“P is for Peril” by Sue Grafton

4-Watertowers (Kinsey is in Peril)

Genre: Mystery

Longtime Santa Teresa Geriatric Doctor, Dr. Dowan Purcell, is missing and his ex-wife has hired Kinsey Millhone to find him.

As Kinsey starts her investigation the complexity increases, as do the suspects.  Dr. Purcell has been running a local nursing home since his retirement and is embroiled in a possible fraudulent Medicare billing issue.

Some think that Dr. Purcell skipped town to avoid prosecution, others think he is dead. Either way, he has been gone for over 9 weeks now and he has never been gone that long (he has a history of leaving for periods of time).

In a side plot, Kinsey is looking for another office and finds herself involved with two brothers who are her future new landlords.

Kinsey has to find the one thread that unravels Dr. Purcell’s mystery and she needs to survive the brothers.  Does she?

“P is for Peril” is one of the best Sue Grafton books.  Sparkling mystery from beginning to end.  Only one problem….it does not end, it just stops.  Arrrghhh.

“The Cure” by Robin Cook

4-Watertowers(Laurie Montgomery Returns to Work)

Genre:  Medical Thriller

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Rival gangs and rival companies in Japan and the U.S. are competing in the race to secure licensing rights to the next big thing:  regenerative medicine using pluripotent stem cells.

As the competition heats up…..death follows.

New York City Medical Examiner, Laurie Montgomery, returns to work after taking over a year off to care for her ailing baby.

Her first case back is an easy one:  A natural death of a young Asian man in the subway.

But all is not what it seems.  Laurie’s natural curiosity and determination turn up inconsistencies that lead her to believe this man died of causes other than natural.

Searching the tapes of the subway station, Laurie sees the man being chased and apparently injected with a substance before the muggers take his wallet and other valuables (..they are hoping to get his lab notebooks detailing a major breakthrough the man made in pluripotent stem cell technology).

“The Cure” is an interesting medical thriller reaching beyond the world of medicine into organized crime, corporate greed, and…….family.

“The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling

2 Watertowers(Confusing and Stiff)

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Barry Fairbrother had a headache all weekend long.  He did not want to go to dinner at the golf club, but, felt he had to.

In the parking lot, Barry died from a brain hemorrhage.

His death left a vacancy in the Pagford City Council, and “The Casual Vacancy” goes on to follow several families until that vacancy could be filled.

I put this book down several times to read another book, but, being loyal to J.K. Rowling, I did not stick the bookmark on a page and put it away for good…until the last 100 pages.  Now the bookmark is stuck, never to be moved again.

I did not understand the need to wander through so many lives, in such detail, based on just a vacancy in the city council.  Maybe I totally missed the point, but, this book is like the “Game of Thrones” in confusion. At least “Game” has a list of characters you can refer to occasionally…..”Casual” does not.

J.K. Rowling struggles mightily with this book. And I struggled too…

I am going to try the first Robert Galbraith book and will still keep reading new Harry Potter related short stories on Pottermore.

“The Hit” by David Baldacci

4.5-Watertowers(Will Robie meets his match)

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The government sometimes assassinates those who the U.S.A. does not want in power.

Jessica Reel is one of the best government assassins.  She is in an unspecified country all set up to kill an undesirable.  Doug Jacobs is her controller.  Thanks to technology, Doug is located several thousand miles away in Washington DC.  Doug is thankful that he can simply pack up and go home after the hit.

As the time ticks down for the hit Doug expects to see video of the assassination.   Three, two, one……boom.

Doug dies from a bullet shot from another building.

Jessica Reel is a suspect, and Will Robie (who is the only person close to Jessica’s skill level) is tasked with finding her.

Several days later, the #2 person at the CIA,  Jim Gelder, was ambushed on a Washington DC street and killed.  Then a Federal judge barely escapes some time later….the hit list is paring down.

Jessica nearly kills Will as well, but, thinks better of that tactic as she decides she might need his help later on.  The two of them play cat and mouse saving each others lives in the process.

