The Verdict: Nick Stone

Not in the first tier of legal/crime/mystery stories but still good.

I don’t know if I’m getting better at discerning plot threads early, but there were several here that I thought were very early and clearly telegraphed, which took some of the interest out of the story.

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Glass Houses: Louise Penny

Long time readers of these book reviews will know that Penny and I have long enjoyed an intensely deep romance, starting with delight at finding someone interesting and new, progressing through growing interest, moving to infatuation, and climaxing in her best work so far, THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY. Since then, our relationship has moved on, grown, less passionate, only making it stronger, more like understanding and cuddling now, spooning, accepting when she forgets to shave her legs or steals the blankets in the middle of the night. By Book #20, we’ll be checking each other’s backs for suspicious moles.

It’s because of this, that I know too much about her, that I feel comfortable giving Penny some advice, because of how much she’s exposed to me. Exposition. Explaining. There’s too much of it here. Show. Stop telling.That’ll re-kindle the romance, then.

In a House of Lies: Ian Rankin

Unlike many top-quality police/mystery writers whose amazing early work gets tired and self-derivative at some point, Rankin’s Rebus series never does. John Rebus may be superannuated, but Rankin’s writing never is.

Go back to his first (non-Rebus) novel and the growth and progression ever since is amazing to see.

Rebus’ Scottish mafia crime boss Big Ger Cafferty isn’t quite as good as the crazed New York Irish mafia butcher in Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder series, but it’s not for want of trying.

Invasion of Privacy: Christopher Reich

meh

There is nothing egregiously “bad” about this book; it’s just that there’s nothing “good. Everything here is pedestrian, the author choosing the first readily available cultural and social tropes that come to mind.

If this were an audio book, it’d come with the blurb, “Now available in stereo(type).

So…meh…

Home: Harlan Coben

Coben is an amazing writer, one of our best contemporary scribes.

His stand-alone books are always good, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Myron Bolitar series, which he got away from for a while.

Many mystery/thriller series often get increasingly convoluted and unbelievable as the author tries to keep up the pace and suspense and there is a tad more of that than I liked here, but man oh man did I miss Myron and Win and Esperanza and Big Cyndi and El Al and all the rest of them.

Wecome HOME.

Lethal White: Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

The core of his excellent mystery serial is the unlikely relationship and sexual tension between Cormoran and Robin, who by now are shared partners in the detective agency. Unfortunately, it should be the plot that carries that along and illustrates it instead of having it jammed down our throats and choking the life out of the story. The worst of the four. Rowling says it is the favorite book she has written. I hope she’s gotten it out of her system and gets back to writing good, balanced stories.

Money Shot: Christa Faust

I swear I don’t know how half of the books on my e-reader get on there. Seriously. Often, when I’m looking for the next book to read, I just pick one randomly from the 800 or so on there.

Given the title and tawdry cover, I didn’t expect much from this one. Boy, was I wrong. Not is there a good plot, fun characters, and tension, the writing is crafted, clever, and witty.

Money Shot wins.