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review 2017-12-10 03:00
Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek: DI Helen Grace 6 (Detective Inspector Helen Grace) - M.J. Arlidge

Oh man when I saw there was another Helen Grace book out I knew I would have to read it. I checked my local library and saw they had it in there and placed my reserved.
Now normally you can read a series by itself and still understand what has happened I would highly recommend you read the book before this one at least so you can know why Helen is in prison.

Two things are going on within this story. Helen is in prison and when the bodies start piling up Helen will stop at nothing to solve this mystery. She will not allow the killer to escape rather it be a prison guard or an actually inmate.
With Helen doing that her previous co-worker DI Brooks is trying to clear Helen's name. Though she is hitting a few roadblocks with her bosses.
I can honestly say I didn't think of this person would be the murderer I was almost certain I knew who it was when I got the part where I gasped. Nope I was totally wrong.
I really loved how Helen handled being in prison she wasn't one just to roll over even though she knew the odds were against her.
The way the victims were murdered was pretty crazy, but I loved how we were given detail!
I don't think this was my favorite one out of the series but I did enjoy it. Can't wait for the next one.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-07 04:12
File M for Murder
File M for Murder - Miranda James

Okay, let's get to it!

 

In File M for Murder, Charlie and his beloved cat Diesel are thrilled when Charlie's daughter, Laura, comes home to teach at the college for a semester. The only downside? Genius but asshole play write, Connor Lawton, is also teaching AND he happens to be Laura's ex boyfriend is also teaching at the school. When Connor ends up dead, Charlie works to solve the mystery before Laura becomes the prime suspect. 

 

So, a lot of the things that were good about this one are pretty similar to what I praised in Murder Past Due (which you can read here). We get to see more of Charlie's expertise as a librarian help him sleuth, which was cool. I like the idea of incorporating Connor's work in progress with the mystery itself and the motive behind his murder was definitely original. There was a lot of danger in this one two with higher stakes than I'm used to from cozies. I knew who the murder was almost from the beginning but I wasn't disappointed with the outcome. The way the puzzle pieces fit together at the end was really quite brilliant and I think, as I did with the first book, that James is pretty skilled at crafting mysteries. 

 

Unfortunately, unlike the first book, James did not craft this novel very well. Let's start with the mystery. It took FOREVER for any detective work to actually begin. I think at least one hundred pages. I could be wrong but I thought the MPD got to the mystery much quicker. Not much of FMfM was actually devoted to the mystery and Charlie's investigation but rather drama. If you dissect the book, more time is spent on Laura's relationship problems, Charlie's budding romance, and Charlie and Sean being overprotective than any sleuthing. When the who-done-it was finally revealed, it was crammed into the last ten pages and very anti-climactic. It made sense but it didn't feel earned which led me to feel disappointment. 

 

Another big issue with this book is the characters themselves, specifically the new ones. They all just felt so hollow and underdeveloped. Many of them were very stereotypical, like Connor as the chauvinist writer or Demitra Vane as the vapid LA actress. Vane in particular got on my nerves since, aside from being another suspect, she had almost nothing to do with the story and James never does explain how her earring was left at the scene of the crime or why she was murdered. There are a lot of problems with Vane but I'll talk more about that in a moment. Overall I couldn't really like the newer characters since there wasn't much presented to actually like. It's disappointing, again since I know James can write characters better.

 

Now, as I've mentioned twice already, I noticed a lot of sexism in this book that was rather hypocritical considering how much James decried it in MPD and with his "bad guys" tending to be chauvinists. Laura, for example, really annoyed me as a character since she was (and I know people hate this term) a Mary Sue. There was no fault to her, everyone loved her, and even though she tampered with a crime scene/withheld evidence, nothing actually happened. The way Sean and Charlie fawned over her was obnoxious and when they went to the party the way Charlie described her was just down right creepy. I literally though, dude you're talking about your daughter. She was supposed to be someone we cared about but instead I found myself skimming past her scenes. She just wasn't interesting.

 

Demitra Van was more blatantly awful. I get why she was supposed to be there. A jealous ex makes for AMAZING suspect material. The problem is, she a) wasn't original and b) was really offensive, in my opinion. James copy and pasted the stereotype of the stupid Hollywood bimbo and expected us to buy it. Well I wasn't. She came across as a bimbo from a stereotypical porno but I really don't think there are people like that in real life. Not that people aren't stupid but how stupid he made her was just ridiculous. And it bothers me that he goes for "voluptuous girl is obviously the vapid snob" stereotype. As a rather voluptuous gal myself with a rather voluptuous sister, I'm tired of this stereotype and it's one of the few that really offends me. And as mentioned, the only reason she seemed to be in the story was to provide another suspect and then just die. For someone who looks down upon the way mystery novels treat women, he sure treated Demitra like trash. It's disappointing, it really is. 

