Holy Chow: An Andy Carpenter Mystery by David Rosenfelt – #Audiobook Review – #AnimalCozyMysteries

Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt

Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt

Rosepoint Rating: 5 stars

Book Blurb:

In Holy Chow, the next mystery from bestselling author David Rosenfelt, the beloved characters—both human and canine—of this fan favorite series are back on the case with the author’s trademark wit and humor.

Retired lawyer Andy Carpenter’s calling has always been running the Tara Foundation. The dog rescue organization places hundreds of dogs in new homes every year. It’s added up to so many dogs and new owners that Andy can’t even do the math. But there’s one dog—and one owner—Andy will always remember. 

About a year ago, Rachel Morehouse came to the foundation looking for a companion. In her sixties and recently widowed, Rachel wanted a senior dog that also needed someone. Andy took a liking to her, Rachel took a liking to Lion, an older Chow Chow, and the rest is history. 

That is, until Rachel calls Andy begging for a favor: If Rachel dies, will Andy take care of Lion if her stepson cannot? Andy agrees, no questions asked, and promptly forgets about it… until he receives a call from Rachel’s estate to attend her will reading. Which is where he meets Rachel’s stepson, Tony, who is promptly arrested for his stepmother’s murder. And he wants Andy to prove his innocence. 

Andy has continued to learn more about the woman he so greatly admired and the businesses she ran, and holy chow, was this woman impressive. The person who killed her deserves to be held accountable, and if Tony is to be believed, they’re still out there. And that possibility is too much for Andy to remain on the sidelines.

My Review:

Yes, yes, I know. Seems like yesterday I was reviewing a David Rosenfelt book, but that one was Citizen K-9, a K Team series mystery. Between the two, although don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the K-9 team series too, just that for me I know even if this is Book 25 of the series, I’m going to be entertained and finish the book happy with the time spent. My only problem is that they are usually short audiobooks.

Holy Chow by David RosenfeltThe Andy Carpenter novels have a winning formula. Andy is retired, wealthy, and supports a dog rescue called the Tara Foundation. He has Tara and Sebastian, as well as his wife Laurie and their adopted son. He also has an amazing team—love the character of Marcus—a most unique character and he has the chance to shine in this one.

There is a mystery involving a dog, he’ll grudgingly accept the case, usually because he really feels in his heart the person is innocent. The case that may have started simple usually gets real complex and eventually goes to trial, and yes, I always enjoy that legal bamboozle as well. So much fun.

Fun? Yes, that’s at the heart of these pseudo-cozy mysteries, the humor, the snark, and the right amount of witty dialogue combined with serious and intelligent fact-finding. These audiobooks will keep you in a good mood even when you have to go grocery shopping. Trust me.

I’ve learned not to try and figure out the guilty antagonist (sometimes more than one) and just go with the flow. Listen and enjoy.

I can think of no narrator other than Grover Gardner who so clearly IS Andy Carpenter just as George Guidall is Walt Longmire on Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire mystery series. Whether or not you read or listen to the audiobook, you still hear their voices. I would strongly suggest the audiobooks for the sense you just won’t get reading.

Catch my review of Book 23 Dog Eat Dog and hang on for the next one. I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my favorite library of course. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Animal Cozy Mysteries, Animal Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B09GH1J5XB
Listening Length: 6 hrs 27 mins
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Publication Date: July 5, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Links: Holy Chow [Amazon]
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David Rosenfelt - authorThe Author: David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. “Open And Shut” was his first novel; “First Degree,” his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

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The Narrator: Grover Gardner’s narration career spans twenty-five years and over 550 audiobook titles. AudioFile Magazine has called him one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and features him in their annual “Golden Voices” update. Publishers Weekly named him Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2005. His recordings have garnered 18 “Golden Earphones” awards from AudioFile and an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers’ Association.
http://grovergardner.blogspot.com/

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah- #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction 

Book Blurb:

Audie Award, Fiction, 2016

In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

France, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

My Review:

Well, mercy, I do pick up some major tear-jerkers. Tear-jerkers for some, DNF for others. It’s another where the divide between the perceived outstanding literary fiction and bad chick-lit sparks an arc between one and five stars. As usual, I manage to come in when the dust has settled.

