Monday, July 31, 2017

July Book Report

Only eight books read this month, but I have blogged every day for the first time in ages, so that might explain less reading.

Trajectory by Richard Russo is three short stories and one longer story. All are complex with interesting characters and emotional depth. Even though I am not a big fan of short stories, I am a fan of Russo. Good read.

Dust by Martha Grimes is my favorite Richard Jury novel yet. Wealthy young bachelor, a Henry James devotee, is murdered. What was the motive? Past people in his life? Connection to Bletchley Park? Or Hitler's SS? Frustrating as it may seem, I love it when I can't figure out the whodunnit, let alone, the why? And the ending! Have to read the next RJ/MG book! Dust is my favorite of these first four.

Walking On My Grave by Carolyn Hart is another of her "Death on Demand" series. My liking of her books depends on the subject matter as I have not formed an attachment to any of her characters. My favorite part of this book was the "Classic Crimes" novels she listed at the end, most of which I hadn't heard of. And since they date back to late 19th and early 20th Centuries, I doubt I would ever find copies to read, but I would certainly like to sample some of them.

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child is the fifth in his Jeremy Logan series, but a first time author for me. (Nor have I read any of the Lincoln/Preston books.) This was an okay read; I'm just not that into techno thrillers.

Well, I know I liked Dust, just didn't realize I had put it in two photos. Ha!

The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes is not your typical 'girl loves horse' story. A young girl being raised by her grandfather goes into foster care when he suffers a stroke. She does not tell any of her foster families that she has a horse to take care of for fear she will lose her horse if authorities find out. There's so much to love about this book, the history of London's old stable yards, the French Le Cadre Noir, and Moyes' very fine writing.

The Child by Fiona Barton is her second book and based on how well I liked it, I will also read her first novel. Old school journalist Kate Waters and her ilk are slowly being replaced by the changes in print newspapers. She has to follow her intuition on news bytes that might lead to follow-up stories worthy of keeping her employed. When the body of a baby is dug up during a construction project, Kate thinks it bears investigation: "Who is the Building Site Baby?" More than one person fears the answer. A woman whose baby was taken from the hospital more than forty years ago hopes, yet doesn't hope, it is her's, so she can finally have an answer. When DNA is a match, the story seems to be over, until the DNA matches a second woman. Very good read.

Lockdown by Laurie R. King is a new stand alone book by this outstanding author. Right in step with our troubled times, it is about a shooting at a California middle school already fraught with problems of race, staffing and funding shortages, etc. Told in series of short background pieces, we learn the stories behind the expertly drawn characters - several of whom seem to be the shooter. Not until the final pages do you learn who the shooter is. And those final pages are so well written, so tense, you do feel an understanding of what teachers, students, parents and law enforcement go through during an active shooter/lockdown situation. King says she has been writing this story for twenty years, yet it is just as immediate as today's news, unfortunately. My favorite read this month!

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick is her first novel. It is a cute little tale of loneliness, compassion and finding one's way back after the death of a beloved spouse. Widower Arthur Pepper is in a staid routine of depression after his wife's death. He is alienated from his children and friends. On the one-year anniversary he decides it is time, he must begin clearing her clothes from the closet. In the toe of a boot he finds a gold charm bracelet that he has never seen before, yet it must be hers. Why did she hide it there? His search for the meaning behind each charm leads him on unimagined journeys toward a wife he never new and new beginnings for himself. Some of the book cover blurbs compared this book to The Little Paris Bookshop, though I did not find it as good. I do enjoy this popular genre of transformative stories, however.

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