Friday, November 28, 2008

Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Michael Ormewood is the lead detective in the case of a prostitute's murder. He is none too thrilled when Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Special Criminal Investigation Team is asked to advise. Will points out to Michael several cases recently that involve a similar m.o. to this one--women with their tongues bitten off. They work together very uneasily and there's even more tension when Will realizes that his sometimes girlfriend/friend from childhood, cop Angie Polaski previously slept with Michael. Alternating with the story of Michael and Will is the tale of ex-con John Shelley. John has been recently released from prison after serving twenty years for killing a friend in high school. John discovers that someone has been using his identity and he wonders why. Who is trying to frame John and send him back to prison and how is his predicament connected to the case that Michael and Will are working on? Triptych is the first book featuring Will Trent. I blogged about the second book, Fractured in August. Triptych is an even better story than Fractured.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Obituary Writer by Porter Shreve

Gordie Hatch has always dreamed of being a great journalist like his late father. Throughout his childhood, his mother regaled him with stories about his father's reporting on Kennedy's assassination. Gordie, 22, works as an obituary writer for the St. Louis Independent and yearns to move up in the newsroom. One day he takes a call from a woman named Alicia Whiting whose husband, Arthur, has died. Gordie feels she's sick with grief when Alicia insists her husband deserves a significant obit. He also is a bit intrigued by Alicia, especially when he meets her. The Obituary Writer is a story of Gordie's coming of age and the uncovering of many truths. I blogged about Shreve's latest book, When the White House Was Ours in September. I loved that book. This novel, however, is lacking the quirkiness and character development that make Shreve's books such enjoyable reads.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell

Jim Belbury is out truffle hunting when his dog digs up some human remains. Chief Inspector Wexford and DS Hannah Goldsmith are called to the scene and discover that the land belongs to John Grimble, who had planned to build four houses on the property that was left to him by his stepfather. Grimble has let the land become overgrown since the planning authority denied him the right to build more than one house on the land almost twelve years ago. The pathologist is able to say that the bones are about that old. Wexford and his team go over all the missing persons lists to see if they can find a match. Then policeman Mike Burden find a decaying body in the abandoned house on Grimble's property. The authorities now have another mystery on their hands. Do any of the residents who live on land adjoining the Grimble estate have any ideas how two people died so close to them? Regular fans of Rendell's Wexford mysteries will enjoy this latest in the series.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Private detective Maisie Dobbs and her assistant Billy Beale are on their way home on Christmas Eve 1931 when they see a man commit suicide. The incident leaves her shaken and brings back memories of her service to England as a nurse during World War I. She is surprised to learn a few days later that her name is mentioned in a threat against the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary. After being cleared of any wrongdoing, Maisie is asked to assist the Special Branch of Scotland Yard before any violence occurs. Soon, it's obvious to Maisie that the letter writer is deranged and knowledgeable about deadly poisons. Maisie uses the connections that she's established over the years and diverges with the police in her opinion about the type of person responsible. Will Maisie be able to stand up for her beliefs and stop a killer? Among the Mad will be published in February.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Vows of Silence by Susan Hill

A madman is killing young women around the town of Lafferton. He is mainly targeting recently married or engaged females. DCS Simon Serrailler and his team always seem to be one step behind the murderer, since he isn't leaving behind many clues. On a personal front, Serrailler is as isolated from everyone as ever, except his triplet sister Cat Deerbon. Cat, a doctor who is married with three children, has recently returned from a sabbatical in Australia. When a crisis strikes her family, she needs Simon more than ever. In addition, chaplain Jane Fitzroy is thinking about Simon and what might have been between them (Jane was introduced in Hill's last Serrailler mystery, The Risk of Darkness). Will Jane and Simon come out of their individual seclusions? I did enjoy this fourth book in the series (even though the storyline of Cat's crisis was excessive). However, I don't think it's quite up to the same level as the other books in the series, which were outstanding. The Vows of Silence hasn't been published yet in the U.S.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton

Single mom and artist Jamie McClintock and her son, Arley, share a home with Harris Goddard and his grandson, Christopher. Harris has been raising Christopher since he was an infant, after his mother died in a car accident and Harris' son, Nate, left. When Harris dies of a heart attack, Nate comes back to the family home to claim his son. Arley and Christopher are kindergartners and best friends who do everything together. Jamie fears that Nate's return will be the end of the boys' friendship and also of the closeness that she feels herself for motherless Christopher. Nate is immediately suspicious of Jamie since she's around his age and wonders if Jamie and his father were ever involved. It also doesn't help that Harris and Nate never saw eye to eye and that Harris walked out on Nate and his mother when he himself was a child. When Nate announces his plans to sell his father's house and have Christopher join him on the road with his job, Jamie feels her heart break. Jamie also worries about not having anywhere to live and Nate's clueless parenting skills. Both Jamie and Nate are attracted to each other yet get on each other's nerves. Will they go their separate ways or learn they need each other?