 

Final rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. I dunno. Maybe it's because I can't help but compare it to MPD. But overall this one was just disappointing. I'd skip this one if you're interested in the series. 

 

Final note: You might not find the characters in this story particularly offensive. Normally I don't get too chuffed by portrayals of women, at most rolling my eyes. But as I said, he used a stereotype people have applied to me and women I know and it boiled me over. So just keep that in mind. 

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review 2017-12-07 01:48
File M for Murder - Miranda James

At work so I’ll do a full review when I get home. Here’s the short and simple: 

- hollow, stereotypical characters 

- sexism that made me uncomfortable

- too quick and undeveloped resolution

- Diesel is amazing

 

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review 2017-12-06 03:05
The Done Thing
The Done Thing: A Novel - Tracy Manaster

By:  Tracy Manaster 

ISBN: 9781507204894

Publisher: Gallery Books 

Publication Date:  12/5/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3 Stars 

 

A violent crime from years ago becomes front and center for Tracy Manaster’s characters in THE DONE THING – a tragic event changes the course of lives and nothing will ever be the same. How far will one woman go?

Highly-charged, emotional, and frustrating at times. From obsession, hatred, and revenge to an attempt at forgiveness and acceptance. One life-altering event catapults a family into turmoil, revealing secrets and feeling that may leave them fractured forever.

For eighteen years and four appeals, Lida had waited. Each April she had petitioned. She despised the man, Clarence who had been responsible for putting her sister, Barbra in the ground. Clarence was the husband of Barbra and father of Pamela. 

Barbra had left her daughter Pamela behind. Lida had raised Pam. Childless, she and Frank could not have children, and about the time their adoption came through, they had Pam to raise. Before they took custody he girl had spent exactly one weekend in her care. 

Prior to her retirement at sixty, Lida was a successful orthodontist. Now Frank was gone, dead . . . and Pam was grown with a life of her own. Married and expecting. 

Lida now has more time on her hands to obsess and scheme. She is bitter. She is angry. She wants Clarence to die. To suffer. “Clarence lingered, unshakable as the phantom weight a watch leaves on a naked wrist.”

She knew that once he died she could find new thoughts. She would love to serve him his last meal. 

Barbra’s lover. Lawrence Richard Ring. Next Barbra fell, split apart by four bullets. Clarence had picked up Pamela and lied about a dentist appointment. Pamela was in the car. Clarence had been granted three letters to Pamela a year. 

Presently, Lida has turned sixty-three and Pamela has purchased her a new computer. She comes up with a plan. She wants revenge. She discovers Clarence Lusk. Be a Penfriend. It’s the Write Thing. Be a Candle to Those in Darkness. 

The Prison in Arizona. Inmate 58344. He wants a pen pal. She would change her name and set up a post office. She would be Maisie. Lida crosses a line and begins to write to Clarence. Pretending to be a flirty twenty-three-year-old, in an effort to attain retribution.

Will Clarence open up to her if he thinks she is someone else? Or will he be smart enough to catch her deception? Will she lose control of the situation?

What is Pam thinking or feeling? Does Lida consider her actionsLida thinks she is always rushing to get married, hoping the baby would be born—before the needle. The death of her father. 

The author captures every evil thought of this angry, manipulative, and lonely woman. The strained relationship between aunt and niece. Lida is so consumed by revenge has she forgotten the family in front of her. She dwells on everything bad in her life and chooses to believe this one man is at fault and to blame. 

The letters between Clarence and Lida delve deep into the human emotions, and how deep the scars run after a tragedy that will forever change lives. How after years it begins to consume her. 

Scene (Chapter 35) was well done and quite comical. The phone call and banter between the two. The claws come out. 

The description summary from the publisher was right on – fans of Elizabeth Strout’s, Olive Kitteridge — complex; quite similar to the heavy mood of darkness, pain, and gloom. The internal war waging within. Human imperfections and family dynamics. Learning to let go and free oneself of anger. 

However, the writing is well-crafted as the author explores the complex minds of humans in the midst of tragedy and the overwhelming need for justice. The consequences of this obsession are at the heart of THE DONE THING. 

After reading three books in a row back to back, The Last Suppers(also death row), What Remains True ( the aftermath of a boy dying), and now THE DONE THING. Something a bit lighter with humor is in order. 

All three family dramas are well-written books which teeter on literary fiction; however, they are deep, dark, and sad. This is the type of book you may want to mix in among a few upbeat ones.

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/10/08/The-Done-Thing
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text 2017-12-04 17:08
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 294 pages.
File M for Murder - Miranda James

I’ll explain more in my final review but I wanted to get it written down before I forget. For a writer who critiques misogyny in mystery novels so much (it came up a lot in Murder Past Due), I’m finding this one to contain quite a few sexist tropes itself. Frustrating.

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