An open discussion on what everyone is currently reading. Make recommendations to others, discuss what is new, hot, bestsellers, anything and everything related to books and the authors.

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I'm currently nearly at the end of The Son by Jo Nesbo and from there Bad Blood by Casey Kelleher and a local true crime book - Bent by James Morton and Susanna Lobez. Probably. I'm easily distracted...

I read a LOT of crime novels, from whodunnits and gumshoe detective to edgy mystery/thriller combinations - as such, I am pretty picky: I want my action well-done, my plot fairly unpredictable, and my characters solid. Add enough twists and I'm there 'till the end.

That's why I enjoyed Irene Woodbury's style, and wanted to recommend her latest, which I just finished reading (the first one I've read from her), A Dead End in Vegas.

Dave is about to go to the airport to pick up his wife, who has been in Phoenix for a week at a teachers' conference, when he gets the phone call: it's the Las Vegas police - and she's been found dead in a casino hotel room. 

Tragedy often comes in 'threes', and thus what follows is a virtual onslaught of deaths and discoveries that rock Dave's world as his wife's death shatters other lives and, like a house of cards, causes more falls in return, from a terrible accident to a best friend's marriage cracked apart by grief.


As Dave comes to find out about his wife's secret life, her passion for an Internet stranger, and the illusions of his own world, he becomes increasingly involved in a hunt that comes full-circle to probe his family, friendships and psyche. 

Now, if you're expecting a light 'whodunnit' type of mystery filled with entertaining twists, then A Dead End in Vegas might not be your cup of tea. Its intent is to wind emotional impact and high drama into its saga and it packs this into chapters steeped in tones of inevitability and despair as readers learn just how deeply poor decisions affect every life involved. 

As seems inevitable with all good reads, the ending arrives all too soon. It feels abrupt: like the reader's been led down a garden path of complexity only to have everything snap to logical attention within a few short chapters. But that can be said of many a good book where readers might wish for as long and drawn-out an ending as in the rest of the book. Sometimes it's just hard to say 'goodbye'.


Pair gritty psychological depth with an investigation of illusion and what this does to everyone in a circle of love and you have a gripping narrative that is recommended not so much for light 'whodunnit' readers, but for those unafraid of getting their hands and thoughts 'dirty' with wrenching emotional twists and considerations of romance, appearances, and, ultimately, a different kind of love.

I found a British author, new for me, who has written a slew of police procedurals. His name is Peter Turnbull, and his books are on the brief side, around 200 pages. Tidy little mysteries featuring a likable detective inspector.

Just finished Creole Belle by James Lee Burke. Really good read.

LOVE Burke; haven't read this! *Scuttle*...

Karin Fossum's latest, The Murder of Harriet Krohn, is not so good. Perspective shifts between the murderer and third person following the police inspector. I think the problem is that there was nothing about the murderer to like.

Mari Jungstedt's latest, The Dark Angel, was a little better. Although the identity of the. Underground was fairly obvious, I like Knutas, the police detective, who certainly has a few personal flaws.

Strange Bird is by an author newly translated into English. It combines a bird flu pandemic on Gotland with a police procedural. She's good at characterization. I'll be on the lookout as more of her books are translated.

Jan Willem van de Wetering's Tumbleweed is his usual high quality. I only have one or two more of his books to read; reading the last one will be a little sad because it is the last one.

"Carlito's Way," by Judge Edwin Torres. I read this when it first came out in "75." Great book made into a very good movie starring Al Pacino. I'd love to read "After Hours," the other "Carlito" crime novel, but the only ones I can find for sale are at least $35 bucks and my libraries don't have it.

Check Amazon for used books.

Thanks, Suzanne,but I've already checked Amazon, Abe Books, Alibris, eBay, and my regional library group. Apparently no one has done a reprint for a long time. Might be something for Hard Case Crime, Stark House Press, etc. to put out.

I'm reading Michael Robotham, I'M WATCHING YOU. A psychological thriller featuring retired police detective Ruiz and psychologist Joe O'Loughlin. The usual good, strong writing.

I'm currently reading "A Virginia Girl in the Civil War," a memoir in which a woman recounts her life experiences during that period. It's research for a novel I'm writing on the Lincoln assassination.

Just finished reading Third Rail, by Rory Flynn, the first book in his new mystery series. I heard him speak on a panel at the Boston Book Festival. He read a brief excerpt and it knocked me out. I got the book for Christmas.

It's set in and around Boston and the series protagonist, Eddie Harkness, is a cop who's been kicked off an elite Narco-Intel squad because he failed to prevent the death of a young woman. And now he's lost his Glock and people keep dying from a mysterious new drug. Fast moving gritty story with offbeat characters. Flynn's vivid descriptions put me right on the mean streets of Boston. My only complaint: the switch from really dark situations to lighthearted joshing between Eddie and some of the other characters was a bit jolting.

But Flynn knows how to spin a good mystery with plenty of twists. I'd happily read his next book in the series.     



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