Posts Tagged ‘Jack Lehman’

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Windy City Blues – “My Kind of Town”

September 22, 2015

Chicago

Windy City Blues by Sara Paretsky

I usually read through introductions quickly, but the one to this book, about Chicago (the background of the story and its characters) is a masterpiece. And, it adds to each of the V. I. Warshawski pieces.

I have read Sara Paretsky before but never appreciated all that she brings to her work. These are not clever twists, but real life―hospital staff rivalries, tennis tournament coaching screw-ups, missing classical music scores.

I particularly liked the first 2/3 with “Grace Notes” and “The Maltese Cat.” “Settled Score” proved disappointing, but the nice thing about short stories is that you can always move on to the next.

And at the heart of them is a Polish, female, PI who gets things done. She lets us, as readers be part of the action in a real, Chicago way.

4 out of 5

 

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No Way To Die – “More”

May 3, 2015

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by M. D. Grayson

In this new age of Kindle and print-on-demand there seems to me to be more female mystery writers and female central characters, so it is interesting to compare them to a book by a man with Danny Logan PI, the central character.

Women have interesting plot lines, detailed clothing description and usually a subtext of an unhappy lover relationship.

Grayson provides specific interviewing strategies, how someone can “fixate” on a solution to the exclusion of other possibilities and the challenges of a “friend with benefits” relationship. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Pink Balloons and Other Deadly Things – “Popping Them”

April 29, 2015

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by Nancy Tesler

Stop! Did you ever analyze why you are sympathetic to a narrator, or not? Sherlock Holmes is a smug guy with answers he eventually reveals to us, but Dr. Watson is the narrator. And Carrie Carlin is just the opposite of Holmes.

A stress-coping counselor, her life and her marriage of eighteen years, is falling apart. Plus her husband’s girl friend is murdered. Carrie bumbles from one disappointment to the next and we are with her. Read the rest of this entry ?

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If Jack Had – “A Killer”

April 27, 2015

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by Steven Rappaport

This is not a book I would ordinarily pick up and read. It features a newspaper/magazine writer who is also a murder for a Russian mob.

But this novel proves thought-provoking. Patricia Highsmith-like, it backs readers into a corner. We learn about ourselves to get out. There is an aging hit man on his last job, The killer who just has to tell someone what he does—his best friend of twenty years. His feeling of loss at the fatal sickness of his lifelong Russian boss and coming to terms with ending his own live.

There are also presentations of the narrator’s father, his two mothers (one who never wanted a child), an infidelity on an air plane, New York (past and present), plus the painful legacy he confronts in his own son. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Cat Trick – “Now You See Them. Now, You Don’t.”

April 25, 2015

by Sofie Kelley

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I was drawn to this book because I like cats and magic. What I didn’t expect was a good picture of small-town, Midwest living. Oh, one of the narrator’s cats can become invisible, and the other walks through walls (but these are unnecessary distractions more than anything else).

Oh yes, there has been a murder, but I was at least 90% through the book without a clue who might be involved. Then things started to fall into place.

Too much reference to other books in the series, too many characters to keep straight, but the non-magical description f the cats is fulfilling…at least my ten cats enjoyed it.

4 out of 5

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Intensive Therapy – “The Doctor Is In”

April 16, 2015

Intensive Therapy by Jeffrey Deitz

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This is a long, complex book. It starts with multiple characters over multiple years. At the heart are patient/physician relationships.

I was intrigued because I discovered Freud in college and the book highlights interactions we tend to overlook in treatment.

I like the short chapters and the juxtaposition of past and present (though at first I found this difficult to keep straight). But life goes on and from pages 150 to 200 this book gets really intense. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Paint Me Gone – “The Canvas Is Still Wet”

April 5, 2015

Paint Me Gone by Molly Greene

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Let me begin with the things I liked. Monterey. If you’ve ever been there, now you will visit it again—the descriptions of ocean-side cliffs, intriguing shops, colorful people. I also think Oliver, the gay friend of the narrator is intriguing. We usually get one-dimensional stereotypes but here is a person who changes. As does the female narrator detective.

She is in recovery from a relationship with a guy or trying to get over it anyway. And he, at one point, is dating an artist’s model who dovetails into the plot of artists, artist assistants, painting dealers and a missing sister who is believed to have committed a murder. So where is she? And who was responsible for the murder?

That brings me to the denouement which is far too detailed in its explanation for a reader who just wants to know “who dun it” and move on.

But the credibility is real. You are in Monterey. You are an insider in the art scene. You care about the narrator, the gay guy, the missing sister. The rest…the rest will get better over the rest of the series.

4 out of 5