Michael Connelly’s Nine Dragons-Harry Bosch 14

Overview: Harry Bosch and Ignacio Ferras have been called to a robbery gone wrong ending in the murder of the proprietor of Fortune Liquor, John Li. His son and wife seem broken up about it. When extortion starts surfacing in regards to the shop, it begins to appear that Mr. Li might have been targeted by one of the Asian gangs known as the triads. Harry is all for investigating the case until he gets a message from his daughter’s phone. Someone thinks that taking Maddie was a good idea. Those poor souls.

Story Telling: Well, it is another Harry Bosch novel. So it is a third person police procedural.

Likes: Harry showed himself to be a great father. He was ready with a pop-quiz to test her knowledge of her studies. He dropped everything to be there for her.

Sun Yee showed how much he cared for both Eleanor and Maddie.

Oh! We get a cameo from “The Lincoln Lawyer” side of the tracks.

Dislikes: Alright, David Chu, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Harry is a bit territorial when it comes to his cases. Just something you should know if you’re going to work with him.

Eleanor was still acting like the worst thing that can happen is for her daughter to have a relationship with Harry. Their daughter is missing, and her first instinct is to threaten Harry Bosch?

And this was a biggie. In my opinion, the Li family had made the right choice when they moved to the United States. But, both of the parents killed their children’s spirits. Neither Robert nor Mia were given much of a choice when it came to fulfilling their dreams. The Li family moved to the States, but they didn’t accept the basics of American culture.

Favorite Character: When Sun Yee showed that he was willing to redeem himself from his own past, yet he didn’t judge Harry too harshly when Harry made a bad mistake.

Favorite Quote: Harry offers us a pearl of wisdom here. “We can make up for our mistakes here. Both of us.”

Favorite Scene: One of the best parts in this novel is when Harry meets up with the HKPD it was good.

Conclusion: This is a pretty good novel. It has a lot of family in the main plot, with a murderous sub-plot.

Stupidity or Specialty

I find that God can teach you from any source. As such I read rather widely. One of my favorite novels is “The Lord of the Rings.” In this book, we are offered some rather important advice.

“He is wise enough on his own ground.” Gandalf to Frodo in Elrond’s house.

The above sentence is the rebuke Gandalf offered Frodo shortly after Frodo criticized the innkeeper’s intelligence. Yes, the innkeeper had a hard time remembering to do things, but he wasn’t stupid. If you have ever read “The Lord of the Rings,” then you’ll remember that Old Butterbur recognized the threat that the Black Riders represented. Frodo didn’t get this. He seemed to think that Butterbur was just too stupid to realize how important certain things were.

The same thing happens today. People are judged as intelligent or not based on: their beliefs, what they’ve read, what they like to do in their free time, the movies they watch, their political inclinations, their religious beliefs–or lack thereof–, or simply because they have an impairment. It seems like this is just a way to make us feel better about ourselves. That feeling is fleeting at best. Comparing the intelligence of two different people is a lesson in futility. The basic intelligence tests only test the ‘book smarts’ to put it mildly. Many who rate on the average side of the IQ, are more intelligent in the skills called ‘street smarts’ or even the more mathematical skills. So comparing people only works when you are comparing people in the same field of experience.

Let’s face it, we all have our fields that we’ve specialized in. Just because someone hasn’t specialized in the same field, that doesn’t make him or her stupid, they’ve just specialized in another field. It’s more blatant in those we call savants. I mean, they have their one area of genius, but they aren’t capable of living on their own. These people aren’t stupid, they’re just highly specialized in their abilities. Yes, some of them are better at math than any calculator.

Critical thinking skills have been traded for a sense of superiority. It’s time for a change. Past time, really. We can start by considering other people’s points-of-view. It might take a little work, as well as a dictionary, but we will be following the golden rule as laid down by Jesus in Matthew.

We need the dictionary because words don’t always mean the same thing to different people. Words even have different meanings in different professions. This is why a mechanic isn’t stupid because he doesn’t understand the medical lingo. Neither is a doctor stupid because he doesn’t understand legalese, of course–other than lawyers–who does understand legalese? Sometimes I wonder about some of those.

Let’s take the word ‘coin’ for example. Most people think of money when they hear the word ‘coin.’ But a writer ‘coins’ a phrase. Did the writer buy the phrase? No, it’s just a phrase that he or she made popular.

