Author: Roberta (Page 2 of 38)

#BookBeginnings Upon a Dark Night by Peter Lovesey

Today’s shelf find is Upon a Dark Night by Peter Lovesey for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Upon a Dark Night* by Peter Lovesey

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Detective Inspector Peter Diamond of the Bath homicide squad is working two cases:  the death of a woman who fell from the roof of a local landmark, and that of an elderly farmer who shot himself. He has no time for the mystery of a  young woman dumped in the hospital parking lot, injured and without a memory of who she is or what happened to her. He will leave that one to someone else. That is, until it becomes apparent that the cases may be linked in some way.

First Sentence:

A young woman opened her eyes.

The view was blank, a white-out, a snowfall that covered everything.

 

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

He said, “I like chocolate chip cookies. I like chocolate chip cookies the best.”

I chose this quote because I like chocolate chip cookies, too.

Although the sentence seems like it might be filler dialogue, it turns out later in the page that it is actually a clue. A tiny clue, but a clue nonetheless. It’s great when chocolate chop cookies can be a clue.

When a friend gave me some older mystery novels a few months ago, based on the cover I thought this was one Lovesey’s historical novels. I put it away on a shelf. Last week I saw a Lovesey mystery featured on Shiela’s A Quiet Georgie blog and realized the Detective Inspector Peter Diamond  series is contemporary (well, as contemporary as the 1990s can be).  Another awesome shelf find!

What do you think? Would you pull out some chocolate chip cookies and read a Detective Inspector Peter Diamond mystery?

Are you finding any gems hidden on your shelves?

#BookBeginnings Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

Today I’m reading Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings

Live to Tell* by Lisa Gardner

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  When four members of a Boston family are murdered and the father is barely alive in the hospital, everything points to a murder-botched suicide. Police detective D.D. Warren isn’t convinced that things are as obvious as they seem, however, and begins to dig more deeply.  Does the case have anything to do with another tragedy from decades before?

First Sentence, Prologue:

Danielle

I don’t remember that night much anymore.

 

First Sentence, Chapter One

Thursday night. Sargent Detective D.D. Warren was out on a date. It wasn’t the worst date she’d ever been on. It wasn’t the best date she’d ever been on.

Notice the switch from first person to third person?

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

D.D. slept until seven the next morning, an unusual luxury when working a high-burn case.

Actually this is page 57 because 56 is blank.

I have four Lisa Gardner novels in my TBR pile. I decided to start with the oldest one in the D.D. Warren series because I had already read the first two.

Lisa Gardner is prolific, so I also have one from the FBI Profiler series, and one from the Tessa Leoni series. I don’t know why I have waited so long to read these. I enjoy her books.

What do you think? Would you read Live to Tell? Have you read any novels by Lisa Gardner?

Author Post: Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner is a prolific bestselling author known for writing thrillers.

 

Although labelled as thrillers, the novels I’ve read don’t neatly fit in one genre. Gardner’s novels do follow the thriller model because the action is fast paced and tension runs high.  In a typical thriller, however, the killer/villain is revealed early on and the reader wonders whether the protagonist will be able to  catch them. Gardner’s novels (the few that I’ve read so far) ask whether the protagonist will find out who did it, closer to a standard mystery/police procedural formula.

One unique aspect to her novels that I have noticed is that Gardner includes a major character who is either a victim and/or a stand in for the victim. We learn about the victim’s experiences, which adds a lot of depth and complexity to the story. She also carefully researches the experiences, giving rich details.

I’ve seen Lisa Gardner promoting her newest title, When You See Me this month. That reminded me I have picked up a couple more of her books for my TBR pile and I have no idea what order to read them in. Time to get organized!

Note:  It turns out that each novel stands alone pretty well, except for a few personal aspects of D.D. Warren’s life. No need to read them in order unless you can.

Detective D.D. Warren books in order:

  • Alone (2005)
  • Hide (2007) – reviewed (Also recently watched the movie based on the book)
  • The Neighbor (2009)
  • Live to Tell (2010) – full of information about the realities of a pediatric psych facility
  • Love You More (2011)
  • Catch Me (2012)
  • Fear Nothing (2014)
  • Find Her (2016) – Introduces the character Flora Dane (who reappears in Never Tell).
  • Look for Me (2018)
  • The Guy Who Died Twice (2019)
  • Never Tell (2019) –reviewed
  • When You See Me (2020)

FBI Profiler books in order:

The father/daughter team of Pierce and Kimberly Quincy.

