Read: Dec 15 – Dec. 29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 51
Source: Personal Copy
Blurb: Harry Bosch’s life is on the edge. His earthquake-damaged home has been condemned. His girlfriend has left him. He’s drinking too much. And after attacking his commanding officer, he’s even had to turn in his LAPD detective’s badge.
Now, suspended indefinitely pending a psychiatric evaluation, he’s spending his time investigating an unsolved crime from 1961: the brutal slaying of a prostitute who happened to be his own mother.
Even after three decades, Harry’s questions generate heat among LA’s top politicos. And as the truth begins to emerge, it becomes more and more apparent that someone wants to keep it buried. Someone very powerful … very cunning … and very deadly.
Review: This is the third in the Harry Bosch series. And another really good installment in my opinion. I only wish I had started this series before I did, they’re such good books!
This particular installment started out a little bit slow to me, but once it picked up it was a really exciting read. I think in this book the reader really gets to see just who Harry Bosch is. He’s not perfect by any means, but I think that’s what really adds to the intrigue of Harry. It really makes for an interesting protagonist. Personally I like Harry. He’s tough and not afraid to get his hands dirty. But at the same time he’s got a soft side, even if he does everything in his power to hide it. I just like him, that’s all I can say about it really.
This particular storyline was interesting. Harry taking on the unsolved murder of his mother. He knows going into it that he might not like what he uncovers. And when the end is revealed, it’s not at all like I was anticipating. But I think it will be good in the end for Harry to have the closure that he seemed to need so badly.
As always with Mr. Connelly’s works, the writing was good, the character development was good and the storyline was fresh and interesting. Definitely a series that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And I’m really looking forward to getting to the next installment in the very near future.
Highly recommended, though I do strongly suggest you read this series in order so that you can fully appreciate Harry’s character.
Read: Nov 29 – Dec. 9, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 50
Source: Personal Copy
Blurb: Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of bad luck. First, her coworker is murdered and no one seems to care. Then she’s face-to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).
Point is, they saved her life. So when one of the blood-suckers asks for a favor, she complies. And soon, Sookie’s in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved. There’s just one condition: The vampires must promise to behave – and let the humans go unharmed. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…
Review: This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I’m kind of unsure why I waited so long to start it because I’m quite enjoying it.
Overall this is a good book. It actually felt a little darker and grittier than the first installment did. It was definitely a lot more violent (if that’s not your cup of tea). But I wouldn’t consider it over the top on violence at all where it was not enjoyable … and trust me I don’t have the stomach for that stuff that I used to so I’m a pretty good judge of it now.
I’m really intrigued by the Bill/Sookie, Sookie/Eric, Eric/Bill thing that is going on. It’s obvious that Eric wants what he can’t have, but I can’t help but wonder if Sookie isn’t just a little curious about Eric either. I think it will be quite interesting to see where Ms. Harris takes all these characters.
As I said, it’s really a good book. The storyline was interesting. The writing was excellent. And it’s just a fun book in general.
Read: Nov 18-29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 49
Source: Personal Copy
Blurb: It is the week before Christmas. A tanking economy has prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta – despite her busy schedule and her continuing work as the senior forensic analyst for CNN – to offer her services pro bono to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of unexpected and unsettling events, culminating in an ominous package – possibly a bomb – showing up at the front desk of the apartment building where she and her husband, Benton, live. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta’s life finds her embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionaire with whom her niece, Lucy, seems to have shared a secret past.
Scarpetta’s CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. Given the bizarre events already in play, she fears that her growing fame will generate the illusion that she has a “special factor,” a mythical ability to solve all her cases. She wonders if she will end up like other TV personalities: her own stereotype.
Review: Faithful readers will know that I gobbled up the first 15 books in this series rather quickly (nearly back-to-back, really) a few years back. Then I hit a wall (like a lot of Cornwell readers seem to experience) and took a big break in reading these books. I read Scarpetta, book 16, in July of 2012. And for whatever reason, I decided to pick this one up now. I will say that these books are not as good as her earlier books; they are not even close to her older stuff. But I guess for one a year it’s not too terrible.
I think my main issue with this book is how l-o-n-g it seemed. At times it felt like it would never end; other times the pages flew by. But overall it might have been a tad too long (or it might just have been the fact that I picked this 500+ page chunker of a book up immediately after reading a 500+ page chunker before it…)
Once again I felt as if the characters weren’t like they used to be. Lucy is just down right angry. Like all the time angry. Benton sometimes feels like he’s not even there emotionally. I still can’t forgive Marino for what he did. Kay is changing too it seems. Or maybe it’s just me wanting these books to be like the earlier installments were and they just aren’t anymore.
Either way, this series is not as good as it once was. But I will probably continue to read one a year. Why? Because I have a very hard time breaking up with authors….
