Along with being one of the most avid readers at Vroman's, Lee also writes the Vroman's Mystery Newsletter, Scene of the Crime.
Dan Brown has an amazing way of viewing the world. His protagonist Robert Langdon has taken us on journeys into the past that made us wonder...could this really be what happened instead of what we think we know? In Origin, he has gone the other direction. He's taken a known scientific fact and extrapolated it into an unknown but piossible future. Langdon is in attendance at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to watch as a former student unveils what has been touted as the truth that will answer the two most often asked questions humanity is asking. Where we come from and where are we going? What Langdon witnesses instead is the murder of his friend. Langdon and the museum director Ambra Vidal manage to escape with the aid of an unusal AI named Wilson. Together they struggle to release the information to the millions watching around the world. But there are many who do not want this discovery to be revelaed. Oh yes, wait for it! Pure Dan Brown.
Timothy Egan’s prose is sheer poetry, no doubt about it. This book is so wonderfully written I feel as though I’m typing this review with an Irish accent. The story of Thomas Francis Meagher, the orator, Meagher of the Sword, the Civil War general, is the story of Ireland when she was starving and wearing the invisible chains of slavery to England. It is also the story of our own Civil War where Meagher tried to build an Irish army that may someday fight England for Ireland’s freedom. Thomas was a disappointment to his father who felt that the Catholic Relief Act was a step in the right direction towards emancipation of Ireland. Thomas saw it as a sop. He set out to make his mark and make it he did. Tried for treason he was shipped to Australia never to return to Ireland. Eventually he ended up in America and his oration talent preceded him. As they had in Ireland, in America they called him Young Ireland. When civil war broke out Meagher was once again in the fore front of the fight still hoping for a way to free Ireland. His personal life was never easy and one wonders if at the end he just gave up. How did Meagher die? Did he jump over board to drown in the river? Was he pushed? Did he trip and fall? After everything he tried to do for Ireland and America was this his only destiny; to disappear from the annals of history and be forgotten? You decide reader. But whatever you think may have happened to Thomas Francis Meagher the Irish revolutionary who was also an American hero, do think of him now and then. Don’t let him disappear back into the dim past.
Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant, specializing in recovering debts and stolen money for wealthy clients. Ava is now mourning the death of her mentor, Uncle Chow Tung. On a trip to China, she meets with a young man named Xu, whom Uncle had been menotring and who is also the head of the Triad in Shanghai. Privately, he confides to Ava that he intends to run for the chairmanship of the Triad Societies and attempts to recuit her as his advisor and confidante. Against her will, Ava becomes enmeshed in Triad warfare and her future is threatened.
Hey Kids! Do you enjoy mysteries and big, friendly, smart, sort of slobbery dogs? Then this book is for you. Seriously, it really is. Bowser is a down-on-his-luck young dog who is taken in by Birdie and her Grammy. Birdie’s Mom works on a rig; is that cool or what? So, she stays with Grammy who has a bait shop and runs tours of the swamp. On the day they bring Bowser home they discover that the prized stuffed marlin known as Black Jack has been stolen. Bridie thinks the culprit is a rival shop owner and she and Bowser set out to prove it. There’s supposed to be a treasure map hidden in Black Jack but Grammy says that’s bunk! Bowser often doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on but he does know that Birdie is the best human in the world and he will do anything for her. They make a great team!
Dubbed "The Human Bloodhound" by the media, Magnus "Steps" Craig is the head of the FBI's special tracking unit. He has stopped seventeen serial killers in the last five years, and it's taken its toll emotionally. Magnus has a secret he must always keep, his tracking talent is actually his ability to see the "essence" of a person on everything they've touched. Only his father, the director at the FBI and his partner Special Agent Jimmy Donovan know about this ability. When Magnus and Jimmy are called onto the scene of a murdered girl Magnus recognizes the shine of a killer from another scene along with the mark of a sad face. Suddenly they're working two cases. None of this is going to be even remotely easy.
Awesome! A new Craig Johnson Longmire mystery! Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are back on the job, and it's a twister! At a huge motorcycle rally where Henry plans to try once more to take the prize on the nasty hill climb murder rears its ugly head. Motorcycle gangs, drugs, alcohol and weapons bring in the ATF, numerous undercover agents and - wait for it - Lola. Yes, Lola, Henry's former girlfriend for whom his car, and now Walt's grandchild, is named. Craig Johnson is a master at dialog and this new book is no exception. Although as far as Walt is concerned Henry's taking it way too far with quotes from Sherlock Holmes. If you're already a fan, grab this one up. If you haven't read any yet, you are in for a treat!
A soldier's most pervasive challenges are panic, exhaustion, heat, and noise. Mary Roach introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer these. She dodges hostile fire with the US Marine Corps Paintball Team and visits the fashion design studio of US Army Natick Labs to learn why a zipper is a problem for a sniper. She also answers questions we might not have thought to ask; why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks, or why is DARPA interested in ducks? And she does this with accuracy and a sense of humor. There are even a couple of recipes though I wouldn't want to try them. You can't go wrong here; fascinating and fun!
