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- (4/29)The Cowboy Way by David McCumber.
- A terrifically entertaining book about the author's year spent
being a cowboy at a ranch in Montana. McCumber is a journalist who one
day decided since he'd always wanted to be a cowboy, he might as well take
a year and give it a try. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis that drove him
to it, but lucky for us, he's a fantastic writer who had a fantastic time
learning the ins and outs of the quite unglamorous life of modern-day
cowboys. I loved every minute spent reading this book; perhaps because
I've always wanted to be a cowboy on a Montana ranch myself. And, oddly
enough, hearing the horror stories
about days spent in blizzards trying to fix fences and birth calves while
covered from head-to-toe in cow shit and mud didn't change that feeling
one bit! Highly Recommended!
- (4/26)Verdict in Blood by Gail Bowen.
- A judge is found murdered and Joanne Kilbourn's elderly friend
is made her executor. But when the friend is assaulted after a fight with
the judge's estranged daughters, Joanne begins to suspect the murder was
more than just a random attack. Set in Canada. Very good!
- (4/23)A Maiden's Grave by Jeffrey Deaver.
- This is my third Deaver book and while it's not of the same
series as the other two, it's just as good. It's about three escaped
convicts who take a busload of deaf schoolchildren hostage in an abandoned
slaughterhouse. A negotiator and team of police spend about 15 hours
trying to get the hostages out alive and just when you think everything's
gonna be okay, there's a twist that messes it all up again. Very
fast-paced and suspenseful. Was a really great way to spend a day reading
in the sunshine.
- (4/22)The Shadow Man by John Katzenbach.
- A group of elderly Holocaust survivors are being killed off
one by one, each one swearing they've seen The Shadow Man just before they
die. The Shadow Man, they say, was a Jew who worked for the Nazi's,
pointing out Jewish citizens in Berlin to have them shipped off to their
deaths. Anyone who saw him or touched him was pretty much considered dead
the moment the encounter occurred. Retired detective Simon Winter, a
neighbor of one of the victims, is asked by the group to investigate -- is
the Shadow Man REALLY still alive? Too long, meaning there was too much
extraneous stuff that made the book drag. That's what I felt about the
other book of his I've read (The Traveler), but I may try one more before
giving up on him completely.
- (4/20)The Titian Committee by Iain Pears.
- When a member of a famous and posh art research committee is
murdered, Rome's Art Theft Squad sends in their ace, Flavia di Stefano, to
help the local police. Pretty soon Flavia suspects everyone (and no one,
a la Poirot) and more members are being killed off! Arg! Great Italian
tourist stuff. Made me want to go to Venice.
- (4/19)The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.
- 15-year old Michael Berg spends a year having an affair with a
beautiful, passionate, and puzzling woman twice his age. Then she
vanishes. Years later, as a law student, he sees her again and this time
she's on trial as a Nazi war criminal. But he knows a secret that could
help her, though it would humiliate her as well. Should he tell? What is
his responsibility, morally and as an old friend? Beautiful and
disturbing. Translated from German.
- (4/18)Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons.
- Eleven-year old Ellen tells the story of her experiences
bouncing around from family to family after her mother dies and her father
becomes too dangerous to live with. A short (but sweet) novel about a
girl who's confused about everything from race relations to her own
- (4/18)The Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver.
- Another of the Lincoln Rhymes novels -- in this one, Rhymes
must stop a hit on three witnesses so they can testify in court. The
hitman is his archenemy -- a masterful killer nicknamed "The Coffin
Dancer." Exciting and full of cool forensic stuff
(Rhymes is a crime scene expert). A bit gruesome in places, as usual, but
still a lot of fun.
- (4/16)Charming Billy by Alice McDermott.
- The late Billy Lynch's family gathers to remember times with
him -- the good ones, before alcohol had ruined him, and the sad ones.
His best friend's daughter tries to figure out what really happened to
Billy, his wife Maeve, and the love of his life, Eva. Interesting and
well-written. Thought it was about Billy at first, but it's really more
about everyone BUT. National Book Award winner.
- (4/14)An Unfortunate Prarie Occurrence by Jamie Harrison.
