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review 2018-12-10 00:48
Before the Fall
Before the Fall - Noah Hawley,Robert Petkoff

Disclaimer:  I am giving this book a "Goodreads" two stars; not an "Amazon" two stars.  This is a "this was fair" two stars.

 

Seven passengers, one bodyguard, and three airline crew members are on a private flight from Martha's Vineyard to New York City, when the airplane crashes into the ocean.  Somehow two of the people on the airplane survive:  an artist named Scott Burroughs, and JJ, the four-year-old son of David Bateman, who runs ALC News, a cable station that appears to be a thinly veiled version of Fox News.  Against the odds, Scott is able to swim about ten miles to the shore of Montauk, Long Island, with JJ on his back, rescuing both of them.

 

Scott immediately becomes part of the 24-hour news cycle, with most reporters wishing to know more about the "hero" story.  Going against the grain is one of the talking heads at Bateman's network, Bill Cunningham.  Cunningham has recently come under fire for obtaining illegal recordings of various high-profile people's phone conversations, and he is not chastened.  Cunningham goes into tinfoil hat mode, insisting that his friend David was most definitely probably murdered as part of an elaborate conspiracy, and who was this Scott guy anyway, and who cares if he saved JJ Bateman's life, even dogs can be trained to save lives.  Or maybe it's because Ben Kipling, David Bateman's friend and a fellow passenger on the flight, was about to be indicted for laundering money from "non-friendly" nations.

 

The narrative moves back and forth in time, filling in the backstories of the various people on the plane, which also include David's wife Maggie; a former preschool teacher; their nine-year-old daughter Rachel (who had been kidnapped at age two, hence the bodyguard); Ben Kipling's wife Sarah; the Israeli bodyguard, Gil Baruch; the pilot James Melody; co-pilot Charles Busch; and flight attendant Emma Lightner.

 

The plot held my interest, and I wanted to find out why the airplane went down.  But once it wrapped up, it seemed the author was rushing.  When the book ended, I said out loud, "that's IT?"  It felt as though it should have had at least one more chapter.

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review 2018-12-09 01:26
EMBRACE THE GRIM REAPER by JUDY CLEMENS
Embrace the Grim Reaper - Judy Clemens

Audiobook

I'm not sure why the main character is running because what can they actually do to her. Is it because she doesn't want to talk to them? 

I did like that she might be the hands and feet for the (view spoiler)which makes future books more interesting. I just wish she wasn't so afraid of the big confrontation that is inevitably going to happen. 

3-1/2 stars

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review 2018-12-09 01:17
CAT AMONG PIGEONS by AGATHA CHRISTIE
Cat Among the Pigeons - Agatha Christie

Audiobook

The story reminded me a lot of a Josephine Tey book. I wonder who wrote it first. I enjoyed it. Hugh Fraser was the narrator. He did his normal wonderful job.

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text 2018-12-08 20:30
Reading progress update: I've read 239 out of 239 pages.
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery - Leonard R. Gribble,Martin Edwards

just to be clear on a few things:

 

the football game is just the opening chapter or two...so we can have a murder in front of 70,000 spectators. further, we have the novelty of the actual 1939 Arsenal squad featured as characters, but that would have been more exciting for readers way back when, and now it’s more like a gimmick that ultimately has very little to do with the whodunit. the Arsenal folks are there to help sell the book, but it’s the purely fictional characters - many tied to the fictional amateur football team called the Trojans - who are suspects. I mean, yes, it would have been cool if a real-life Arsenal player had allowed them to turn him into a murderer in a novel...but no, they and their (now previous) Stadium are there to create a celeb factor, at best showing up now and then later on, while the Mystery content moves well beyond the game at the beginning: jilted lovers, a four-year-old tragedy, money maybe as a motive, better murder through chemistry done at an out of the way lab, revenge plans festering (?), a trail scattered around London. occasionally we end up back at the a the stadium, but really, this is a serpentine, clever Mystery with a soccer game at the front end of it. we’re not trapped in some athletes’ locker room for the whole book, hoping for a little whodunit with our soccer, believe me!

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review 2018-12-08 19:08
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny - My Thoughts
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny

My birthday present to me. It's so very rare for me to pay $15 for an ebook, but this is one of my very favourite of favourite authors and it was my birthday the week it came out, so...  I gave myself a gift!

Anyway...

It was like coming home.

I came to a realisation about myself and the Gamache books when I was about halfway through this one.  They are perfect for people watchers.  Perfect for people who love to watch TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother because they want to see how the people will react and what they will become in different situations.  There is a lot of people watching in these books, and speculating and looking for the 'why' of things.  I love it!

All of our friends are back in Three Pines, but this time the focus is more on the Sureté side of the family than the civilians. There are parallel storylines here - the case of the will, the murder of one of the heirs in said will, and the fallout from the previous book with the drugs Armand was forced to let slip through his hands in order to catch the bigger fish. 

I wish I was better at writing these things so that I could explain why they're so good, but suffice it to say that Armand Gamache, is a wonderfully flawed hero and the family that he makes around him is also filled with real people who are alternately flawed and heroic in their times. 

I don't know that I'm completely thrilled with the way this book ended.  Oh, don't get me wrong, the ending was perfect and filled with surprises and sadness and feel good moments, but I'm going to be really annoyed if Jean-Guy's fate is permanent!  (Although the whole theme of the student taking the place of the mentor by his actions was pretty cool.)

So, I am thinking positively that there are more Gamache tales to come and that we will be returning to Three Pines in the future.  :) 

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