  • The Perfect Husband (1998)
  • The Third Victim (2001)
  • The Next Accident (2001)
  • The Killing Hour (2003)
  • Gone (2006)
  • Say Goodbye (2008) – A clear example of suspense with scenes sprinkled throughout from the antagonists’ points of views. Cool spider theme, too.
  • The 4th Man (2017)
  • Right Behind You (2017)
  • When You See Me (2020)

Tessa Leoni series in order:

Tessa is a former Massachusetts State Trooper, now a PI.

  • Love You More (2011)
  • Touch & Go (2013)
  • Crash & Burn (2015) – The main character is the epitome of an unreliable narrator.  She’s had three severe head injuries. Unreliable narrators are not my favorite in mysteries because they interfere too much with the reader’s ability to solve the crime.  Blah.

 

About Author Posts:

Because I read a lot of mysteries, I’ve been trying to come up with a better system to keep track of which novels I’ve finished. I thought blogging would help, which it does, but I don’t always review everything I read. To get more organized, I’ve decided to create a series of author posts with lists of novels and links to my reviews. I plan to edit these pages as needed.

#BookBeginnings A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

 

Am I crazy to be reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for Book Beginnings on Fridays?

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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A Gentleman in Moscow* by Amor Towles

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   Russian aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in 1922. Not allowed to leave a hotel across from the Kremlin, Rostov lives vicariously through the people who live in the hotel or who he can see on the street. But does he have more to offer from his vantage point than he thinks?

First Sentence of Book One:

At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyvich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool. Drawing his shoulders back without breaking stride, the Count inhaled the air like one fresh from a swim.

 

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

Having lived in the Metropol for four years, the Count considered himself something of an expert on the hotel. He knew its staff by name, its services by experience, and the decorative styles of its suites by heart.

This novel is 462 pages long, so the 56 quote is still close to the beginning. So far the writing is incredible, although I wonder about the author’s choice of calling his main character ‘the Count.” Do you think it seems distancing?

I’m hoping it will not be too difficult to read a novel about someone trapped in a hotel while being more or less trapped at home.

What do you think? Would you read A Gentleman in Moscow right now?

 

(Public domain photograph of the Kremlin by Svetlana Tikhonova.)

#BookBeginnings Gone the Next

Let’s look at Gone The Next (Roy Ballard Mysteries Book 1) by Ben Rehder for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

Gone The Next by Ben Rehder

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Roy Ballard’s job is to video people who might be falsely claiming injury disabilities, but instead of catching a fraud he spots a young girl that matches an Amber Alert. When he reports his sighting, law enforcement doesn’t take him seriously, partially because of his past and partially because they have gotten a flood of tips. Roy alone must find out the truth.

First Sentence:

The woman he was watching this time was in her early thirties. Thirty-five at the oldest. White. Well dressed. Upper middle class.

Discussion:

Whoa. Talk about a creepy stalker-ish guy.

I like that you don’t know whether the watcher is the main character trying to catch an insurance cheat or a kidnapper checking out the woman’s daughter.  Which do you think he is?

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

As I approached my van, I noticed that I had a flat tire. Then I came to a full stop. It wasn’t just one tire. All four were flat.

At this point I’m not sure what is happening. I do like the short, concise sentences. They add tension.

By the way, this older book is available for free on Kindle right now.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Do you like short sentences?

#BookBeginnings In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

When friends and relatives rave about a novel (thank you Shan and Karen) you know you have to read it, which is why I have In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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In An Instant* by Suzanne Redfearn

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  After she perishes in a car accident, sixteen-year-old Finn Miller finds she can not leave her suffering, grieving family and move on. She watches helplessly as they struggle, knowing she needs to go, but unable to do so with their lives in crisis.

****

The premise made me think of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold because it is also narrated by a teenager who has died (my review with huge spoilers).

First Sentence of Prologue:

Mrs. Kaminski knew.

Before it happened.

Discussion:

And now I need to know what she knew.

56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

My mom, Uncle Bob, and Kyle are shaking badly when they climb back into the camper through the door that is now the ceiling.

This immediately makes me think of Winnie the Pooh when Owl’s tree falls over because Milne describes the walls becoming floors, etc.  Probably not what the author intended…

What do you think? Would you continue reading?

 

#BookBeginnings The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot

 

 

Today I’m reading The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot –thanks to a giveaway at Bea’s Book Nook — for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

The Last Sister* by Kendra Elliot

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:   When Emily Mills discovers a man dead hanging in a tree, she is disturbed by the memories of finding her own father hanging under similar circumstances twenty years before. Her phone call to report the crime to the FBI brings special agent Zander Wells with his partner special agent Ava McLane to the scene. When Zander begins to investigate her father’s death to see if the crimes are related, Emily wonders about her older sister’s involvement and what she really witnessed all those years ago.

First Sentence:

She wrapped her shaking fingers in the hem of her sweater to avoid damaging any fingerprints as she slid open the rear patio door, following the trail of blood.