Is Jessica trying to stop something bigger than Will and his employer, the Blue Man, realize?   You will have to read “The Hit” to find out.

Eventually, Will and Jessica team up….

“The Hit” is one of Baldacci’s best.  Thrilling and believable.

Here is a cool interview.

“The Mayor of Lexington Avenue” by James Sheehan

4-Watertowers TracyReaderDad Book Reviews(Excellent South Florida Thriller)

Mikey and Johnny were boyhood friends on the streets of New York.

Mikey took the rap for an automobile theft (that they were both involved in) and ended up having a very rough life in prison and out.  Johnny, on the other hand, grew up to be a respected attorney in Miami.

In Bass Creek, Florida in 1986 a young man, Rudy, who is described by everyone as “slow”, is invited to the home of a very attractive woman, Lucy.  Lucy gets mad at Rudy (because Rudy is feeling sick) and tells him to leave. As he tries to leave he trips over a table and cuts his hand. He leaves the house and is spotted by Geronimo and his two compatriots (and several other witnesses).

Geronimo visits Lucy, has sex with her, then slits her throat. He then promptly disappears.

Detective Sergeant Wes Brume is assigned to the case and quickly suspects, then arrests, Rudy. After a dubious investigation by a dirty cop (Brume), a dirty DA, and others, Rudy goes to trial where he is convicted and sent to death row.

Fast forward 10 years and Johnny is sick of his law practice and leaves.  He decides to become a country lawyer in Bass Creek and learns of Rudy (his time is almost up).  One thing leads to another and Johnny starts working Rudy’s case.

Unknown to Johnny….his two worlds (boyhood in NYC and Bass Creek) are about to collide…..tragedy and murder follow.

“The Mayor of Lexington Avenue” is James Sheehan’s first book (paperback in 2005) and it is a gem.

 

“Buried Secrets” by Joseph Finder

4.5-Watertowers(2nd Nick Heller)

Genre: Thriller

“Buried Secrets” is the second (and so far last) of the Nick Heller series.  A few years back, Joseph Finder sent me an ARC of  “Vanished” which was the first Nick Heller.  See my review of “Vanished” here.  In the meantime, soooo many books so little time, I have not gotten back to Joseph Finder, until now.  I will read more, he is an excellent writer.

Nick Heller is a “private spy”.  He is an ex-Special Forces intelligence officer who recently moved to Boston after quitting his job in Washington, DC.

An old friend, billionaire Marshall Marcus’ daughter, Alexa, is missing (but, only for the past few hours) and Marcus thinks she has been kidnapped (it has happened before, but, she was released almost immediately).  Nick likes Alexa and knows she can be a handful, but, agrees that something bad might have happened to her.

He starts an investigation.

Marcus eventually gets an email with a link to go to.  Rather than acting on it immediately, he calls Nick, and when he arrives, they connect.  What they find is Alexa on a video conference from a coffin! She is frantic and wants her Dad to give the kidnappers anything they want.

Problem is…….he can’t give them what they want, so it is up to Nick to find Alexa before she dies.

There are a number of people, and organizations, involved (or not involved) but with the help of his ex-girlfriend, FBI Agent Diana Madigan, and his office assistants, they just might find Alexa in time.

Maybe.

To see how this thrilling adventure ends, you will have to read “Buried Secrets”.  Joseph Finder is terrific.

“Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final”

4-Watertowers TracyReaderDad Book Reviews(Catching Up with the Gang)

J.K.Rowling wrote this on her web site, Pottermore.com, giving us an up-to-date look at some of the most famous of the Dumbledore’s Army members.  (FYI…I joined Pottermore and have been placed in Ravenclaw by the Sorting Hat)

Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Luna (my fellow Ravenclaw) are all at the Quidditch World Cup where Rita Skeeter is reporting about their attendance and giving us her skewed version of reality.

Harry is now 34 with some gray in his hair and a new scar on his cheek.  He is still an Auror with the Ministry of Magic.

Ginny is reporting on the World Cup with the Daily Prophet and Rita is jealous that she got this plum assignment.

