Monday, January 20, 2020

Bomber's Moon by Archer Mayor

Guest reviewer Kevin Tipple is back with his review of a book on terrarium gardening.  Check out his blog Kevin's Corner for more book reviews and book news, as well as links to topics of interest.

Reviewed by Kevin Tipple
The thirtieth novel in a very good series by Archer Mayor, Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel, opens in the winter time in Vermont. There is a man who is very good at his job. Unfortunately for some folks, Alex Hale’s being good at his job means their stuff gets stolen. For a certain someone, that theft will cause the potential of a secret going back decades to be exposed and that can’t be allowed.

Joe Gunther and his team in the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, the VBI, are about to have their own case in Bellow Falls. The murder case of Lyall Johnson seems pretty straight forward on the face of it: a guy named Brandon Leggatt knifed him over drugs and fled the scene. A fight between low life criminals who have very long rap sheets going back many years covering a wide ranging list of petty crimes indicates that things led to the always inevitable conclusion. Joe Gunther has been doing this job for a lot of years and he is sure from the start that something more is at work.

At the same time, Sally Kravitz, private investigator, is hired for an infiltration and surveillance job. Something is rotten at Thorndike Academy. What exactly is wrong is vague and nothing more than a nagging suspicion that her employer has at this point. One of those deals when you know something is off, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it. He wants confirmation. She soon needs some help and enlists Rachel Railing, a reporter, who is moving into the investigation side of things.

The above explanation not only greatly simplifies the various situations, it also barely scratches the surface of this latest very complicated novel in the series. Things escalate quickly on all these fronts and more in this highly entertaining mystery. Long time readers very familiar with these characters and their evolving situations will find much to like in this latest installment. All the usual suspects are back and the only real question is how well they play together with their often differing and clashing agendas.

Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel is another mighty good read in a series full of them. Sure you could start here and it would work, but what is the fun in that? Go to the beginning and start with Open Season.

Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
September 2019
ISBN# 978-1-250-11330-6
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
324 Pages (311 pages actual story)

Material came from the Mountain Creek Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Friday, January 17, 2020

Here to Stay by Mark Edwards

Reviewed by Laura

            This thriller chillingly explores the folly of inviting strangers into your home. Elliot Foster has a beautiful house and garden in England that he has refurbished by himself. Having begun an educational website that became wildly popular, he was able to sell the site, earning enough money to purchase and remodel his home as well as start a nonprofit to teach science to children in underprivileged areas. Life is good. He is a success at his job and loves the house he has lovingly brought back to its former glory. But then on a fateful weekend, he participates in an Open Garden Event and falls madly in love at first sight. He is ready to call it a day when the lovely Gemma Robinson walks through the garden gate. He is intrigued and even gives her the grand tour of the entire property. As fate would have it, during the course of the tour, he suffers a bee sting and almost dies from anaphylactic shock. Gemma gets him to the hospital in time and saves his life. Consequently, they develop a deep connection and begin a whirlwind romance.

            After a mere two months courtship, they elope.  Almost immediately, Gemma hears from her parents saying they will be arriving from France and asking if they can stay for a couple of weeks while they look for a place to stay. Most would feel this was an imposition, especially newlyweds, but having lost his parents to an accident at the age of eighteen, Elliot is anxious to meet his new in-laws and thrilled to fill the house with family. Unfortunately, this is where life as he knows it ceases to exist. Her parents arrive with Gemma’s sister, Chloe, who is said to be ill and doesn’t speak or leave her room. The parents are a nightmare, crude and messy, turning his beloved house upside down. It soon becomes evident that leaving is the last thing on their minds—they are here to stay. After almost a month with no sign of relief, Elliot begins to suspect his whole marriage is a sham with Gemma targeting him and his property rather than serendipitously showing up on the day they met. Nothing makes sense.  He can’t explain the scars on her body she refuses to discuss or her obvious lack of affection for her parents. Elliot doesn’t know what to believe, but decides to look into the background of his in-laws, hoping to find a way to force them to vacate the premises. And that’s when the terror really begins.

            This book was an easy read and kept me intrigued throughout. There are numerous twists and turns and I found the whole concept mesmerizing. Could someone really move into your house and just refuse to leave?!  How far would you go to get rid of them? I made the mistake of reading this book late at night and almost scared myself out of a good night’s sleep! It is fast-paced and engrossing, I definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Nevermore: Hellhound, Long Haul, Have Dog Will Travel, World's Strongest Librarian, This Is the Way the World Ends

Reported by Jeanne

Hellhound on His Trail:  The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for his Assassin by Hampton Sides kept our Nevermore reader enthralled.  The book documents how petty thief and conman James Earl Ray was influenced by the rise of George Wallace, and began stalking the Civil Rights Leader.  After King’s murder, it took 65 days for investigators to catch up with Ray, a hunt that lead to Canada, Portugal, and various other countries.  The book was thoroughly researched and contains step by step accounts of how Ray committed his crime.  She said that even though it was a time period she thought she knew well, she was still surprised by things.  This book is highly recommended.

Jeff Nesbit’s This is the Way the World Ends is a sobering look at the effects of climate change. Extended droughts in some parts of the world are affecting food production while the number of powerful hurricanes hitting U.S. is growing.  Struggles over access to fresh water will have a powerful impact on human societies.  Our reader recommends the book but warns it may keep you up at night.

A more optimistic reading experience was provided by Have Dog, Will Travel by poet and memoirist Stephen Kuusisto. Born legally blind, Kuusisto was taught to try to hide his disability, a strategy that worked as long as he was in familiar surroundings. Losing his job, however, meant that he needed more mobility:  enter Corky, a Guide Dog.  The bond between the two is instantaneous and Kuusisto finds his life forever changed.  The book is beautifully written, and does an excellent job of describing how life is for a blind person.  It’s also a tribute to the bond between human and canine.  Our reviewer loved it.

The World’s Strongest Librarian received a lukewarm reception from our next reader. Librarian Josh Hanagarne’s memoir of growing up Mormon and dealing with Tourette syndrome received good reviews for its candor, humor and insight.  Weight-lifting turned out to be one of the few things that helped, hence the book’s title.  The Nevermore reader was unimpressed, saying that it was confusing and not very interesting.

Finally, The Long Haul by Finn Murphy came up for discussion again.  This is the memoir of a young man who decided to drop out of college and become a long distance trucker. This beautifully written and insightful book has charmed a number of Nevermore readers with its humor and commentary on life, globalization, politics, and consumerism.  It was yet again highly recommended.