Read: Nov 9-17, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 48
Source: Personal Copy
Blurb: A direct descendant of a legendary English privateer, Lord Alexander Hawke is one of England’s most decorated naval heroes. Now, in the Caribbean on a secret assignment for the American government, Hawke must disarm a ticking time bomb – a highly experimental stealth submarine carrying forty nuclear warheads that has fallen into the hands of an unstable government just ninety miles from the U.S. mainland. But Hawke’s mission is twofold, for he has returned to the waters where modern-day pirates brutally murdered his parents when he was a boy – after a lifetime of nightmares, will vengeance be his at last?
Review: That moment when you realize that it’s been more than a week since you last read this book and have finished another one since then … and you know that you won’t do this review justice. *Sigh* Good thing I wrote down some notes immediately after finishing this book.
This is the first book in the Alexander Hawke series and overall it was pretty good. I did find that the beginning was a little slow to start. However, once the action really picked up (about the halfway mark), the book was just a non-stop roller coaster ride.
At 596 pages this is definitely a chunkster. And it’s my opinion that it might have been just a little too long. I don’t want to say that it necessarily dragged on endlessly, but it probably could have been shortened and tightened up a bit and not lost a whole lot.
I really enjoyed the characters. Alex is a complicated man with a troubled past (his parents were murdered when he was a boy; he witnessed the murder but his mind has blocked it). Victoria is interesting as well, I think there’s a lot more to her than we really get to see in this first book. It will be interesting to see how their love story plays out. And Ambrose … what a character! Funny! Overall the main characters are well-developed and interesting in their own way. Which definitely helps set up for what I hope will be a good series!
I think if I *had* to complain about something it would really be the multiple storylines. I sometimes had trouble remembering who belonged in what storyline and what was really going on in that particular storyline. It was a little overwhelming at times and I even found myself asking “what is this storyline again?” Nothing that is necessarily terrible, but something that I did struggle with (could have also just been my sporadic reading as well, though).
Overall a good book that I enjoyed and a great first book in what I hope turns out to be a good new series for me (…as if I need another series to keep track of…)
Read: Nov 2-8, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 47
Source: Author for blog tour
Blurb: The Thunderbird Conspiracy is the remarkable tale of Robert Kaye, a Hungarian freedom fighter who claimed he knew and collaborated with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. R. K. Price’s second novel is also a tale of a Nebraska farm boy who was a great admirer of President Kennedy and a true patriot who desperately wanted to believe his government’s hurried conclusion that Oswald had no accomplice. Yet his own harrowing experience at the hands of his government created profound doubt in his mind, and it haunted him to his death.
These two men, one willfully acting, the other a true victim, became entangled in the most notorious crime of the 20th century. This saga of intrigue and murder was revealed to the author on a wintry Colorado day about three weeks before the farm boy’s ravaged heart gave out.
That man was R. K. Price’s uncle. His name was Bud Carlson. Price stashed away Bud’s account of Robert Kaye, letting it lay dormant for nearly forty years until he could corroborate his uncle’s story with the release of previously secret FBI files from the National Archives.
Now nearing the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination Price has brought Robert Kaye and Bud Carlson back to life. Their incredible story will leave you questioning just how and why JFK was taken from America far too early.
Review: If you are a loyal reader here you have probably figured out by now that I am a total JFK junkie. I seriously cannot get enough! So of course I jumped on the opportunity to read this book!!
Mr. Price definitely has a way with words! I was immediately swept up in the flow of this book and was more than happy to let it carry me to the end. The characters were so well-developed and I enjoyed getting to know them, even the secondary characters were fleshed out so well they didn’t feel secondary at all.
I’m going to be completely honest here, I’ve never been 100% convinced about the lone bullet theory. It just seems to much for me to comprehend. It is my personal belief that Oswald was a patsy (but this is where I have to say that I’m not entirely sure who he was a patsy for; I just don’t feel as if he did it all himself). So you can imagine that I gobble up everything about the Kennedy assassination just in an attempt to see if I can make sense of my feelings on the assassination itself.
I think what I liked about this book so much was that it was really fiction wrapped around fact. The whole idea that the author’s uncle’s story is what really brought this book about. Just, wow. It makes me wish I had a story like that to tell! And I think this personal connection with the author is what makes the book that much better.
Definitely a book that I would highly recommend. You don’t even have to be a conspiracy theorist to enjoy this book, you just need to enjoy a good mystery 😉
About the author:
R.K. Price is a Colorado native. He lived in Pueblo for a number of years, earning his way through college as a radio/television and newspaper reporter. He moved north to Denver in the mid 70s, joining a major advertising/public relations firm as a writer, producer and press agent. Later, he formed his own media relations and political consulting firm. He spent the early 1980s in Washington D.C. actively involved in national politics, and returned to Denver in the mid 80s to become an investment and mortgage banker — a profession he remains in today. He now lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife Janet and daughter Sara in Alexandria, Va.
