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Clarence T. Henry "ct_henry"
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Small Crimes
Small Crimes
by Dave Zeltserman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Claustrophobic Tale, 27 Nov 2008
This review is from: Small Crimes (Paperback)
This dark, claustrophobic tale follows crooked cop Joe Denton after he is released from prison for seven years. Joe is stuck between a rock and a hard place for most of the book as the corrupt, small town sheriff wants him to kill one of two people: DA Phil Coakley or loan shark Manny Vassey. The DA has been reading the Bible to Manny in the hospital as he suffers from terminal cancer. If Phil is successful and gets Manny to talk, Manny's dying confession will put the sheriff and Joe in prison for a long time. The problem is: Joe doesn't want to kill either of them.

There aren't many books about a criminal's attempt at redemption. Here, Dave Zeltserman gets it right. You don't know what Joe will do from one page to the next. It was enjoyable from start to finish. Highly recommended!


The Forgotten Man
The Forgotten Man
by Robert Crais
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars This tale of Elvis' past had such great potential, 22 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Forgotten Man (Paperback)
The stunning beginning is a wonderful hook. Elvis is asked to identify the body of a murdered man, who before he died, claimed to be Elvis' father. The man has self-inflicted tattoos of crosses and other religious symbols on his body, suggesting he is atoning for something. Elvis never knew his father, and yet he spent most of his childhood trying to find him. His mentally ill mother once told him that his father was the human cannonball, and since then, he frequently ran away to search nearby carnivals. In fact, it is this endless search for his father which made Elvis in to the "World's Greatest" detective. Now it's up to Elvis to identify the murdered man, find out who killed him, and discover whether he really is this man's son. While the plot is a good one, I was left with the feeling that Crais could've done more with Elvis' past. In L.A. Requiem, Crais really gave Joe Pike depth when exploring his past. But the human cannonball? It just comes across as flat. Nevertheless, Crais' choice for the murderer is perfect. And for diehard Crais fans, the climactic ending is not to be missed.


Speaker For The Dead: Book 2 in the Ender Saga
Speaker For The Dead: Book 2 in the Ender Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Edition: Paperback

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent sequel and fascinating story, 2 Sep 2006
This was a fascinating, generational story of life on Lusitania, where humans have come into contact with the second sentient beings--the piggies--since the xenocide of the buggers in Ender's Game. Feeling guilty, the Starways Congress decides to allow xenologers to study these aliens and live among the Catholic colony on Lusitania. When two xenologers die at the hands of the piggies, the old calls for war ring again but instead of an armada, the Speaker of the Dead is summoned. Andrew Wiggin, Speaker of the Dead, sets off for Lusitania where he hopes to repair the lives of two of families on Lusitania and solve the mystery of the piggies.

This story is VERY different from Ender's Game, and yet it succeeds in many ways. The very idea of a Speaker for the Dead is incredibly moving and to have Ender, the slayer of the buggers, fill this role proves even more powerful. The dramatic effect he has on Lusitania is enough to declare the book a triumph. However, the culture of the piggies is at the heart of the story, and the gripping mystery of the xenologer's deaths, when resolved, will not disappoint. Card really doesn't need to continue this series; I can't image a more fitting ending.


A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell Mystery 2)
A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell Mystery 2)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Apprenticeship is over; Mary comes of age, 18 Aug 2006
Mary Russell is more or less on her own in this second adventure. At the ripe age of 21, Mary comes into her inheritance and through a friend, is introduced to the New Temple of God and its mystical leader, Margery Childe. Her feminism and theology fascinate Mary, but when a series of murders claim the lives of some of the Temple's wealthy young women, Mary begins to suspect something more is afoot. With Holmes' aid, Mary confronts a cunning and vicious killer. Nevertheless, the mystery plot is really secondary to story of Mary's coming of age after the events in King's superb Beekeepers' Apprentice. Mary must come to grips not only with her academic aspirations, but her relationship with Holmes. I can't help but be enthralled with King's smart writing and the unique voice of Mary Russell. But what I like most is that King knows when to make her heroine take charge, without making her an unrealistic action hero.


Concourse (Lydia Chin, Bill Smith Mystery)
Concourse (Lydia Chin, Bill Smith Mystery)
by S. J. Rozan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Superbly Taut Mystery from one of Today's Best Writers, 15 Aug 2006
At first, I had my doubts about the mundane setting of a Bronx nursing home, but S.J. Rozan surprised me in the end. His old mentor has asked Bill Smith for a favor--to look into the murder of a security guard at the home. After including his partner, Lydia Chin, and some poking around, another murder occurs, much like the first one, with the victim being beaten to death. The characters that Bill Smith meets in his investigation of two murders are well-written and play an instrumental role in the solution of the case. The plot is well honed, and Rozan's dialogue is equally compelling. But it is the ending of this mystery where Rozan shines. She not only neatly wraps up the case but also the fragments of Bill Smith's life that have unraveled since the start of the investigation.


