Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Pages: 341
Date: 31/07/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: Book one of The Dresden Files

Harry Dresden is a wizard, with a listing in the phone book, available to help in case of anything outerwordly going on. But even though he's the best of his kind, and not just because he's the only one doing it, business is slack at best.
And then, in one day, he's hired by a woman to find her husband and by the police to help investigate a double murder that could only have been committed by a wizard, an evil wizard.
The problem is that Harry doesn't know of any wizards who could or would do this, and the White Council thinks he might be doing the killing himself. If they find him guilty, he will be put to death.
So, not only does he have to stop the killings, he also has to prove his own innocence, while he might just be next in line for a killing.
An enjoyable read, but I couldn't help feeling that the author hadn't quite found his stride in this, the first book.
But the story and character are intriguing enough for me to want to read and get the next one.


Pages: 340
Date: 29/07/2007
Grade: 4+
Details: nr. 12 Stephanie Plum mystery

After a rather long absence, this was a very welcome return to the world of Stephanie Plum & co.
Stephanie's bounty hunting skills haven't improved much since book one, and she and Lula still get up to their usual antics.
But this time Stephanie's problems are not caused by those she's supposed to be bringing in.
It all starts with a woman stalking Stephanie, and claiming to be Ranger's wife.
Then Ranger's daughter is kidnapped from her home in Miami, and Ranger is the chief suspect.
And the female stalker is found shot to dead in her car.
Somebody is obsessed with Ranger and trying to steal his life, a life that would have to include Stephanie.
And Stephanie willingly puts herself out there as bait, in order to help find and save Ranger's daughter.

This was the usual fun and fast read.
Stephanie is still torn between her two gorgeous men.
Lula is still outrageous.
And Grandma out does herself when she decides to join in Lula and Sal's band.
Gave me a good few laugh out loud moments.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Pages: 336
Date: 28/08/2007
Grade: 5

Abby, Mitch and Rex have been friends all their lives. When Abby is 16 and Mitch 18, the body of a young woman is found, naked in the snow, by Rex, his brother and his father. The next day, Mitch disappears from the town of Small Plains with a word or explanation to anyone.
For 17 years, life in Small Plains continues. The grave of the unknown dead girl has become a shrine with claims of miracles.
Then Mitch decides to return to Small Plains, a few months after his mother's death. His coming back is the catalyst for the past coming into the present and questions that should have been answered years ago, at last being asked.
This was a wonderful book. I never saw the conclusion coming, never figured out what had happened, let alone why. Which made this a very satisfying read for me.
Thank you Chip, for sending this book to me, all the way from the US. It's now even more appreciated.


Pages: 381
Date: 27/07/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 3 Jan Fabel mystery

Jan Fabel is only just back from a short break when the first victim is found, murdered and scalped. Within 24 hours a second victim is found, also scalped. Apart from the fact that they were both male, roughly the same age and died under similar circumstances, there appears to be no connection between the victims.
And the murderer leaves no forensic evidence at all, apart from a single red hair, deliberately left behind meant to be found.
As more murders and scalpings take place, Jan Fabel and his team uncover a link between them, connecting all the victims to a former terrorist group.
It appears that somebody is out to kill all the members of that group in an act of revenge.
As they get closer to understanding what might be going on, the killer starts to communicate with and target Fabel, who starts to question his career with the Hamburg Murder Squad.
But he knows that before he does anything else, he has to find this murderer. A murderer who is convinced that he has lived before, can remember his past lives and has to get his revenge on those who killed him.
Great mystery with a conclusion that took me by surprise, which is always a good thing.
I just wished I knew whether or not Fabel actually resigns or not. If only because I couldn't bear this being the last in the series.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Pages: 474
Date: 21/07/2007
Grade: 5-
Details: nr. 2 The Liebermann Papers

In Vienna in 1902 a serial killer is on the loose, committing the most horrific and apparently random murders.
Detective Inspector Reinhardt turns to his friend, Dr. Max Liebermann, a disciple of Freud's, for assistance. But Max can't connect the murders either, until a night at the opera gives him a sudden insight into what moves the killer. This musical outing even connects a dead snake to the subsequent murders.
The investigators are soon looking into Vienna's secret societies and finding themselves face to face with mythical theories and the sort of racial prejudice that would 30 years later be the foundation for Hitler's "philosophy".
Meanwhile, Liebermann is also facing private demons when he starts to doubt his feelings for Clara, the girl he's engaged to and now finds he doesn't love and can't marry.
Fascinating mystery in an equally fascinating setting. The writing is beautiful with descriptions giving a real feel for Vienna in the early 20th century.
And because the reader has the benefit of hindsight, reading the thoughts and feelings of some of the members of the secret societies is far more scary for the reader than it is for the characters in the book, who can't take those ideas seriously. Makes you wonder what history would have looked like if people had taken those scary ideas seriously at such an early stage. Would that have been able to prevent the great destruction that was inflicted upon the world just over 30 years later?

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Pages: 317
Date: 18/07/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: #1. Haunted Bookshop Mystery

After her husband commits suicide and leaves her a widow with a young son, Penelope Thornton-McClure has joined her aunt in running a mystery bookshop.
On the night that they hold their very first author signing, disaster strikes when the author drops dead, immediately after revealing the shops' link to an unsolved murder from the 1940's.
Things only get worse when his dead turns out to be murder, with Penelope as one of the prime suspects. She needs to find out the truth before she turns into the ultimate scapegoat.
But Penelope is not alone; the bookshop has a ghost, who just happens to be Jack Shepard, a PI who was shot in the shop in the 1940's.
And once Penelope has convinced herself that ghosts do exist, Jack and her make a great investigating team
An easy and cozy read and a very well written mystery, with more than enough interesting characters to keep the reader interested. And the mystery really keeps you guessing.
I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Pages: 275
Date: 16/07/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details #2 Dublin Murder Squad Mystery

A young African Man, Shad, is dumped in the Dublin Mountains late one night. His foot has been amputated and badly stitched, after which he was abandoned to die. He manages to crawl to a house and raise the alarm, but later dies in hospital.
Molly Powers and Jim Quilligan of the Dublin Murder Squad are baffled. Are they dealing with African rituals? Or maybe with a racially motivated murder?
Shad's younger brother, Jude, meantime vows to find his brother's killer and is far more successful in this endeavour than the police which puts his own life in serious danger.
This book is very relevant in today's Ireland where we're only beginning to get to terms with the fact that we're now a country people want to come to to live and work and a lot of people have a problem with all the new and foreign cultures.
This clash in cultures isn't just difficult in this book though; it also gives rice to several laugh out loud moments, although I'm not sure how much sense they would make to someone unfamiliar with the situation and lay out of Dublin.
I did have the mystery solved fairly early on, but still enjoyed the read a lot.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Pages: 267
Date: 14/07/2007
Grade: 4

Hmmm, don't know what to say about this book. It's a very well written story and a fascinating read. And it sure didn't end the way I thought it would. All positives.
But.... I didn't like the character of Donnette at all. I wanted to, but I just couldn't. And I couldn't understand her actions, never mind approve of them.
And in a way this book wasn't finished with the last word for me. Not in itself a bad thing. In fact, I often enjoy fantasising about how the characters might get on after the last page. But in this case I could see more story after the books' ending then was in the book itself. And my follow up story did not have a happy ending.

This is the story of 20 year old Donnette, who's husband, Tim, saw a very promising football career ended before it even began due to a car crash.
It's also the story of Taylor, who drove the car that wrecked the life of his best friend.
Taylor hasn't been back to his small home town in Alabama since the accident, but does return when the aunt who raised him falls ill and fears being shipped off to a nursing home.
His return opens old wounds and resentments. And while the truth could have healed those wounds and replace them with friendship. it instead serves to create a bigger divide.
Like I said, for me, not a satisfying ending to this story.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Pages: 315
Date: 12/07/2007
Grade: 4.5
Details: #3 Inspector Decimus Webb, Victorian Mystery

Cremorne Gardens is the last pleasure garden on the banks of the Thames in London's Chelsea area. People flock here for fun and entertainment in the evenings. Now, however, somebody is targeting young women, using sharp scissors to take a lock of their hair.
Insp. Webb is convinced he's dealing with a harmless lunatic, but then someone is murdered. And although Webb is not convinced that the murderer and "the Cutter" are the same person, he is suddenly under huge pressure to come up with answers.
Meanwhile, 18 year old Rose Perfitt seems to be at the heart of events but how and why is unclear. Unless Webb comes up with a solution quickly, her life could be ruined, if not lost.
This was once again a good mystery, bringing Victorian London to life in full colour. The author takes a situation from the Victorian area to place his mystery in, but that place is familiar enough to draw the reader in completely.
Webb and his sergeant, Bartleby, make a nice crime fighting team, but it somewhat traditional with Webb being the cynic with all the answers and insights and Bartleby his dogsbody, blundering mostly in the dark.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Pages: 376
Date: 10/07/2007
Grade: 5+
Details: #1 in the Shetland Quartet

It's early on a cold, snowy, Shetland morning, when Fran Hunter finds the body of a murdered 16 year old girl.
Locally, Detective Jimmy Perez in in charge, but the investigation is being run by a murder squad from mainland Scotland.
Suspicion soon falls on Magnus Tait, a local man, simpleton and loner who was also the main suspect when a young girl disappeared years ago. A case that was never solved or closed.
Now there appears to be evidence against Magnus in both cases and he is arrested. But Perez is not convinced and continues to investigate. And then, while Magnus is in jail, another young girl disappears...
Wonderful book. Very well written with characters that come to life on the page. And the mystery is well constructed with enough twists to keep things exiting. I'm glad this is supposed to be #1 in a series of 4.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Pages: 443
Date: 09/07/2007
Grade: 4-

When three beautiful and successful women disappear, it takes a while before the Dublin police force recognises them as connected.
When they do, they call in Kate Waters, crime profiler, and former lover of the lead investigator who gives them a useful profile of the unknown abductor.
However, they are completely unaware that they are being set-up, all of them; Kate is being set up, the police is being set up and even the abductor is being set up.
But unless they realise what exactly is going on, on all the different levels, and who is orchestrating the show, the outcome could be disastrous, not only for the three women already abducted, but also for Kate, who is destined to be the fourth beautiful and successful woman to disappear.
Not a bad thriller, but not much of a mystery. Some of the main players in the set-up are named from the start, but the ones who were supposed to be under wraps were blatantly obvious to me as well. And this made it hard for me to believe in the investigators being completely in the dark.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Pages: 487
Date: 07/07/2007
Grade: 5
Details: #5 Diane Fry & Ben Cooper Mystery

Fourteen years ago, Mansell Quinn was convicted of murdering the woman he was having an affair with, after he was found in the same room with her body.
Now, within 24 hours of his release, his ex-wife is found murdered in her house. It appears that Quinn is looking for revenge, and the list of possible victims is long. And what's more, the list might include Ben Cooper, since it was his father who was first on the scene and arrested Quinn. Ben's father, who's no longer alive.
But things are never that simple, and Ben has his doubts, not only about the identity of the murderer in the present, but also about the conviction 14 years ago and his fathers role in it.
Another very good mystery and well written novel.
I can't help feeling though that sooner or later Diane and Ben will find each other on a different level. I may be wrong, but from book one I've seen that coming, and I've now reached the stage where I can't wait for it to happen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Pages: 324
Date: 03/07/2007
Grade: 4.5

When Faye, Marilyn, Alice and Shirley meet they are four women dealing with the menopause, with problems in their lives.
Faye is worried about her daughter's marriage; her son in law may be conducting an affair.
Marilyn is worried about her son's upcoming marriage; is his fiancee only interested in him because of his money?
For Alice, her job has been her life for a long time, but now it appears that a younger colleague is trying to replace her. And the thought of not having her work terrifies her.
and Shirley dreams of opening her own health spa, but lacks the confidence and business sense to follow her dream.
The four women decide to sort out each others problems, creating some havoc along the way. But they also discover that life holds opportunities regardless of age; that getting out of your comfort zone brings it's own rewards; that friendship carries you through most if not all situations and that you're never too old to learn new things or turn over a new leaf.
A fun and inspiring book, with a very hopeful message. Chick-lit with depth, because we really never stop being chicks at heart.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Pages: 405
Date: 30/06/2007
Grade: 4+

Tamzen Bayn is a Forensic Psychiatrist, who is hired by her fiance, a district attorney, to analyze the parents of a twelve year old boy who has killed three people in his school.
What starts out as a straight forward evaluation soon turns into a nightmare, when Tamzin discovers that this isn't the only twelve year old boy who suddenly turned violent. There has to be a connection between these boys, and that connection is closer to Tamzen than she knows.
As she slowly figures out the scary truth, she also realizes that she now knows too much, and is a danger to quite a few people. Which means she is in danger herself.
Good story, though a bit stiff and flat to read. The scary parts aren't as frightening as the could have been and although the story is full of tension, this tension doesn't really come off the pages. I ques it might be "first novel syndrome".
If this is the first one of a series though, I would be interested in reading more.