Blurb: A true collective account of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
There are few days in American history so immortalized in public memory as November 22, 1963, the date of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Adding to the wealth of information about this tragic day is We Were There, a truly unique collection of firsthand accounts from the doctors and staff on scene at the hospital where JFK was immediately taken after he was shot.
With the help of his former fellow staff members at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Allen Childs recreates the horrific day, from the president’s arrival in Dallas to the public announcement of his death. Childs presents a multifaceted and sentimental reflection on the day and its aftermath.
In addition to detailing the sequence of events that transpired around JFK’s death, We Were There offers memories of the First Lady, insights on conspiracy theories revolving around the president’s assassination, and recollections of the death of Lee Harvey Oswald, who succumbed two days later in the same hospital where his own victim was pronounced dead.
A compelling, emotional read, We Were There pays tribute to a critical event in American modern history—and to a man whose death was mourned like no other.
Twice in a forty-five hour, thirty-one minute timeframe, Parkland Hospital was the center of worldwide attention. It was the temporary seat of the United States government, as well as the state of Texas. Our thirty-fifth president died in Trauma Room 1. At that moment, the ascendency of the thirty-sixth president of the United States occurred at Parkland. Two days later, it was the site of death of the president’s accused assassin. So reported a Parkland Hospital office memorandum dated November 27, 1963.
And we were there. (p. 8)
I am a JFK junkie. I am obsessed with everything about him, his family, presidency and assassination. Yeah, I’m a weirdo! I’ve been gobbling up everything I can get my hands on this year – and there’s a lot since it’s the 50th anniversary of the assassination.
This memoir is a collection of experiences from doctors who were at Parkland the day of the assassination. I don’t think I have ever read anything that comes from the actual doctors themselves. I found it very interesting to read their stories. But I must admit, being a non-medical person, it was very difficult at times for me to follow things. It became quite technical medically at certain points. And another thing, it seemed to be very repetitive. Most of the doctors had pretty much the same exact experience. But really, it’s an interesting book. It’s very emotional.
I think part of the reason that I’m so intrigued by the JFK assassination is really because of all the conspiracies. There are tons of conspiracies. Single bullet? Multiple shooters? CIA? Cuba? The list goes on and on.
Conspiracy theories have continued to rage for fifty years since that day, and they were not put to rest by the Warren Commission’s conclusion that there was a single shooter and a single bullet that killed President Kennedy and injured Governor Connally. The doctors at Parkland were the only ones who saw the neck wound before the emergency tracheotomy, and they were unanimous that the neck wound was an entry wound. In time most, but not all, no longer would believe this. (The bolding was done by me, p. 10)
If you ask people who are old enough to remember the assassination, they can almost always tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news (kind of like my generation with 9/11). I can only imagine what it would have been like for the doctors and staff of that hospital.
Some people started crying and sobbing uncontrollably – others like myself just stood there dazed, fighting back the tears. No one moved for a minute or so. (Jed Rosenthal, MD, p. 24)
I do want to leave you with a quote from the book. I think it speaks volumes about exactly what the doctors did for the President that day. For if you read this book, you will be amazed at what all they did do for him in Trauma Room 1.
I was witness to the frenzied resuscitative efforts displayed by the chiefs of all trauma-related services who had been called to the scene. As soon as he was placed from the gurney onto the emergency table, it was obvious from his ghastly head wound that he was DOA, and regardless of all the impressive medical acumen and experience present, there was no hope of restoring his life. He was flatlined from the onset. (Robert Duchouquette, MD, p. 62-63)
There’s not much else to say about this book. If you are a history buff or an assassination nut like I am, I highly recommend this book. It’s a short and quick read, but it’s very interesting and emotional.
Genre: Alternate History Published by: Lowtide Books Publication Date: 10/5/13 Number of Pages: 352 ISBN: 978-0-9897457-0-3 (Hardcover), 978-0-9897457-1-0 (Paperback), 978-0-9897457-2-7 (ebook) Purchase Links: Book Website:www.lincolnpublicenemy.com
When John Wilkes Booth shoots Lincoln with a bullet cursed by the notorious Chicken Man, a local voodoo practitioner, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events extending far into the future. Instead of killing Lincoln, the bullet puts the president into a coma for sixty-eight years, his body remaining limber and ageless. When he awakens in 1933, Abe Lincoln is a man out of time, a revered icon…and a political pariah. FDR and J. Edgar Hoover not only do not want him around, they want him to retire. But their plan to be rid of him backfires and Lincoln is on the run, a fugitive from justice.
Determined to reach Chicago and retrieve the small fortune left in trust for him by his long-dead son, Lincoln discovers that Hoover has confiscated all his money, leaving him destitute. With Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis in hot pursuit, Lincoln finds his way to a hobo camp where he befriends a young runaway, who agrees to accompany the former president back to Washington. There Lincoln hopes that Hannah Wheelhouse, the Chicken Man’s granddaughter, can help him find the peace he longs for.