- Quirky and complex mystery set in Montana. The local sheriff
discovers the bones of a long-dead tall, young, and blonde male and sets
off trying to figure out who it might be. Meanwhile, a rapist is running
around attacking the town's women. Lots of small-town stuff, which I
liked, but a bit slow in places.
- (4/12)And I Alone Survived by Lauren Elder.
- True story of Elder's fight to survive after a Cessna she'd
been flying in with two friends crashed over the High Sierra in
California. Both the friends died the first night and Elder had to climb
down the mountain alone and without any kind of climbing gear or
experience. Oh, and with a broken arm and gash on her leg that went clear
to the bone. A short book (only took her a day to get down), but a
- (4/10)Hush Money by Robert B. Parker.
- Ah, there's nothing like cracking open a new Spenser novel. I
saved this for the weekend my boyfriend was out of town so I could read it
straight through without distraction. Which is what I did. And it was
delightful. This time, Spenser and Hawk are investigating why a black
professor was denied tenure by his university. Thinking it to be a
straight-forward case of discrimination, they are surprised to uncover a
web of blackmail and murder instead. Parker says he'll keep writing
Spenser novels as long as we keep reading them -- so read them,
- (4/9)Suspicion by Barbara Rogan.
- A ghost-story writer and her family move into a huge country
house to get away from the bustle of the big city. However, when she
starts hearing strange noises and begins to receive threatening messages
on her computer, she begins to wonder if maybe her own house is haunted
and her stories haven't been as far from reality as she once believed.
Gave me the willies in parts. Good weekend reading.
- (4/7)The Mark Twain Murders by Edith Skom.
- Professor Beth Austin thinks one of her students has
plagiarized from a critical essay somewhere on "Tom Sawyer." Just as she
begins tracking down the original source, the student is discovered dead
in the library. Soon a handsome FBI agent is investigating the murder and
its connection to a series of thefts of rare books, as well as making the
moves on the Professor. Fun, though a bit slow in places. Part of a
- (4/7)The Professor of Light by Marina Budhos.
- Every summer, Meggie Singh and her parents travel to England
to stay with their relatives (all are originally from Guyana). There,
Meggie's father, a professor, struggles to understand and write about the
dual nature of light as both particle and wave. Meggie struggles between
wanting to be a loyal assistant to her father and wanting to grow up and
experience life on her own. Lots of Guyana folk lore is passed around
between the family members and eventually, the professor starts to lose
his mind. The analogy of light, being both still and in motion, is a
really cool way to look at Meggie's own life. This was an interesting
- (4/6)The Traveler by John Katzenbach.
- The story of a serial killer who has kidnapped a woman and
forced her to follow his killings and take notes on his actions and words.
A cop, the aunt of one of the victims, starts hunting him down
with the help of the killer's brother, a psychiatrist specializing in the
treatment of violent sex offenders. Scary and suspenseful. Not the best
book I've read (it was a little long and dull in places), but I enjoyed
- (4/3)The Liar's Club by Mary Karr.
- Extremely entertaining memoir describing Karr's calamitous
childhood in Texas and Colorado. "Entertaining" ought to be the wrong
word, since it's mostly about all the terrible things that happened to her
because of her alcoholic and "Nervous" mother, but Karr is such a funny
and talented writer, that I had a hard time not laughing at parts. Sort
of the same kind of humor exhibited by the MASH characters in the midst of
a bombing, know what I mean?
- (4/1)The Dead Horse Paint
Company by Earl Emerson.
- This is the first Mac Fontana I've read, and I'm hooked. Mac
is a fireman, the chief of the department in a small town over by
Snoqualmie called "Staircase." In this one, a paint company burns down
and mismanagement of the fire leads to the death of 9 firefighters. A few
years later, the captain who had been held responsible by many for the
accidents is murdered, burned alive in the trunk of a car. Mac Fontana,
who had been at the original paint company fire and was no fan of the
captain either, is asked to investigate. Emerson is a real firefighter,
right here in Seattle somewhere, so it's realistic AND I knew where he was
talking about! A lot of fun.
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