Catherine Coulter’s Nemesis-FBI Thriller 19

Overview: At JFK airport, a man threatens to detonate a grenade. Meanwhile, back in the D.C. area, a man is murdered–stabbed with a ceremonial knife. Too bad that two of the FBI’s more successful agents, Sherlock and her husband Savich, are on the case. Of course, two cases means that the couple is split for the most part. Sherlock is in New York dealing with the terrorist plot. And Savich is in Virginia, especially after a second body is found.

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery/suspense series. So far, it appears that each book stands on its own

merits.

Dislikes: The head of the Alcott family troubled me from the start. She struck me as a pot-stirrer. She liked to even rile her daughter-in-law up to the point of potential violence, as well as irritating many others.

And anyone who is willing to kidnap an entire family just to force one person to commit a terrorist act, is evil incarnate.

Likes: This is a dual story. If I had to pick just one enjoyable line, that would be Savich’s. Terrorism just isn’t fun to read about, whether it’s fictional or real. Perhaps I’m in the minority in this point. I enjoy the urban fantasies as well as the more realistic stories.

Cain Lewis’s brother-in-law, and boss, was a good man. He reminds me more of a by the book introvert, than a jealous man.

Griffon Hammersmith was fun to follow, as well as Cam. They made a fun trip on both story lines.

Favorite Character: Griffon could really think outside of the box. His quick wit saved a lot of time.

Favorite Scene: That was when Savich met with Delko. Both times were fun to read, though the end of the first meeting was

beautiful.

Conclusion: This is a fun story if you have an open mind. Enjoy it, and perhaps you might want to find other books in the series. I might try another one as well.

John Sandford’s Phantom Prey-Lucas Davenport 18

Overview: Lucas Davenport is on a stake-out looking for a cruel drug-dealer called Siggie. Then, Weather asks for a favor. A friend of hers, Alyssa Austen, is searching for the person who killed her daughter, Frances. Lucas is bored anyway, so what harm could it cause.

Story Telling: This series is full of suspense thrillers. So that could be a hit or miss for many of them.

Dislikes: The thing is the language of this novel can be off-putting. Yes, I’m aware that there are people who use vulgarity, but this was an overload.

We run into another one of Virgil’s exes. In my opinion, men who have too many partners appear as cheap as a woman who does the same.

I’m not sure how many children Del has, but I caught on to Cheryl’s condition when she was first mentioned.

Likes: The story sounded interesting enough.

And I think that Weather had a very good point.

Favorite Characters: That would be Weather.

Conclusion: You could easily miss this novel if you wanted to. This isn’t the best novel from Mr. Sandford. I hope you have better luck.

J.A. Jance’s Remains of Innocence: Joanne Brady 16

Overview: Liza Matchett has just had a shock. Her mother, who she hasn’t seen since she left high school, has been sent to the hospital. Now, while cleaning the family home, Liza has found a windfall in horded wealth. After receiving a cryptic warning at her mother’s funeral, and a not so cryptic attack to her homes, she’s racing across the country, hoping to find sanctuary with her brother. Of course, Bisbee, where Guy lives, has it’s own problems with a missing man with severe mental disabilities.

Story Telling: This is a suspense novel with a slight mystery bent. It is also part of a series.

Dislikes: While I was disturbed by the Nolan family, it was the fact that the boy, Lucas, likes violent video games. Many people do, but very few of them act out any violent fantasies.

Guy Matchett didn’t seem to have much empathy or sympathy for his sister. I understand that he hated his step-mother, but his sister needed him.

Likes: The whole Underground Railroad that helped Liza was wonderful. They were aware of the nastiness of humanity at its worse, and were still willing to do what was right.

Joanne did try to succeed with the difficult situation that keeps her job from over running her family life. This seems to be something many first responders struggle with.

Favorite Character: It’s Candy Small. When you know the danger someone else is in, and still help, it shows great strength in character.

Favorite Scene: That would be Joanne’s reaction to her daughter’s great honor at the rodeo. It’s great when you see a parent proud of his/her child.

Conclusion: This is more of a thriller than a mystery novel. Keep that in mind, as well as the fact that you can start this series in the middle, like I did, without losing who is who. Enjoy the journey, as this is the more important part of the style.

Sue Grafton’s X-Kinsey Millhone 24

Overview: Kinsey is handling a slow time at Millhone Investigations. But, she’s in luck. A woman needs her help in locating a child she gave up for adoption long ago. And Pete’s widow is having some trouble with the IRS. Maybe Kinsey has found her cure for boredom. Hopefully it all works out for her in the end.

Story Telling: This is a mystery novel, yet it falls under the private detective sub-genre. Kinsey’s story is almost over.

Dislikes: Pete obviously got a raw deal in the last novel. It was quite the jarring reversal of his personality.

