Bad Detective? Bad Private Investigator? This is absolutely one of those tales that brings the “Bad Teacher” / “Bad Judge” trope into criminal investigations, and it also uses a seemingly currently common approach (I literally read two different books using it back to back) of having the investigator have a similar unresolved crime in their past as a “hook”. And yes, it actually all does combine quite well. Even for those who are, like me, more prone to protest police shootings than support them, this tale actually shows a bit of a human side to police who shoot people. Though in this case, even the way *that* is portrayed is perhaps the most singular unrealistic thing about this book. Still, Swank uses even that to help build her overall lore here, as in any series starter building in hints of a bigger lore is absolutely essential in keeping readers wanting the next book. So overall, the book does both of its jobs quite well – it both establishes the character and world, and provides readers enough motivation to come back for Book 2. Very much recommended.
When Art Imitates Life. This deep in this particular series, you really need to read the first two books in the series – which are both excellent, btw – in order to fully understand all that is going on here… and to avoid major spoilers from each of those two books. Once you’ve read those books, you’re going to want this one on hand anyway, as it picks up shortly after the events of Book 2. Once again, the crime being investigated is one Bratt had heard a similar tale of in her real life, and once again (as is so often in Bratt’s writing), those who have paid attention to her for in some cases not long at all will notice other details of her life making their way onto the page. In a glancing reference here, we get a reference to a child currently living on Maui, as Bratt’s own youngest daughter currently does. But much more interestingly, there is a minor plot point here – that helps build into something that could become much larger – that those familiar with Bratt’s postings on social media from just a few months ago will be all too familiar with. To be clear, while the character here pursues the more criminal method that Bratt was *tempted* to do in real life, in real life Bratt did in fact pursue numerous *legal* methods of achieving the same result. Her socials are worth perusing for that story alone, for those that also come to enjoy her fictional work. 🙂 Overall another solid tale that expands the world while also keeping the “freak of the week” episodic nature of the series intact. Very much recommended.
Needs More Showing And Less Telling. This is almost “Novel Writing 101” these days, but a classic and oft repeated bit of advice for new writers is that they should *show* the actions of their characters rather than *tell* the readers about it. Here, Grisham – a normally masterful storyteller and legend in the business – somehow manages to miss that, to the detriment of the overall tale here. The tale itself, a multi-generational saga tracing two families through 60 or so years of Coastal Mississippi history, is actually quite good. I was 15% into the tale before I even realized it, and not much had happened at that point. The back quarter to third or so could *really* have been quite legendary in its own right with more showing and less telling, but even in this format it was still a compelling tale. The ending is a bit abrupt and perhaps too open-ended for some readers, but other than the abruptness I thought it actually worked reasonably well. But getting there, across nearly 500 pages that other readers have compared to investigative nonfiction rather than an legal fictional thriller, can in fact be a bit of a slog. Still, other than the “show don’t tell” aspect, there really isn’t anything here to actually say “this is particularly bad” about. Thus, only the single star reduction. Still, this really is a great tale for those who can bear with it, and for that reason it is very much recommended.
This week we’re looking at a book that manages to combine the crime thriller and paranormal genres in ways I’ve never seen done before, giving us a killer in many ways more terrifying than even Kilgrave from the MCU’s Jessica Jones. This week we’re looking at Twisted by James Beltz.
Chilling Combination of Crime Thriller and Paranormal. For a book on the shorter end of the spectrum = roughly 220 pages or so – Beltz manages to pack quite a bit of action into this one, and along the way gives us some truly memorable sequences of various psychic abilities. The murderer is chilling and brutal, the mystery is taut, and the final battle is ultimately a refreshing blend of near slapstick humor (needed, as heavy as other elements immediately around it can get), psychic badassery normally seen only in comic books, and shocking action that not even Stephen King has managed to pull together in Carrie or Firestarter. In the end, you’ll be glad that Beltz wrote this trilogy at one time before releasing each book just a month apart – because you’re going to be wanting the next book in your hand immediately. Very much recommended.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at one hell of a creepy murder mystery that is semi-deep in a series and contains near immediate spoilers for the previous book. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Crying House by BR Spangler.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
You’ll Never Look At Ye Olden Ways The Same Again. This was my first book from Spangler, and is the 4th book in this particular series. It picks up seemingly some period of time after the events of Book 3, and immediately spoils some of the ending there. So if you have particular cares about such… start at Book 1 here and work your way here. As a police procedural / murder mystery of the book type series, this one actually works quite well and features a technique (used in a variety of ways) that will both creep you out and cause you to think twice about certain olden ways of doing certain things. What were y’all *really* up to, humanity of old???? Several different deaths drive the action here, and there is indeed quite a bit of action along with the mystery, including a pulse pounding race to… well, not quite the finale, but the effective end (+ some exposition) of that particular thread. And then another bit of action to resolve the other main thread before ending on a series explosion big enough that you’re going to want the next book in your hands immediately. Very much recommended.
Below the jump, the various publisher details of the book, including a description, author bio, and links to social media and to buy the book. 🙂
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Crying House by BR Spangler”
This week we look at a book chat continues to build its world while using a legendary tale in a modern setting to ask questions about the modern world. This week, we’re looking at Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve.
It is difficult to speak about this book without spoilers, particularly since the biggest thing that resonated with me was the biggest spoiler of the entire book. But I’m not going to do that. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible on this site, and I’m not going to start spoiling books now. So all I’ll say about what I really want to talk about is that there is a singular book I’ve read more than twice in my eReader exclusive era of the past 7 yrs or so. I love this particular book and what it stands for so much that I literally have a version of the heading of one of the parts of this book tattooed on my left wrist. And this particular book’s take on the spoiler subject of Perfectly Good Crime is pretty well diametrically opposed to the presentation Ms. Meserve gives the topic. Which is not to say that her presentation isn’t stellar, it is. And if you subscribe to the dominant beliefs of our era, Ms. Meserve actually presents this topic in a very balanced fashion and brings out some very interesting points about it in the process. But my own feelings there are simply… atypical may be a gentle way of putting it. 😉
All of that said, this is a great crime/ reporter mystery that continues with solid world building and tells an excellent tale of a reporter struggling to find just what she wants for herself. The personal aspects of Kate Bradshaw’s life are interwoven with the professional in a very satisfying manner and continue to show local journalists even in large markets such as LA as the true professionals yet also “normal people” they are. Truly an excellent work, and I look forward to more from this author and this series.
As always, we end with the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release Of the Week: Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve”