Slow Readers Quarterly Reports
Titles in Red are books we have (or have had) in stock.
Titles in Bold Black indicate autographed books we have (or have had) in stock.
I began posting Slow Reader's Quarterly Reports on rec.arts.mystery and, subsequently, on the dorothyl list in January of 2000. These reports have been added from my reading list from earlier years. Book titles in color are or have been in stock. Those in red are unsigned copies, those in bold black are autographed. See the List of Residents for details.
April to June 1999
|The reason for these "quarterly" reports is that I just cant keep up with the speed most of you read. It is not unlikely that Ill only get one book done in a month and now that my "day" job has me doing less traveling, I dont go through Books on Tape as often.|
|False Accusations is Alan Jacobson's first book. It's about a surgeon that becomes entangled with a self-absorbed woman who is bent on revenge for being “let go” from a job he controlled. The revenge takes the form, initially of a sexual harassment suit then evolves into a murder frame up. The calling card of this book is its suspense. In a way, you might think of it like the film, Fatal Attraction, because you can't help but wonder what this crazy lady will do next. For me, it had a nice surprise -- real knock your socks off WOW ending.|
Darkness, Take My Hand
by Dennis Lehane is, hands down, my favorite mystery of all times (at
least that I've read as of this writing in January 2002). I like 'em
down and dark and dirty. Hardboiled. The harder the better. This is
Lehane's second book and have Patrick and Angie taking on a case where a
woman is receiving threatening notes against her son in college. After a
few weeks of surveillance, no leads and nothing unusual, they drop the
case. Patrick has hooked up with a woman from his past and shortly after
he and Ange drop this case, the woman turns up dead. She's merely
murdered but literally crucified. Shortly after that, the young man they
were following is found killed and dismembered. Very dark.
Good writing is more than command of the language and a vivid vocabulary ... essential, of course, but not the totality. Part of the mix must include something of interest to say. Without substance, the talent of a wordsmith is little more than a poet without a theme. Good writing is difficult to find, but easy to recognize and Lehane has it. This is a classic example which not only shows his use of the language, but how he exposes the very essence of our villain. Late in the book, Patrick receives a correspondence from the culprit. In this letter he tells Patrick:
"I dreamed once that I was stranded on a planet of the whitest sand. and the sky was white. that's all there was -- Me, spilling white drifts of sand as wide as oceans, and burning white sky. I was alone. and small. after days of wandering, I could smell My own rot, and I knew I'd die in these drifts of white under a hot sky, and I prayed for shade. and eventually it came. and it had a voice and a name. 'Come,' Darkness said, 'come with me,' but I was weak, I was rotting. I couldn't rise to My knees. 'Darkness,' I said, 'take My hand. Take Me away from this place.' and Darkness did."
ooooo. I still get shivers when I read it.
Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plume keeps getting better. In Three to Make Deadly Stephanie is trying to bring in Moses Beddetter (Everybody likes Mo), but nobody is cooperating. Mo runs a candy store, or did and hasn't been seen in a while, but he missed an appearance in court for "carrying consealed." Coincidently (or not), a bunch of dope dealers in town are turning up dead.
|This is Stephen King's first work published which was intended as a television production. Storm of the Century is set on Little Tall Island (the setting of Dolores Claiborne). As a big storm begins to blow in, a brutal murder takes place and the murder, Linoge, waits to be arrested. He has a proposition, "If you give me what I want, I'll go away." It's very suspenseful. The challenge, King explains in the introduction, is that this screenplay, as published, is not the shooting script. Whether or not it survives, as is, as the shooting script was unknown at the time of publication. There were on going battles with "Standards and Practices" and the director's prerogatives. If you want to know who won the most battles, you'll have to read this script and watch that film (now available on video). And I'm certainly not going to spoil it for you.|
The first from
Clyde Phillips is Fall From Grace.
It is set in San Francisco and deals with a man who's lost his wife in
an, apparently random, abduction and murder. A year earlier, his
father-in-law was killed in a plane crash. Then he and his wife begin
having problems. She threatens to withhold visitation rights with their
daughter. The police, get involved, of course, the investigation seems
to want to link the plane crash and the abduction. Complicating matters,
is that the female cop spearheading the case and the victims husband
begin a relationship. The story is quite involved. So much so, I was
having some trouble trying to figure out who the "hero" was (as a matter
of fact, I never did figure it out ... I leaned it from the dust flap of
the follow-up novel, which came out year later). But that really added
to the suspense for me.
The dust jacket boasts that it is a Noir Thriller. I can't testify to that, but it sure was suspenseful and had a nail-biting climax up near the maintenance elevators on the Golden Gate Bridge.
|Patricia Cornwell's Unnatural Exposure deals with a variation of a pox virus which puts Kay Scarpetta in jeopardy and in quarantine. The side story has Lucy, Kay's niece and an FBI agent, testify about her relationship with a killer, which just may end her career with the agency.|
|Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gorden is about a young girl, a pre-teen, who is separated from her family during a hike in the woods. Her enfatuation with Tom Gorden, a baseball pitcher, helps her through the ordeal of being lost. The story chronicles her two week ordeal while lost in the woods and her slow loss of contact with reality due to thirst, hunger and exposure.|
Dennis Lehane had
another great story with Gone, Baby, Gone.
His fourth Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennero novel is another dark and
disturbing venture, this time on child abduction and/or abuse. They are
asked to look into the disappearance of a four-year-old little girl, not
by the mother, but by the aunt and uncle. Apparently, "Mom" was at a
friends watching a television show and discovered the girl, who was left
unattended, missing upon her return three hours later.
One of the complaints, people make about mysteries is that it is hard to remember them and if you do, the ending escapes you. This is one of the few mysteries where the ending will definitely stay with you. Dennis said, at a signing for Mystic River (which came out three years after this one) that he still gets "hate" mail for that ending.
Like almost all of his books, and more than most, this one is salted with tons of spoilers for his previous work, specifically, A Drink Before the War and Darkness, Take My Hand.
|Hush Money is a Spenser novel from Robert B. Parker. Spenser takes on two "pro-bono" cases. A girl friend of Susan needs help getting a "stalker" to leave her a lone. Also, the son of a friend of Hawk's is being denied tenure at an Ivy League college, unjustly.|
Hannibal is his long awaited follow-up to
Silence of the Lambs.
In what appears to be the final installment of the Hannibal Lector
series, Clarice is in political trouble from within the FBI. Someone
feels "snubbed" by her recognition coming from the Buffalo Bill murders.
She is effectively "sub-margined." However, Hannibal Lector lends a
This story was almost cartoonish. Clarice is kidnapped by Lector and held captive in South America where he, over a period of time, appears to win her confidence. The professional respect that Hannibal had for Clarice Starling in the previous novel has now blossomed to an infatuation which strains credibility (but, it's fiction, so I go with it). The ending, without regard to how you may feel about the overall story, is probably best described as "delicious".
is about a man who, after two hung juries, is convicted of
murder during the bombing of law offices of a Jewish Civil Rights
activist 12-years earlier. Now on death row, his pro-bono law offices
sends Adam Hall, a young attorney to work on appeals. All is not as it
seems. Sam Cayhall, the accused, is not all that interested in a defense
and Adam seems more insistent than the standard law office integrity
The chamber, in the title, is the "gas chamber". This story is about capital punishment. As many of Grisham's novel's, the viewpoint is a bit left of center, politically, but this one is more blatant than others I've read.
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