Then fate deals Lincoln another strange hand when he and the boy end up as hostages to infamous bank robber John Dillinger. Instead of leaving them by the side of the road after the robbery, Dillinger takes a liking to Lincoln and invites him to join the gang, promising him he’ll get all his money back.
Will Lincoln survive long enough to recapture his fortune and get away, or will he be hunted down in a manner unbefitting a martyred President?
In this inventive and entertaining novel, history gets a work-out, the action is flat-out, and almost everyone gets rubbed-out!
REVIEW: When I was originally pitched this book I was definitely intrigued. I have never read alternate history before and thought that this would be a fun step into a new-to-me genre. I’m not upset that I tried this book out, but I don’t think alternate history is a genre that’s a good fit for me.
Overall, it’s a fun and wild roller-coaster ride of a book. I can definitely see this on the big screen and think it would do great in Hollywood! But I really had an issue with the alternate history part of the book. This is just something personal that has nothing to do with the book itself at all. See, I was a history major in college. And the Abraham Lincoln assassination is something that I studied somewhat extensively. I just couldn’t get past the idea that Lincoln was in a coma for all those years because of a cursed bullet and then woke up in the 1930s. I just couldn’t do it.
That being said, the book itself was well-written and plotted. The pacing was fun and the plot was exciting. I just had a personal issue with the idea of alternate history.
But in general I would definitely recommend this book. It really is a fun read, just the history lover in me had an issue with alternate history.
Read an excerpt:
CHAPTER ONEMarch 3, 1934
Lake County Jail
Crown Point, IndianaCounselor Louis Piquett felt a trickle of cold sweat roll down between his shoulder blades and silently cursed God, the courts, and the governor of the state of Indiana. He couldn’t afford to be nervous today, yet his head pounded and his stomach churned from the breakfast he’d eaten at a roadside diner on the way to the jail. He fought back a wave of nausea and cranked open the Ford’s passenger side window, letting the raw March air wash over his face. He closed his eyes and breathed it in.
“You okay, Louis?”
Piquett turned toward his law partner, Arthur O’Leary, and nodded. “Right as rain. Just wish you’d turn down the blasted heat.”
O’Leary’s lips curled in a lopsided grin, which gave his narrow hawk-like face an air of mirthful menace. “Sorry…you know I’m always cold.”
Piquett took off his fedora and wiped his forehead with a wrinkled linen handkerchief. “Yeah, I know. You should go see the doctor about it.”
O’Leary grinned, and Piquett gazed out across South Main Street at the late-Victorian pile that was the Lake County Jail and Courthouse, his eyes scanning the mounted machineguns and the dozens of National Guardsmen manning them behind a four-foot high wall of fifty-pound sandbags.
“You’d think they were expecting the Kaiser’s army,” O’Leary said, chuckling.
“They just don’t know what to make of our client, Arthur. Lord knows, I sometimes wonder about him myself.”
“He doesn’t belong here, that’s for sure,” O’Leary said, shaking his head.
“Unfortunately, his enemies think otherwise. You and I both know he didn’t kill that federal officer.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Piquett stared back at his partner, his dark eyes like flints. “I know what you meant.” The handkerchief came out again. “You take care of the guards, like I asked you?”
O’Leary nodded. “There won’t be a search.”
Piquett patted the left side of his suit jacket. “They find this on me and we’ve got a lot more trouble than we ever bargained for.”
O’Leary shot his partner a look of annoyance. “Nobody’s got a gun to your head, Louis.”
Despite the rumble in his guts, Piquett smiled. “That’s why I like you, Arthur. You always look at the bright side.” He glanced at his watch. “Time to go. Wish me luck.”
O’Leary nodded, and Piquett eased himself out of the Ford and closed the door. He hesitated a moment then leaned in through the open window. “If I’m not out in twenty minutes, you get on out of here. You remember where I put the emergency funds?
“Good. Keep lookin’ at that bright side, Arthur.”
Piquett slapped the roof of the Ford and strode toward the jail. Passing through the narrow opening in the sandbags, he gave the soldiers a cordial nod, climbed the steps and disappeared into the building.
Following an official clearance, and after passing through a succession of remotely-controlled gates, he stood before the final door separating him from his client. The lone guard, seated at a scarred oak desk, motioned toward the open logbook lying in front of him. Piquett picked up a pen off the blotter and signed his name with a flourish.
“Morning, officer,” he said, handing back the pen.
The guard, a scrawny young man with greasy black hair and a dull look in his eyes, took back the pen with a smirk spreading across his face.
“Yeah, well, it ain’t so good for that client a yours, counselor.”
Piquett’s trial-winning smile widened. “Well, we’re all innocent in the eyes of the law, until proven guilty, officer. That’s the very foundation on which our great and glorious nation resides. Besides, you never know how a day’s going to end, until it’s over.”
The guard frowned, his puzzled expression making him look even less intelligent. “You mind standing back and raising your arms, counselor?” he said. “Gotta search ya.”
Piquett’s stomach rolled over, but he managed to keep the grin plastered to his face, even as he felt the sweat break out anew.
Just then an older guard stuck his head in the doorway.
“He’s clean, Jeff.”
The younger guard’s frown deepened. “But Sheriff Holley said we was to search every visitor ‘fore I pass ’em through this point.”
The older man leaned into the room, his face flushing. “And I’m tellin’ you he’s clean.”
Piquett watched the tense exchange between the two guards and said a silent prayer.
The younger guard appeared to think about this for a moment, the gears in his mind grinding slowly. Then he sighed and shook his head. “You say he’s clean, Irv, then fine, he’s clean.”
The older guard nodded, giving Piquett a knowing look the younger guard missed then left the room. The younger guard stood and threw the lever that operated the automatic doors. There was a loud “clunk,” followed by the whir of machinery. The door slid open and clanged to a stop.
Another guard appeared on the other side of the open doorway and motioned for Piquett to follow.
They passed through a corridor lined with empty holding cells. At the end of the hall Piquett spotted a wooden chair facing one of the cells. The guard motioned for him to sit. For a fleeting moment, Piquett toyed with the notion of turning around and leaving, going back to the car and driving away–maybe take that vacation he’d always promised himself. But then, whatever was left of his tattered code of ethics took over and he eased himself into the chair.
“Thank you, officer,” he said to the guard. “I’ll let you know when we’re done.
The guard nodded, retraced his steps down the corridor and disappeared around the corner. Piquett kept his eye on the corridor for another moment then turned toward the cell.
His client sat in a matching hardback chair dressed in a white shirt, charcoal-gray vest and matching pants. He was impossibly tall–even sitting down–and impossibly…there. The face he’d grown up admiring, the face that graced the penny and the five-dollar bill now sat watching him with a look of bemusement, gray eyes twinkling in the harsh glow of the bare bulb hanging from the ceiling.
“Good morning, counselor,” Lincoln said in his high, soft-spoken voice.
“Good morning, Mr. President.”
“Please, Mr. Piquett, I do not think it fitting to refer to me by that hallowed moniker, especially when viewed in the harsh light of my present circumstances.”
Piquett felt his face redden. “I’m sorry, sir, you’ll have to forgive me. I much admired your administration, your achievements.”
Lincoln smiled revealing gaps between his teeth. “And while my achievements may make me immortal, I am an inconvenient reality whose presence is a reminder of things some would prefer to forget. As far as those demigods who now reside in Washington are concerned, I am a man out of time and out of step with the problems of the day.”
“I disagree, Mr. Lincoln.”
Lincoln slapped his knee and chuckled. “You know what’s truly ironic, counselor? The tenor of Washington has not changed all that much. I suspect the streets are cleaner and summers are more tolerable nowadays, but those puffed-up politicians have raised backstabbing to a high art. Practice makes perfect. Did you bring it, Mr. Piquett?”
The abrupt shift in the conversation flustered the lawyer for a moment. “Y-yes, sir.”
He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small package wrapped in butcher paper and tied with twine. He handed it through the bars and Lincoln took it with his large, calloused hand. The package disappeared into his pocket.
“Thank you, counselor, you’ve been most helpful. And I appreciate all that you’ve done. I was especially inspired by your performance in the courtroom during my arraignment last month.”
Piquett puffed with pride. “It was an honor, sir. I just wish I could’ve done more.”
Lincoln stood and thrust his hand through the bars. “You’ve done more than any man could ask. If I have need of you again, I will surely call on you.”
The lawyer grasped his client’s hand, feeling the strength in the older man’s grip.
“Where will you go?” Piquett asked.
Lincoln’s expression turned melancholy. “Back into the history books where I belong, counselor…if they’ll let me….”
Ten minutes later, as O’Leary guided the Ford through the crush of late morning traffic, Piquett thought about the small wrapped package he’d given Lincoln and wondered–in spite of his sordid lack of ethics–if he’d done the right thing, after all.
* * *
Jail Handyman Sam Cahoon went cold all over when he felt the barrel of a pistol jabbing into the small of his back. But it was that high voice in his ears that sent his heart racing.
“I’ve got to be going, Sam,” Lincoln said, “and I need your help. Please don’t make me use this. I know only too well what it can do.”
Lincoln guided him over to the locked steel door leading to the adjoining room and motioned for Sam to call out to the guards. A large black man rose from a nearby table where he’d been playing solitaire and joined them. When Sam continued to hesitate, Lincoln kicked the door with his foot, sending a booming sound reverberating around the Day Room, which now fell silent.
“That you, Sam?” came the voice from the other side of the door.
Sam looked to Lincoln, his eyes wide with fright. Lincoln pressed the barrel harder into the handyman’s back and nodded.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Sam said. “I’m done in here.”
