“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” by bestselling author Michael Connelly
(Little, Brown, $29) is the latest in his exceptionally popular series
starring Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch.
The former LAPD Homicide Detective and cold case specialist has left the
department after 30 years. Now he’s working part time as a private
He doesn’t have an office - soon he’s contacted by Whitney Vance, a
Summoned to Vance’s huge mansion, Bosch agrees to investigate whether the
industrialist had any heirs, which requires a lot of painstaking
When he was just 18, Vance had an affair with a Mexican girl, who became
pregnant and then disappeared. Bosch follows many leads, following a
trail with a link to the War in Viet-Nam, bringing back painful memories.
Bosch attempts to track down the truth, utilizing a wide variety of
resources to find pertinent information.
Other corporate executives may have a lot to lose – and Bosch is wary of
possible of intervention as he uncovers long hidden family secrets.
But Bosch has other problems – he’s also working part-time as an unpaid
reserve officer in the small San Fernando CA police department.
One of the cases he’s dealing with involves a serial rapist, known as
“the Screen Cutter” because of his method of gaining access to his
During his investigation, Bosch and members of his department make some
unnerving discoveries, leading to distinctively deadly situations.
“The Lincoln Lawyer”, Bosch’s half-brother Mickey Haller, plays an
important role as the tension mounts. The author expertly examines the
challenges facing small police departments, including budget cuts,
internal friction and inexperience.
This is an excellent police procedural crime novel, one of Connelly’s
best; it’s full of well-developed characters, taut situations and vivid
Readers who’ve been to the Los Angeles area are likely to appreciate
details relating to the freeways, traffic and assorted restaurants.
While it helps to be familiar with the characters through Connelly’s
earlier novels, this also works well as a stand-alone entry.
His main character has appeared for two years on “Bosch”, the Amazon
Prime television series, although aspects of the character’s past are
This is a highly entertaining tale that’s easily one of the top crime
novels of the year.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
“The Wrong Side of Goodbye” by bestselling author Michael Connelly
Sunday, November 20, 2016
If you’re a cat lover and need something to lift your spirits, here’s a
quick look at a pair of books you might have missed.
While one is brightly illustrated and the other is full of photos, each
is likely to leave you smiling.
“Cat vs. Human Fairy Tails” by Yasmine Surovec (Andrews McMeel, $14.95)
is a cute paperback collection of fairy tales drawn in a very simplistic,
Each story is briefly showcased, using great images of one to four panels
per page, creatively combining vivid colors and word balloons.
Surovec, who has a large web following with her blog, adroitly retells
ten favorite fairy tales, featuring furry felines as main characters or
having them playing pivotal parts in the plot.
“Rapunzel” alters the storyline a bit, with the bored and lonely heroine
lowering her long, braided hair only to find it full of kitties when she
beings it back up.
Later, she gets a major surprise when a prince appears, looking for his
beloved cats. Of course, there’s a purr-fect happy ending, but that’s the
way it should be.
Other tales include “Goldilocks”, with a kitten who prefers an empty box
over any bed choices, “Sleeping Beauty”, with unexpected results, and
“Jack and the Beanstalk”, a pretty seedy story.
Surovec has written/illustrated numerous highly entertaining books for
feline fans, including “Cat vs. Humans”, “Poems About Cats”, “My Pet
Human” and “I See Kitty”.
“Men with Cats” by New York photographer David Williams (Quirk Books,
$12.95) is subtitled “Intimate Portraits of Feline Friendship.”
It offers over 140 pages of sharp color photographs living up to the
title, usually with one page devoted to the image and an opposing one
with a brief explanation of their human/feline relationship.
Sometimes the people discuss how they acquired their cats; others talk
about their cat’s behavior or different attitudes and affections.
Many of the cats are photographed on laps or beds, a few are on top of
shoulders or furniture.
Cats are everywhere, in many different colors and types - inside,
outside, near fireplaces and outdoors.
The exceptionally talented photographer began his efforts on this book in
2009; he’d be smart to work on a companion volume: “Women with Cats.”
