homeless

Book Review: W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

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When Sue Grafton passed away about 3 months ago, and her family said they wouldn’t be publishing the final 26th book of the Alphabet series, I was very disappointed. The world lost a fantastic writer, creator and author, not to mention human being and literary supporter. Grafton’s books kept me sane for a decade… I immersed myself in the world of Kinsey Millhone and Santa Teresa, California. It’s one of the most vividly drawn series of books I have ever found. I hadn’t finished the last few books in the previous five years, so I bought the remaining three and started W is for Wasted last week. It was like coming home again… I really missed the characters and found the book quite good. It wasn’t her best, certainly not the worst, but somewhere in that middle comfort zone. I can’t wait to read X and Y, but I know they’ll be the end. All good things have to embrace it sometimes…

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In this story, we see the perspective of the dead investigator for whom Kinsey needs to re-trace some steps. How did he get himself killed? Throw in a great plot (and sense of humanity) in talking about the life of the homeless in a balanced way (not just throwing shade at them)… Grafton provides keen insight into the minds and thoughts of people stuck in a situation with nowhere to turn. I enjoyed this style, found myself with eyes opening wider, and laughed out loud way too many times.

It’s a strong book in the series, and I think it shows a lot of the early reasons why I feel in love with the stories and characters. The only thing that pushed my buttons a little bit was an excessive amount of sideline backstories that really had nothing to do with the main stories… meaning 3 or 4 pages would be devoted to the history of some building that had little to do with the plot. Solid writing, interesting, but not connected. Not enough to be painful, but it crossed the line a few times where I found myself taking breaks at times I would normally just plow right through the story.

Kudos to another solid plot and re-introduction of past characters we hadn’t seen in a long time. Thx!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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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Book Review: Savannah Sleuth by Alan Chaput

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Why This Book 
I belong to a cozy mystery reader group that offers ARCs of upcoming books through a giveaway contest. I won Alan Chaput‘s book, Savannah Sleuth, the first in his Vigilantes for Justice series from Falcon Press, published in early 2018.

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Approach & Style 
I read the paperback version of this 271-page novel in 4 hours over 3 days. It is told with a third-person point-of-view and via a perspective focused primarily on the main character, Patricia (Patsy); however, ~20% of the chapters focus on other characters so that readers know what’s going on behind the scenes even though Patsy is unaware what has happened.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
The novel takes place in Savannah, Georgia with a trip to Paris, France for a few chapters. It focuses on super-rich Patricia (Patsy) Falcon, her mother, her husband their daughter, friends and enemies. Patsy’s mother dies under mysterious circumstances, prompting Patsy and her friends to search for the killer… but here’s where this story takes a different arc. Her husband is part of a coalition to protect Savannah, so he’s secretly investigating the death as well but she doesn’t know it. As Patsy and her friends begin finding leads, more people keep dying or having accidents. Throw in some family issues with their daughter, side-stories involving the church, a homeless man who is searching for a parent, philanthropic efforts among the different friends in Patsy’s group, affairs, and a very high-tech security detail… and you’ve got a lot of things to try and connect across the chapters.

Key Thoughts 
Savannah as a backdrop is a wonderful setting. I’ve not been to the city but will be going later this year at the end of summer. I can’t wait to see how well reality compares to the descriptions in this novel. It was highly engrossing, completely beautiful, and impressive in terms of how well integrated into the story. I felt like I was there while reading the book.

The vigilante concept is quite intriguing when you consider the vigilantes are the super-rich who run the city. Between the gun-toting society ladies, the friendly welcome and assistance of homeless, and openness about how they need to murder bad people in order to protect the town, I found myself constantly surprised at what people said and did.

A few parts made me turn my head and scratch the back of my scalp… only because it just didn’t seem like a specific action could really happen the way it did, but it felt like maybe that was the point of the story. Once I just let my concerns go, falling into the complexity and depth of the story, I loved it. I felt the same way about the ending in terms of leaving too many things unsolved; however, it’s clear those will be addressed in book two. Had some of these been a bit stronger or more fleshed out, I would have given this a cozy mystery a 5-star rating.

Chaput has a great platform and baseline to tell many stories in this series. The characters are rich with interesting personalities; I often couldn’t tell who to trust and who to fear… it’s a lot of grey and very little black and white. That was one of my favorite parts.

