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Neal Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana)

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Dead Famous (O'Connell, Carol)
Dead Famous (O'Connell, Carol)
by Carol O'Connell
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I'm giving Mallory 5 stars!!!, 13 Jan. 2004
Those of you who have read my earlier reviews of Mallory books know that I started out hating the gal, although with later novels STONE ANGEL and CRIME SCHOOL, I softened a bit, but still had no love for the principal character.
Now, Carol O'Connell gives us DEAD FAMOUS and I personally consider it the best crime story I've read this year. It had an hypnotic effect on me and I thoroughly enjoyed it from the beginning to the last word, and that last word just about blew me away. (Don't anyone dare peek because knowledge of the last word of the book will ruin much of your enjoyment)
I'll follow the lead of the staff reviewer and not go into the plot. I'll just say that it isn't your standard murder mystery. As a matter of fact, this isn't a true Mallory novel because she actually plays a supporting role this time.
The story is dominated by a hunchbacked lady, a radio shock-jock and his engineer...Crazy Bitch, and a cat which provides a symbolic link to the cat in an earlier Mallory novel. Mallory's former partner, Riker, is the most important series character in the book, and we come to know him quite well, better in fact than Mallory herself knows him. And it seems to me that there is another entity in the book, one of which I had some awareness in earlier books. It is as if New York City itself is an important character, a rather malignant being which feeds upon its denizens.
The book ends with a magnificent epilog in which Mallory is honestly trying to understand what is going on, but doesn't really have a clue.
The one difficulty here is that this book can't be read alone. To get the most out of it, you need to read the entire series and if you're like me, you will have a big problem with the main character. Many have given up on the series after the first two books because Mallory is especially hard to take at the beginning. But if you grit your teeth and continue, Mallory will grow on you (like a wart?) as you learn of the forces that shaped her.
And believe me when I tell you that this book, DEAD FAMOUS, is worth your reading the earlier books.
Trust me. <g>

Flight of the Stone Angel
Flight of the Stone Angel
by Carol O'Connell
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A turning point indeed, 6 Jan. 2004
I'm definitely in the minority here in that I found Mallory in the first three books to be a thoroughly despicable character who grew more hateful in each succeeding book. Unlike most of those who agree with me, I've gritted my teeth and continued through the series cringing as the woman mows over other characters with complete lack of human compassion or sense of her impact on those around her.
I do agree that Carol O'Connell is a powerful story teller who brings her quirky and often surrealistic characters to life. With this fourth book in the series, I do feel more of a hook which keeps me reading Mallory. This book takes her to her roots and I find myself beginning to understand her a bit better, but I still have trouble liking her. And I have difficulty respecting Charles Butler, rather pitying his obsessive love for this person. But although I felt as if I was plodding through the book, I feel a growing fascination.
So in this review, I speak especially to those others who hate Mallory in tentatively recommending the book. You do learn more about her and the revelation as to why she insists on being called Mallory rather than by her given name. You may well find yourself caught up a bit more in this series. I read somewhere that Mallory is definitely, for many of us an acquired taste and my reaction was who in his right mind would want to acquire a taste for her.
But as I labelled this review, it is a turning point and if you've gotten this far in the series, it may be worth your while to continue with this book.

Blue Moon
Blue Moon
by John Morgan Wilson
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun type mystery in '60's San Francisco, 3 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Blue Moon (Hardcover)
Ah yes, this is full of nostalgia, maybe almost but not quite to the point of irritation.
Philip Damon, bearing a strong resemblance to band leader/co-author Peter Duchin, plays amateur detective when a man accompanying a woman who is remarkably similar in appearance to Damon's murdered wife is himself murdered. Hobnobbing with practically every celebrity who was prominent in 1963, he investigates the murder much to the consternation of black San Francisco Police Inspector Hercules Platt who is having his own problem convincing his superiors and those he deals with that he is a very capable inspector.
This is a light-hearted portrayal of the early '60's alluding to the social changes going on at the time including racial issues, growing drug use, rock & roll replacing swing era music, and acceptance of gays, as well as providing us with an old-fashioned type of mystery featuring the amateur sleuth. And of course there is the description of San Francisco in the early '60's as the beatnik culture was getting ready to give way to the flower children culture.

The Christmas - Ep
The Christmas - Ep

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If an angel were to sing "Silent Night"..., 2 Dec. 2003
This review is from: The Christmas - Ep (Audio CD)
This EP is a must. Never mind that it only has five cuts. The presence of "Oiche Chiun"..."Silent Night" worth the price of the record.
I like usually to give information enough to help a person decide whether or not to purchase a product, but there is absolutely no way to describe that one cut on this record. Maybe those who just plain don't like Enya wouldn't like it, but if you like Enya, any Enya, you should hear this.