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books
regularly since 1987. He has two cats, Parker and Callie.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
“Devil’s Grace” by Bath author Karen Dean Benson (Satin Romance, $15.95) is a compelling historical romance that’s subtitled “Renn Arelia’s Story.” Benson is a member of East Lansing’s MSUCC Creative Writing
It’s an intriguing debut novel, the first in her “Ladies of Mischief” series, set in the late 1700’s in England and Spain.
The well-designed 290-page trade paperback showcases eighteen-year-old, beautiful Renn Arelia Sheridan, who’s orphaned when her parents tragically drown in a carriage accident.
She enjoys teaching young children, but her new guardians, a duke and duchess, have other ideas. They tell her that her parents, who ran prosperous horse-breeding stables, left her nothing.
The pair have searched Renn’s room and the entire manor, looking for a valuable emerald locket. They put the location up for sale and dismiss the staff, forcing Renn to go with them to the ancestral Chippenham estate in London.
They have other devious plans for her, including an arranged marriage to a wealthy, obnoxious French Marquis.
When strong-willed Renn rebuffs the betrothal, she gets into real trouble; she quickly makes her escape into the dark night.
She’s almost run over by a carriage and is picked up by handsome Sebastian Navarre, Spanish Captain of “The Wind Devil”.
Renn is soon aboard his ship, wanting to dropped-off at Gravesend, where she plans to teach in an orphanage.
An unexpected romance occurs, the intrigue never stops and the swiftly-paced book soon becomes impossible to put down.
Benson’s terrific tale is full of well-developed characters, carefully-researched locales and settings, believable dialogue, dangerous threats and a brooding air of tension.
Her second volume in the series “Mission Song - Chenoa’s Story” (Satin Romance, $16.95) is a stand-alone novel that’s set in the 1830’s.
It follows the journey of a young woman who escapes the suffocating restrictions of a Boston convent, returning to Carmel, Alta California, where she was born.
As in Benson’s first book, there are many family secrets, unusual relationships, thwarted romance and violence; a nasty, vengeful character with evil intentions must be stopped.
“Mulberry Bend – Aisling’s Story”, the third entry in the series, set in the 1860’s, has numerous surprises as well; it’s scheduled for release later this summer.
More information is available at www.karendeanbenson.com.
Sunday, July 3, 2016
If you’re looking for bizarre, adrenaline-charged entertainment, “Double Tap”, by Canadian author Peter McGarvey (Cliff House Publishing, $14.95) should certainly be on your reading list.
It is likely to have specialized appeal however, as the entertaining crime novel has many deadly scenes of violence and sexual overtones.
More than half of the characters end up as corpses in a variety of often-gruesome murder scenes – untraceable to the main characters Rip Hunter and his sidekick Wilma.
Operating as expensive contract killers out of Detroit, the deadly duo are quite successful, relying exclusively on recommendations from their many satisfied customers.
This well-researched trade paperback is laced with dark humor, focusing on the incredible and sometimes improbable lengths the psychopaths will go to get information.
Against his better judgment, Rip takes on an unusual assignment – track down the killers of a prominent Senator for the Senator’s daughter.
It’s odd because he already knows the answer – Rip and Wilma did the unsolved crime three years earlier; they have to dig much deeper to discover the source of the money given to the person who hired them.
Their crime-laden journey gets them into many hectic confrontations, including deadly action with mobsters, renegade bikers, crooked cops, a nasty prison guard, a satanic cult, sadistic reclusive billionaires, hungry alligators and much, much more.
Intriguing characters abound, including a clever therapist, power-driven inmates, assorted geniuses, other successful hitmen and a pretty drug-smuggler.
The action doesn’t take place only in Detroit; the blood-spattered tale begins in Switzerland and moves around the country with conflict in a Michigan prison, a whiteout snowstorm in Buffalo NY and a Class Four hurricane in Charleston SC.
Just when you think “What else can possibly go wrong?” something does – their use of a truth serum and a drone gets unexpected, often surprising results.
While the characters names are occasionally annoying, the carefully-concocted, convoluted plot has an ending that’s impossible to predict.
This is the second book in a series, following “Hair-Trigger”, where Rip and Wilma break their own rules and get into lots of trouble.
McGarvey is also the author of two books in the Molly Parsons series, “Dark Sunset” and “Bloody Sunset” starring a Michigan small-town police officer with a haunted past.
More information is available at www.petermcgarvey.com.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Sunday, June 12, 2016