Hermione is rising rapidly in the Ministry (of course) and is the Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.  Rita dishes some dirt about her flirtations with Harry when they were in Hogwarts.

Ron left the Ministry to join George (who is now wealthy) running the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop.  His famous red hair is thinning!  He and Hermione are still married.

Neville is now a Herbology teacher at Hogwarts.  He apparently drinks more than he should and is married to Hannah.

Luna (my fellow Ravenclaw) is still “delightfully eccentric” and is married to Rolf Scamander.

J.K.Rowling’s writing of this new Harry Potter adventure is smooth and familiar unlike the “Casual Vacancy” where she struggles mightily (and I am likewise struggling…I am halfway through it but keep putting it down in favor of another book).

Will there be more?  Will there be a new movie?  Time will tell.

 

Book Review: “The Pythagorean Solution” by Joseph Badal

3.5-Watertowers(Greece)

Genre: Thriller

In 1945, a ship sinks taking with it untold treasure and information that can doom a present day Swiss banker and his fortune.  Until now this ship has remained missing….

Present day, John Hammond is recently divorced and decides to get his life back in order on the island of Samos, Greece where he spent a year and a half of his life with nothing but good memories.

While walking back to his hotel, John stumbles into an old man who has been shot.  Before he dies, the old man (Peter Vangelos) mutters a few words about his life and family and indicates that John take what is in his boot.  John does, but, as he walks away he finds himself being shot at.

Damn…..

Back in the hotel room, John looks at the map (from the old mans boot) but cannot make heads or tails of it.  He then calls the police and sets in motion the events (the search for the missing ship) that put his life (and that of the Detective Christo Panagoulakos and the old mans daughter, Zoe) in peril.

“The Pythagorean Solution” is 98% thrilling fun  and 2% repetitious (the last battle took the battle scenes one step too far).   I have never read, or even heard of, Joseph Badal and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style.  I also loved the Greek settings and history lessons.

 

 

“Genetically Modified Organisms” by Mike Pihlman

Wife wanted her abusive husband dead.

Rather than killing him with a gun, or knife, she read this report that GMO altered grains could kill him.

Husband loved cereal.

Husband is dead.

Copyright July 2, 2014 by Mike “TracyReaderDad” Pihlman.  This is fiction, I think.

 

Book Review: “Red Cell Seven” by Stephen Frey

4.5-Watertowers(Exciting)

Genre:  Thriller

Note:  With this book review I will revert back to my old style of writing as much about the book as I want / need rather than limiting the reviews to less than 250 words.  So I will be more verbose!  Yea?

“Red Cell Seven” is the 2nd book in the “Red Cell Seven” series.  “Arctic Fire” (read my short review)   was the first book.  Truthfully, I suspect Mr. Frey wrote “Arctic Fire” as a stand-alone, then realized he needed (or wanted) to tie up all the loose ends with a second book.  :-)

RCS is a top secret special operations unit known only to a very select few, and run by even fewer true patriots whose mission is protect the interests of the United States above all else.

Most of the operatives are single since loved ones tend to weaken the resolve.  Troy Jensen is single but is now a Dad of a newborn infant.  His girlfriend is dead at the hand of a rouge RCS agent, Shane Maddux.  Troy is noticing a lack of resolve since Little Jack has come into this life, but, he needs to get over it.

In “Arctic Fire” the President was nearly assassinated.  Maddux was involved because his extreme patriotism (and loyalty to RCS, even though he has been excommunicated) because the President was trying to dis-mantle RCS.  And that would cause irreparable harm to the safety of the United States.

Near Christmas, 11 shopping malls around the USA were attacked by coordinated groups of terrorists.  Many citizens were killed and what followed were more attacks at schools, theaters.  the entire nation is on the way to economic ruin.  And, as it turns out, the RCS were interrogating the right person, they just were not able to complete the task before the attacks.

To see what happens you will just have to read the book, but, read “Arctic Fire” first so you know all the characters, even though some of them die horrible deaths.

 

 

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