Friday, November 29, 2013

The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Started: 11/25/13
Finished: 11/29/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 223
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from the book jacket): "Autumn has descended and crops are being harvested all over Crozet, Virginia, ideal conditions for a scenic drive for Harry and husband Fair. Bucolic views are all well and good, but Harry's nose for trouble leads her straight to a cornfield's macabre scarecrow-an all-too-real murder victim that frightens all but the noisy crows.
"This accountant's gruesome death is only the first of many disturbing events in this normally pastoral corner of the world. While Harry tends her beloved grapes and sunflowers, a killer edges closer-as does Harry's protective menagerie of animals.
"Halloween's approach brings with it bona fide terror and a beloved local tradition that threatens to become fatal. Rooting out the guilty in the treacherous center of a lucrative conspiracy requires Harry's farmer's wisdom-along with the quick wits and extraordinary senses of Sneaky Pie, Pewter, and Tucker. A vicious murderer may know the lay of the land far better than Harry does, but that's about to change. It's up to her vigilant four-footed companions to make sure tht the unearthing of this plot is not Harry's last act."
Opinion: Not a bad little mystery however it is not as good as previous ones. The antics of the 4-legged creatures are relatable for any pet owner. Overall, a decent and fun read.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dust by Patricia Cornwell

Started: 11/21/13
Finished: 11/28/13
Pages: 495
Year: 2013
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in the US history when she's awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.
"A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it's suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipman, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she's been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, Scarpetta doubts it's a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with computer genius niece, Lucy.
"At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipman, but she's covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluorences brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, DC. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don't want the killer caught."
Opinion: Fairly good Scarpetta book. A little long but nicely ties up at the end. Marino and Lucy play the same critical supportive roles that they always have in Cornwell's books.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Execution of Willie Francis by Gilbert King

Started: 9/23/13
Finished: 11/20/13
Year: 2008
Pages: 300
Genre: History
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On May 3, 1946, in picturesque St. Martinville, Louisiana, a seventeen-year-old black boy was scheduled for execution by electric chair inside a tiny redbrick jail. Charged with the murder of a local Cajun pharmacist. Willie Francis's trial had been brief and a guilty verdict was never in doubt. Willie's appointed lawyers called no witnesses, presented no evidence, and had not filed a single appeal once he was sentenced to die by electrocution.
"As the noontide church bells began to toll, a crowed of townspeople gathered in the streets surrounding the jailhouse. Inside, the executioners-still smelling of liquor after spending a late night in the local taverns-strapped Willie into the electric chair. Three hundred pounds of oak and metal, the chair had been dubbed 'Gruesome Gertie.' At 12:08pm, the executioners flipped the switch. Willie screamed and writhed under his restraints. The chair shuddered and slid across the floor. But Willie Francis did not die.
"Having miraculously survived, Willie was soon informed that the State would put him to death again in six days. Letters and telegrams began pouring into St. Martinville from across the country-spurred on by editorials and radio commentaries. Americans of all colors and classes were transfixed by the fate of this young man. Had he been saved from death by the hand of the Almighty? Could Louisiana really electrocute someone twice? Was the boy innocent-the victim of secrets and lies told by powerful whites in the cursed town of St. Martinville?"
Opinion: An interesting story of how someone actually got electrocuted two times in America. It seems that justice was not truly served for Willie Francis. Very well written and contains several factual stories.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Started 11/4/13
Finished: 11/17/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 531
Genre: Thriller
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On highways acress America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyster, an married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
"Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.'
"Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's souls and survival."
Opinion: Great sequel to "The Shining." Classic King. Great story, plot, action, etc.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Crime of Julian Wells by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 10/26/13
Finished: 11/3/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 292
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "When famed true-crime writer Julian Wells's body is found in a boat drifting on a Montauk pond, the question is not how he died, but why? The death appears to be an obvious suicide, but why would the celebrated Julian Wells have taken his own life? And was this his only crime? These are the questions that first intrigue and then obsess Philip Anders, Wells's best friend and the chief defender of both his moral and his literary legacies.
"Anders's first clue is an Argentinean crime, which he believes was the great writer's last book idea as well as the beginning of his life's downward spiral. As Anders gathers the missing parts of Wells's life, the journey grows more and more dangerous and complex. Soon the friend and the man Anders thought he knew becomes shrouded in mystery, and the ever-deepening puzzle threatens to consume him entirely."
Opinion: Not as strong as Cook's other books but certainly intriguing nonetheless. Anders, along with readers, are taken on a journey that one might not expect, no matter how close they were with Julian Wells.