Tag Archives: police procedurals

Review: Not in the Flesh, by Ruth Rendell

Not in the FleshFrom the Jacket Flap:

Searching for truffles in a wood, a man and his dog unearth something less savoury – a human hand.

The body, as Chief Inspector Wexford is informed later, has lain buried for ten years or so, wrapped in a purple cotton sheet. The post-mortem cannot reveal the precise cause of death. The only clue is a crack in one of the dead man’s ribs.

The police computer stores a long list of missing persons. Men, women and children disappear at an alarming rate, something like 500 every day nation-wide. So Wexford knows he is going to have a job on his hands to identify the corpse.

And then, only twenty yards away from the woodland burial site, in the cellar of a disused cottage, another body is found.

The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Sitting down with Wexford and Burden again; the subplot which, as often happens in Rendell’s Wexford novels, deals with a complex socio-cultural issue, one which Rendell handles well.

The “But”: Plot was predictable; characters not as finely detailed as in previous Wexford novels.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: Wexford fans are always thrilled with a new Wexford novel, but this one isn’t quite up to par with previous ones. Still, very readable.

Read the Full Review of Not in the Flesh

Review: The Cruellest Month, by Louise Penny

I was bitten by the book review bug earlier this year when I started writing some guest reviews at my friend Ann-Kat’s blog, Today I Read. Now that I have my own book review blog (thank you to all the book bloggers I’ve been reading for their inspiration, and Ann-Kat for her encouragement), I thought I’d link to the reviews I wrote at Today I Read, so there’s a sort of continuity.

I’m a big fan of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache novels. Here’s a “Snapshot Review” of The Cruellest Month:

The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Well written mystery; the Three Pines setting is wonderful as always; enjoyed meeting all the old familiar characters again; Gamache remains as likeable as ever.

Disliked: The entire Arnot subplot. It really strained my credibility; I couldn’t see the crimes involving Arnot happening without national outrage and the initiation of a full-scale government inquiry, making the attacks on Gamache’s reputation difficult.

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: Read the two previous Gamache mysteries first (Still Life and A Fatal Grace) so you’ll fall in love with the setting, the characters and Penny’s writing. If you’re already a fan, the book is still good read.

As you can see, it wasn’t my favourite out of the three Inspector Gamache novels; the background plot just didn’t work at all for me. Aboriginal rights and issues fall within federal jurisdiction in Canada, and given the extent of the crimes involved in the subplot, it was difficult for me to believe the whole case wouldn’t have resulted in a formal federal inquiry. Despite this, I still enjoyed the mystery part of the novel, and am looking forward to new Inspector Gamache mysteries from Louise Penny. Ms. Bookish’s Rating: B: Good Read ?

Click here to read my full review at Today I Read.

From the Stacks Reading Challenge

It’s time for some fun! I just discovered the From the Stacks Reading Challenge. The rules are pretty simple: pick five books from your to-be-read pile – meaning, books you already have – and read them all between November 1 and January 30.

I have a massive TBR pile, and this morning I had a ton of fun going through some of the books, seeing what called to me. So I’m officially joining the challenge with the following books, which have jumped to the top of my to-read list (yes, there is a difference between my “to-read” list and my TBR pile!). It’s an eclectic mix, with a little bit of something for (nearly) everyone:

  1. The Risk of Darkness, by Susan Hill. I have been meaning to read this book for quite a while now. I like Susan Hill’s writing style very much, and plan to go through all of her Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler books. (Oddly enough, Amazon lists the hardcover version of this book as being available for pre-order, coming March 2009, while the mass market paperback version is no longer available.)
  2. Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle, by Beverly Bartlett. I bought this one in the sale racks; just couldn’t resist the premise: “It all began the day the prince announced his engagement to free-spirited, smart-mouthed, and occasionally klutzy “Dizzy Izzy” (as the papers called her). … With The Boss’ lyrics and her heart guiding her, Izzy did what she had to do: Show the world how a woman can both rock and rule …”
  3. What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship & Love, by Carole Radziwill. I haven’t read a memoir for a while, and this one sounds like it will be good: “… a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill.”
  4. Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233, by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. This YA book looks like pure fun. The pages are filled with different fonts and illustrations, and the hardcover version comes with a bag full of interactive goodies. My copy, unfortunately, is the paperback version; the goodies are printed on the front jacket flap, which opens out, and as a series of glossy color pages tucked into the middle of the book.
  5. Trollbridge, by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. This is a modern-day retelling of the fairy tale about the Three Billy Goats Gruff who must cross the bridge manned by a mean old troll (did I get that right?). It’s an older book, and was the winner of the Locus Award for Best YA Novel. It looks very good indeed.
  6. If you’ve got a TBR stack that you’re planning on getting through anyway, you might want to join the challenge, too.

Review: The Broken Window, by Jeffery Deaver

Ms. Bookish’s Quick Take: The Broken Window is a wild ride of a novel, fast-paced and engrossing. The plot line is very credible; I know I started using my paper shredder more after reading the novel! It’s my first Lincoln Rhyme novel, and I found myself liking both the logical Lincoln Rhyme, a forensic consultant, and his partner and lover, Detective Amanda Sachs. The Lincoln Rhyme novels are a series, but this didn’t prevent me from enjoying dipping into the series via the latest book; The Broken Window works well as a standalone novel, although of course I now have all the earlier Rhyme novels on my to-be-read list. See below for the full review.

From the jacket flap:

Lincoln Rhyme and partner/paramour Amelia Sachs return to face a criminal whose ingenious staging of crimes is enabled by a terrifying access to information …

When Lincoln’s estranged cousin Arthur Rhyme is arrested on murder charges, the case is perfect – too perfect. Forensic evidence from Arthur’s home is found all over the scene of the crime, and it looks like the fate of Lincoln’s relative is sealed.

At the behest of Arthur’s wife, Judy, Lincoln grudgingly agrees to investigate the case. Soon Lincoln and Amelia uncover a string of similar murders and rapes with perpetrators claiming innocence and ignorance – despite ironclad evidence at the scenes of the crime. Rhyme’s team realizes this “perfect” evidence may actually be the result of masterful identity theft and manipulation.

An information service company – the huge data miner Strategic Systems Datacorp – seems to have all the answers but is reluctant to help the police. Still, Rhyme and Sachs and their assembled tteam begin uncovering a chilling pattern of vicious crimes and coverups, and their investigation points to one master criminal, whom they dub “522”.

When “522” learns the identities of the crime-fighting team, the hunters become the hunted

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