Okay, yes, I had a few of the same arguments I’ve seen voiced in reviews as I’ve long believed the old adage, “when poverty comes in the door, love flies out the window.” So during war with so many atrocities happening as well as rampant starvation, can you really believe a spark of anything much past the drive to survive? There was more. But I’m not going to hold her feet to the fire for using a modicum of artistic license to spin a riveting tale.

The Nightingale by Kristin HannahHannah may have taken just a few liberties with certain WWII factoids. Still, overall she paints the devastating horrific picture of carnage we’ve been given through survivers and she paints that scene behind the story of two French sisters, Viann and Isabelle.

Polar opposites with some years between, the younger Isabelle is passionate about doing whatever she can to aid her country in the fight against the Germans. And she finds a niche she exploits far beyond what anyone could have expected of either man or woman. I know in my heart there was probably more than one unsung female hero whose sacrifices we’ll never know except through fictionalized stories such as these.

The characters are well drawn: Viann, older and a mother who has kissed her husband goodbye and waiting for his return finally realizes she has been left to survive on her own. Isabelle, alienated from her sister and her father has no compunction in joining the resistance as her youthful confidence would drive her passionate activities safely. Eventually, her service is curtailed and there are retributions to be paid.

It’s a narrative that yanks the emotions one way and then another.

Both the main characters and the support characters create a realistic scene—often coming easily to mind providing numerous cringe-worthy moments. Certainly, there were times when I thought the feat beyond the ability of a woman, much less in wartime, or inclement weather.

You can’t fault the storyline for lagging anywhere; it’s driving, driving, and difficult to stop at any chapter endings. The conclusion in the 1995 wrap-up was satisfying with one little twist left to mull over and it’s one of those books that haunts for some time. My favorite quote:

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.” 

I’ve read several Kristin Hannah books, including most recently The Four Winds*, and enjoyed them all for the human stories they offer; the hope in times of loss, and the amazing resilience of the human spirit.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B00NY8OTR0
Listening Length: 17 hrs 19 mins
Narrator: Polly Stone
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Nightingale [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

http://www.kristinhannah.com

*In April 2021, Netflix and The Walt Disney Company signed a deal with Sony for the right to exclusively stream and broadcast on Disney’s linear television networks for upcoming films, including this film after their theatrical and home media windows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightingale_(upcoming_film)

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint recommended

Dream Town (An Archer Novel) by David Baldacci – #Audiobook Review – #TuesdayBookBlog

Dream Town by David Baldacci

Dream Town by David Baldacci

#1 New Release in Historical Mystery 

Book Blurb:

It’s the eve of 1953, and Aloysius Archer is in Los Angeles to ring in the New Year with an old friend, aspiring actress Liberty Callahan, when their evening is interrupted by an acquaintance of Callahan’s: Eleanor Lamb, a screenwriter in dire straits.

After a series of increasingly chilling events—mysterious phone calls, the same blue car loitering outside her house, and a bloody knife left in her sink—Eleanor fears that her life is in danger, and she wants to hire Archer to look into the matter. Archer suspects that Eleanor knows more than she’s saying, but before he can officially take on her case, a dead body turns up inside of Eleanor’s home . . . and Eleanor herself disappears.

Missing client or not, Archer is dead set on finding both the murderer and Eleanor. With the help of Callahan and his partner Willie Dash, he launches an investigation that will take him from mob-ridden Las Vegas to the glamorous world of Hollywood to the darkest corners of Los Angeles—a city in which beautiful faces are attached to cutthroat schemers, where the cops can be more corrupt than the criminals . . . and where the powerful people responsible for his client’s disappearance will kill without a moment’s hesitation if they catch Archer on their trail. 

My Review:

Okay, yeah, it’s Archer, Book #3. I did catch the first in the Archer series, One Good Deed, and found it…compelling, dispassionate, unusual. Somehow, I missed Book 2 but seems I didn’t miss much. This is the same Archer I remembered from Book 1.

