Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Cat Who Tailed a Thief: Lillian Jackson Braun

After reading a few of these books it becomes obvious on who the culprit or caper will be. Someone new comes into town and soon someone ends up dead. In this on a "brother and sister" move to town, they both marry wealthy people that soon mysteriously die. The woman also has a problem with kleptomania which may have been a way to divert suspicion from the murders. Polly, Qwill's girlfriend, loses her last living relative to the couples murdering rampage.

The Cat Who Blew the Whistle: Lillian Jackson Braun

This book was centered around trains and murder. A wealthy man obsessed with trains mysteriously disappears and everyone thinks he ran off with a younger woman after embezzeling money. Qwill gets the help of an extremely happy friend who Qwill believes giggles too much to help with the task. In the End Qwill and Koko realize the young woman actually murdered the man and took the money. Everyone seems to forgive and move on with their lives.

Monk's Hood: Ellis Peters

This was one of the books from the Brother Cadfael series. The story opens with a monk from the year 1138 working with monkshood oil (the poison wolfs bane). He warns others to thoroughly wash their hands as it is extremely poisonous if ingested. A man, Bonel, mysteriously dies shorty afterwards and Cadfael smells the monkshood on the dead man's lips. Cadfael then recognizes the dead man's wife as a woman he was betrothed to 40 years earlier before the church called to him. The warden believes Bonel's son murdered him because he would inherit his property. Cadfael finds out the boy doesn't know how his father was murdered and thought he was stabbed. Cadfael learns there was an older illegitimate son that actually murdered Bonel believing that he would inherit everything. Cadfael helps the murderer escape after he promises to spend the rest of his life doing good.

The Cat Who Knew A Cardinal: Lilian Jackson Braun

This was a cute book about a journalist in a small town of "Pick ax" in Moose County. He likes to play detective and believes his cat Koko can mysteriously solves crimes. Qwill is living in an apple barn that he just had renovated into a home when the local theater club drops by to check out his house. They stay until 3 in the morning. Koko stares out the window alerting Qwill that a car is still there- he goes out to investigate and finds the Principal of the local school, Hilary VanBrook, shot in the back of the head. He had played the Cardinal in the play Henry III which the theater group had been working on. Koko was also intrigued by a cardinal (bird) who would visit the barn daily. Qwill meets a man, Steve O'Hare, who tries to sell him a horse barn. Steve then shoots Koko's cardinal for sport. Koko becomes obsessed with a rabbit typeset. We learn Koko was trying to tell Qwill that Steve O'Hare killed the Cardinal (Hilary VanBrook)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: Stieg Larsson

This was the final book in the Lisbeth Salander series. Lisbeth is in the hospital after being brutally beaten at the end of the last book. She survives brain surgery and still fights for justice while her father recovers in the same hospital. While Lisbeth prepares for her trial, her father is murdered and her half brother goes into hiding. Around the same time Blomkvist moves into Lisbeth's apartment (which I didn't understand) and Berger gets a new job. Lisbeth is eventually freed and released from court appointed guardianship. Blomkvist finds another lover, and Berger, who was being harassed at work, pinpoints the jealous man from her past as the perpetrator with Lizbeth's help. Lizbeth finds her half brother at the end and ties everything up so neatly that by the end of the book all the bad guys are either dead, or arrested.

Pretty Girls: Karin Slaughter

WOW. I don't even know how to describe this book, other than you would need to read it for yourself. It is the most suspenseful thing I have read. A family with three daughters is torn apart by the disappearance of the eldest daughter. The story alternates between the letters written by the father to his kidnapped child and current day lives of each of the surviving sisters. The alternating of the chapters comes with no indication of who the narrator is, but towards the end the two girls have one voice. Claire, the youngest daughter marries her oldest sister's murderer without realizing it. Years go by until the story unravels and has much larger and more gruesome history. The daughter least likely to fight back is the one who has the most control. It was clever on the author's part to show Claire liked to watch a person die, just like her husband did, showing that maybe they had more in common than you originally thought. I was left wandering why Lydia's boyfriend and daughter never called her during the hunt I didn't understand why Claire's husband had 2 groups of women, those he raped and those he killed. There was also no conclusion on if Lydia healed after her ordeal.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Girl Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson

This is the sequel to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" where Lizbeth travels the world on the money she stole from Wennerstorm. At first the book seems sort of disjointed, the prologue has her throwing gas on a man and setting him on fire. We then see her traveling the world and getting a breast implant which increases her confidence. She spend some time in Grenada where she starts liking a 16 yr old boy and becomes slightly obsessed with mathematical theories. A hurricane hits the island and Salander happens to notice a rich American trying to use the storm as a cover for murdering his wife for insurance money. Salander saves the woman and watches him get swept up by the storm. It seems the whole beginning of the book was meant to show that Salander is just and can be violent, but is not a murderer. When she returns home she buys an extremely expensive condo under a false name and trys to remain untraceable. She wants to keep her other apartment since it links her to her recently deceased mother and has a girlfriend (Mimi) move in rent-free. Salandar realizes she hasn't been a good friend, just leaving the people she cares about and not telling them where she is going, so she drops in on Armansky, from Milton Securities, and learns Holger Palmgren, her former guardian who had a stroke, is still alive. She rushes to him and pays for the best therapy he can get. Blomkvist happens to be walking past her old house one night and is surprised to see Salander leaving in a car. Before she gets in the car a Huge man attacks her she drops her bag and keys and flees. Blomkvist tries to help Slander by attacking the attacker and Lisbeth is able to get away. She doesn't understand why Blomkvist is there and refuses to go back to her car and talk to him. Salander decides to hack Blomkvist's computer again to see what he is up to and finds out that 2 other journalists are writing book "From Russia with Love" about the sex trade. One name "Zala" stops Salander. She had a history with him. She goes to visit the journalists the same night Blomkvist was dropping by to pick up the manuscript. In between Salander leaving and Blomkvist arriving, someone murders both journalists. Blomkvist finds the bodies of his friends and the cops fins Salander's prints in the place. She is then wanted for the murder of three people because her new guardian Bjurman was shot the same night.Milton Securites, Blomkvist, and Salander try to uncover what is happening, all knowing Salander is innocent. The book makes you believe she may have killed Bjurman until the very end. Mimi is kidnapped by Zala because they think she knows where Salander is hiding. She is badly beat up and spends the rest of the book in the hospital. We then learn about the gasoline incident. Zala is Lisbeth's father and part of the sex trade. He constantly abused her mother and one day she decided she had enough and stabbed him. When he gets out of the hospital he lets Lisbeth know he "forgave her everything" which Lisbeth knew meant he was going to take it out on her. She came home from school one day to find her father leaving and her mother unconscious on the floor. Salander ran after him with a milk jug of gasoline which she threw on him in the car and a match. He was severely burned. There was evidently no doubt that she did it because a man saw the whole thing (and evidently never tried to help?) The police agent in charge was a part of Zala's sex network and tried to cover the whole thing up since "Zala" didn't really exist Salander's mother never fully recovered and had brain damage. Salander was sent to a medical institution where she was further abused by being constantly tied down. Salander, realizing the crime may never be solved, goes out to find Zala. She leaves Blomkvist a note that hints she may be committing suicide. Blomkvist finds where she has been living and once inside her apartment begins looking for clues as to where she is going. He finds the rape tape and watches it, suddenly everything makes sense to him. Salandar finds her father and the hit man, her 1/2 bother. she tries to fight them, but her father shoots her 3 times, once in the head and buries her. Salander is surprisingly still alive and unburies herself to try round two. She hides in the wood shed and kills her father while bleeding to death. Blomkvist shows up. He ties up the brother and the book ends with him calling for help for Salander.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rob Roy: Walter Scott

This Story was based on the life of Rob Roy McGregor. The narrator, Frank Osbaldistone, is asked by his father to take over the family business, but Frank declines saying he wants to be a poet. His father is aghast and sort of as a punishment, he is sent to his father's brother's (Sir Hildebrand) house in Northumberland to see if the new heir, his cousin Rashleigh, will be a good heir. There he falls in love with the cousin of his cousin's Dianna Vernon. She has been sent to live with them because her father had to go into hiding for helping Jacobites. Frank was carrying important papers for his father and Rashleigh takes them and flees to Scotland. Frank leaves with the servant, who stole a horse from his uncle, and they take off after Rasleigh. Frank's path crosses with Rob Roy, a friend of his uncles, and a fugitive of the English crown, several times. Rob Roy appears once Frank has caught up with Rashleigh and the two boys get into a fight. Rob Roy breaks it up and scolds the boys because they are kin. The English capture Rob Roy and before Franks eyes Rob is able to escape. In the end all of his cousin's, Sir Hildebrand's sons, are dead and Frank is left as heir. Frank Marries Dianna and evidently lives out a happy life.

The Appeal: John Grisham

This is a heartbreaking story that exposes what goes on daily in the United States. An attorney couple of Mary and Wes Payton represent a client who lost her husband and child from cancer linked to the dumping of chemicals into the water supply from Krane Chemicals. The large corporation loses value in stocks after the court decision and is determined to see the decisions over-turned. Spending millions, they get a virtually unknown lawyer, Fisk, to run against the Supreme Court Justice McCarthy, who usually sides with the victims. Krane then waits for the new court decision. There is a short time period where you think Krane may not win because Fisk's little boy is injured in a baseball game and he thinks about the victims of malpractice and bad consumer products, but in the end votes for Krane because he is scared he will look silly. No one in the town dying of cancer gets any sort of compensation for Krane's deliberate laziness of dumping toxins in the water.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Fifth Sacred Thing: Starhawk

This book was mentioned in the novel "The Millionaire Next Door" as a must read noted by my generation. This was a post-apocalyptic novel where parts of the United States are "tribes" of people living free and taking care of the Earth, but most of the resources, including water, are controlled by a group of Christian Fundamentalist. The Book centers around a utopian society living in present day San Francisco. They hear of troops being sent their way and decide to see what support they can gather from the surrounding communities and how to fight the war. They win the battle by using nonviolent resistance and some mysticism insight and help from bees. It was odd, but it did keep my interest.