Required Reading

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Books I have authored.

Many times I receive books for FREE to give them an honest review. I do not get paid to give a good or bad review. Spotlights are promotional and should be regarded as advertising for the book spotlighted. Regardless of where or how I got a book, my review will be as honest as I can make it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Crimson Joy by Robert B. Parker

A psychopathic killer is running amuck and Captain Quirk asks Spenser for help. Spenser soon discovers that both he and Susan may be targets. Hawk is drafted as a bodyguard for Susan. Figuring out who the perpetrator is and stopping him/her defines the novel.

As always Parker entertains. I pulled this one off the shelf when I read about Robert B. Parker’s untimely demise. I didn’t read it in homage; I read it like I do all his books for the sheer entertainment value. I seldom laugh out loud while reading. The dialogue between Spenser and Hawk frequently evokes a loud auditory reaction. I will miss the mystery and entertainment provided by this towering figure in the hard boiled detective genre.

Body of work of Robert B. Parker


Friday, August 27, 2010

Once Wicked Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley

This book has a cover that will grab you. I don’t know that I have ever mentioned a cover in a post before but I do love this cover. A story of treachery, betrayal and modern, flexible mores contrasts with a cowboy morality. This could also be characterized as a tale of vigilante justice.

Molly Madison nee O’Malley unhappily lives a superficially perfect life. A perfect husband, a successful social life and an enviable life style is shattered by startling revelations and the shocking demise of loved ones. Molly rises admirably to combat her detractors. Her strength of characters suggests that there are many women in lives that they would change if they could.

Clayton the ranch foreman is described in terms that seem more appropriate to a Harlequin romance than a mystery.

The characters were portrayed with broad brush strokes and little depth. They were not believable but they were entertaining. The depths of anger and hatred did strike a chord with some of the more lurid tabloid headlines.

This was a good mystery and an entertaining read.

I recommend it.

Body of work of T. Marie Benchley


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Think Of A Number by John Verdon

Dave Gurney is retired, or so he thinks. A highly decorated homicide investigator discovers retirement may be as fraught with danger as his former employment as he engages in a battle of wits with a serial killer.

Dave Gurney’s struggle with his past and his concerns about his relationship both to his wife and his father, paint him as a very real, pathos driven character. Madeleine his wife vacillates between too good to be true and Dave’s harshest critic. This is a thought provoking mystery that provides the reader with clues throughout. As the reader you are in a competition with Dave to see who figures out who the villain is first. I thought it started slow but keep with it as it certainly doesn’t remain slow.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of John Verdon

Web Site: none found

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Thyssen Affair by Mozelle Richardson

This book was highly reminiscent of the wealth of spy vs. spy stories that abounded during the Cold War. An ex-OSS operative is pulled out of retirement by his deceased son’s best friend. The interplay between the KGB, CIA, Nazis and the Mossad provide the grist for this mill.

Canyon Eliot was highly entertaining as the multi-talented, loveable and ruthless retiree returning to the fray. It may be a reflection of my own age but it was satisfying to have an older protagonist kicking butt. The Cold War setting may be hard to swallow for the younger readers. It seems like purely speculative fiction unless you are an age to have experienced the stresses of the Cold War. Anya was well portrayed as a woman who strove to succeed in a career predominantly peopled by males with testosterone issues.

I thought the story idea was good and the plot well thought out. I did feel that the ending was a bit abrupt. I think another 20 or 30 pages would have enabled a more “meaty” conclusion. Overall I really enjoyed the book.

I recommend the book.

Body of work of Mozelle Richardson

Web Site: googling her did not bring up a website.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Run For Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

A dysfunctional family provides fuel for a sociopath. The killer’s agenda runs awry of Michael Bennett. Once again, the wealthiest NY families are terrorized by a psychopath or is it a sociopath or both.

I met Michael Bennett in Worst Case.

Michael is a single parent and NY detective with a blended, multi-racial family of 10 kids. His deceased wife was the motivator with the huge heart that led to the adoption of Michael’s “brood”. The overwhelming aspect of parenting 10 children is further complicated by hostage negotiations and nefarious characters. His family is Michael’s major motivator even as he strives to be a good cop. The authors successfully portrayed his anger, frustration and satisfaction. It may be formula writing but much like a donut, I love it.