Or how about the word ‘key.’ It can be a piece of metal that opens a lock. But it can be the answers in a back of a book of puzzles, or a sheet that lets teachers grade their students’ papers. It can be the word that decrypts an encrypted document. Also, it can be the most important person or piece to a plan.

The thing is we should be seeing both sides of the arguments. There are two sides of every coin, so to speak, but as a whole people have started only taking the one side that they are more comfortable with as truth. This leads to some brutal arguments, online at least, and much ignorance on both sides of the argument. Instead of seeing our opponents as stupid, perhaps we should see things through God’s prism, as such we can.

God’s ways and thinking are higher and better than ours. Instead of trying to pull each other down, we should be reaching for God’s ways. After all, with His way of seeing things, you would think that He had the habit of talking down to His creation. But really, that didn’t happen in the Bible. He only called the children of Israel stupid, after He told them not to do something, and they turned around and did it anyway. Stupid is as stupid does. And many other parents have said the same thing in similar instances.

So the next time you want to call somebody an idiot, a moron, or stupid, remember that it may be your lack. The other person may be specialized in a different field, and you have yet to find a common ground. It’s time we try to see what’s on the other side of the coin.

Debbie Macomber’s The Perfect Christmas

Overview: Cassie Beaumont has just received an early Christmas card. Like before Thanksgiving early. Is having the perfect Christmas with the perfect family too much to ask for? Cassie hasn’t even found the perfect man yet. But there’s no need to worry. Her best friend and colleague, Angie, has a plan. There’s a professional matchmaker who guarantees his services. Cassie has three tasks to complete before Simon will introduce her to her most suitable match. There shouldn’t be a problem here. What could possibly go wrong.

Story Telling: I suppose this is what you would call chick-lit. Yes there is a romantic plot, but this novel is more than a romance novel.

Likes: Cassie’s interactions with Simon were funny. They had a major case of miscommunication.

The spirit of Christmas played a huge role in this novel as well.

Angie and Shawn were rather obvious, or perhaps that was just me.

Dislikes: Okay, there is really only one. Cassie claims that her standards are too high when it comes to dating. I disagree. Dumping a guy because he is boring, or because you had to pay for half of your meal isn’t a sign of high standards. In my opinion, this is a sign of wanting a fantasy, and not accepting reality. Let’s face it. No matter how perfect you find somebody, he or she will have something that aggravates you. Perfection takes hard work, and that’s from the inside of yourself.

Oh! Why would anyone pay $30,000 to find a potential spouse?

Pete Beaumont was a jerk. If you have two children, and still haven’t found yourself, then you might be better off focusing more on the children, and not on yourself.

Favorite Character: I’m going to go with Angie, even if she was a little flighty.

Favorite Quote: Shawn wasn’t fooled by Cassie’s protestations. “Will do. Besides, I want to hear all about Simon.

Favorite Scene: Cassie’s Christmas dinner for her neighbors was fun. It paid off for more than just herself. A lot of the Christmas Spirit spread from it as well.

Conclusion: This was a good story. It kind of reminded me of the Hallmark movies. If you like those, then this novel ought to be right up your alley.

Edgar Allen Poe’s O Tempora! O Mores!

Um, I’m not sure how to review a poem, so please bear with me. I know how they say you’re supposed to review poetry. But, I tend to disagree. There isn’t enough time to learn so much, about the author’s times and lifestyle, for such a short work.

Overview: Based on the title, it seems that this poem is supposed to be discussing both time and morals. The poem is split along those lines.

Likes: Mr. Poe didn’t mix the time section of this poem with the moral section.

Dislikes: Both ideas of time and morals seem too big to share a poem. It seemed like neither idea had much time to be delved into.

Conclusion: This one was a bit confusing. This isn’t a good start for my education on Edgar Allen Poe.

Helen Ketteman’s Go To School Little Monster

I received this book for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Overview: It’s Little Monster’s first day at school. Can Mr. Drool help Little Monster have a fun day? Where does Fang fit in.

Story Telling: Mrs. Ketteman has written a fast pace little rhyming tale.

Artwork: Ms. Leick has a good dose of creativity. Her illustrations brought an extra bit of life to the story.

Likes: The story has a great rhythm. Little Monster starts out scared. He leans a lot during the day, especially about change.

Favorite Character: I have to go with Little Monster. He was courageous.

