Saturday, February 26, 2011

London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

I finished London Boulevard several days ago, and, as I'm writing this, I'm still not sure what to say. I enjoyed the book for the most part, and did find Mr. Bruen humorous. I really do like that dark Irish humor. The main thing I noticed however was how succinct he was. For instance, the description of a funeral:
The graveyard is at the back of the bus station. Across the road is the bingo hall. I thought Joe would be pleased to hear the call of


The undertaker was waiting. The grave ready, two men standing beside it. No vicar. A man arrived a few minutes later.

"Dr. Patel," I said, "good of you to come, " and introduced him to Bri. She held his hand longer than expedient. The undertaker asked,

Any last words?"

I shook my head. he signaled to the men, and they lowered the coffin.

No excess words, or elucidation. Just straight forward laconic prose. It was refreshing in a way after recently finishing an antithetical story, however, at the same time, I missed a "certain something" that comes from at least some description. Regardless, I suppose what it truly comes down to is will I read another one of the author's books. I think I most likely will, simply because the lack of complex details in the middle of complex life is refreshing.

As for what the story is about:

When Mitchell is released from prision, life quickly gets complicated. His friends want him in their crew for "jobs" his parole officer wouldn't approve of, his sister's emotional problems begin getting the better of her, a mob boss is out for him and wants to hurt everyone he loves and, a coincidental meet with a woman has him as close to happy as he's ever been. To make things worse, his boss, a washed out female actress is obsessed with him. When the people in Mitchell's life start turning up dead, weather he wants them to or not, he has to figure out who is behind it, and why.

And I suppose, that's about as succinct as I'm capable of.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Three Seconds by Roslund and Hellstrom

First off, I want to thank Declan Burke over at Crime Always Pays for the book give-a-way that allowed me to be introduced to this writing duo. Dec's site often times has great book recommendations, but even then, I'm not sure Three Seconds is a book I would have picked up, and that would have been a shame. I greatly enjoyed this book, how it was written and how the story was told, and, found it very hard to put down. Much appreciation goes out to Kari Dickson for translating Three Seconds so that I could read it.

Piet Hoffmann is a petty criminal, and going on the theory that it takes a criminal to play a criminal, the Swedish Police Service procure him to do just that, and in exchange, Piet's minor crimes will be overlooked. For years, Piet, code name "Paula", has been working his way up through the Swedish mob's food chain to finally be asked to be their drug supplier on the inside of a major prison. His goal is to take over the drug business and become the only means of supply, therefor controlling the prison. Once that is done, the police want him to destroy what he's built and take the mob down as a result. It's a good plan until a very persistent inspector starts to wonder why what looks like a hardened criminal, according to a sabotaged police data base, is allowed a gun license, and the powers that be decide that Piet is more risk than he is worth. Suddenly, Piet finds himself in solitary confinement with a death threat hanging over his head. He has one chance, and Three very critical seconds to survive.

Piet Hoffmann knew as soon as the door into the corridor opened and then shut again.
He didn't need to see, he just knew-they were there.
The heavy steps of someone moving slowly. He hurried over to the cell door, put his ear to the cold metal, listened. A new prisoner being escorted by several wardens.
Then he heard it, a voice he recognized.
Stefan's voice. On his way to a cell farther down the corridor.
"What did you say?"
The guard with the eyes. Piet Hoffmann pressed his ear even harder to the inside of the cell door-he wanted to be certain that he heard every word.
"stukatj. It's Russian."
"We don't speak Russian down here."
"There's someone who does."
"Into the cell with you now, just get in!"
They were here. Soon there would be more, every prisoner in solitary confinement from now on would know that there was a snitch here, stewing in one of the cells.
Stefan's voice, it had been pure hate.

I'm hoping more of Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom books will be translated to English soon, and have already downloaded Box 21 to my Kindle to read. I'm looking forward to it - probably after I finish Ken Bruen's London Boulevard.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A good day for liars...I've been tagged

Thanks to Seana at Confessions of Ignorance I have been tagged. So, here's the game:

Four of these statements are lies, one is true. You must pick, and reply with your guess as to the one that is true. If you know the answer for certain, please leave room for others to guess if they don't.

1. I am 6 feet tall and wish I was shorter.

2. I have an evil twin that does unspeakable things that we won't talk about in polite company.

3. I sell all of my books back to Half Price Books.

4. I really enjoy my job.

5. My favorite vacation was when my husband and I went to Ireland and we toured the Guinness brewery. I would love to make it there again someday.

If you are one of the lucky ones that are tagged, here are the rules:

1. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
2. Display the graphic from the award creator.
3. Post five facts, four of which must be lies and
4. Pass the award to five other bloggers who should follow these rules.

I however, being the rule breaker that I am, will only tag 3 people. Yep, I'm a rebel. Here are the lucky 3.

1. Sean Patrick Reardon at Mindjacker.

2.Philip Robinson at Soul-Searching

3. Kari at How to Smile

Good luck.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George

What Came Before He Shot Her is one of those books that have my thoughts in such a desultory and contradictive state that I'm not sure if this review will be a positive one or a negative one. On one side, I did enjoy the story, and was curious enough to finish it, on another side, it was often that curiosity that kept me reading, and not the story itself. I often persisted simply to see how it was going to come together to get to where the books side flap had already told me it would finish. Continuing on that side, the book was long, and it seemed long. I would be on page 30 and felt as if I should be 100 pages in the story, but jumping back to the other side, it needed to be as it was to fully explain what lead to the culmination of events. And following that same thought, the author was very descriptive. Often times there would be pages and pages of seemingly needless descriptions of where the characters were going, what street, what shops they were passing, what bus they would take. But again, for the most part, although it frustrated me to a point, when it was said and done, it did add to the overall feel of the story. I also really liked that the 12 year old protagonist, like a typical 12 year old boy, thought he knew everything, and saw everything, not realizing until it was too late that he actually knew very little. Overall however, I would say it is a book worth reading, and I did enjoy it despite it's tediousness. It will be awhile none the less before I pick up another one of Ms. George's books just because of the sheer overwelmingness of them, but, I probably will pick another one up. As to what the book is about, here's what the side flap says:

The brutal, inexplicable death of Inspector Thomas Lynley's wife has left Scotland Yard shocked and searching for answers. Even more horrifying is that the trigger was apparently pulled by a twelve year old boy. Who is he? Where did he come from? And what were the circumstances that led to his final act of desperation?

That story begins on the other side of London, in rough North Kinsington, where the three mixed race, virtually orphaned Campbell children are bounced first from their grandmother then to their aunt. The oldest, fifteen year old Ness, is headed for trouble as fast as her high heeled boots will take her. that leaves the middle child, Joel, to care for the youngest, Toby. No one wants to put it into words, but something clearly isn't right with Toby.

Before long, there are signs that Joel himself has problems. A local gang starts harassing him and threatening his brother. To protect his family, Joel makes a pact with the devil-a move that leads straight to the front doorstep of Thomas Lynley.

Reading that again, I think that description is very misleading, but the book is so encompassing, a true description is impossible. It's about fifteen year old Ness, who has had so much brutality brought into her life that she can't begin to deal with it outside of the hate and hurt it's brought her. It's about Joel, a twelve year old boy with the world on his shoulders trying to save and protect everyone he loves. And, it's about the adults around them that, as hard as they try, they can't truly begin to understand what these children face in their worlds, although Ms. George does seem to point out that the ones we least expect are the ones that understand more than we think with characters like Ivan, Joel's eccentric middle aged, clock building magistrate assigned mentor.

Joel hadn't thought of any of this in ages. The sudden memory made his eyes tingle.

Unaccountably, as far as Joel was concerned, Ivan said, "ah. If we knew what the hand of cards was going to be, we'd develop a plan in advance to play them, I dare say. But the devilment of life is that we don't. We're caught out, most often with our trousers round our knees."

Joel wanted to say, "What're you on about?" but he didn't because he knew exactly what Ivan was on about" there one moment and gone the next, walking to the dancing school to fetch Ness from her Saturday lesson, Toby's hand in their dad's and Joel pausing some thirty yards back because in front of the discount store a container of footballs caught his attention, so much so that at first he didn't realize what the four loud pops were that he heard in advance of the shouting.

Joel said in a rush, "I brought these, " and he thrust his poems at Ivan

Ivan took them, mercifully saying nothing further about hands of cards or how one could play them. Instead, he placed the papers on the towel, and he bent over them exactly as he would bend over a clock. He read, and as he did so, he chewed on is mint leaves.

It's an impossible story and does well to explore the other side of things we never see, and has a way of making you wonder what you just might be missing. The ending however, does leave you wanting.

What Came Before He Shot Her

Friday, February 4, 2011

Texas annual snow week and Nora Roberts Blue Smoke

This seems to be the beginning of an annual event in Texas. Last year, about this time my yard looked about the same way, only with a few more inches of snow on it. This year we seemed to have have gotten through with only about 6 inches on the ground...although, it's not finished snowing yet either. The funny thing is, I know some of you are laughing and that for those of you in the north, this is nothing, but for Dallas Texas, this is exciting-especially for the kids who have been out of school since Tuesday.

On another note, I did finish Nora Roberts Blue Smoke since I too have been off work since Tuesday, (I work at the kids school). After listening to The Search I thought I'd give another one of Ms. Roberts books a try, and finding her book on the dollar rack only helped cement the matter. I may not get around to a full blown blog on the story, but I will say I did enjoy it, and, it was quite different than I expected. I thought the story would be more romance, but it was more story oriented, focusing on a female whose life was changed one day when her family's restaurant was intentionally set on fire and almost destroyed. From that day, at 11 years old, she made it her life goal to become an arson investigator. Fire followed her everywhere, hurting her personally many times, but her family and friends always helped keep her strong. It was a beautiful story of what a strong female with strong ties can do. I would have loved to meet her family and have that restaurant nearby.

Blue Smoke

I am now currently making very slow progress on Elizabeth George's What Came before He Shot Her and Baroness Orczy's The Elusive Pimpernel. They are slow going, but I am enjoying them both.