logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: lj-mile
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-16 15:16
Amos Decker freed Melvin Mars and got a best friend
The Last Mile - David Baldacci

Another good one. 

 

This is the 2nd book in the Amos Decker series, happened right after Amos got the offer to join the FBI. 

 

And it is a good one. Amos Decker found out a fellow footballer was on death row and think he is innocent. 


Turned out he is, and is free after another person on death row confused to the crime he is accused of. The interesting bits is about how a man feel being wrongly jailed for twenty years, and how he feel about not being loved by one parent at all.

 

Melvin Mars was jailed for killing his parents. He didn't. He was framed. 

 

Who framed Melvin Mars? That's the part Amos found out together with Melvin Mars.

 

But that's not complex enough to be a Amos Decker story. It has to be a twist in the plot with more bad guys and some conspiracy. 

 

That's what happened. A lot of bad guys who threatened Amos Decker's life. 

 

And of course he is not afraid for himself. But he is worried that the bad guys going to harm other persons in his FBI team.

 

So... he got help from Mars and solved the case. Sometimes friendship is form when one see the other guy willing to risk his life for the truth. 

 

Solid read. Pretty nice. The book right after this is The Fix. Another good one. 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-16 01:03
Reading progress update: I've read 484 out of 590 pages.
The Last Mile - David Baldacci

Melvin Mars is now out of jail and helping in the investigation of the murders of his parents. 

 

Amos Decker is helping, even if FBI is being called off the case.

 

So who framed Melvin for the murder? 

The play is around football. Melvin's parents were hiding from some bad guys who wanted to harm them. 

 

The clues include why Mars' parents were shot in the head and set on fire. And why Montgomery wanted to confuse to this killing right before Mars was scheduled to be executed. 

 

And why Montgomery's wife has money to spend before getting the insurance money. 

 

There are a lot of questions. Right in the middle, Amos Decker made some wild speculations. This is a plot device as the clue is running into dead end. The way Amos Decker detect is go after all the details where is no clue. Interview everyone and see what come up.

 

Kind of not so systematic.

Only one guy really threatened Amos life, and he is linked to the killing.  

Solid 4 stars 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-10 21:00
Mr. Campion of 17A Bottle Street, Piccadilly, London
The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham,David Thorpe
The Fashion in Shrouds - Margery Allingham,Francis Matthews
Flowers for the Judge - Margery Allingham
Sweet Danger - Margery Allingham
Mystery Mile - Margery Allingham
Dancers in Mourning (Albert Campion Mystery #8) - Margery Allingham
Police at the Funeral - Margery Allingham
Death of a Ghost - Margery Allingham
The Case of the Late Pig - Margery Allingham
Look to the Lady - Margery Allingham

I started the new year with a minor Allingham binge and, having now read a fair number of her Campion mysteries (12, i.e. 2/3 of the 18 novels that she herself completed), I think I can safely say that while I won't ever like this series as much as I do those of Christie, Sayers, and Marsh, when Allingham is good, she is really good and can easily measure up to the other Golden Age "Queens of Crime."

 

Campion starts out as a fairly thinly-drawn cipher in The Crime at Black Dudley, but that is due to the fact that Allingham wasn't initially intending to make him her main detective: he was her publisher's preference over the character that Allingham herself had had in mind as the lead.  So, in the following novels, she willy-nilly had to put some more flesh onto his hitherto meager bones, and pronto.  Unfortunately, she didn't do likewise for the plots (nor for her books' other characters), which in books 2 and 3 (Mystery Mile and Look to the Lady) remain variations on the same theme -- a treasure hunt with murder interlude, complete with an international crime syndicate led by a master criminal, various abduction schemes, and supporting characters so unrealistic and twodimensionally cardboard they'd go up in flames if you only held a lighter vaguely in their direction. 

 

That said, in book 2 (Mystery Mile) already Allingham did come up with one of the greatest sidekicks ever in the history of mystery writing -- Campion's "gentleman's gentleman" Maggersfontein Lugg, who (being an ex-burglar) is anything but gentlemanlike -- and even by the time she wrote this book, she had already made great strides towards finding her style, and she'd definitely also learned a thing or two about tightening up a meandering plot.