Ned was the worst kind of dangerous. Everything he did was based on whether or not he felt rejected.

Also, Kinsey was an idiot. Even though she questioned the IRS story, neither she nor Ruthie even thought to look at the house. With Kinsey thinking that Pete was not a good man, you would have thought that Kinsey would be concerned about Pete’s enemies would come around.

Likes: Pete had honor. He was actively trying to save these women.

And Kinsey did try to help her client. Not sure that I would have, but she did.

Favorite Character: That would be Phyllis, Ned’s second wife. She managed to thrive after her divorce, to her credit.

Favorite Scene: Kinsey’s conversations with the chief investigator at the time of Lenore Lowe’s death was quite informative.

Conclusion: This was an interesting novel. Kinsey could have used her brain and wit a bit more for my tastes, but it’s still a good story.

Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted-Kinsey Millhone 23

Overview: On the same day that Kinsey Millhone learns of the murder of a man that she ran across during her internship days, she is called to come down to the morgue. It turns out that a homeless man died in his sleeping bag, with only the number to Kinsey’s office in his pocket. Who was he? Why was he seeking out Kinsey? And is there any connection to Pete’s death?

Story Telling: This is a mystery series that takes place in the ‘80’s. Kinsey is a private detective, and is starting to wind down her series.

Dislikes: Pete was a greedy idiot. Though the real problem with his point-of-view chapters is the fact that these chapters are flashbacks in the main narrative. That’s a bit jarring.

Kinsey’s newest relatives are a piece of work. How many ways could those two act like their father was a jerk?

One more thing. Hemmingway once said something to the effect of ‘great is the art of the beginning, greater is the art of the ending.’ This idea definitely fits this story. She started off strong, the ending however, not so much.

Likes: Ellen was in a bad situation with her family. It’s as if her siblings and mother decided to cut Dace out of their lives, and hers as well.

Mary Ann was trying to help people the best way that she could. Too bad that her marriage fell apart as a result.

Favorite Character: It’s Ellen this time around.

Favorite Scene: That’s when Ellen and Kinsey met and had their conversation.

Conclusion: For the most part, this was a good story. Enjoy it if you want an older based mystery.

Dorothy Gilman’s The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax-Mrs. Pollifax 3

Overview: Mrs. Pollifax is celebrating a great achievement. Her night blooming cereus has reached the pinnacle of its life. Three pretty little blooms. Good thing that she made that showing, because her CIA handlers have a new case for her. There’s a small resistance group in Bulgeria that needs some passports. An elderly woman with a fascination for hats should be able to smuggle a few items over. There shouldn’t be anything that goes wrong, right?

Story Telling: This is an international thriller from the era of the 60’s-70’s. Can that time era do any better than today’s?

Dislikes: That would be one man in particular. One. Mr. Carleton Bemish decided to completely betray his heritage. There was so much that he could have done. He could have taken his wife and go home. Instead, in my opinion, he sold his soul for a mere pittance.

Likes: Mrs. Pollifax wasn’t willing to let an innocent suffer if she could do anything about it.

And Debbie was willing to help. Perhaps this situation will get her to focus on something past her generation.

Favorite Character: That would be Mrs. Pollifax.

Favortie Scene: I rather enjoyed finding out Tsanko’s job description with Mrs. Pollifax.

Conclusion: All in all, this was a fun story. It may be a little bit dated, but if we ignored all works older than our current age, we would miss out on a lot. Both interesting stories, and morals that has taken humanity years to discover. Enjoy the story.

Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile-Hercule Poirot 17, Colonel Race 3

Overview: M. Poirot is on vacation. Finally, work shouldn’t be calling him off this time. After all, he is retired. Too bad the heiress and her killer didn’t get the memo. Now instead of a nice, relaxing trip down the Nile, he has to figure out how a woman with no enemies ended up dead. Good thing Colonel Race is around to help him out. One problem though. For someone who doesn’t have any enemies, Mrs. Doyle seems to know quite a few people who wanted her dead. So, who did it?

Story Telling: Once again we have a murder mystery. We’re pretty far into the Hercule Poirot series. However, I think that Colonel Race’s ends here.

Dislikes: There’s a couple of things this time around. Firstly, it would be Mr. Ferguson, as a person and his attitude. I’m not one that will ever get along with socialists, as I find that their beliefs are rooted in greed and envy. At the time of this book’s first publication, we hadn’t yet witnessed the true horrors this ideology would commit. What’s our excuse today?

Secondly, Linnet Doyle irritated me. She was so used to getting her way, that being told that she was wrong, or being denied anything, angered her.

Likes: Poor M. Poirot. He just cannot catch a break. Maybe he should just claim to be working when he goes on vacation. Either way, he was willing to roll with the flow.

