Monday, June 30, 2008

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

I like this character, Odd Thomas. He is quiet and unassuming with a big heart. He is a hero but much different from most we read about. He has the ability to see the dead, lost and confused souls who need to “move on.” He is called upon to help them out, finding the person who hurt or killed them, or just ease their transition to the next life. He doesn't particularly enjoy this gift, preferring instead the quiet life of a fry cook, in his home of Pico Mundo until it is time to be reunited with his true love, Stormy Llewellyn, who was killed in the first book. He travels with his ghost dog Boo. I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 Odd Thomas books so couldn't wait to read this one.
Through his "physic magnetism" he finds himself drawn to a small town in California, having dreams of a destructive red tide and of a young woman. He finds the young woman, Annamarie, and while talking to her on the beach they are attacked. Thus begins the long night in which Odd must protect Annamarie, escape the bad guys and save the world from the destruction in his dreams. The action is fast paced and doesn't let up until the end of the book. Even though Odd saves the world, the stage is set for more adventures. His two new friends will show up in the next book I believe.
I didn't think this one was as good as the first three, but is was fast paced and fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

I found this book to be heart warming and sweet. I saw the movie before I read it and thought the book better, of course. I've only read one other of Letts' books, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon. I enjoyed that one and it's off beat characters as well.

Novalee Nation and her boyfriend, Willie Jack Pickens, are on their way to Bakersfield, California when he abandons her in an Oklahoma Wal-Mart and takes off on his own. She is seventeen, pregnant and finds herself living at the Wal-Mart for two months. While there she meets several people who will befriend her and help her change her life.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holy Moly by Ben Rehder

See here for a review in the Dallas Morning News.
The books in this series always tickle me. Rehder has a wonderful sense of humor and satire. I was sad to read that this may be it for Game Warden John Marlin.
In this book Rehder tackles a tele-evangelist and the obscene amount of money involved with his "church." When a dinosaur skull is found on the preacher's newest property and the backhoe operator who finds it ends up dead the sheriff calls in John Marlin to help. I laughed out loud as I read through the twists and turns and characters of this story. There is a hired thug who huffs Pam and chants about it as he's driving, "pam, pam, pam, pam...." The tele-evangelist and his wayward wife make you wonder about all these big church organizations, or maybe just make you shake your head. Two of my favorite characters, rednecks and poachers both, are Red and Billy Don. I see Billy Don actually maturing, I think. If no more books in this series are coming out I'll really miss seeing how he turns out. Set in the Texas Hill Country, this book gives you a glimpse of small town Texas life and the multitude of characters that live there.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Plague Ship by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul

CC library book

Cussler presents another great action/adventure book in this, the fifth book in the Oregon Files series. The Oregon is a dilapidated looking wreck of a ship on the outside while on the inside it is brimming with the newest up to the minute equipment and weapons. The Captain, one-legged Juan Cabrillo and his crew of former military and spy personnel, use it as a private enterprise, available for any government agency that can afford it. These are the good guys though, so relax and enjoy the tale.

After finishing a mission against Iran in the Persian Gulf, the crew of the Oregon comes across a cruise ship adrift in the sea with everyone dead except one. While investigating the ship, explosions rock the ship and they barely escape with their lives. Cabrillo and his crew find themselves tangled in a mystery with far reaching consequences.

Some of the coincidences are just a little too neat, the last second rescues predictable but I found it a great summer read! If you like action/adventure this has it all.

4 (540 pages)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cat Pay the Devil by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Cat Pay the Devil is the 12th book in the Joe Grey mystery/fantasy series. I've read all but one and intend to do soon.
Molena Point, California, on the Pacific coast, is not a place where most escaped federal prisoners would hole up. Cage Jones, a federal prisoner, escapes and does just that. He is out for revenge against a resident of that town, Wilma Getz,
his ex probation officer, who testified against him. He also thinks she has stolen a hidden fortune from him.
This is where the fantasy part of the mystery comes in. Wilma's cat, Dulcie learns of of his escape and fears for Wilma. Joe Grey, her cat friend, is puzzling over over two murders and doesn't pay attention to Dulcie's fear until Dulcie finds Cage in Wilma's house ransacking it and Wilma is reported missing.
Along with Kit, the three indomitable felines, paw-in-hand with the unsuspecting cops—and with special powers known by only a few select humans—help untangle Jones' agenda and the brutal murders. I think this is one of Murphy's most suspenseful books. It is an imaginative trip into the hidden lives of felines—the cats named above, and a band of feral friends, as they help solve the mysteries.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Open Season by C.J. Box

C.J. Box won the Anthony Award for Best First Mystery Novel with this book.