 

The first one of her books that I really enjoyed (or had, on an earlier occasion, even though I didn't revisit it for this particular exercise) is book 4, Police at the Funeral: There still is a bit too much of a "woman in distress" element for my liking at the very beginning of this book, but essentially it's a classic country house mystery with a clever plot and a cast of unusual characters that are definitely showing signs of being more rounded than their confrères of the earlier novels -- the whole thing could easily give Agatha Christie a run for her money (even though the solution won't surprise anyone who knows their Conan Doyle and Christie tolerably well).

 

With book 5, Sweet Danger, we're back, alas, to the "treasure hunt with murder interlude and crime syndicate led by a master criminal" plot phenomenon, this time even with one of the Golden Age's most overused tropes thrown in (a tiny fictitious principality in the Balkans as the origin of the unsavory doings on British soil), all of which by this point had me thorougly gritting my teeth.  What elevates this book (somewhat) above its earlier predecessors, however, are its characters; first and foremost, then-17-year-old Lady Amanda Fitton, who even at that age is completely Campion's equal and manages to bowl him over completely in no time at all.  (She'd return in several subsequent novels and eventually end up as his wife; not without first having taken up a careers as a mechanic engineer.)

 

Book 6, Death of a Ghost, is based on an ingenious idea, set in the arts world, featuring a range of fairly over the top (although not necessarily always likeable) characters and, though Campion tumbles to "whodunnit" fairly early on, the "howdunit" and "whydunit" are far less clear.  One of my favorite installments from the bunch that I've read so far (albeit speaking from memory -- I haven't revisited this one recently, either ... I probably should).

 

Book 7, Flowers for the Judge, begins like a classic Golden Age locked room mystery set in the world of publishing: halfway into the story it becomes clear we're on a sort of treasure hunt yet again (or rather, on the hunt for a manuscript that may or may not exist and provide a vital clue to the murder), but it's clear here that the manuscript is merely a tool and Allingham's chief interest is in the characters -- one in particular --, so I'm willing to forgive Allingham for (semi-)falling back on her favorite ploy here.  (Also, I really like the ending, which provides a twist that rather made me smile, and which for a Golden Age mystery is anything but P.C.)

 

Book 8, The Case of the Late Pig, is an oddity in that it's told from Campion's point of view -- what with its distinctly outlandish plotline and the exchanges between Campion and Lugg it reads like Allingham's take on Jeeves and Wooster (though it's less clear who is supposed to be who), with another locked room puzzle thrown in for good measure and, like in Death of a Ghost, some monkey business associated with a (not-so) dear departed.  I rather liked its twists when I first read it; I've only ever revisited it on screen since, though, where the different narrative point of view isn't as apparent as in print.  Probably I should reread it at some point to see whether the first person narrative voice bothers me more now that I've read more books of the series overall.

 

Book 9, Dancers in Mourning, is Allingham's visit to classic Ngaio Marsh territory -- the world of the London stage --, combined once more with a country house setting.  At this point Allingham is very assured in creating interesting characters and a plot that holds together (also, this book is firmly within established Golden Age traditions), all of which makes for a rather enjoyable read. -- Side note: This is also the last book in which Campion is shown as unlucky in love with one of the story's female characters; in this particular instance, a married woman, which makes for quite a bit more depth than his previous forays into the territory of romance, mostly with the sisters and daughters of his friends and / or clients.

 

Book 10, The Fashion in Shrouds, sees Campion reunited -- of sorts -- with Amanda Fitton, who is now working as an engineer: what starts as a (purported) ploy of Amanda's designed to disentagnle her employer from the married star actress he has fallen in love with ends up with Campion and Amanda taking the first steps towards a bona fide union.  Topically, this is Allingham's take on career women; besides Amanda and the aforementioned vampish actress, the third woman on whom the story focuses is is Campion's sister Valerie, co-owner and chief designer of a fashion house.  In approach and execution, this novel is nowhere near as accomplished as Dorothy L. Sayers's Harriet Vane novels (particularly Gaudy Night, which was published three years before The Fashion in Shrouds) -- and the only truly independent and self-assured female character is Amanda, as well as Campion and Valerie's "Tante Marthe", the co-owner of the fashion house -- but I suppose given its publication date, it's worth mentioning that Allingham is placing career women center stage in a (mostly) favorable light at all.

