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review 2017-09-30 11:47
Rules of Prey
Rules Of Prey - John Sandford

I really liked this book.  This is comparable to the Alex Cross series but I like the character of Alex Cross better than Davenport who is screwing everything that walks.  The story was good though and I was hooked.  I will definitely read more in this series.  Funny thing is I was pretty sure I had read this book or at least started to before.  I have had it on my shelf for a really long time.  As I started reading I didn´t remember any of it but close to the middle I found something from a place I used to work that I´d used for a bookmark.  I know I worked there around 2002 - 2007.  At that point something happened and I suddenly remembered and knew what would happen.  I didn´t remember anything up to that point or after though.  Anyway, I´ll have to come back later to write a real review.  I restarted my immunosuppressant medications and I´m feeling so doped up I can hardly think straight.  I finished his book yesterday morning and then slept through the rest of the day until about 2 something AM Saturday.  The good thing is in 2 to 3 weeks I should get some relief.  That would be nice.

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review 2017-09-26 18:45
The Wilderness Within by John Claude Smith
The Wilderness Within - John Claude Smith

 

The Wilderness Within blew my mind! I should be used to that by now, as John Claude Smith never presents anything boring to his readers.

 

Novelist Derek Gray responds to his friend Frank's letter asking for him to come for a visit. Frank Harlan Marshall lives in the forest, miles away from civilized life. Together, they're awaiting a third friend and while passing the time, Derek notices Frank is in dire straits mentally. He's not himself, he's barely even present when they talk. Derek also meets Frank's neighbor, Alethea, former singer of Dark Angel Asylum. Together, all three will face something-something in the forest, something that is ancient and will change them all, forever.

 

John Claude Smith is always exploring new ideas and this book is no exception. My favorite parts happened in the forest-the first time Derek and Frank take a walk in the woods together is truly creepy.

 

"I sensed in my mind, something picking through my thoughts, as if my skull had been opened up and something was looking for whatever special thoughts, memories and imagination that it fed on, and was diligently feeding: beetles picking the carcass clean."

 

The creative minds of authors and musicians are interesting things to explore. I'm reminded of U2's lyrics from The Fly: "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, all kill their inspiration and sing about the grief." John Claude's take is: "But I know creative individuals and know the madness and intensity that is part of their make-up. There has to be a lack of inhibition in allowing the madness full reign in order to really capture the gist of what one really needs to express creatively."

 

All of this makes it seem as if this book is focused on the inner lives of artists, and in a way it is, but it's also about the forest, nature, what is going on around us, and just maybe...how small we are in the bigger scheme of things. That part of the story and what's really wrong with Frank-these are things you have to discover for yourself. But be prepared because the truth is scary and often ugly too. Not only do we not know everything there is to know about nature and how the world works, we often don't even know the people we think we know the best.

 

Surreal, intense and brave, The Wilderness Within is a unique story that delivers on the creep factor and explores deeply the inner lives of the creative and the broken. At the same time, it makes me want to stay away from the forest, at least for now.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: The Wilderness Within

 

*I was provided an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-23 06:14
Death Note: Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases by NisiOisin, original concept by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, translated by Andrew Cunningham
Death Note: Another Note - NisiOisiN

I’ll start this review off with a warning: the book assumes you’ve read (or watched) most of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note. I’m going to be writing this review with the same assumption - there are major spoilers for the series from here on out.

Okay, so this book stars L and Naomi Misora. If you don’t remember who Misora is, she was the FBI agent who began investigating Kira after her fiance, FBI agent Raye Penber, was killed by him. The book’s narrator is Mello, who has decided to write down some of L’s cases after his death, starting with this one. You know, in between hunting down Kira or something.

Anyway, Misora is trying to decide whether to resign from the FBI after a particular event that got her suspended when she receives an email from her fiance that actually turns out to be from L. L wants her help with a case he’s currently working on: the Los Angeles BB Murder Cases, also known as the Wara Ningyo Murders or the L.A. Serial Locked Room Killings. There have have been three murders so far and, due to the murderer’s pattern, L believes there may yet be a fourth and even a fifth, unless he and Misora can find the killer first. L sends Misora to be his eyes and hands, although it’s not long before she’s joined by Rue Ryuzaki, a suspicious and strange private detective who has a habit of crawling around on all fours and eating disgustingly sweet snacks.

I went into this feeling somewhat hopeful. My one previous experience with NisiOisin’s writing was Kizumonogatari: Wound Tale, which I loathed, but this was a Death Note prequel starring one of my favorite characters from the series, L, so it was possible it would be better. I figured I’d be happy if NisiOisin delivered a competent mystery that stayed true to L as a character and didn’t include multi-page panty descriptions.

Panties showed up once but weren’t described in detail. L was okay, although he occasionally came across as a little pathetic. There was one part where he seemed to be fishing for compliments from Misora, and I found myself wondering how old he was in this story. I spent a good chunk of the book a little annoyed with him, because it seemed like he’d arranged for Misora to “help” him primarily so that he could get a chance to look cool around a pretty woman. Thankfully, the situation wasn’t quite what I thought it was, although that wasn’t revealed until fairly late in the book.

