned the book. I regret nothing.

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review 2015-08-27 13:48
Flesh and Blood - Patricia Cornwell
At the risk of dating myself, I need to reveal that I have been reading the Kay Scarpetta novels ever since the first one came out. That's been quite a while now.

And this one? Was something of a disappointment. Not only were there punctuation errors throughout (which is not the author's fault, but that of her editor), I actually think that Patricia Cornwell has started to dislike one of her characters.

And if that's not the case, well, she's doing a bang-up job of making it look like she's sorry she ever created Kay's niece, Lucy ... because this book has another party framing Lucy to make it look like she's the one committing a series of crimes.

This time out, it's a series of related shootings and drownings that have to do with previous cases on which Scarpetta has been the medical examiner -- shootings that look like the only person around who could possibly commit them is Lucy, due to various circumstances.

As the story unfolded, I found myself getting mad at the author and thinking "what a cheap cheat this all is."

I still enjoyed the interactions between Kay and Marino which, frankly, show more passion and caring than the relationship between Kay and her husband, Benton.

Just not the best outing in the series, in my opinion.
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review 2015-06-14 14:54
Speaking in Bones: A Novel (Temperance Brennan) - Kathy Reichs

I'm a long-time fan of Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan series, and this book is the latest in a long line of page-turners for me.

In this outing, Tempe meets Hazel Strike, a self-professed web sleuth who has been able to identify a number of missing persons using the sources available to her. She has a keyring recording that she says is a young woman named Cora Teague who went missing a few years before. Her family never filed a missing person report because they believe she ran off with a young man.

Tempe is also dealing with an unexpected marriage proposal from long-time on-again/off-again beau and colleague Andrew Ryan, which is just one more stressor.

As Tempe delves further into the case, she finds herself crossing a Pentacostal congregation as well as ticking off some of the local law enforcement officers ... even as one of them finds her fascinating on a personal level.

As always, with Tempe, it's complicated.

The procedural/forensics aspect of these books always strike me as realistic; labs are chronically overworked and understaffed. Unlike television, tests take a realistic amount of time to complete. The violence depicted is not gratuitous (this is a forensic science novel, after all), but it is described very clearly. Sensitive sorts may not appreciate that.

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