 

Book 11, Traitor's Purse, to me is a hot mess; a fallback of the worst kind into Allingham's early "treasure hunt with assorted villainy" plotlines, replete with incomprehensible decisions on Campion's part that not even a head injury can satisfactorily explain away (in fact, in light of that head injury they're even more inexplicable), cipher characters, and a thoroughly implausible plot.  Seems Allingham, like Christie, got caught up in the "5th column" / "enemy at home" noise echoing through Britain (like through most, if not all European countries) in WWII, when this book was published; and again like Christie, she just simply didn't know enough about the world of espionage to pull it off convincingly.

 

Books 12 and 13 (Coroner's Pidgin and More Work for the Undertaker) are, as yet, on my TBR -- I don't know when I'll get around to them, but after this recent little binge, I doubt it will be anytime soon.

 

Which finally brings us to Book 14, The Tiger in the Smoke; in terms of characterization and atmosphere undoubtedly one of Allingham's strongest -- at least of the first 14 Campion novels.  Yet again we find about halfway through the book that we are on a treasure hunt, but for once even the villains -- and we know who they are almost from the get-go -- are fully rounded characters with an inner life and both a past and a present (albeit not much of a future if it's down to Campion and the police).  Campion's Scotland Yard sidekick of the earlier books, Stanislaus Oates, has climbed the career ladder all the way to the top, so the day to day police work is now being done by a very sympathetically drawn and, again, fully rounded new character, D.C.I. Charles Luke (side note: like Amanda's path from teenager to career woman to (now) Campion's wife and equal opportunity "lieutenant", another instance showing that unlike Christie, Allingham allowed her characters to age in real time).  And towards the end of the book, just before the final resolution, we even get a finely-drawn downright Dostoevskyan exchange between a priest and the worst of the bad guys that a younger Allingham might have given her eye teeth to write, but would not have been able to pull off anywhere near as accomplished. What's not to like?!

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-01-09 15:33
Reading progress update: I've read 64 out of 432 pages.
The Last Mile - David Baldacci

The 2nd Amos Decker book picked up where it left off from Memory Man. Amos was invited to join a small team in FBI as a consultant. 

 

He was nervous. And while driving to his new location, he heard over the radio that Melvin Mars, a footballer in death row and was stop from being executed when someone else confessed to the crime. 

 

Amos has met this when he was still in the game. And the coincidence that someone confessed also get him interested. 

 

He convinced the team that this is the next cold case to work on. 

 

Sounds good. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-01 21:08
THE GREEN MILE Review
The Green Mile - Stephen King,Mark Geyer
A change of scenery from Stephen King's usual territory of Maine usually makes for some of the author's most arresting and impressive fiction (see Duma KeyThe Shining, and The Stand). King is an author who seems to thrive on challenge, and setting some stories' locales outside his comfort zone typically yields successful results. The Green Mile, a historical fiction novel set in the Deep South during the Depression, attests to this. 

Going into this read, I could not entirely remember if I'd ever finished The Green Mile in the first place. I recall starting it in tenth grade, and reading the initial chapters over downtime during driver's education. But I really don't think I finished it . . . and why, I'm not sure. Sure, I've seen the movie adaptation tons of times; therefore, I was familiar with the story's ending. Yet that didn't rob this 1996 novel of its quiet, meditative power. 

After the flabby and exhausting Insomnia and Rose Madder, this was a breath of fresh air. Since The Green Mile was originally published in serial form (a fact I know every single one of you already know, but I feel obligated to say it anyhow), one can tell King really worked hard to cut off the fat and stick to the good stuff. There isn't a word out of place here: no needless plot lines or wasted dialogue. Everything introduced to the reader is here for a reason. This story has a killer beginning and only gets better, eventually winding down with one of the most heart-wrenching and rewarding endings my favorite author has written to date. 

In short, this work is a marvel. On display is some of the most muscular character work King has managed; not to mention the masterful use of setting. Over every page looms a sense of doom and sorrow; around every corner are hauntings from the past felt by real people, these characters who seem to almost leap off the page. 

I'm not totally sure if this is in my top 5, but it might be. It just might be. 

King Connections:

None, say thankya.

Favorite Quote:

"Time takes it all, whether you want it or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.”

Up Next:

Tomorrow (9/1) is the start of Halloween Bingo! I'll be reading Desperation for my American Horror Story square.
 

 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?