I highly recommend it.

Body of work of James Patterson
Body of work of Michael Ledwidge son


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Foreign Influence by Brad Thor

Scot Harvath is back and in action. An Al-Quaida group is planning world wide attacks on Americans and a finale in the United States. This former Seal uses his considerable talent for violence in addressing this threat to his country.

I continue to enjoy the Scot Harvath character. He does not revel in being a hardcase but he does what he feels is necessary. His antipathy toward violonce and kids is laudable. If you are not able to stomach rather graphic violence you may want to plan on skipping parts of the book.

I mentioned in my review of “The Last Patriot” that once I find an author that is impossible to put down, I want to read him until one of us drops. As the first Thor book I read, this was a sobering look at the changed world we live in. I can’t say that I enjoyed the glimpse of a possible future. As a story this book was captivating and intense, one can only hope it is not predictive.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Brad Thor


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Vendetta Defense by Lisa Scottoline

A murder in south Philly wasn’t what it seemed. It wasn’t a murder it was a vendetta execution. The courtroom isn’t the only place this unusual murder case is fought. The streets and pigeon coops of south Philadelphia provide the setting for an intriguing mystery.

I found Scottoline’s characters spot on. She captured the essence of the Italian community. Since I don’t know south Philly I can’t testify to the accuracy of her portrayal of that area but she nailed the ethnic culture from my own experience in the community I grew up in. The impetuous nature of Judy Carrier was a bit far fetched. I know a lot of attorneys and I can’t say I have met one with that level of impetuousness. The relationship between Pigeon Tony’s grandson and Judy was a bit predictable. I liked the way Scottoline showed the historic nature of the featured vendetta. I thought she did an excellent job portraying the depth of feeling and the length of animosity for perceived wrongs. The book was entertaining.

I recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy off beat courtroom drama and if you have a friend of Italian heritage, you have probably met some of the books more loveable characters.

Body of work of Lisa Scottoline


Web site:

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

International intrigue at it’s best. Scot Harvath is contemplating retirement. Apparently events in a previous book have led to a desire to settle down with his lovely Tracy. A rogue CIA assassin inadvertently draws Scot into his demented Islamic conversion debacle. The resultant train wreck violence provides a charging read.

I enjoyed the Scot Harvath character. I enjoyed it enough that I got online and ordered four of his last six books. I am going to have to track down the last two. Once I find an author that is impossible to put down, I want to read him until one of us drops. Considering the state of today’s terrorist environment one has to wonder if the author’s suggestion of a Presidential assassin shouldn’t be a realistic option. It is so depressing to see the fanatics so frequently succeed in their terroristic acts. Perhaps if they realized that terror could be visited upon them as well, they might reconsider their zeal. This was a good book with lots of action and stood alone satisfactorily. My ordering the prequels is because I want to know what led to many of the incidents in the book. Scot Harvath is an acceptable hero, strong beliefs with a realistic fallibility.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of Brad Thor


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stash by David Klein

This a sobering look at how insipid decision making can change your life. A woman’s indecisive behavior leads her into both legal and marital discord.

I found this book rather sobering with no pun intended. It seemed entirely too realistic. It is easy to see how a nostalgic longing for past excitement and a reaffirmation of sexual identity could lead to bad decisions. The scary part was that bad decisions don’t need to be grotesquely bad but can mount incrementally to horrendous conclusions.
I admired Brian’s spousal loyalty as I deplored his, all to common, work above all attitude. The book aptly illustrated the hard charging, must get ahead at all costs attitude of a surprising number of the 30 something generation. I found Gwen’s lackadaisical attitude regarding personal responsibility and her over the top remorse for her thoughtless behavior a bit confusing but believable. People often continue bad behavior or flat out stupidity in spite of negative consequences, this is the hallmark of Gwen’s behavior. The ironic aspects of Jude’s role were well portrayed without being overly obvious.

I highly recommend the book.

Body of work of David Klein

Web Site: