crime fiction

Review: Cruel & Unusual

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Cruel & UnusualMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review
Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell, the fourth in the “Kay Scarpetta” series was a solid book with a little more edge than some of the others, hence the 4 rating. Two key parts of this one that appealed to me:

1. Scarpetta learns more about the prison system, in particular how a newly killed inmate’s finger prints could show up on a dead body several days after the inmate died. The “gimmick” has been used before, but Cornwell keeps it tightly wound until the end of the book. It’s a page turner, for sure. You think you’ve figured it out, but more details come out. And it gets very scientific, which really helps push you closer to the edge of not wanting to stop reading it. That said, the technology is almost 25+ years old compared to today’s standards, so it’s nothing earth-shattering at this point. It was something to read in the 90s to truly get the best impact. Still a good read today, I’m sure.

2. Kay and her niece, Lucy, continue to play the game of mouse and cat, so to speak. I’m not sure who is the mouse and who is the cat anymore. But what’s fun here is that Lucy ends up helping on the case, despite the risks. And it call comes down to computers, which again, are much more advanced in the last ~30 years. Reading how people thought back then, how they interpreted and stored files, is amusing for someone in the technology field. I read this shortly after it came out but I was still very close to technology way back then.

The series is still solid at this point. And I’d recommend this read for someone who isn’t too particular about tools and techniques in the fields of investigation, criminology, computers and DNA changing significantly over the years. Enjoy this for the puzzle it was at the time, not the slightly slower path it would be today. All in all, as much as she annoys you, Scarpetta is one of those people I wish I knew in real life. A bit too brilliant in some ways tho!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: B is for Burglar

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B is for BurglarReview
3.5 of 5 stars but I’m going to round down (since I sometimes round up for this author, and I suppose this makes it balance out a bit!) for the second book in the “Kinsey Millhone” [cozy] mystery series by Sue Grafton. In B is for Burglar, we get to know Kinsey more, figuring out what she likes and doesn’t like. And apparently she is a bit picky when it comes to client. First, she doesn’t want to take the case as it is too simple and sounds like a waste of her time. But when she digs a bit deeper, something strange is going on with a missing woman. Nothing adds up.

It’ s a good mystery in your head, and I think it might be better than the first book in some ways… but not enough to rate it higher. I liked the investigate and research style in this one. It’s a missing person’s case, so you really know as little as she does. You feel like you’re playing along more on this one. But at the same time, I didn’t have a strong connection until the middle of the book with the “victim.”

I found myself getting a little caught up in it being 1982 in the books, but it was published several years later, and I was reading it in 2000. I kept forgetting the time period, which is important in cases like these, given the available tools.

If you’re going to read the whole series take the time in these first few books to really synchronize with the time period, so you are not out of your element.

But Kinsey is a great main character. She’s got flaws. She’s got spirit. You root for her, get annoyed with her. All signs of good character development. But after 26… it might get a bit old!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: All That Remains

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All That Remains
All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The “Kay Scarpetta” mystery series by Patricia Cornwell was one of the first adult mystery book series I began reading. I also started these very young, around 13 or 14, which may not be the best thing for young adults if they don’t have a strong sense of right/wrong and a stomach to handle really gory stuff. All That Remains is the third book in the series about a forensic medical examiner in Virginia who helps solve brutal crimes.

What I love about the early books is the relationship between the detective, Pete Marino, and Scarpetta, the medical examiner. It’s love/hate, and as the series grows, their relationship gets very volatile and intense. In the early books, like this one, you just want to hate Pete but you know he’s got a heart in there. He represents a typical cop of the 1970s / 80s, who is starting to change his philosophy on women being involved in his jurisdiction. And he’s of course in love with her but can’t do anything about it.

In this book, young couples are brutally murdered. And the psychopath behind it all is playing games with Scarpetta. All her serial killers end up wanting to get to Scarpetta, to impress her, because of how methodical and intelligent she is.

Cornwell’s writing is intense. And she describes everything about the blood and guts during the autopsies, finding the victims and conveying what the murderer is likely doing to his/her victims.

As the title suggests, this is all about “what remains” of the body to be able to figure out who is the culprit. Every page leads you to revelations, and you want to close your eyes and pretend you’re not reading about the gore, but you can’t help needing to keep reading it.

Scarpetta is so complex. Sometimes you love her. Sometimes you really want to lock her in a closet until she learns how to play a little nicer. But she will always evoke some huge reaction from the reader.

If you can handle the creepy-factor and the explicit language (vicious, usually not too sexual), you have to read a couple of these books to see how hard the author works to make each one unique and a very complex mystery.