The American Boy
The American Boy
by Andrew Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling 19th century tale of Mystery, Romance, and Murder, 9 Aug 2006
This review is from: The American Boy (Paperback)
The American Boy is an enthralling tale that takes place in 19th century London. Thomas Shield is a schoolmaster, who, in the course of his duties, meets two young boys: Charles Frant and Edgar Allan. Through these boys, Mr. Shields is introduced to London's high society and in particular, two wealthy banking families: the Frants and Carswells. Shield is immediately attracted to the striking Mrs. Frant and Miss Carswell. But two murders propel the story forward to its unexpected, terrifying conclusion.

The author's fluid prose and authentic 19th century language is totally captivating. One gets immediately transported to the past unlike other historical novels. Don't get fooled: the story is about Thomas Shield's narrative account of the Wavenhoe banking family and the murder or disappearance of Mr. Henry Frant, not Edgar Allan Poe. The boy, who later becomes the famous mystery writer, is only peripheral character, and yet his actions, subtle as they are, actually affect the course of events. Taylor uses this technique brilliantly. Furthermore, the author's deft use of other historical events, such as the Banking crisis and the War of 1812, as well as an authentic portrayal of the notorious London slums make for a satisfying and gritty novel.


Striptease
Striptease
by Carl Hiaasen
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another enjoyable comic caper by Hiaasen, 23 July 2006
This review is from: Striptease (Paperback)
The one thing you can say about Hiaasen's books is that you'll never be disappointed with the endings. His novels are neither thrillers nor mysteries. As one of his characters mentions, it's more about "sweet justice". In this comic caper, it's Erin Gant's turn to set things straight with her ex-husband, who currently has custody over their daughter and likes to steal wheelchairs, and a congressman, who is obsessed with her, simply because she's the best dancer at the Eager Beaver strip club. Blackmail drives this plot as certain unsavory characters try to expose the congressman for assaulting a patron at the Eager Beaver. Hiassen gives his characters an unhealthy dose of ambition, which often leads to amusing hijinks. Many of them are obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes, and they end up falling on their face. Get ready for lots of laughs.


The Enemy: (Jack Reacher 8)
The Enemy: (Jack Reacher 8)
by Lee Child
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.84

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good prequel for Reacher fans-- but much more of a mystery than previous action thrillers, 21 Jun 2006
For any fan of the Reacher series, this prequel will be met with jubilation. The year is 1990 and Major Reacher finds himself in charge of the Military Police at Fort Bird in North Carolina. The book starts when he is notified that a two-star general has succumbed to a heart attack in a seedy motel a few miles from the base. In Reacher's words: "He was where he shouldn't have been, with someone he shouldn't have been with, carrying something he should have kept in a safer place." Reacher investigates and discovers his briefcase is missing. Thus begins the mystery, which occurs at a pivotal time for the military. The Berlin Wall has come down. The Soviets are no longer a threat. And that scares those in the military who have a stake in the future. This prequel is much more of a mystery than previous action thrillers. (Unfortunately, Reacher doesn't get into many fights in this outing.) Instead he and his lovely female partner spend their time hunting down clues and going on wild goose chases. At times, the plot gets a bit convoluted, especially when two murder victims are found. While still smart, Child gives readers a more fallible, and sometimes insubordinate, version of the Reacher we have come to know. Even though the conclusion is quite predictable, it is a real treat to meet Reacher's brother Joe (who figures in the first book in the series) and learn about his mother who lives in Paris.


Lost Light
Lost Light
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Paperback

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the strongest books in the series; You can easily start with this one, 6 Jun 2006
This review is from: Lost Light (Paperback)
Harry Bosch has always been on a mission: to speak for the dead, especially those who other people seem to forget about. Now retired from the LAPD, Harry can't forget about one case where the murdered woman's hands seemingly reach out to him. After investigating more, the mystery involves the heist of 2 million dollars from a Hollywood movie set, the shooting of two cops, and the disappearance of an FBI agent. Without his badge, Harry runs into the problems of most P.I.s--access to evidence and witnesses. The strongest part of the story is when Harry butts heads with an elite counter-terrorism unit of the FBI. Connelly's superior writing talent is on display in this book, where he seamlessly tells stories within the story to provide background for characters and add color to particular scenes. What I like most is the way Harry uses silence and draws out the information he wants from people. His indirect approach is clever and refreshing. My only criticism is that with the constant reminders of the victim's hands, the title doesn't seem apt.


Rough Cider (Soho Crime)
Rough Cider (Soho Crime)
by Peter Lovesey
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great tale about a notorious WWII murder case, 24 May 2006
Sometimes revisiting childhood memories can be dangerous. Peter Lovesey opens his well-plotted mystery with one of the most harrowing first lines: "When I was nine, I fell in love with a girl of twenty named Barabara, who killed herself." Now much older and teaching at Reading University, Theo Sinclair is hounded by Alice Ashenfelter, a young woman who wants to know more about her father, the American G.I. convicted of murder in 1944. Theo tells her about the tragic events that unfolded on the Cider Farm leading to the discovery of a human skull in a cider barrel. Alice points out several things that lead Theo to question his memory and his testimony in the trial that convicted and sentenced her father to death. Together they embark on a journey back to the Cider Farm to uncover the truth. Lovesey's tale is short yet compelling. The discovery of the skeleton was perhaps the most intriguing part of the story. I was also impressed with the unique voice of the narrator. By the end, I wasn't sure I even liked the arrogant Englishman.


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