Discussion:

That beginning makes me shiver, but I also want to find out what is going on.

Friday 56

Let’s join The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, too.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

“Looks perfect,” said Ava. She already had a fluffy bite on her fork, headed for her mouth. Her blissful expression after her bite reminded Zander why he’d once been half in love with her.

This scene reveals glimpses of the private lives of the two agents without getting bogged down in back story.

What do you think? Would you keep reading Kendra Elliot’s The Last Sister? Have you read any Kendra Elliot novels?

#BookBeginnings The Tony Hillerman Memoir, Seldom Disappointed

I’m reading a book a friend gave me last week, Seldom Disappointed:  A Memoir by Tony Hillerman for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

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Seldom Disappointed:  A Memoir* by Tony Hillerman

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

My husband and I are both fans of Tony Hillerman.  However, because I started this blog after we had read his books, I’ve never featured them here. I’m looking forward to reading this because always curious about the lives of my favorite authors.

Summary blurb:  Tony Hillerman looks at seventy-six years spent getting from hard-times farm boy to bestselling author.

 

First Sentence:

Outside on this New Mexico morning the dandelions add festive color to our yard while I sit inside casting back in my memory for autobiographically useful material. I intend this to be a recitation of good luck and happy outcomes but my mind turns up only fiascos and misfortunes.

56

I’ve been meaning to join The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice forever. Perhaps it is time to catch up.

The premise is simple. Turn to page 56 in the book and pick a quote.

 

I had learned in my first tenure on the A&M campus that starved-out civilian freshman boys were simply invisible to coeds looking for more promising males. Now we were visible, but were looked upon with scorn.

 

He seems to be channeling his younger self pretty well, but I’m not sure this was quite what I expected. I’ll be interested to see how his voice and perspective changes as he writes about his older self.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Would you read a memoir by one of your favorite authors?

 

#BookBeginnings Beneath the Surface

Let’s take a look at  Beneath the Surface: An Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery by Jo Spain for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!

 

book-beginnings-Gershkowitz

Beneath the Surface: An Inspector Tom Reynolds Mystery* by Jo Spain

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary: In this police procedural set in Dublin, Ryan Finnegan, a senior advisor to a government official, is murdered. Inspector Tom Reynolds has to figure out if the motive was political or deeply personal.

Prologue:

The Death
I am going to die.
I know this as surely as  I know I don’t want to.

Chapter 1.

The Investigation
Friday, 11:30 p.m., Dublin

Well, that had been a total and utter disaster.

Discussion:

Oh my, I just started reading this and can’t wait to get back to it. A police procedural set in Dublin is candy to me.

I can already tell Jo Spain is a screenwriter as well as author. The text is pretty dialogue heavy so far. However, I don’t mind a lot of dialogue. It can make a novel fly by.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Do you like novels with a lot of dialogue?

Calendar of Crime 2020: February Fever by Jess Lourey

Today’s review of February Fever by Jess Lourey is part of the reading challenge called Calendar of Crime 2020 hosted by Bev at My Reader’s Block. 

Month: February

 

February Fever: Hot and Hilarious* (A Mira James Mystery) by Jess Lourey

(*Amazon Affiliate Link)

 

Summary:  In a sly nod to Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, a trip to a conference for private investigators in Portland leaves Mira James trapped on a train with a murderer on board. It is soon apparent that some of the passengers are hiding their true identities. Will she be able to figure out who the killer is before someone else dies?

Check out my discussion of the first scene for Book Beginnings.

Review with Possible Spoilers

Lourey has a deft touch with character development. Her main character, Mira, is bright and curious with just the right amount of self effacement. Mira’s sidekick Mrs. Berns is a hoot.  Although she is impulsive and spews one liners, she’s also believable and her quirks are never too much over the top. You probably know someone like her.

The plotting/pacing of the novel isn’t quite as strong, or perhaps just didn’t conform to mystery norms. For example, typically with a mystery, the crime is often revealed near the beginning of the book. In this novel, the story had moved along before the mysterious death. I got so hooked on the characters, however, I was willing to plow through the slower, longer-than-expected set up.

Even though I picked this novel purely because it had February in the title and it fit the challenge criteria, I enjoyed it immensely. I am going to find the rest of the series, and — although this worked perfectly as a stand alone — I’m going to start with the first, May Day.  Maybe that will be my challenge book for May.

In the video below Jessica Lourey reveals why she started writing these novels (be prepared, it is heart wrenching), and encourages others to write as well.  She calls it using fiction to rewrite your life.  Wow. Well worth the few minutes to watch.

 

 

This amazing story is already way more than I expected to get out of the reading challenge.

What do you think?

 

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