“All right,” the voice replied.
A moment later came the rattle of keys and the door swung inward. Lincoln kicked the door hard, sending the startled guard behind it sprawling, then he shoved Sam Cahoon aside and grabbed the guard, who was scrambling to his feet.
“Y-you out of your mind?” the guard sputtered.
“So they tell me, son. Now you go on and get us into the guardroom, and no tricks.”
The guard’s hands trembled, causing him to fumble with the keys. Lincoln jabbed the barrel harder into the guard’s back, eliciting a moan of fear from the man.
“I g-got it,” the guard said, slapping the key into the lock and twisting it. They burst into the guardroom, where a civilian fingerprint technician and one other guard sat drinking coffee and chewing on jelly donuts, their eyes as round as saucers. Lincoln spotted two Thompsons with fully loaded drum magazines sitting on the windowsill and nodded to the black man.
“Mr. Youngblood, we shall require those fine instruments of destruction.”
The black man chuckled and grabbed them, handing one to Lincoln, who then held up the pistol he’d used for all to see. A sly grin spread across his face. It was a crudely carved wooden gun blackened with shoe polish, the words “Colt .38” etched into its side.
Both the guard and the fingerprint technician shook their heads in disgust.
Lincoln’s grin widened. “Well, now, it does seem one can fool some of the people all of the time.” He put the wooden gun back into his pocket and waved the barrel of the submachine gun towards the exit door.
“Mr. Youngblood, take this officer to one of the cells.”
Youngblood manhandled the guard out of the room and returned moments later.
Lincoln looked at the fingerprint technician, who sat frozen, the jelly donut still hanging from his mouth.
“What’s your name, son?” Lincoln asked.
The young technician yanked the donut from his mouth.
“Uh, Ernest Blunk, sir. You gonna shoot me?”
“I have no desire to kill anyone, Mr. Blunk, but I am getting out of here. It’s your choice.” Lincoln’s gaze was implacable and Blunk nodded soberly and stood up.
“All right, gentlemen,” Lincoln said, “shall we take our leave?”
After a short trip down two corridors and one flight of stairs, they emerged into the alley. Lincoln eyed the narrow passageway in both directions, noting the way was clear. He smiled and turned to Blunk, who stood with his arms wrapped around himself, shivering in the cold.
“Where’s the garage, son? The one with the private cars.”
“Down the alley, around the c-corner, behind the courts.”
The garage was in a shed-like building with a sliding wooden door that reminded Lincoln of an old barn. The door shrieked on its rusty rails as Youngblood slid it open. Inside it was toasty warm and reeked of gasoline and spilled oil. A lone mechanic lay under a late-model Chevy, banging away at a water pump and cursing under his breath. Another man sat behind a desk in the small glassed-in office. Just then a woman walked into the garage.
“Mr. Saager, is my car–” She stopped in mid-sentence when she spotted Lincoln and Youngblood wielding the two Thompsons and fainted dead away, her limp body slapping against the grimy concrete.
Youngblood handed his Thompson to Lincoln, picked up the woman and deposited her inside the office on a battered sofa. The black man motioned for the man at the desk to move and the man scrambled out the door with his hands in the air.
“What’s the fastest car in here?” Lincoln asked, handing Youngblood back his Thompson.
The man from the office looked around and nodded toward the mechanic under the Chevy.
“Hudak’d know best.”
“Ask him to join us.”
The man eased over to the Chevy and gave the mechanic’s leg a nudge with his foot.
“What you want, Saager?”
“We got a man here asking about fast cars.”
“What do I look like, a salesman? I’m up to my butt in work here, in case you hadn’t noticed, and I got to get this damn Chevy out of here by two.”
Saager looked to Lincoln and shrugged. Youngblood raised the barrel of his Thompson and Saager paled a few shades whiter. He kicked the mechanic harder and said. “You get on out here, Hudak, if you know what’s good for you.”
The mechanic slid out from under the car, the curses on his lips dying away when he spotted the two men and their machineguns.
“What’s the fastest car in here?” Lincoln asked.
Hudak jabbed his finger toward a sleek brand-new car parked in a corner, its jet-black paint gleaming under the hooded lights. “That there Ford. Got a real honey of a V-8.”
“That’ll be fine, Mr. Hudak.”
“But that’s Sheriff Holley’s new car.”
Lincoln laughed. “Even better. Mr. Blunk, you will drive. Mr. Hudak, you and your partner will disable all the other vehicles in the garage.”
Hudak looked incredulous.
“Now, Mr. Hudak.”
The mechanic walked toward the Chevy, shaking his head. When he reached the car, he opened the hood and started gingerly pulling wires.
Youngblood rolled his eyes, grabbed a hammer and pushed the mechanic aside. “Not like that–like this.” He swung the hammer down onto the spark plugs one by one, shattering them then pounded holes in the carburetor. He handed the hammer to Hudak. “Now, go to it, my man. Just like the boss says.”