Favorite Quote: “Good choice, Little Monster! The dragons are fun.” Who wouldn’t want to go for a ride at recess?

Favorite Scene: I think I would have to pick story time. The little monsters were getting into it.

Conclusion: This was a cute tale. Enjoy it with your little monsters, especially on the first day of school.

Ray Bradbury’s Stories-The First Night of Lent

Overview: We get to ride with our unnamed protagonist for two trips during his time in Ireland.. One trip is on the night before Lent. The second is right after Lent begins….

Likes: Oh boy. Let this be a lesson to you on making assumptions. This story had a move to it. Speed, turns, images of road rage. That last one could just be because of my generation. I like the opposition from one night to the next.

Conclusion: This was a fun story. I agree with the protagonist though.

Michael Connelly’s Echo Park-Harry Bosch 12

Overview: Harry Bosch and Jerry Edgar drew the Marie Gesto case in ‘93. Marie Gesto disappeared when she was heading out to the stables for a ride. The case went cold during that time. Flash forward thirteen years and Harry Bosch gets a call that he has been dreaming about for years. Somebody is willing to confess to killing Miss Gesto, and he’ll take the investigators to the body. While preparing for the confession, Harry runs across some information in the murder book that shakes his faith in his own judgment.

Story Telling: Harry is back with his close third person police procedural

Likes: Harry’s relationship with Marie’s parents is something that I think they both needed. Mr. and Mrs. Gesto needed the face of the man running the investigation, and Harry needed the human angle. The relationship gave Harry a way to stoke the flames of the hunt, and kept the Gestos together.

Rick O’Shea was in a bit of a bind. He wanted to close as many cases as possible for his run for the District Attorney’s office. And yet, he seemed to want the truth to come out, in most cases.

Oh, we met Jason Edgar, Jerry’s cousin. He was a pretty neat guy.

Dislikes: Rachel Walling was back, and she still seems to be a bit of a control freak.

Maury Swan proved himself to be a bit underhanded.

I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to get along with any of Cecil Dobbs’ clients. You never know. He could always surprise me.

And honestly, Freddy Olivas was a good guy, I just didn’t care for his attitude.

Favorite Character: I have to go with both Edgars here. Jerry stuck by Bosch and Jason was willing to do what it take to help out. Both seem to be honorable men, in positions that suit them. Let’s all root for Jerry’s promotion in the Police Department. He is so overdue.

Favorite Quote: Harry has some good comments after a shootout. “They say pain is weakness leaving the body.” Considering the world today, if it’s true, we all out to be getting pretty strong.

Favorite Scene: Kiz might not be my favorite person, but when Harry was so down about her injuries, she was able to cheer him up. It might have cheered her up too.

Conclusion: Harry was able to dodge a bullet with this case. It can confirm the good things about how the law is enforced. Or, if you’re of the more cynical mindset, it will confirm how you see those with money and power. Enjoy the story.

Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer-Mickey Haller 1

Overview: J. Michael Haller Jr. has always feared that he wouldn’t recognize innocence if he ever saw it. Now, he’s not so sure about that. His client, Louis Ross Roulet, has been charged with beating a woman in an attempted rape. Roulet swears that he didn’t do it. Both Mickey’s ex-wife, Maggie McPherson, and the presiding DA, Ted Minton, believe that Roulet is guilty. If that’s not bad enough, Mickey stumbles over some evidence that seems to clear a former client of murder charges. What’s a lawyer to do?

Story Telling: We have a first person legal thriller here. Mickey seems to have a way with people.

Likes: Maggie is the kind of ex that I don’t run across in these books. She doesn’t hate Mickey for his job, nor does she teach their daughter to hate him.

Good thing Mickey has Lorna. She played a big role in this novel.

Judge Fullbright is a good one. She didn’t want any games being played in her courtroom. Plus, I kind of like how she got around her smoking ban.

Dislikes: I’m sure I’ll get some flack for this one. Jesus Menendez doesn’t have a case against Mickey’s ethics as a lawyer. No, Mickey didn’t see Jesus’s innocence. But, neither Jesus nor Fernando didn’t call Mickey until Jesus had already poisoned the well of his defense.

Valenzuella had a bit of a problem with his temper. His $8,000 television wouldn’t be broken if he hadn’t lost it.