Colonel Race was fun to follow. Too bad he had to follow M. Poirot’s lead. That’s one dance I’ll gladly miss.

Favorite Scene: There was one spot where M. Poirot tried to educate Mrs. Doyle to why she was having trouble. The lesson even included the story of David and Nathan, the parable of the rich man and his neighbor’s ewe lamb.

Favorite Character: That would be Colonel Race. He wanted to do the best things for those around him while solving the crimes properly. See the problem with M. Poirot.

Favorite Quote: I have to agree more with Mrs. Allerton in this exchange:

““…Such people forget that life and death are the affair of the good God.”

He spoke gravely.

Mrs. Allerton said quietly:

“I am glad to hear you say that. All the same, God chooses his instruments.””

Conclusion: This was a rather fun mystery. You won’t be overly surprised if you watch or read a lot of true crime. But, it’s fun to watch the detectives unravel the mystery.

Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table-Hercule Poirot 15, Colonel Race 2

Overview: M. Poirot has a new case. A man, Shaitana, has claimed to have collected murderers who have gotten away with the crime. M. Poirot was invited to a party that will showcase his collection. It’s dinner and bridge, with the added spice of murder. So, can four sleuths, both professional and amateur, solve this case? Or will someone get away with murder again?

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery. There is very little in the way of action or suspense, it’s a pure mystery. We’re also quite a few books into one series, yet only the second on the other.

Dislikes: That would by M. Shaitana. God, he is what happens if the gossiping church biddies took a sinister turn.

Oh, and don’t forget Anne Meredith. It’s mostly a personality clash. I don’t care for her at all.

Likes: We have a self-insertion here. Mrs. Oliver shares many of the same attributes as Miss Christie, including book titles. One must wonder how closely Mrs. Oliver mirrors our dear author.

And the way that the case was worked out was fascinating. After all, our sleuths had to prove both, whether the suspects had actually ever committed murder, and then who committed this one.

Favorite Scene: It’s a two part scene. That’s because M. Poirot had to snoop into Major Despard’s past. The first was with a lady on one of his journeys. And then, he had to get the story from the Major himself.

Favorite Quote: In response to Mrs. Oliver, Superintendent Battle said: “But, you see, mere men are in charge, we’ve got to be careful. We’ve got to get there slowly.”

Conclusion: I had fun with this one. Enjoy the mystery. You can have twists and turns, without cheating your audience.

Agatha Christie’s The A.B.C. Murders-Hercule Poirot 13

Overview: Hercule Poirot’s retirement has been revoked forcibly. He received a letter threatening to commit a murder, complete with a date and place. What can Mr. Poirot do? This is a challenge to Mr. Poirot’s skills. One murder has taken place, can Mr. Poirot stop more murders from happening?

Story Telling: This is kind of a mixed book. You have a mystery portion, and a bit of a suspense novel. It’s also part of a series.

Dislikes: I’ve never liked for any story to have a strong point-of-view shift. It’s my main reason for disliking James Patterson novels. This series is known for following Captain Hastings, when he is around, in particular being from his point-view. This one tries to keep with that point-of-view but shifts to a third person point-of-view here and there.

Likes: We had quite the cast of characters with this one. The banter between Captain Hastings and Mr. Poirot was fun at times, and certainly could evoke quite the imagery.

Megan Barnard had a great temperament as well.

Favorite Character: That would be Donald Fraser.

Favorite Quote: This one was just fun. “C’est vrai. To grow the vegetable marrows! And immediately a murder occurs–and I send the vegetable marrows to promenade themselves to the devil.”

Favorite Scene: That would be the meeting between Megan Barnard and Mr. Poirot.

Conclusion: This was a fun read. Enjoy it with others who like murder mysteries.

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express-A Hercule Poirot Mystery

Overview: Mr. Poirot’s leisurely return to London has be derailed by information on a previous case of his coming to light. So, he has to speed up his return. Good thing the Orient Express has room for him. After the train gets caught in a snowdrift, Mr. Poirot gets a new puzzle to solve. See, this one passenger was murdered in the middle of the night. Mr. Ratchett didn’t seem to have any enemies on the train. So, can Mr. Poirot figure out what happened?

Story Telling: This is a murder mystery similar to the locked room mystery style. It’s also part of a series.

Dislikes: Mr. Ratchett will never be a likeable character. His few speaking roles made his personality well.

Likes: Mr. Bouc truly wanted the case solved without a lot of fanfair or media attention.

And the passengers were paired up quite well.

Favorite Character: That would be Colonel Arbuthnot.

Favorite Quote: From the Colonel: “Say what you like, trial by jury is a sound system.”

Favorite Scene: That would by when Mr. Poirot found out Mr. Ratchett’s true identity.

Conclusion: This was a fun story. Enjoy it as a classical mystery. It’s a masterpiece in my opinion.