Sunday, February 5, 2012

Three More Books

The House at Sea's EndThe House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ruth Galloway, forensic anthropologist, and DCI Nelson are once again teamed, as they attempt to uncover the identity of six German skeletons discovered in a sea cave in the small North Sea town of Broughton.  Why were these men executed and who did it?  The investigation leads to the town's past, and its WWII Home Guard, and through the course of the investigation other murders occur.  On a personal front, Ruth is struggling with raising Kate as a single mom, as well as keeping the secret of Kate's parentage.  Nelson too is struggling with his mixed feelings for Ruth and his wife.  My only "complaint" about the book is the present tense writing - it really grates on me.  But the story is compelling enough to keep me reading.

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BreakdownBreakdown by Sara Paretsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest V.I. Warshawski novel was a page turner.  A group of teenagers involved in a vampire book club decided to initiate a new member in an out-of-the-way cemetery.  While there, they discover the fresh corpse of man with a stake through his heart.  Several of the girls are the daughters of powerful  Chicago leaders and there is a hurried attempt to cover up their presence.  Unfortunately a conservative talk show host gets wind of the story and uses it to denigrate the parents of the girls, one of whom is running for state office.  Meanwhile, an old lawschool friend of Vic's who is known for her mental instability asks Vic for help.  But before she can explain her problem, she is pushed off a balcony and is seriously injured.  As V.I. investigates she discovers a link between the murder, the girls, and her friend.  And as in all V.I. Warshawski novels, V.I. takes physical punishment, ruffles many feathers, and eventually gets to the bottom of everything.

I really liked this installment.  The plot was complicated enough to keep me involved, and the pace was brisk and energetic.

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My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I'm glad I didn't pay for this book.  It was a free Kindle read. Widow and senior citizen Ivy Malone has just lost her best friend and confidante, and as she goes about her daily life she discovers that to most of the world she's "invisible."  Nobody pays attention to LOL's (little old ladies).  She decides to use this to advantage however, as she tries to find out who's responsible for the vandalism at a historic cemetery and investigate the mysterious disappearance of a former neighbor.  I rather enjoyed Ivy herself, an intrepid and plucky woman.   I enjoyed the humor - Ivy spending nights in the cemetery, searching under the bumper of a car for a possible key in a used car lot.  But the constant proselytizing for Christianity really interfered with the story.  Faith-filled novels don't bother me (think of Father Tim in the Jan Karon series, for example), but out and out evangelizing does.  I belong to the "show me, don't tell me" school of writing and real life action. By the end of the book I wondered what the author's true purpose in writing had been - to write a cozy, humorous mystery or to create Christians.  Although I really liked the premise of the novel and its main character I was completely turned off by the rest of the package. (And yes, I am actively involved in a church and have been so my entire life.)  

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