In a way, I felt sorry for Minton. He had been promoted too fast. Nor did he seem to understand the reason for the defense attorney. I hope he didn’t lose his job over his boss’s mistake. Smithson was supposed to bring out the best in Minton, not use Minton to further his own career.

Favorite Character: Raul Levin was a pretty good investigator. He also knew when to keep things quiet.

Favorite Quote: J. Michael Haller Sr. gives us a quote that is a beautiful case of foreshadowing. As Mickey relates it: “He said the scariest client a lawyer will ever have is an innocent client. Because if you %&$* up and he goes to prison, it’ll scar you for life.”

Favorite Scene: Both Mickey and Maggie got drunk on different occasions. Both relied on each other to get home. These scenes were great.

Conclusion: This was a pretty good novel. It was interesting to see how Mickey was living before he met Harry Bosch. It was an intriguing novel. One that’s well worth the read.

Michael Connelly’s The Closers-Harry Bosch 11

Overview: Harry Bosch is back with the LAPD. Being a private investigator was fine, but it’s nothing like being a homicide detective. His first case on the new Open/Unsolved Unit is the case of Rebecca Verloren. She was a sixteen year-old girl who disappeared from home only to be found a few days later dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. The size of the gun throws the theory of suicide into doubt. Now, seventeen years later, there’s a DNA hit on the gun. It’s time to bring closure to this case.

Story Telling: We’re back to a close third person point-of-view that follows Harry around. The fact that it’s a police procedural is pretty much a given.

Likes: Harry and Kiz are partners again. This seems to be where Harry can shine.

Pratt seems to be a go-getter commanding officer. And the chief seems determined to fix the LAPD’s publicity record.

Dislikes: Irving seems to handle everything through the framework of fear. He either tried to inspire it in others, or reacted out of it.

I’m not going to tell you why, but Stoddard was a problem for me from his entrance into the story.

Favorite Character: Ravi and Raj Patel both seemed eager to get to work on the case.

Favorite Quote: Harry was picking on Jerry here. And Jerry lost his pencil. “Jerry, sometimes what goes up doesn’t come down.”

Favorite Scene: There were two here. One is definitely when Harry is at Hollywood Division with Jerry (see above). The other was when we learn exactly how Mackay got his ‘lewd and lash’ conviction. The lesson here: know where the Daddy is.

Conclusion: This was a fun kind of book. Yes, the case was sad. But Harry and Kiz had a way of working the case that made the ride enjoyable. I just wish Jerry had more time. He did deserve better than he got. He and Bosch make a great team.

Michael Connelly’s The Narrows-Harry Bosch 10 Terry McCaleb 3

Overview: Harry Bosch has been called in to take on another private investigation. Terry McCaleb has recently passed away. But now, Graciela has come to him with some awful news. Two of Terry’s transplant drugs have been switched with shark cartilage Who could have done such a thing? And could it have anything to do with the crime scene that the Feds are working in the desert?

Story Telling: Once again we are going with a first person point-of-view from Harry this time. But it’s a little bit more complicated. Both Rachel Walling and the Poet have chapters that follow them in a close third person point-of-view.

Likes: Harry has a pretty good relationship with Maddie. She is so cute.

Kiz didn’t seem to be as mad at Harry as she was in the last book.

Terry was good at profiling. Bosch wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did without Terry’s notes. Also, I think Terry was trying not so much as to protect Raymond and Ceilo from the world, but protect them from the monsters. Both children had attributes that victimizers seem to look for.

Dislikes: Eleanor seemed like she felt that there was a competition between her and Harry over Maddie’s affection. That made her act cruelly, in my opinion.

Rachel’s time spent in her hardship posting didn’t mellow her out much. She still treated others like pawns in her game.

Favorite Character: This would be Terry. He did what he could to keep his family out of harm’s way. Even going so far as to take candid shots.

Favorite Quote: I think Terry was cool with Bosch at the end. “But he said at the end of the day, after all the cops and agents he had known and worked with, if he had to pick somebody to work a murder case with, that it would be you. Hands down. He said it would be you because you wouldn’t give up.” As relayed by Graciela McCaleb.

Favorite Scene: When Harry learns of ‘Mr. Demon.’ That innocent comment leads us to Harry’s story about the ‘colored water.’

Conclusion: This is a nice conclusion to ‘The Poet.” Harry has proven that he can handle some of the worst cases. He even can find out the truth at the end. I’m going to miss Terry McCaleb.