Summary 
I’m very excited about this new mystery series. It’s a solid 4+ star rating and may have been higher if a few loose threads were tied together before the end. It’s a little darker than a typical cozy, but in a good way. I like how there’s a lot going on in the stories, especially the side plots and secondary characters. I will definitely be reading the next one which is coming out very soon.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Down to the Needle by Mary Deal

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Why This Book 
After reading a few light-hearted mysteries and non-fiction books, I was in need of a strong thriller and suspense novel. I had Mary Deal’s Down to the Needle in my Kindle downloaded book list, as it was recommended by a friend. I flipped through the summary and overview, which convinced me to give it a try last week; I’m quite glad I did.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
There are several plot lines in this book, but they weave together in multiple ways in a typical small American town called Seaport. The book kicks off with Abi and Joe, mid-40s to early 50s, covering a string of fires occurring across the city. We learn that Abi has been searching for her daughter, whom her husband had kidnapped nearly twenty-three years ago. Joe stumbles onto an ex who disappeared many years ago, but they’ve found solace in one another as he makes plans to get her off the street. Abi and Joe have their own separate careers and homes, but they consider the possibility of future marriage, assuming Abi can find out if her husband is dead or find a way to divorce him. News outlets are covering the upcoming execution of a young inmate named Megan, who was accused of torching a house eight-years earlier that killed a man’s wife and children. Then Abi finds a few clues which lead them to believe Megan could be her long-lost daughter. The book navigates the path they each take separately, and together, to find their pasts, as well as determine if they can build a future together. New eye-witnesses to the fires step forward and more fires occur. A lead on Abi’s missing daughter unfolds and the discovery of what really happened to Joe’s ex take center stage during this journey — all ending with some happy, bittersweet and sad news. Let’s just say… ‘Down to the Needle’ is the perfect title for many reasons.

Approach & Style 
I read the 381-page novel on my iPad through Kindle Reader. It took about 5 hours over a few days; there are 62 chapters, each fairly short and easy to digest. The story is told in third-person POV with a perspective mostly focused on Abi and Joe. The setting is vividly described, bringing a clear picture of everything, including fires, character expressions and thoughts, homeless conditions, prisons and medical illnesses.

Key Thoughts 
One of the best things I enjoyed about this book is the approach Deal takes in evolving the entire story. There are tons of facts and background information that need to be revealed, but it’s moderately paced and deliberately methodical, to the point where you find your eyes bulging as you get a tad frustrated because you can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s full of suspense, keeping you hanging many times – and then a curve ball comes out of nowhere, in a very almost nonchalant way – it shocks you had some of these things just pop up in a realistic way. Some may find that style hard to digest at first, but once you realize you’re on this wild ride, and you really won’t know what will be thrown at you next, you just dive in to see what happens to the hero and heroine(s) in the story – there may be a few heroines, I can’t decide how I feel! You desperately want Abi to find her daughter, have absolutely no belief/trust that Megan could possibly be her daughter, and then you get happily slammed with something that makes you change your mind, over and over again. It’s great… and when you finally learn all that happened, it’s a brilliant evolution and clearly shows the art of a slow-burning build before the fire pops. Deal has strong skills in this area. The story has a little bit of everything and every genre. It is never boring; a few times, you might wonder where it’s going, but you hang on tightly because you know the author has a plan in mind on how to connect it together. It won’t let you down… to the needle.

Summary 
Mary Deal is an excellent writer, and I am very glad I read this book. I will pick up a copy of her latest novel, The Ka, in the next few months. I enjoy her character development, complex plots, methodical approach to laying out the setting and descriptions, and ability to weave in just enough confusion and red herrings to keep the pages constantly turning. Kudos!

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Review: Tunnel Vision

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Tunnel VisionBook Review

3+ out of 5 stars for Tunnel Vision, the 8th mystery book in the “VI Warshawski” thriller series, written in 1994 by Sara Paretsky. In this book, Paretsky tackles the struggle of the homeless, domestic abuse and city politics. With her building set to be knocked down, VI has to find alternative offices, but she won’t give up. When she’s one of the last people still holding on to her lease, she finds herself being target. First she’s stalked and scared in the building. Then she finds a dead body, who later turns out to be a woman she volunteered with at a shelter. Then it’s connected to a city official, and she’s eventually accused of the murder. How does she get herself into these situations? While a good book in the series, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. It’s still a good series. I think VI’s personality got to me too much in this book. I know she’s under attack. And she’s trying to do the right thing. But she was a tad annoying and self-indulgent in some chapters. Eventually, we get back into the norm where she fights the right people and helps make her point, but it was a little over-done this time.

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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.