The Man Who Cast Two Shadows (Kathleen Mallory Novels)
The Man Who Cast Two Shadows (Kathleen Mallory Novels)
by Carol O'Connell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.20

8 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Woman I sure don't want in my life!, 9 Oct. 2003
This is the second Mallory book and if I thought she was a cold hearted witch in her first book, I lack words to describe her in this one. Completely lacking in compassion, she bulldozes her way through an investigation of a woman's murder without regard to how she's messing up their lives. This complete lack of feeling extends to animals including the murder victim's unfortunate cat who's suffered enough abuse without landing in the care of a woman who proceeds to use the cat to trap the murderer. And kids, forget it. Given, she runs into child prostitutes and other unfortunates, but she's too busy to follow through when she places one girl into detox, too busy to make any arrangements for the poor girl to go anyplace where she'll have a chance when she gets out of detox. She's also too busy to be concerned about a boy in a very strange situation who calls her for help. The ending practically indicates that the author has no more concern for her characters, be they adult, child, or animal, than does her leading character.
The story is told in seven very long chapters, chapters that are difficult to get through if you're as unsympathetic to the main characters as I was. We are given insight into Mallory's childhood, but what we're told doesn't as much explain why Mallory is what she is as it shows that she was the same cold and calculating individual as a 7 year old as she is now. One reviewer made it clear that she's not reading any more Mallory, and the ending of this book should keep me from reading more, but I have this hope that maybe the author will allow Mallory to someday become a human being.

Mallory's Oracle
Mallory's Oracle
by Carol O'Connell
Edition: Paperback

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One cold hearted b***** of a heroine, 9 Oct. 2003
This review is from: Mallory's Oracle (Paperback)
Hard-boiled detectives are one thing, but this woman's over the top. This first novel introduces us to Kathy Mallory, but don't you call her Kathy! Her fellow workers don't much like her and I don't either. Charles likes her and he's a rather messed up guy himself. We first meet her when she beats up a kid, and though the kid's a punk himself, this just isn't the kind of behavior I'd expect from New York's finest.
The story for what it is takes place in 11 rather long chapters and occupies itself with victims and suspects who are difficult to care for.
I am planning on reading more in the series, but only because I'm hoping that the author allows Mallory to eventually mellow out and have some kind of honor and compassion.

HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy (Mind Control/Conspiracy) (The Mind-control Conspiracy Series)
HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy (Mind Control/Conspiracy) (The Mind-control Conspiracy Series)
by Jerry E. Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.50

