Review: The Book Thing by Laura Lippman

The Book Thing by Laura Lippman

I am a fan of Laura Lippman, books and short stories. The Book Thing combines all three. Win win! I have mostly read Lippman’s stand alone novels, but this short story falls within the Tess Monaghan series. The Book Thing contains not-so-subtle commentary on book stores vs. e-books. The underlying question throughout the story seems to be: Do we, as a society, still value paper books?

A short, fast read for fans of Laura Lippman and Tess Monaghan. I love that this falls within a series of Bibliomysteries. I think I need to pick up others in the series.

Thank you to MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Media for providing me with a copy to review.

Book: The Book Thing | Author: Laura Lippman | Published: MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Media; January 15, 2013 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley | Rating: 4 out of 5

Mini Review: Fallen by Karin Slaughter (Georgia #3)

Fallen by Karin SlaughterRight after I wrote the post about how I was in a reviewing slump, I finished a book that prompted me to gush about it. Maybe this was just what I needed to get me out of my reviewing slump.

I found myself on a Karin Slaughter kick around New Year’s. The moment I finished Broken, I ran to the computer and checked out Fallen via Overdrive. Both books kept me joined at the hip to my nook. I nearly skipped fireworks and friends on New Year’s Eve because all I wanted was to get back to my book!

While reading the Georgia series, I found myself rooting for Will and Sara to get together. So much tension! What’s not to love about the wounded Will or the widowed Sara? Perhaps I would have a different perspective if I had read the Grant County series first and had a better understanding of Sara’s relationship with Jeffrey. But I didn’t. Thus, I longed for the Will and Sara hook up.

Warning: Spoiler!

Review: The Best American Mystery Stories 2011

The Best American Mystery Stories 2011I am a fan of both short stories and mysteries, so The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 was bound to pique my curiosity. This year’s collection was edited by Harlan Coben, so I knew this would be a good set of stories.

Surprisingly, I think my favorite story was The End of the String by Charles McCarry. This story involves an American in Ndala who becomes involved with a military man wishing to overthrow the president. This is not a topic I would normally seek out, but what a storyteller! I was completely drawn into the plot.

I also enjoyed Destiny City by James Grady, which centers around a terrorist plot. I am not one to seek out terroristic or political crime stories, but I found that I enjoyed all of them in this collection.

My second favorite story in this collection was The Hitter by Chris F. Holm. The Hitter is about a hit man who kills other hit men. This hit man contracts with potential victims to profit off the fact that he can save their lives by killing their would be assassins. Eventually, his chosen profession catches up to him.

Flying Solo by Ed Gorman is about two elderly men who befriend one another while receiving chemo treatment, and together they become vigilantes, fighting injustices.

Honorable mentions include Who Stole My Monkey? by David Corbett and Luis Alberto Urrea, A Crime of Opportunity by Ernest J. Finney and The Stars Are Falling by Joe R. Lansdale. I discovered many new authors through this collection, as well as an interest in subject matter that I would not normally seek out in my reading.

Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a copy to review, via NetGalley.

Book: The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 | Various Authors | Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; October 4, 2011 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Bad Intentions (Inspector Konrad Sejer #9)

Bad Intentions by Karin FossumIn Bad Intentions, the newest installment in the Inspector Sejer series since The Water’s Edge in 2009, Konrad Sejer must face down his memories and fears as he struggles to determine why the corpses of troubled young men keep surfacing in local lakes.

The first victim, Jon Moreno, was getting better. His psychiatrist said so, and so did his new friend at the hospital, Molly Gram, with her little-girl-lost looks. He was racked by a mysterious guilt that had driven him to a nervous breakdown one year earlier. But when he drowns in Dead Water Lake, Sejer hesitates to call it a suicide.

Then another corpse is found in a lake, a Vietnamese immigrant. And Sejer begins to feel his age weigh on him. Does he still have the strength to pursue the elusive explanations for human evil?

Karin Fossum has been on my radar for a while. I love a good Scandinavian crime novel. Unfortunately, Bad Intentions left me with a ho-hum feeling.

Let me say right away that there is graphic violence towards an animal near the end of the book. I understand that the point is to show that one of the characters is evil and unfeeling. However, after reading that portion of the book, I had to put the book down for a few minutes and think about whether I wanted to finish reading. It is rare that I do not finish a book, but this portion of the story really bothered me.

The premise of Bad Intentions is that three friends are harboring a dark secret. During a camping trip, one of the friends drowns in Dead Water Lake. Prior to the camping trip, the drowning victim, Jon Moreno, had been staying at an institution where he was receiving counseling for depression and anxiety. The remainder of the novel is spent revealing the secret and how the three friends are connected to the second drowning victim.

The book is narrated by several different characters; including Jon Moreno, Moreno’s mother, Konrad Sejer and Moreno’s friend Reilly. Konrad Sejer plays only a minor role in Bad Intentions. I was not sure if this is normal for the series, but other reviews indicate that he normally plays a larger role.

The plot of Bad Intentions seemed pretty average. On a positive note, the book is a quick read. The character of Reilly is complex and proved to be one of my favorite parts of the novel.

Book: Bad Intentions | Author: Karin Fossum | Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; August 9, 2011 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley | Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Beaglemania (Pet Rescue Mystery #1)

Beaglemania by Linda O. JohnstonLauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it’s often human nature that puts her in the path of danger. Just like when she helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe at a nasty puppy mill. One of the mill’s employees has a history of dog abuse-and a bone to pick with Lauren. And when he’s found dead at HotRescues after threatening her, Lauren will have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage…

How do I explain my relationship with cozy mysteries? I discovered the cozy mystery genre when I began reading Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery series. It is possible that I had read a cozy mystery before that, but the Conant series was when I first put a name to the genre. I love the Dog Lover’s series. I even love the Gourmet Girl Mystery series that she co-writes with her daughter, Jessica Park.

Unfortunately, I often feel that cozies are poorly written and/or edited. I felt this way about Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston. I wanted to love it. I mean, just look at those cute beagles on the cover! Animals and mysteries are two of my passions. Usually magic happens for me when they are combined in a book, but Beaglemania fell short of my expectations.

1. In the book, it refers to neutering a female cat. This was a big negative for me. Female animals are spayed. Male animals are neutered.
2. HotRescues and HotPets are unlikeable names for an animal shelter and pet supply chain. HotRescues is repeated ad nauseum throughout the book.
3. The victim’s story line really did not make sense to me.
4. Lauren, director of the animal shelter, has zero animals at home. There is an explanation as to why this is the case, but it seems unlikely for a shelter director to not have any animals at home – not even a foster.

This was the first book by Johnston that I have read. I had been intending to read her Pet-Sitter Mystery series, but I got to this one first. Despite the negatives, I plan to read the next book in the series. I think the series has potential, but I wish it had started out stronger.

Book: Beaglemania | Author: Linda O. Johnston | Published: Penguin Books; March 1, 2011 | Format: Paperbook | Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5