In moments every other car was disabled and Blunk pulled the Sheriff’s car up to the door, the engine revving with a throaty roar. Lincoln and Youngblood climbed in and Lincoln hung his Thompson out the window at Saager and Hudak. Neither man moved.
“All right, Mr. Blunk. Let us proceed.”
The car pulled into the alley and then out onto East Street. Lincoln swiveled his head back and forth, looking to see if anyone followed. “Nice and slow,” he said. “It wouldn’t do to draw attention to ourselves.”
They passed the courthouse and Lincoln smiled when he spotted all the soldiers. They swung around a parked bus and pulled up to a stoplight. A bank sat on one of the corners and Lincoln stared at it. “Mighty tempting to procure us some traveling money, but I think we’ve worn out our welcome here, Mr. Youngblood.”
Yes, sir, Mr. Lincoln,” the black man said, grinning from ear to ear. The light turned green and the car sped out of town. When they reached State Road 8, Lincoln relaxed and began singing an old hymn. His singing voice was surprisingly tuneful and brought a smile even to Blunk’s dour face.
“Where we going, anyway?” Blunk asked when Lincoln had finished singing.
“Wherever the winds of fate shall take us.”
Youngblood laughed as the car sped off down the road.
The Great Emancipator was free.
BILL WALKER is an award-winning writer whose works include novels, short stories and screenplays. His first novel, Titanic 2012, was enthusiastically received by readers, and Bill’s two short story collections, Five Minute Frights and Five Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites. A highly-respected graphic designer, Walker has worked on books by such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. His most recent novel, A Note from an Old Acquaintance, was published in 2009.
Catch Up With Bill Walker:
BRIAN ANTHONY is a writer and award-winning filmmaker. His first feature film, Victor’s Big Score, was praised by Variety as “A tremendous calling card for writer-producer-director Brian Anthony.” As a writer-producer Anthony has contributed to shows for American Movie Classics, Arts and Entertainment, and Fox Syndication, including Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Lost in Space Forever. A veteran film historian, Anthony has been interviewed on network television regarding film history, and co-authored the acclaimed biography of the film comedian Charley Chase, Smile While the Raindrops Fall, in 1998. Brian is an expert art and book restorationist, and you can see his work at Anthony Restorations.
Catch Up With Brian Anthony:
I hope you will check out the other stops on the tour:
Blurb: Boxer is pregnant at last! But her work doesn’t slow for a second. When a millionaire is mercilessly gunned down, Lindsay discovers that the murder weapon is linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco’s most untouchable criminals. And it was taken from her own department’s evidence locker. Anyone could be the killer – even one of her closest friends. Lindsay is next called to the most bizarre crime scene she’s ever seen: two bodiless heads displayed in the garden of a world-famous actor. After another head is unearthed, Lindsay realizes that the ground could hide hundreds of victims. Then a reporter launches a series of vicious articles about the cases, and Lindsay’s personal life is laid bare. But this time she has no one to turn to – especially not Joe.
Review: James Patterson is my go-to author when it comes to trying to break out of a slump. I had picked up and put back down about 4 books prior to picking up this one. So it was a no-brainer for me to choose a Patterson book, I just had to decide which one (I have two other books of his). This one has been on my shelf for a while, so I chose it just because it was the Patterson book I have had the longest.
Overall, this is another good installment in the Women’s Murder Club series. I really enjoyed the dual story lines. They were both interesting cases which needed Lindsay’s undivided attention…. but she took on both cases at the same time. I did have a little issue with this in a way. As someone who has been through an easy pregnancy, I couldn’t help but shake my head at how Lindsay’s pregnancy is being portrayed. I was absolutely worn out, and there would have been no way I could have ever gone all day without eating … working 10-12 hours wasn’t going to happen either. So I was a little irritated as to how this was shown to the readers, it just wasn’t realistic at all and it irritated me at times.
However, I did like that the “Club” was back in action in this book. It was fun to see Claire, Lindsay, Cindy and Yuki trying to solve the case together again! It seems like this has been a missing piece in the last few installments of this series. And that really is a shame, because that’s what this series is all about! We as readers need those four characters working together to solve the case, it’s a great dynamic when they’re together!
I will say that while the killer really wasn’t a huge shocker, it was a little bit of a surprise to me. I had it narrowed down to three people and the actual killer was in that pool of three, but I hadn’t figured it out completely. That always makes for a fun read in my opinion.
Having looked back over my review of the previous book in this series, I had complained about the lack of editing for that book. I can say that this book did not have those issues, so I was glad to see that whatever the problem was regarding that was resolved for this book.
Overall, another good read. Mr. Patterson might not be the best author out there (he’s just prolific), but it’s always a fun and quick read that I enjoy. Even though this is the 11th book in the series, I wouldn’t say you would be missing anything terribly important if you picked this one up first.