Open Season is the first of the Joe Pickett series but the second of the series I've read. I liked them both. Originally I gave this series a try because I liked Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon series so much, each being set in a different National Park. the first Joe Pickett book I read was Free Fire which was set in Yellowstone.

In Open Season Joe finds himself game warden in the Twelve Sleep area of Wyoming. When a poacher whom he tangled with the year before turns up dead on his wood pile with a cooler that had had some kind of live animals in it, Joe has a mystery. A mystery that threatens him, his job, and his family.

The poacher was obviously coming to see him. Riding horesback to the poacher's camp Joe finds the poacher's partners dead in their tent and two of Joe's closest friends acting strange.

In this book Box visits the controversial Endangered Species Act which this story is wrapped around.

I loved his descriptions of the area. I liked the character of Joe. He is a good guy that tries to do everything by the book but he is not perfect. He is a family man that loves his wife and kids. I did not like the description of the treatment of the endangered animals. It was harsh and I suppose realistic. I will be reading more of this series.

This is a book about a game warden, so be aware that it talks about hunting and other related subjects.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

In 1950's Kentucky Icy Sparks turns ten years old. At this time she feels the first of her "urges." They build until they have to come out then she runs to the root cellar. There she croaks, twists her body, pops her eyes and screams. She has no idea what is happening to her. The episodes escalate until she is cursing, croaking, eye popping and screaming at school. In an effort to help her she is sent to a mental hospital. Icy's journey through this difficult disorder is at times funny and sad. She does not find out what is causing these symptoms until she is 18 years old. Tourette Syndrome is not mentioned until the Epilogue.
I don't usually cry at movies or while reading books but a couple of places in this book brought tears to my eyes.
3 1/2

Thursday, June 5, 2008

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

library book
You are probably already familiar with this book as well as the movie. This is the true story about the brutal murder of the Clutter family, of Holcomb, Kansas, by two down and out losers.

Capote's writing style is folksy. He skillfully draws you into the story and into each character's life.

I hadn't known that Capote and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends or that she helped him research this book.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Small Favor by Jim Butcher

I have enjoyed this series and enjoyed the short lived TV series on the SciFi channel, The Dresden Files. Small Favor is the 10th Dresden book.

Harry has had a year of peace. Then Mab, queen of the Winter Court of the Sidhe comes to collect one of the two favors owed to her by Dresden. Just a small favor. She shows him how gentleman Johnnie Marcone was kidnapped. She wants Harry to get him back.

Throughout the book Harry is fighting a variety of foes including gruffs, the beings the old fairy story Three Billy Goats were based on. Butcher's imagination in the creation of creatures is great. His main enemies are the Black Denarians, the kidnappers of Marcone. With the help of the White Council, particularly Captain Luccio, Dresden pursues his quest. The action is nonstop. Dresden remains a good guy, a hero.

I've seen some speculation that this may be Butcher's last Dresden book, however there was enough foreshadowing that I am looking forward to the next book.

If you like fantasy with a touch of magic I thin you'll like this one. Dresden fans will love it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Chase by Clive Cussler

library book
This is a wonderful, historical, action-adventure story. The story begins in 1950 when a locomotive is being salvaged from a lake in Montana. The majority of the story takes place in 1906 when Detective Isaac Bell begins his search for the notorious Butcher Bandit. The Butcher Bandit is so called because he kills every one at the scene of the robbery including children. Bell begins his investigation and slowly pieces together clues until he comes to the conclusion that he knows the identity, a suprising person. Then the chase is on. I like the historical tidbits, the discriptions of automobiles and so on. The final chase, on trains, is something a little different and makes for a great read. The end of the book returns to 1950 with the raising of the final car and the story wrap up.
If you like action- adventure type novels, I think you will like this one.