Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year 2012 Giveaway Hop

A Giveaway is a great opportunity to add to your digital library.

Use this code: UN45B. 

And  go to this site for a free e-copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

1979.  Matt Reiser travels to West Africa in search of his son.  He’s mugged upon arrival and loses everything.  He must struggle through his sudden poverty, through unfamiliar territory, language, and culture, through cities, slums, jungle, and desert.  On the way, he forms friends and enemies and meets a world he never wanted to discover.  The new experiences force him to reevaluate his broken relationship with his son until they meet and face one another as never before.

Return to the Hop Here.

Or for a 99 cent copy of Facing the Son, go to Kindle.

“The installed base of ereaders will reach 28.9 million in 2012, a gain of 40.1% over 2011’s total of 20.6 million. As a percentage of the population, ereader owners will reach 12% in 2012, up from 8.7% in 2011.”  – eMarketer Total Access

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Best of 2011 Giveaway Hop

A Giveaway is a great opportunity to add to your digital library.

Use this code: UN45B. 

And  go to this site for a free e-copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

1979.  Matt Reiser travels to West Africa in search of his son.  He’s mugged upon arrival and loses everything.  He must struggle through his sudden poverty, through unfamiliar territory, language, and culture, through cities, slums, jungle, and desert.  On the way, he forms friends and enemies and meets a world he never wanted to discover.  The new experiences force him to reevaluate his broken relationship with his son until they meet and face one another as never before.

Return to the Hop Here.

Or for a 99 cent copy of Facing the Son, go to Kindle.

“The installed base of ereaders will reach 28.9 million in 2012, a gain of 40.1% over 2011’s total of 20.6 million. As a percentage of the population, ereader owners will reach 12% in 2012, up from 8.7% in 2011.”  – eMarketer Total Access

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith

1955. Wealthy businessman Herbert Greenleaf follows Tom Ripley into a Manhattan bar and starts a horrific chain of events.

Ripley, who seems to be running from his past, worries he’s going to be placed under arrest, but Greenleaf surprises him with an offer to visit Italy and talk his errant son Dickie into coming home.

Ripley has been spending his young adult life trying to become someone else. He hates who he is. Greenleaf falls for one of Ripley’s personas and trusts that he’s a good friend to Dickie when in fact they barely know one another. Greenleaf pays for the trip and we follow Tom as he succeeds in slowly shedding the skin of his former life.

From the very start Patricia Highsmith creates the conflict within Tom which fuels the story. I find it a rare talent to grab the reader with a pscychological conflict, but Highsmith grabbed me from the outset. I didn’t like Ripley.  He isn’t a likeable charachter. He’s lost, he’s pathetic, he’s paranoid, sociopathic, and psychotic. He’s a murderer. He ruins the lives of those he gets close to. But as a literary character, he is talented which is why he succeeds.

I rarely feel compelled to jump into a series.  Usually one and out is good enough for me because there are just too many books to read. But Ripley’s got me hooked. I need to see where Highsmith takes him. Oftentimes the first in a series is the best and thereafter the literary energy and creativity fade into dull repetition.

Highsmith, I suspect, won’t disappoint. Nor will Ripley. I’ll report back.


The Concrete Blonde (Harry Bosch #3), by Michael Connelly

1994. Four years earlier Detective Bosch was working nights on the Dollmaker serial killer case, called such because the killer grotesquely painted his victims’ faces with their own makeup.

A prostitute called the hotline, certain she’d just escaped the Dollmaker. She saw “all the makeup and shit,” in his bathroom and ran for her life. When Bosch got to the apartment in Silverlake, he thought he saw another girl with the killer so he didn’t call for backup. No time. He busted in. FREEZE! THE COPS! But the naked hairless man reached for something under the pillow on his bed. In a split second Bosch had to decide whether or not to shoot.  He shot.

The story starts with Bosch’s civil rights trial brought by the Dollmaker’s widow. Judge, jury, and executioner Bosch killed her husband which denied him a chance to prove his innocence. Since there was never a trial, the identity of the Dollmaker wasn’t proved.

As the trial begins, another body turns up facepainted in the Dollmaker’s inimitable style. Did Bosch shoot the wrong man?

I’ve read a few of Connelly’s books and have liked some.  Others felt rushed, as if he worked to a publishing schedule rather than to the book’s. The Concrete Blonde is the best of his that I’ve read.

Bosch is caught in any cop’s worst nightmare, having to decide in a split second whether to pull the trigger or not. Then four years later having to defend his split-second decision to a jury of his “peers.” Those peers of course can never know what it’s like to make that choice.

The prosecuting attorney is good, very good. Bosch’s court appointed attorney is average, maybe less than average, and certainly much less experienced.

So is justice defined by the better attorney? Probably, yeah.

Bosch knows if he had to make the choice again, he’d do it all the same.

Connelly works the plot to keep the suspense taut, the twists well-timed, and the conclusion under wraps until almost the end. There are casualties along the way. Justice is a very dirty process.


The Drowning Pool, by Ross Macdonald

1950.  Maude Slocum opens this tale at the doorway to Lew Archer’s office.  “Thirty-five and still in the running,” the detective surmises.  Maude is scared.  She’s intercepted a letter to her husband calling him a cuckold. Who would send such a letter and why?  She hires Archer to find out.

Archer drives north of LA to the fictitious community of Quinto, next to the oil town of Nopal, where the Slocums live on property awash in oil. Slocum’s mother-in-law refuses to let the big oil company ruin her land by drilling. The Slocums and their daughter live with old Mrs Slocum. Only Mr Slocum seems happy with the arrangement.

Archer attends a party at the Slocums where family and friends celebrate the opening of a local play starring Mr Slocum.  That night old Mrs Slocum turns up drowned at the bottom of the swimming pool. It could be an accident, but the old woman never went to the pool alone.

Suspects are the son and daughter-in-law of course because they stand to gain the most from opening up the land to drilling.  But a chauffeur has gone missing and his hat was found near the pool.

Archer’s investigation takes him on a tour of the Slocum family estate, of the underbelly of the neighboring boom town, and of the extravagant lifestyle of the oil company owner.  This is not the 1950’s of Jerry Mathers as the Beave.

An early work by Macdonald and maybe his best.


Book Lover’s Holiday Giveaway Hop

For this Holiday Hop Giveaway, add an adventure to your new Kindle or other e-reader.

Use this code SP88Z at this site to get your free copy of Facing the Son, A Novel of Africa.

See previous posts for an excerpt and for background on Ouagadougou and other places the story takes you.

Take your first international trip to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and upon arrival get mugged, lose everything, and wake up on a hard pack street in a grim city slum.  What do you do?  You can’t speak the language.  Your pockets are empty.  You’ve come to find your son as a last request from his dying mother.

Get up.  Soldier on.  Discover why you really came.

Back to the Hop here.