True Hollywood Noir: Filmland Mysteries and Murders
by Dina Di Mambro
Read: Oct. 16 – Oct. 22, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 44
Source: The Cadence Group
Blurb: In a tantalizing, suspenseful, and entertaining mixture of classic Hollywood nostalgia and true crime, explore some of the most fascinating scandals, mysteries and murders in Filmland history – true Hollywood noir lived by the players behind the scenes. Viewers were captivated by the drama of the black and white masterpieces of the silver screen … the noir films with swirling cigarette smoke; high balls on ice; murky, rain-soaked nights; and ill-fated plots between gangsters and grifters, hard-boiled detectives, and duplicitous gorgeous women – which paled in comparison to what was going on behind the scenes.
Uncover the true stories in a dozen different chapters featuring William Desmond Taylor, Thomas Ince, Jean Harlow, Thelma Todd, Joan Bennett, Lana Turner, George Reeves, Gig Young, Bob Crane, Natalie Wood, Robert Blake, and Mickey Cohen. Included in the cast of characters of this book are Johnny Stompanato, William Randolph Hearst, Marion Davies, and Charlie Chaplin. And find never before told mob stories about Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, and Virginia Hill. Get the theories behind each case in this page-turner – then draw your own conclusions as to the truth behind some of the most prominent Hollywood mysteries.
Review: I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Rebecca at The Cadence Group.
I was immediately intrigued by the blurb of this book. I used to be a huge true crime junkie. Over the years I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading true crime (but I still have a stack of those books on my shelves!). So I really jumped at the opportunity to read this book.
When I first got this one in the mail, I flipped through it. I realized that I could easily jump around with the chapters. And that’s exactly what I did. I started out with the chapters on the people who I was not familiar with and moved on to the ones that I was more familiar with. I felt like this was a really good way for me to enjoy this book.
I remember very well watching the Robert Blake trial on CourtTV, so I was really interested in seeing what the author had to say in that chapter. I also highly enjoyed the Natalie Woods chapter because it’s a case that I knew the bare bones about, but it really sparked my interest when it was back in the news more recently.
But the one chapter that I felt was a little off from the others was the Mickey Cohen one. I finally got to watch the movie Gangster Squad earlier this year, so I only really had that to go on in reference to what I knew of Cohen. But I was a little surprised as to how this particular chapter was approached. It was almost two times as longer as any other chapter in the entire book, and it was almost glowing … definitely not something that I expected in regards to Cohen. But then the author ends with something that really made me wonder if it wasn’t glaringly obvious as to who the young girl she references was….
Overall I am very glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in true crime or short biographies.
Blurb: A slumlord and a welfare supervisor butchered in Minneapolis . . . a rising political star executed in Manhattan . . . an influential judge taken in Oklahoma City . . . All the homicides have the same grisly method — the victim’s throat is slashed with an Indian ceremonial knife – and in every case the twisted trail leads back through the Minnesota Native American community to an embodiment of primal evil known as Shadow Love. Once unleashed, Shadow Love’s need to kill cannot be checked, even by those who think they control him. Soon he will be stalking Lucas Davenport — and the woman he loves…
Never get involved with a cop: Lieutenant Lucas Davenport has been warning women for years, but now he finds himself on dangerous ground with a policewoman named Lily Rothenburg, on assignment from New York to help investigate the murders. Both have previous commitments, but neither can stop, and as their affair grows more intense, so too does the mayhem surrounding them, until the combined passion and violence threaten to spin out of control and engulf them both. Together, Lucas and Lily must stalk the drugged-out, desperate world of the city’s meanest streets to flush out Shadow Love — not knowing they are now the objects of his deadliest desires….
Review: This is the second book in the Lucas Davenport series.
Last year I read and reviewed the first book, Rules of Prey. I gushed and gushed about how wonderful that book was. For whatever reason, I never picked this one up (and it’s been sitting on my shelves for a long time).
Unfortunately … this one wasn’t as great as the first book. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was terrible, but it definitely wasn’t wonderful. I had a really hard time getting into the actual storyline. And that really made it difficult to push through. But I never thought about abandoning it, I was going to finish it (even if it did take me forever…). I also had a problem with Lucas’ womanizing in this installment. I knew that Lucas was a womanizer after reading the first book, but it was really bad this time around. I suppose it’s because he has a new baby girl, Sarah, with Jennifer and he had supposedly offered marriage numerous times to her (she keeps denying him), and yet he hops into bed almost immediately with his partner from New York. And he pretty much tells Lily and Jennifer that he just can’t help it. I don’t know, it bothered me. It just didn’t ring true to me.
Overall, I’m not going to be giving up on this series just yet. Mr. Sandford’s writing is really good. I think I just really had a problem with the storyline in this one. It just didn’t work for me.
Not a bad book, but not one I would highly recommend.