Brilliant. Ingenious. A tour de force! OK, ok, so I’m gushing. It may not be the longest book I’ve read or even the most profound. It was however the best book I read in 2015. Japan has attacked the U.S. and being Japanese in these times is dangerous. Sam Sumida, a Japanese American, is trying to find his wife’s killer in a world he doesn’t recognize. Jimmy Park, Korean American, is trying to find a dangerous Japanese spy, the beautiful Orchid. Takumi Sato, also Japanese American, is trying to get his novel finished and throughout it all Maxine Wakefield, Associate Editor, is wielding her blue pencil and making changes that impact the lives of all three. I got to the end, closed the book and took a deep breath. Then I simply said “Wow.” I think you will too.
I picked this up thinking to myself, OK this is just a collection of stories – I can read this. And I did. These soldiers are only human; humans who have had to see and do things we can’t even begin to understand. But maybe reading this book will give us all a glimpse of how they feel and why they feel that way. Perhaps I understand a bit more than the average reader because of my USMC background but I wasn’t in combat so even my understanding is somewhat limited. I do know that generally you don’t ask, “So, how was it? What was it like?” Learn to listen instead. Let them tell you if they want to. And don’t turn away from the gritty horror of some of these stories. Learn to deal with the reality of war so that maybe you can learn to help someone just home to deal with it too, just by being available.
Mystery, greed, half-truths, rumor and betrayal are all a part of this tale about a murder made to look like an accident all due to the rumor of a map that would lead to a treasure buried by George Cassidy better known as Butch. Arapaho lawyer Vickie Holden and priest Father John are once again drawn into the shadow world of hearsay when Vickie learns that the husband of her friend Ruth has died, apparently drowned while hunting for treasure. Cutter, a cousin of Ruth’s husband Robert Walking Bear, moves back from Oklahoma and steps in to help. More Walking Bear people die and Ruth’s house is torn apart. There are movie folk making a documentary too and they would like to know the stories behind this treasure. Lots of suspects, plenty of history and a rousing good tale.
This is a story about a Navaho boy who was sent to the white man’s school which ripped his language from him. In spite of the ban on speaking and practicing anything Navaho, Ned Begay continued using his language to teach in secret. When WWII broke out he was too young to go. He promised a year to his parents and when that year was up he joined the Marines and became a code talker like those before him. Now he could use his language and be proud of the fact that in doing so he was helping defeat a formidable enemy. The character Ned is not real but the facts are. This book tells the story of those brave Navahos who gave everything to help win the war. And it’s told the way an old man would tell it to the young to teach them about their heritage. I can only say, thank you Grandfather for the teaching.
I met Amy at a signing with Naomi Hirahara. She's an accomplished poet and an exciting speaker. I'll admit, I'm not usually into poetry - I'm told it's an acquired taste. Thanks to Amy Uyematsu I now have more of a taste for it than just my childhood favorite Tennyson. Amy's poetry truly tells it like it is from relocation camps to Motown music, Executive order 9066 and sansei brides. There are poems of struggle and pain but also of humor and joy, and they all touched me in my core being for one reason or another. Admittedly, I do have a favorite; When It Is Time. This is nothing like the boring stuff we had in school. Please, even if you think you don't like poetry take this home with you and one quiet evening, read just one poem and then think about what you read. I think you'll be amazed at the power of poetry.
Many think the future will be ruled by corporations. Not just here but world wide. There will be no true countries only competing huge businesses. The Kollins have taken it much further than that. Each human is incorporated from birth. They spend many years trying to obtain more shares in themselves. They sell shares to get money for school and then hope for a good paying job so they can buy them back and perhaps some day obtain a majority. Into this relatively successful society comes Justin Cord. Awakened from cryogenic sleep after 300 years he is the only human anywhere not incorporated. And he doesn't want to be. He looks upon it as a form of slavery rather than freedom. And what happens when you throw a monkey wrench into a smooth running engine? Chaos. This is a well thought out and original work of fiction that may be just a bit too real for some. There are arguments that can be made both for and against this kind of society; valid arguments. Could something like this really happen? Could this be our future? Maybe – maybe not. But it certainly does make for some great reading.
I loved this book! Just ask my family. I can't stop talking about it. A young man stands accused of murdering a well-liked med student and Inspector Darko Dawson is sent from the Ghanian capital of Accra to Ketanu; Ketanu where his own mother disappeared from twenty-five years earlier. This isn't just a mystery, it's a tale about personal demons, old-fashioned bad police work, modern investigation and modern medicine bucking against the fetish priests in the area. There are more suspects than you can count and the poor victim was actually liked! Kwei Quartey takes us from mud huts to city houses and Inspector Dawson even complains about traffic jams. Traffic jams! In Africa. Ok I know it's silly, but I honestly haven't thought of Ghana that way. I'm serious, if you don't find much more than just a great mystery in this book I'll stop eating chocolate for a week! By the way, I was so taken up by the story, the country and the writing that I had no clue to the killer until near the end. Welcome Dr. Quartey, we've been waiting for you.