165 of 171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A non-ficton book that;'ll scare you a bit., 6 Oct. 2003
I give this five stars, because it is a must read book. However, first let me warn you that the cosmetic appearance of this book might turn off many discerning readers. The sensational title, the quoted reviews from not-quite-reputable magazines, the wildly speculative sounding description on the back cover, and some interior illustrations such as the photo of a FATE magazine might give a very erroneous impression of the importance of the book. I myself probably would've avoided buying it had I seen it at a book store, and that, my friends, would have been a mistake.
Jerry E. Smith presents us first with the facts and details of the HAARP installation in Alaska. He tells us fairly what the government says is its intended purpose. He painstakingly explains the technology of the project and what the capabilities are, and this is indeed where the book starts getting scarier than Stephen King. At least, we can dismiss Mr. King's works as fiction. Not so with this book.
Mr. Smith's style is often conversational, and yet always authoritative. He keeps the reader interested throughout the book, and gives hooks at each chapter's end telling us what's coming up ahead. He's easy with the science, thank goodness, since I was no star in high school or college science. He does refresh our memories of what scientific knowledge is necessary for understanding HAARP and it's potential uses and effects. Even if HAARP is an innocent little scientific research toy that our tax dollars are making possible, it can inadvertently do our environment irreparable harm. And if anybody decides to take advantage of the capabilities that Mr. Smith proves it has, it can affect our weather, wipe out the user's enemies (real or fancied), and--according to the technological evidence presented, affect our thinking, our perceptions, our minds.
In building this case, Mr. Smith is fair in citing sources. If a statement is supposition, not supported by hard evidence, the author tells us so. I considered some of the sources rather unreliable, but even if one dismisses questionable sources, those that are inarguable are enough to be convincing that HAARP is a dangerous presence.
Once establishing the dangerous potential of HAARP, Mr. Smith examines possible conspiracies. We're quite aware of the New World Order. Some feel this projected world government would better the world, end war, enable us to solve Earth's problems. Others fear the emergence of leaders and controllers who are more concerned with wielding power than with the public good. Such a group would naturally have access to HAARP and it's capabilities. Many Christians are convinced that a benevolent appearing but actually malevolent "Anti-Christ" who has extraordinary powers and will inspire worship from the masses will be in control of the New World Order. HAARP has the potential of giving such a leader these powers. Many of us feel such a leader or group of leaders would be inevitable in any New World Order whether or not one gives any credit to Biblical prophecy. And the author emphasizes what any conspiracy type group could use HAARP for. There are many other conspiracy theories detailed here, some being wildly speculative. However, Mr. Smith explains that in this section of the book, he is merely pointing out possibilities that many see as threats regardless of his personal opinion.
Finally, we're inspired to action. Smith tells us just what each of us can do as individuals. Each of us has a sphere of influence in which we can influence others, and each person one of us influences will in turn influence others, so each individual can make a difference. The writer shows ways to do this.
In summation, I realize there will be readers who will find ways to dismiss the allegations here. And this is certainly a right each has. However, even if you reject the book's premise, even if you take the opposite side and decide to defend HAARP, you will have learned from this book and you will have been inspired to take a stand.
I do rather hope you decide to read this book.
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Motion to Suppress
Motion to Suppress
by Perri OShaughnessy
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery spoiled by factual errors, 19 Sept. 2003
I'm not trashing this. I found the book highly entertaining and fun to read. It introduces a keen female lawyer and takes us through her first murder trial. Actually, it was supposed to be a divorce case, but the husband being divorced managed to end up dead leaving his estranged wife the #1 suspect.
However, this book is full of factual errors. Other reviewers have pointed out some of these errors, but the one I spotted has to do with the church the accused wife's parents are active in and have worked for, Science Of Mind. The parents and therefore the authors have the church completely confused with Christian Science. Science Of Mind or Religious Science was founded by Ernest Holmes in Los Angeles, not Mary Baker Eddy in Boston. The church, although it, like Christian Science, has practioners does not discourage members from seeking medical treatment (many SOM ministers have their medical doctors, have been in the hospital, undergone surgery, etc.). And Science Of Mind like Christian Science does not believe in Hell and yet the wife's mother tells her daughter that she will burn in Hell because of the life she's led.
Okay, the above doesn't even have a heavy bearing on the story, but all of these errors about the church along with the geographical and other factual errors are presented as fact in the book. So how is one to trust these authors' legal knowledge? Indeed, there seem to me to be several large holes in the legalistic details of the story although I admittedly am no lawyer.
Again, the story itself is engrossing although the denouement had too many unrelated and coincidental elements to please me. So while the story itself is too good to give a one or two star rating, there's too much almost sloppy writing to give it four or five stars. If you're looking for a mystery that's fast and light reading and aren't bothered by factual errors & dubious legality, you'll likely enjoy it.

The Wolf King
The Wolf King
by Alice Borchardt
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quite worthy sequel to THE SILVER WOLF, 24 July 2003
This review is from: The Wolf King (Paperback)
This starts with Regeane's being rescued after an avalanche by a Saxon only to find herself and her rescuer in the clutches of a most evil group of beings. Here, we're first introduced to the Bear entity which at first appears purely malignant and evil, but is developed most interestingly as the story develops. As in the earlier book, we become involved in the political intrigues of the historical period.
There's more humor, grisly though it sometimes is, in this book as the bear spirit encounters and then possesses Hugo. This humor is welcome, because the number of characters with their various intrigues does become a bit much, especially with a couple of inordinately long chapters that leave no convenient breaking points.
There's less emphasis on the relationship between the woman Regeane and her wolf identity, and I miss that.
However, fans of the original book should welcome this one.

The Chill
The Chill
by Ross Macdonald
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark corners of human nature, 22 July 2003
This review is from: The Chill (Paperback)
Noir fiction often has tested barriers and taboos. This Lew Archer novel is in that tradition in that it doesn't break any taboos, but it does hint at it. If THE CHILL were written today, I think it would have been a bit more direct.
As with many Lew Archer cases, this one starts innocently enough with his being hired to find a missing newlywed who's disappeared after an encounter with a mysterious visitor. In a short period of time, he's involved in a murder case, one in which he feels a vague sense of being responsible. There are the usual twists, the usual questions of identity, the interconnection of characters which doesn't at first meet the eye.
MacDonald characters are difficult to pigeonhole into "good" or "bad" categories. The motivations often come from deeply within the psyches of the characters.
The emphasis in this story as well as most in the series is on the puzzle. There are seldom recurring characters in these novels, and little interaction other than investigative betwee Archer and the other characters. And as always, the dark corners of human nature are well probed.
Definitely highly recommended.

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