Carlson, David L. & Landis Blair. The Hunting Accident: A True Story of Crime and Poetry.

NY: First Second, 2017.

If you’re in the market for a really involving graphic novel that will keep you absorbed for hours and have you hunting up background material so you can learn more, I strongly recommend this one. It’s the winter of 1959 in Chicago and ten-year-old Charlie Rizzo has just returned to live with his father following his divorced mother’s death in California. He doesn’t really know his father that well, except that he’s blind and writes poetry, but his mother and grandmother had felt the need to “save” Charlie from him five years earlier.



Dessen, Sarah. Saint Anything.

NY: Viking, 2015.

I’ve become thoroughly hooked on Dessen’s novels, for all that they’re marketed for young adults. Her narrative and character-development skills make her books engaging reading for any age group. There’s rather more trauma this time, though. Seventeen-year-old Sidney Stanford used to practically worship her older brother, Peyton, the local golden boy, but that was before he started making bad decisions and getting arrested.


Published in: on 2 October 2017 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hill, Reginald. Death’s Jest-Book.

NY: HarperCollins, 2003.

I’ve always preferred to read my way through an extended series of mystery novels in chronological order, because each new case generally builds on those that came before and the characters develop in the same way. Some readers jump around within a series and seem none the worse for it — but that’s really not an option here. This volume follows hard on the heels of its immediate predecessor, Dialogues of the Dead, and actually continues the plotline. The two books together are nearly 1,000 pages and you should think of them as a single fat novel.


Mina, Denise. Deception.

NY: Little, Brown, 2003.

Mina has done a couple of pretty good mystery/thriller series but this is a one-off and I don’t think it’s entirely successful. Dr. Lachlan Harriot is a Glasgow physician whose life has just fallen apart. He’s fully qualified but has never actually had a practice (he apparently has psychological problems dealing with strangers), leaving that instead to his wife, Susie, a psychiatrist working at a prison.


Published in: on 20 October 2015 at 5:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Nesbo, Jo. The Son.

NY: Knopf, 2014.

Even though I kind of have a thing for Scandinavian detective fiction, Nesbo has been a recent discovery for me, and then mostly through his independent novels rather than the “Harry Hole” series. This one shows off the author’s mature noir style and it’s sure to hit the big screen shortly.


Published in: on 21 February 2015 at 8:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grisham, John. The Racketeer.

NY: Doubleday, 2012.

Malcolm Bannister is black, forty-three years old, a quiet and modestly successful civil attorney, with a wife he loves and a young son he adores. He’s also halfway through a ten-year sentence in a federal minimum-security prison in far western Maryland on a RICO conviction. He still doesn’t know quite how he got there since he didn’t knowingly commit any crime, but that’s how the federal justice system works these days.


Published in: on 2 May 2014 at 5:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Grisham, John. The Brethren.

NY: Doubleday, 2000.

This is an odd sort of a novel for Grisham. At first, there are two separate narratives which are very different from each other. The first, superficially reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, involves three judges doing time in a minimum-security federal prison in Florida.


Published in: on 1 March 2014 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Leonard, Elmore. Out of Sight.

NY: Delacorte, 1996.

Forty-seven-year-old Jack Foley has been a bank robber since the age of eighteen. He’s hit hundreds of banks and is good enough at it that the cops have never given him a derisory nickname — but he’s not so good that he doesn’t get caught.


Published in: on 8 February 2014 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rankin, Ian. Black and Blue.

NY: St. Martin, 1997.

Back in the late ‘60s, a serial killer had the Scottish police losing sleep and women all over Scotland looking over their shoulders. Because of his habit of leaving Bible verses with his victims, the newspapers dubbed him “Bible John.” And then he disappeared and the murders are still unsolved. (All this is true, actually.)


Lovesey, Peter. The Summons.

NY: Mysterious Press, 1995.

Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond of Bath was an old-fashioned sort of copper. Not a bobby-on-the-village-green type, certainly, but he solved cases through careful, plodding investigation, with a specialty in interviewing witnesses and suspects. Besides, he’s terrible with any technology more complex than shoelaces, and he was always quick to point out to colleagues just how unreliable computers are.


Published in: on 2 December 2013 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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