A Blog for Mystery Lovers

Posts tagged ‘book’

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson

This is a wonderful book, and the Milennium Trilogy, the three books penned by this author, is a must-read for any serious mystery lover.

I say “serious” because this mystery series contains a great number of characters and some pretty complicated plotting, as well as a lot of historical and political background information, much of which is not necessarily integral to the story.  So it’s a step up beyond the usual popular mystery novel and a little more difficult to read.  But the author seems to instill in the reader so much empathy for the main characters, and the plot takes so many twists, that I could hardly put it down, wanting to see what happens next.

After surviving an attempt on her life, Lisbeth Salander is put on trial for numerous offenses in an attempt to have her declared incompetent once again and commit her to a mental institution for life.  The quest to defend her against these charges and to discover and expose those plotting against her is the main thrust of this book, the third of the series.  The trial scenes, with her attorney’s cross-examination of one of the witnesses, are extremely clever and effectively done.

I had been a little afraid that this final book of Mr. Larsson’s would leave some loose ends to be resolved in a fourth book, which he never got to complete due to his untimely death, but that was not the case, and I found the ending to be very satisfying.

As I have said before, it’s best to read the Trilogy in order, with “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” first, then “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, before starting this one.  I loved all three!

http://www.stieglarsson.com/

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Randy Wayne White

Just returned from hearing Florida author Randy Wayne White speak at our local library.  He has a new book out, “Night Vision” (Putnam, 2011), another addition to his Doc Ford (former government operative turned marine biologist) mystery series. 

I have not read any of his books, but am interested enough now to select one as soon as I get through my current pile.  Not sure how long that may take, as today I added “Electric Barracuda” by Tim Dorsey.  Each time I stop at the library I can’t resist picking up at least one more book.  It’s like an addiction with me – I have to restrain myself from carting off nearly everything on the shelf!

I am moving right along with “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson – can’t put it down!  Somehow this author has made me really care what happens to his characters, so I was hooked again from the very beginning of this book.  The plot is so complicated and interesting;  this guy was a genius, surely.  You definitely need to read his trilogy in order however, or I can see where you might get confused in this third one without the background – I know I would have been.

Well, back to the reading!

“A Dead Man’s Tale” by James D. Doss

I can’t decide whether I liked this book, a recent entry (Minotaur Books, 2010) in the Charlie Moon mystery series.  This author’s style reminds me a lot of Elmore Leonard, and I’m not sure whether I like Elmore Leonard either.  I had considered abandoning the book part way through, but I’m glad I finished it, although I doubt I will be reading many more in this series.

Charlie Moon, Ute rancher and investigator, has fallen on hard times.  So when investor Samuel Reed approaches him and Granite City Chief of Police Scott Parish with a proposed wager, Charlie cannot resist.   Reed is betting that the two men can’t keep him alive, a wager that of course he would be happy to lose.

The setting is western (think cattle country),  and the book is written in a folksy, story-telling manner, but this one is a little too much of a tall tale for me, although the author does a very good job painting the scene and developing the characters.  Charlie’s amusing, yet sinister Aunt Daisy pretty much creeped me out, and her “supernatural” abilities were a little hard for me to swallow. 

I suppose this is probably a “man’s book”, as opposed to a woman’s, and that could be why it’s not one of my favorites.  I tend to prefer books with a primary female character, one who is emotionally vulnerable, yet strong enough to eventually figure out how to triumph over whatever adversity she encounters.  I can relate to that. 

But this was a  well-done and an interesting change of pace.

“Clubbed to Death” by Elaine Viets

“Clubbed to Death” by Elaine Viets (Obsidian, 2005) is a cute and humorous cozy mystery, one of her series of books, the Dead-End Job Mysteries.  Helen’s job in the complaint department of a private country club, fielding calls from the rich, arrogant, demanding members who make her life a living hell, goes further down the sewer when her deadbeat ex-husband, Rob, reappears, then disappears, and Helen is suspected of murdering him.  A couple of other bodies then turn up, clubbed to death with a 7-iron of course, and things go from bad to worse.  Helen must figure out whether Rob is dead or alive and who the murderer is to save her job and herself.

I enjoyed this book because of the quirky characters, the tongue-in-cheek humor, and the fact that it is set in South Florida where I live.  Although the country club is fictional, the rest of the settings are pretty much actual places in the area or good representations, which always makes the story easier for me to picture in my mind and relate to.

The only other book I had read by this author was “Dying in Style” (Signet, 2005) which I thought was not quite as well written as “Clubbed to Death”, but it was an earlier effort.  This one is part of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series. The plot is pretty much the same.  The owner of a chain of exclusive stores that Josie has been assigned to shop undercover and evaluate  is found murdered, and Josie is suspected.  She needs to find the killer in order to clear herself.

The book is a little slow getting started, but gets going eventually, and there is a satisfying conclusion.  This is an earlier book, and it was apparent that Ms. Viets’ more recent effort shows a developing style and better pacing.  As a budding writer myself, I always find it interesting to see how other writers improve and develop their craft over the years.

In any case, if you are a fan of the cozy style mystery and are in search of an light diversion, this author is well worth checking out.

Check out the author’s web page for more info: http://www.elaineviets.com/

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