Tuesday, February 24, 2009

book review: the lost witness by robert ellis


The Lost Witness is Robert Ellis's second novel to feature Detective Lenda Gamble. The first one, City of Fire, was the best book I read in 2007. The Lost Witness is just as good.

Warnings: 1. Read City of Fire first.
2. Don't start either one until you have enough time to devote to finishing the entire book.

The Lost Witness picks up eight months after the Romeo murder investigation. Lena Gamble has been stuck doing investigative paperwork on officer related shootings. She finally gets her chance to work another homicide, but everything seems to be working against her. The body is in multiple garbage bags in an alley. The victim has no identification, and there are no leads to the actual scene of the crime. She's working the case without a partner, and the media seems to have more information than she does.

This book is completely riveting. I could not wait to finish it, and I couldn't put it down, but I savored each word. It's refreshingly rare to find a both a great writer and a great suspense storyteller in one.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5) - universally recommended
It's the best book I've read so far this year.

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library, 2009 Pub Challenge

book review: lethal legacy by linda fairstein

Lethal Legacy is the eleventh Alexandra Cooper mystery. The story opens in a unique way: with a live victim of sexual assault hesitant to complain, press charges or undergo an examination. It was certainly an interesting departure, and it sets up this crazy cast of characters wonderfully.

The rest of the story focuses on the New York Public Library, specifically its map and rare book collections and the greedy shenanigans of those rich enough to collect the world's most rare and valuable items.

Linda Fairstein is a master at combining intellectual knowledge, a compelling cast of characters and a riveting mystery. Lethal Legacy had the most intelligent backstory yet. I'm far from an expert on rare maps, but after reading this book, I could charm a collector at a cocktail party and surprise most people at trivia. The good news is Lethal Legacy is Fairstein's best mystery yet. The bad news is there won't be another one for at least a year.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars (really loved it)

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library, 2009 Pub Challenge

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

book review: cold hit by linda fairstein (reread)

My love of Linda Fairstein's mystery novels is well documented, and Cold Hit has a special place in my heart because it's about art. In recent years, Linda Fairstein has become well known for using the city of New York almost as a character itself. In her most recent novels, she transforms historic institutions in New York beautifully. In many ways, Cold Hit begins this tradition.

Despite having read this book several years ago, I still learned a lot about New York and art, and the mystery itself is fascinating. I'm so glad I took the time to reread it and remember all the things I love about this novel.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library

book review: harry potter and the chamber of secrets (reread)

I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the summer of 2000. I remember liking it more than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. After rereading it, I was thrilled with the level of suspense and storytelling. I did, indeed, enjoy it more than the first book in the series. I appreciated Rowling's building on seemingly superfluous events and characters from the first book and transforming them into major plot pieces.

Rating: 4 stars (really liked it)

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library, Young Adult

book review: practically perfect by katie fforde


Katie Fforde writes consistently delightful modern, British romantic comedy of manners novels. Practically Perfect is no exception. The novel tells the story of Anna, an interior designer who buys a small cottage in the Cotswalds to fix up. The cottage is in bad shape; it doesn't have a bathroom or stairs when she moves in. Anna quickly makes friends with her neighbor and other amusing townsfolk.

Katie Fforde's heroines always manage to be easy to relate to, yet inspiring and independent.

Rating: 4 stars (really liked it)

Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge, Support Your Local Library