This was my father's war. What's in this book is a lot of what he wouldn't talk about. Yet I knew about a lot of it simply because he was there, in the Pacific, when all this was going on. What I wasn't truly aware of was the level of mistakes that were made. The SNAFUs, the Situation Normal All Fouled Up that went on with so many of the island landings. Much of what I learned about the Pacific war was after I myself became a Marine – but it still wasn't the same because I wasn't there. This book takes you there and no matter how hard you try, you may leave a bit of yourself behind with the men who didn't come home. I cannot think of another book that really makes the island war live. Flags of Our Fathers comes close but The Pacific carries it all the way. There are some things in it you may not like hearing about but they happened and for a reason. As always, war changes those who fight them – good or bad. If you have a love of history and a sense of pride in our fighting men, I recommend this book. It had me riveted from the first page to the last.
Chet is a dog anyone could love -- well as long as you stayed on his good side anyway. Bernie is a P.I. and Chet is his partner. Chet was training to become a police dog; he was the best jumper in his class. Unfortunately that was also his downfall. But no matter, now he's with Bernie and the two of them make a great investigative pair. The really fun part of this mystery is that Chet narrates the story - dog fashion! If he remembers a smell that may be a clue but can't seem to get Bernie to pay attention, well he just may get distracted a bit too and go on to something else. Like wondering why cats catch birds. After all, he never has. Well, cats are just strange anyway. This book is a delight, and I'm keeping my eye out for more.
Truly a murder mystery unlike any you've ever read! It's a brilliant and exciting study of the dichotomy of the friendship of loners living together in one house and trying to remain the way they are -- always. When Cassie Maddox enters this world undercover she does it as Lexie Madison who was part of this odd group of friends and has been murdered. She can do this because Lexie was her old undercover name. And, this dead Lexie looks just like Cassie. So, they tell the friends Lexie hasn't died and Cassie becomes a part of this weird circle of friends because at least one cop is convinced that someone in that house is a killer. Cassie finds it hard to separate herself from Lexie as she became and almost loses herself in a dangerous way to the comfort of always having a place and people who know you well enough to finish your sentences. Dangerous because she isn't really Lexie!
Margaret Coel really knows how to spin a tale. This one has a thread of history running through it that perhaps a few of you may remember from seeing old westerns on TV. I know I remember Tim McCoy with his black clothes and white hat. What I didn't realize was the amount of influence he had on the original silent epoch The Covered Wagon when he enlisted 500 Arapahos and Shoshones to work in the movie. Ms. Coel has woven this history into her tale of one Arapaho who didn't come home from Hollywood. Charlie's great-grandson Kiki tries to find out what really happened. Father John hopes Kiki really is on the straight and narrow now but when he finds Kiki's body in an area where dealers usually meet he has doubts. Then Vicky is approached by a mysterious Arapaho who won't give his name or show himself but hints he may have been Kiki's killer. The story moves back and forth between about 1923 and the present and the thread is easy to follow. But the killer isn't easy to find and as always with Margaret Coel there's a real twist at the end. Did Charlie disappear because of the white woman he was taken with? Or did his best friend put a stop to Charlie's dalliances because of the chance they would all be sent home without the money they all so desperately needed? And what did Kiki find out that got him killed 70 years later?
Probably the most popular of Zane Grey's books this tale of a proud woman who stood alone against her church and villains who rustle and stampede her cattle set the tone for western novels. When Lassiter rides in and takes a job with Jane she makes him swear to forsake violence. Eventually she finds she must release him from that vow in order to save everything she loves. I started reading Zane Grey's westerns when I was twelve and I still can see and hear and feel the west as only he could describe it. Don't pass up this book or any of his others because they're westerns. Don't pass them up because you think the writing as old fashioned as the morals of the characters. This is a great book and anyone who enjoys any kind of western should read it and breathe in the dust of the chase and the smell of the purple sage.
When Katherine Yeboah married Solomon Vanderpuye, it was the talk of Accra high society. Sadly though, it becomes apparent that Katherine is infertile and Solomon’s extended family accuses her of being a witch, hounding her until her relationship is so soured Solomon feels compelled to order Katherine out of the house they shared. Alone on her last night there, Katherine is brutally murdered. Katherine was the first cousin to Christine, Chief Inspector Darko Dawson’s wife. Christine is devastated and begs Darko to solve the crime. There are too many suspects including: Solomon, her husband; James Bentsi-Enchill, her lawyer and ex-lover; and her filthy rich pastor, Bishop Clem Howard-Mills. In order to expose the truth, Darko must confront the pivotal role religion plays in Ghana—and wrestle with his old demons the investigation stirs up.