Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Confession by John Grisham (audio version)

I've been reading John Grisham novels since I was a teenager and he was one of the first authors who wrote books I just had to have as soon as they came out. Over the years however, I've lost interest. I'm not sure at what point, sometime after A Painted House, it just didn't do it for me anymore. Then there was The Innocent Man, Grisham's endeavor at non-fiction, and my interest temporarily returned only to be quickly lost again with Playing For Pizza which hasn't even gotten more than a read of the cover from me. Now there is The Confession and once again, John Grisham has captured my attention.

Donte Drum was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a high school cheerleader, and sentenced to death. For nine years, Donte claims he is innocent. His lawyer repeatedly points out the lack of evidence, the abuse during questioning that eventually led to Donte's confession, the lies told by his accusers, one of them being a bloodhound, and the lack of a body that proves the cheerleader is even dead. Now, Donte is 4 days away from execution, with no chance of appeal left, when the real killer, who is dying of a brain tumor, walks into a Kansas minister's office and confesses. He even claims to know where, and how, the body is buried. The question is, can the truth convince the lawyers, politicians, and powers that be that they are about to kill an innocent man?

When the book originally came out last year, I could have sworn I read it was based on a true story, I can't find anything about that now, but I have to admit, I don't find the prospect too far fetched. I'm sure we have killed innocent people with the death penalty, just as I'm sure there are guilty people that get off scott free. It goes both ways. What the book demands we think about is how that happens, and the social injustice that goes with it.

For more information about any of John Grisham's books, his web site is here, and you can find The Confession at Amazon

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Missing by Jane Casey

I realized about half way through reading The Missing that Jane Casey is the first, and only, female Irish author I've read. I'm not sure what specifically made me notice that, but I do remember thinking how different the book was from the male Irish authors I typically read. Honestly though, I'm not sure the difference really had to do with gender, just a difference in how the author writes and sees the direction of the story, (except maybe the added bit of romance, that does seem to be more of a female story plot).

The Missing follows the story of Sarah Finch as we go back and forth between the time she was a young child and her brother mysteriously disappears, and when she is an adult and finds one of her students bodies on a wooded path. Back in 1992, Sarah was 9 years old and laying on a blanket in the grass when her older brother left the house to go visit a friend. He never returned. Throughout the coming years it tore her family apart and her mom seemed to never forgive her for not telling the secrets she was convinced her daughter knew. In the present day, Sarah is a teacher at a posh all girls school where things aren't always as they seem. When a student disappears, just as mysteriously as her brother, she, along with the police are convinced the cases are connected and Sarah begins to try to find the one responsible.

The story is easy to read, and I enjoyed the past mixing in with the present, but at times I thought it was a bit unrealistic. The characters just didn't quite seem real to me and I often thought the things they did didn't quite match up with the character. Regardless, accepting the story and characters as they were, it was a nice bit of difference from the Irish noir crime I tend to read and I am curious as where the next book, The Burning will take us.

The Missing

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Eulogizing Zoe seems like an impossible thing, and it's breaking my heart trying. Zoe came to us 7 years ago at the age of 3 from friends. She very quickly became "my dog", following me around as I did day to day chores or sitting by me as I read a book. When I started training her, she became even more mine as she taught me instant forgiveness since I often messed up. She was a dog a lot of people said would never make it through the junior test, she certainly proved them wrong now having not only a junior title but a senior title also. And one of my fondest memories of working with this wonderful dog will always be attempting our first master test. I was petrified. We went to the line though, and finished the first two series in the test. I've never been so proud. We didn't pass, but it took quite awhile for me to stop smiling over how far we got. The impossible had happened.

Now it's been 7 years, and countless hours with Zoe acting as my proverbial guinea pig as we learned how to play the hunting game together. Driving way before dawn, staying in hotels, throwing ducks in endless fields, ponds, mud, rain, cold, hot, laughter, tears. It's been a 7 years I will never forget thanks to her. She's given me her best, I'm going to miss her more than I can begin to say.

Zoe Kiana McWhirt SH 2/7/02-5/17/11

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"I'm not dead yet" (Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail)

Hey everyone, I just thought I'd pop on here real quick and let the few of you know I'm still alive and reading, I'm just being lazy about blogging. I do intend to eventually get a blog on here about The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler once life in the real world will give me time to actually sit down and figure out what I want to say. In the mean time, I've been re-reading some "chic" books for some unexplainable reason other than I just want to. Yep, even I let that girly side get the best of me occasionally. However, that said, hopefully I will soon return to normal and get back to the regularly scheduled blogging....and commenting, (although, for the most part, I have been able to keep up with reading what everyone in the blog world is writting even if it is just a few seconds before running out the door with the intention to comment as soon as I get back).