As for Naomi Misora… I don’t recall having any particular opinions about her when I read the original series and watched the anime, but NisiOisin managed to make me dislike her somewhat. Some of that might have been the translator’s fault - for example, Misora’s word choice when she came up with an idea that she realized wasn’t very good: “no, that was retarded” (124). But Misora’s rant when L asked her what she thought about Ryuzaki was definitely all on NisiOisin:

“‘Creepy and pathetic, and so suspicious that if I weren’t on leave, I’d move to arrest him the moment I laid eyes on him. If we divided everyone in the world into those that would be better off dead and those that wouldn’t, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d be the former. Such a complete freak that it amazes me he hasn’t killed himself.’” (55-56)

I have a feeling that NisiOisin intended readers to find this humorous, Misora accidentally and very pointedly insulting L, but instead it made Misora seem horrible and cruel.

The mystery itself left me feeling torn. The puzzles the killer left behind were incredibly contrived, and I had trouble believing in the solutions Misora and Ryuzaki came up with, several of which relied heavily on what I felt were unfounded assumptions. Three murders didn’t give them much data to work with when trying to figure out the murderer’s patterns, and their justification for the date when the fourth murder would occur was, in my opinion, particularly weak.

According to Wikipedia, one of the things NisiOisin is known for is creating characters with extremely strange names. As amusing as it was, I wish he’d reined that tendency in here, because it made the characters seem like idiots. The police noted that each crime scene had Wara Ningyo dolls (similar to voodoo dolls?) nailed to the walls, that the murderer had painstakingly wiped away all fingerprints, and that they were all “locked room” murders, but they couldn’t find any similarities between the victims. The first victim was a 44-year-old male freelance writer named Believe Bridesmaid. The second was a 13-year-old girl named Quarter Queen. The third was a 26-year-old female bank clerk named Backyard Bottomslash. Although the characters considered the possible implications of the alliteration in the victims’ names, not a single person commented on how strange those names were and whether that strangeness might be part of the killer’s pattern.

The book’s pacing was terrible, and the tone should have been tense, considering there was only a short amount of time before the next murder, but NisiOisin kept peppering the story with awkward little jokes. My attention started to wander but was captured again when it was revealed that this case had a closer connection to L than I originally thought. The final revelations did take me by surprise, but I was also annoyed by them. It boggled my mind that a killer who was supposedly so smart couldn’t come up with a better way to beat L in a battle of wits. Even if he’d succeeded, he’d still have lost.

Not only would he have been dead, he’d never have been 100% sure that L couldn’t figure out what he’d done.

(spoiler show)


It was a quick read the offered a few nice tidbits for fans of Death Note in general and L in particular, but the tone and pacing could have been so much better, and the final revelations somehow managed to be both surprising and disappointing. I have one Death Note novel left, Death Note: L, Change the World, and I hope it turns out to be better than this one.

Extras:

Includes one page of color artwork by Takeshi Obata and a page of black-and-white artwork before each chapter.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-09-23 00:48
Reading progress update: I've read 38 out of 498 pages.
The Alienist - Caleb Carr

I'm reading this one for the serial/spree killer square, which will get me a BINGO once it's filled and called! 

 

I read this book years ago, right around publication in 1994. At that time, I read a lot of crime/mystery fiction, but very little historical mystery. This was one of the books that really changed that, along with Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, which I also picked up at around this time.

 

My memory is that I really liked the book, and really enjoyed the atmospheric turn of the century New York setting, but that it was quite graphic. Memory says this is a four to four and a half star read - it will be interesting to see how it holds up to my current reading preferences!

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review 2017-09-21 22:35
Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn, narrated by Jonathan Hogan
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde - Recorded Books LLC,Jeff Guinn,Jonathan Hogan

 

Turns out that a lot of things I thought I knew about Bonnie and Clyde were not true. They were not a tall and handsome couple like Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. They were also not very smart-both of them spent some in jail and for Clyde that was some hard time. I guess that old adage is right: crime does not pay.

 

 

 

I started to list here all the things I learned from this book, but then I realized that would be spoiling things for everyone else. I decided I'm just going to stick to the main points:

 

As I said above, they were not smart criminals. They were repeatedly jailed, chased, shot at, etc... They were often injured in these gunfights with police and when I say injured, I mean badly hurt. They were great at stealing cars though, and Clyde liked the Ford V-8's so much he wrote Henry Ford a fan letter about them.

 

They loved their families and made arrangements to see them often: which just illustrates how clueless and unprepared the law was for fugitives like these. They didn't stake out the houses of Clyde or Bonnie's mothers or their other relatives, until near the very end. If only they had done that, many lives could have been saved.

 

Clyde and Bonnie loved lavishing their relatives with money and gifts, (when they could), and they both liked to dress nicely. That was about the only luxury they could enjoy, because they were almost always on the run, never able to relax or enjoy themselves. Most of their robberies netted them so little in the way of booty, they were hardly worth the trouble.

 

 

Lastly, they truly did love each other. When Bonnie's leg was badly injured, (due to a car chase and subsequent wreck where battery acid leaked all over her), Clyde forever after carried her wherever she needed to go. Bonnie's poetry and writing all showed that she knew they would both come to a bad end, but she loved him and wanted to be with him, even in death. So, I guess that one part of the Hollywood myth is true.

 

I listened to the audio version of this book. It was detailed, but not too much, and the narrator even added a little humor when the time was right. I learned a lot.

 

Recommended!

 

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