She was one of my faves, and I stopped around 17 or 18 in the series to give myself a break. I’m close to going back to finish it up. And she’s still writing more!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: One for the Money

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One for the Money
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pure gold in humor! 4 unforgettable characters: Stephanie Plum, Joe Morelli, Ranger and Grandma Mazur. Let’s do a lil’ recap:

Stephanie: Your everyday girl… with great humor, a bit of sass, lots of determination and an inability to know her limits. But each and every time you root for her to win!

Joe: Honest. Smart. Good-looking. Apparently great in bed. Knows his food. Wants to make Stephanie happy. But knows his limits.

Ranger: Everyone’s secret freebie. Apparently a god. Attitude that won’t quit but turns you on at the same time. Always finds you just in time, that is, before you get yourself into too much trouble.

Grandma: OMG, can you be any funnier? She has a gun. And she shoots it often. But she’s whacked out most of the time. I NEED to meet her.

So… 20-something books to go in the series, but this first one will hook you right away.

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Review: Cut & Run

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Cut & Run
Cut & Run by Abigail Roux

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cut & Run was my second adventure into this type of novel and it kept my interest. The pairing of Ty and Zane are certainly comical but I have to question why there is always so much anger between the two main characters just like in the first novel I read ([book:Shattered Glass|13420351)? I get that it makes good drama for an intense read, but I thought it was a little too overdone. Ty and Zane get together and separate 4 or 5 times in the course of the 350 page novel and by the last one, I felt like it was just getting to be a routine with them (and not in a totally good way). Fighting is a good thing in a book as it helps the reader develop passion and intrigue, but not when on full repetition.

Despite those initial thoughts, the dialogue is fairly realistic, the characters have many good qualities and the story was strong. It’s easy to guess who the serial murderer is, but I don’t think that was the most important part of the book. I’ll give the author another read but probably not for a bit while I explore this genre for awhile to find the authors I like the most.

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Review: Shattered Glass

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Shattered Glass
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After starting the Reading Challenge, I filled my “To Read” list with tons of crime thrillers, cozy mysteries and historical fiction novels. I’ve switched back and forth between the cozy and the grisly murders to my fascination with history and the complexities of family dramas… after 20 novels, I found myself wanting something different. I’m not one to read romance stories though I do enjoy quintessential “chick flick” films… either way, I stumbled upon Shattered Glass mostly because that was a title I was considering for a family drama in which I had started the outline [now I think I’ll call it “Watching a Glass Shatter.” I digress… back to Dani Alexander’s “Shattered Glass.”

After reading some reviews and the love affair with bunny slippers (don’t ask, you have to read it to understand), I thought to myself “this one may have potential” and ordered it online. When it arrived, I was just finishing the new Harry Potter book (talk about a vastly different world) but got to it the next day. It’s about 350 pages long, so I expected about 5 to 6 hours of a read for me, so probably 5 days given that I have about an hour a day where I have time to read. Perhaps because it was a weekend, or maybe I chose to make more time because of how engaging it was, it only took me 2 days.

Mind you, I have nothing to compare it to when it comes to either romance or gay fiction, having read very little of either, yet it feels like it’s at the top of its category. It had mystery and intrigue, crime and thrills, some romance (well, mostly sex) and very bold characters that bordered on obnoxius and charming all at the same time (in a good way). I could never be best friends with either of the main characters as they would eventually annoy the hell out of me, but anyone would be blessed to have a friendship with either Austin or Peter given their intensity and committment to learning about each other.

Could something like this ever really happen? Seems far-fetched, but I could be naive on the subject. Would someone really give up their entire career given the risks being taken? I suppose if they wanted to get out of their job, yes, but Austin seemed to love his job. It is fiction though, so I hold my disbelief given the amazing characters that are created and the sarcastic but real dialogue contained throughout the whole story.

If you’re looking for something with some spice, intrigue, passion and witty humor, definitely give it a read. If you are a bit faint of heart when it comes to this kinda stuff, it may be too much for a first read! I’ll definitely read the second book in the series and will probably add it to the lineup for later this year after an Agatha Christie story and a cozy about a librarian who solves crimes.

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Review: Indemnity Only

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Indemnity Only
Indemnity Only by Sara Paretsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What can you say about VI Warshawski? She’s hilarious… and someone you’d want to know in real life. She’s got a nice chip on her shoulder, but it becomes endearing. And she takes risks. This was a great debut novel for the series and I loved when it became the focus for a movie. I stopped reading this series about 8 to 10 years ago when I was all caught up… but I think I have a few to get back to. Tough crime novel. Good characters. A definite good read.

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