Monday, August 31, 2020

Masked Prey by John Sandford

We are delighted to present another review from Kevin Tipple, author and avid reader.  He maintains a review and information blog which is primarily concerned with the mystery, thriller, and crime fiction. Check it out at Kevin's Corner.

It has been a few months since U.S. Marshall Lucas Davenport was shot. September is half gone and he knows he still doesn’t look right no matter what the others say. Working out helps, but he isn’t back physically or emotionally, and he knows it. He also can’t spend much time worrying about where he is at as he has new case to work. He lives for the hunt. That freedom to hunt bad folks come with a cost when folks pull strings to get you a job. In this case, that cost is the occasional political task.

The latest installment payment has come due and that means that Lucas Davenport has to go to Washington to quietly meet with Senators Elmer Henderson and Porter Smalls. In a surprise to Lucas and no one else, Jane Chase of the FBI is also present for the meeting. They come to Lucas for his ability to hunt as well as his discretion as the daughter of Senator Roberta Coil of Georgia has a problem.

Audrey Coil found some of her pictures as well as pictures of other kids of elected officials on a hidden website billed as “1919.” The nineteen appears to be related to the nineteenth letter of the alphabet, the letter S. In other words, the site name is code for SS. Based on what is on the site, it appears to be a Neo-Nazi type group issuing a subtle call to action and using the pictures of kids as suggested targets. Nothing overt that clearly is a threat though one could look at the site and come to that conclusion. The FBI has been able to determine the site is hosted out of Sweden which has strict privacy laws making finding out anything about those involved impossible. Everything is well hidden, including the website address and the people behind it, which means they cannot be identified and questioned.

Senator Smalls and Porter are acting on behalf of a number of the parents of the kids who have pictures on the site and want something done about it. The simple solution of removing the site from the internet would create a new problem as those behind it could put it up again and do a way better job of hiding it. They got lucky with finding it in the first place because Audrey Coil has an internet presence, and advertiser base, and her and her boyfriend stumbled across it. The parents want Lucas to dig and see if he can find a crime so that the FBI can do something more than what they have done so far. At this point, there is no real crime that could be prosecuted as taking pictures of others in public and posting them on the internet is not a crime. They want Lucas to dig quietly so that the media does not get wind of it and start broadcasting the investigation news day and night.

Chase of the FBI gives Lucas everything they have so far and wants Lucas to keep her updated as she really wants his help. Lucas is also to keep Director Mallard advised of what he is doing and update Smalls and Porter as necessary as well as give them deniability should things go bad from a political perspective.

Things start escalating very fast after Lucas does a few interviews, starting with Audrey Coil, and reads a lot of files. The situation is complicated and messy and keeping things quiet soon becomes impossible in Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel by John Sandford.

Then the shooting and killing really starts.

This latest in the series is a fast moving thriller style read with lots of moving parts. Some may object to the fact that politics from both sides of the aisle is sprinkled throughout the read with the author pointing out various issues from time to time regarding extremism on the right as well as the left. Considering the subject matter, it would be impossible to leave the politics out of it. Despite what you may read in some criticism, the author does a very good job of balancing both sides of various issues while not overriding the main story of the hunt. Mr. Sandford still has the touch thirty books later in this series and Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel is a mighty good read.

While I have been on the hold at the library for months now, Scott put me on hold for the eBook format and made things work so that I could get it now when it came up through the Dallas Public Library System.

Masked Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel
John Sandford
G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Books)
April 2020
eBook (also available in hardback, large print, and audio formats)
416 Pages

Friday, August 28, 2020

Lit Stitch: 25 Cross-Stitch Patterns for Book Lovers, edited for Book Riot by Meredith A. Clark, patterns and instructional text by Shawna Tang

Reviewed by Kristin

Lit Stitch is an excellent mix for anyone who loves books, and who is feeling a little crafty. Most of these patterns could be knocked out in an evening or a weekend by anyone with a small amount of experience with a needle and embroidery floss. The designs are cute and modern, and would be easy to adapt for a framed project, a bookmark, or a t-shirt.

I’m particularly fond of the “Bookasaurus,” with books decorating the spine of the stegosaurus. That prehistoric creature would be adorable on a baby bib or a toddler’s t-shirt. Maybe I’ll start with the valentine, “ISBN Thinking of You” for my daughter who also works at a library and really, really, really likes puns. (Shh, don’t tell her!)

Ever popular is the saying, “I Read Dead People,” and this is worked into a design with a Shakespearean head including X’s for eyes. Also within you will find “Books & Coffee,” “Read ‘Em and Steep,” and “Bring Your Own Book” (with a wine bottle.) Yes, this book has designs for whatever you like to drink. Or read.

One thing that perplexed me was that four or five of the projects had varying images in the book. An early index spread shows every single design and which page to find them. This summary page has several more elaborate images, but when you go to the actual page it is a more simplistic pattern, often leaving out more than half of the original picture. Did they just go crazy with their creativity, and then couldn’t translate it to a grid? At any rate, I’ll just take the fancier pictures as inspiration. I like to try to improve upon recipes or crafting designs, albeit with varying degrees of success.

The book includes a few patterns with mature language, so this might not be the best book for children or young adults. I know this may make the book more *or* less appealing for a variety of crafters, so reader be aware!