Archives for 2017

Y is for Yesterday

Y is for YesterdayY is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton, Judy Kaye
Series: Kinsey Millhone #25
Published by Random House Audio Publishing Group on August 22nd 2017
Format: audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
See it @ Goodreads
three-stars

Synopsis


The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate—and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace.

Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents—until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help. As she is drawn into their family drama, she keeps a watchful eye on Fritz. But he’s not the only one being haunted by the past. A vicious sociopath with a grudge against Millhone may be leaving traces of himself for her to find…

My thoughts on this book

After all these years, Sue Grafton can still turn out a good solid Kinsey Millhone case. Not many authors can claim that. Good easy listen.

About Sue Grafton

#1 New York Times-bestselling author Sue Grafton is published in twenty-eight countries and in twenty-six languages—including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Books in her alphabet series, beginning with A is for Alibi in 1982 and most recently, X, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. Named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, she has also received many other honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award from Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Malice Domestic, the Anthony Award given by Bouchercon, and three Shamus Awards.

Like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents. But who is the real Sue Grafton? Many of her readers think she is simply a version of her character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone. Here are Kinsey's own words in the early pages of N Is for Noose:

"So there I was barreling down the highway in search of employment and not at all fussy about what kind of work I'd take. I wanted distraction. I wanted some money, escape, anything to keep my mind off the subject of Robert Deitz. I'm not good at good-byes. I've suffered way too many in my day and I don't like the sensation. On the other hand, I'm not that good at relationships. Get close to someone and the next thing you know, you've given them the power to wound, betray, irritate, abandon you, or bore you senseless. My general policy is to keep my distance, thus avoiding a lot of unruly emotion. In psychiatric circles, there are names for people like me."

Those are sentiments that hit home for Grafton's readers. And she has said that Kinsey is herself, only younger, smarter, and thinner. But are they an apt description of Kinsey's creator? Well, she's been married to Steve Humphrey for more than thirty-five years and has three children, four granddaughters, and one great grandson. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone. So: readers and reviewers beware. Never assume the author is the character in the book. Sue, who has a home in Montecito, California ("Santa Teresa") and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised, is only in her imagination Kinsey Millhone—but what a splendid imagination it is.

The Good Son

The Good SonThe Good Son by Michael Gruber
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on May 11th 2010
Format: audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Mid East, Political Suspense
See it @ Goodreads
three-half-stars

Synopsis


Somewhere in Pakistan, Sonia Laghari and eight fellow members of a symposium on peace are being held captive by armed terrorists. Laghari, a deeply religious woman as well as a Jungian psychologist, has become the de facto leader of the kidnapped group. While her son, Theo, an ex-Delta soldier, uses his military connections to find and free the victims, Sonia Laghari tries to keep them all alive by working her way into the kidnappers' psyches and interpreting their dreams. With her knowledge of their language, her familiarity with their religion, and her Jungian training, she confounds her captors with her insights and beliefs. When the kidnappers decide to kill their captives one by one in retaliation for perceived crimes against their country, Theo races against the clock to try and save their lives. Combining masterful storytelling with a deeply thoughtful and provocative attention to the truth in all its permutations, The Good Son is a stellar achievement that expands the thriller genre into something wholly new and unexpected. This is a taut, multilayered, riveting novel of suspense.

My thoughts on this book

The Good Son came as a recommendation on a national security podcast I listen to. I was able to find an audio version of the book from Audible. I don’t understand much about the Middle East. I think that I understand enough to know that the United States is responsible for a lot of the animosity that comes from that area of the world. We have

The premise of the story is rather outlandish, despite that it provides a point of view for both west and east. There is so much propaganda about the middle-east that is hard for a person like myself to know what is truth or fiction. We forget that Pakistan and Afghanistan is the cradle of civilization. Their civilization is very different from ours – we tend to look down upon it, as we do not consider these countries to be modern.

Indus Valley Civilization

Civilization Name: Indus Valley Civilization

Period: 2600 BC -1900 BC

Originated Location: Around the basins of the Indus River

Current Location: Northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India

Major Highlights: One of the most widespread civilization, covering 1.25 km

Indus Valley Civilization

One of the oldest civilizations in this list, the Indus valley civilization lies at the very cradle of subsequent civilization that arose in the region of the Indus valley. This civilization flourished in areas extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread, covering an area of 1.25 million km. Entire populations of people were settled around the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers in Asia, and another river named Ghaggar-Hakra which once used to course through northeast India and eastern Pakistan.

Also known as the Harappan civilization and the Mohenjo-Daro civilization – named after the excavation sites where the remains of the civilization were found, the peak phase of this civilization is said to have lasted from 2600 BC to around 1900 BC. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization making them the first urban centers in the region. The people of the Indus Civilization achieved great accuracy in measuring length, mass, and time. And based on the artifacts found in excavations, it is evident the culture was rather rich in arts and crafts. 1

As the book says, “There was no Afghanistan the way there was a France or a Canada, there were onl individuals and families and clans, and the Americans trying to make it different was like assembling a fighter plane out of wet toilet paper.”

About Michael Gruber

Authors - Michael-Gruber

Michael Gruber is an author living in Seattle, Washington. He attended Columbia University and received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Miami. He worked as a cook, a marine biologist, a speech writer, a policy advisor for the Jimmy Carter White House, and a bureaucrat for the EPA before becoming a novelist.

He is generally acknowledged to be the ghostwriter of the popular Robert K. Tanenbaum series of Butch Karp novels starting with No Lesser Plea and ending with Resolved. After the partnership with Tanenbaum ended, Gruber began publishing his own novels under William Morrow and HarperCollins.

Gruber's "Jimmy Paz" trilogy, while critically acclaimed, did not sell at the same levels as the Butch Karp series in the United States. The Book of Air and Shadows became a national bestseller shortly after its release in March of 2007, however.

The Chalk Man

The Chalk ManThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Published by Crown Publishing Group (NY) on January 9th 2018
Pages: 288
Format: arc_ebook
See it @ Goodreads
four-stars

Synopsis


The must-read thriller of 2018, this riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

My thoughts on this book

For a début novel The Chalk Man was very good. The book was a mixture of Kate Atkinson and Mo Hayder, two very skilful storytellers to my mind. I like books that move from past to present, the author did a good job of moving gracefully between the periods.

You get the sense that not everything is as it seems. Not really sure whats what, Eddie, who is recounting the story tends to neglect telling you all, leaving a bit for later. So do not get comfortable while reading cause you never know what is right around the corner.

About C.J. Tudor

C. J. Tudor lives in Nottingham, England, with her partner and three-year-old daughter. Over the years she has worked as a copywriter, television presenter, voice-over artist, and dog walker. She is now thrilled to be able to write full-time, and doesn’t miss chasing wet dogs through muddy fields all that much. The Chalk Man is her first novel.