Perhaps what I notice immediately is that 50s style delivery. Not quite Friday-esque, but almost. It’s rather black and white that tends to turn gray sometimes.

Dream Town by David BaldacciBut this entry to the series didn’t quite grab me. Perhaps there were just too many characters. Archer has a lady friend, Liberty Callahan—perfect for the 50s Hollywood set. Back then it was easy to visualize Bogey, Sinatra and his cronies wielding their Hollywood power and mining the darker side of LA for opportunity. Archer, as a private eye is contacted by Eleanor Lamb who is worried about recent threats. Then she promptly disappears leaving a body in her home. (If it’d been me, I’d have dropped it right there.)

Between the mob-riddled Las Vegas scenes and LA, Archer works with Liberty and his partner Willie Dash (a character in his own right) to hunt for the missing Eleanor and the murderer—or is that one and the same?

While the male narrator’s delivery of the storyline was geared toward the period, it just didn’t light a fire, the characters remained a bit blah for me, and the female narrator at times seemed to have phoned the whole thing in, sometimes lagging or slightly disjointed in the dialogue. I suspected she read her part from a remote location.

It’s a bit of a slow burn, noir crime fiction. There are the usual themes in noir fiction of gangsters, drugs, secrets, smuggling, and murder; entertaining if not engaging.

I received a complimentary review copy of this audiobook from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts. 3.5 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, War & Military Action Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ASIN: B09Q89CMLT
Listening Length: 11 hrs
Narrators: Edoardo BalleriniBrittany Pressley
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dream Town [Amazon]

 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

David Baldacci - authorThe Author: David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, “because every mom needs a break now and then.”)

David published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 44 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into over 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries, with 150 million copies sold worldwide. David has also published seven novels for younger readers.

David is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across the United States.

©2022 V Williams

V Williams

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth audiobook banner

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

There’s only been one time that Rose couldn’t stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be…dangerous.

When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.

Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.

My Review:

You can’t beat this clever read for the tension, suspense, and riveting pacing. The author has managed a brilliant masterpiece of unreliable voices.

Who are you to trust? The voice of Fern, on the autistic spectrum, is super sensitive, reticent, intelligent but socially inept. She often views simple concepts literally and it’s confusing to her. Her sister, the slightly older twin, has been successful in life. Marrying, holding a responsible, well-paying position, and always,

…always,

watching over her vulnerable sister.

The Good Sister by Sally HepworthThe sisters, however, have had a chaotic childhood and suffered traumas along the way. They both hold devastating secrets. Rose, through years of therapy, has been advised to keep a journal, chronicle her thoughts and the reader is spoon-fed her entries, alternating with the direct, open, and cloistered life of the librarian, Fern.

When Fern discovers Rose appears incapable of conceiving, she decides this is what a good sister would do—surrogate a baby for Rose. But Fern also decides it’s she who must decide who the sperm donor will be and when she meets Wally (the name she assigns to him), it seems he will be the perfect donor. Wally (Rocco) has issues of his own and understands Fern so it might appear these two are a good match. Indeed, it’s easy to invest in these characters.

While the head might be saying…”wait a minute…there are problems here,” the heart is nodding with joy that these two people, damaged though they might be, found each other and make a happy match.

In the meantime, Rose is beginning not to look so rosy. Doesn’t ring true. She’s manipulative—all those years taking care of Fern—protective? Or controlling.

In the meantime, the well-plotted narrative takes alternate dark and light turns, yanking sensitivities, emotions, pushing boundaries and begins to sneak in a few little revelations—twists you wouldn’t have suspected and the rug starts gently being pulled out from under you.

These two are so different. In looks. In character. In their memories. How could they view the same event with such diverse recollections?

Not prepared for the ultimate reveal, this one knocked the wind out of me. WOW. Have I just been played or what?

I received a review copy of this audiobook from my local lovely library and the narrator did one very fine job—totally had me hooked. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thrillers, Family Life Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B089XJLJ43
Listening Length: 8 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Barrie Kreinik
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Good Sister [Amazon] 
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Sally Hepworth - authorThe Author: Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) The Mother’s Promise (2017), The Family Next Door (2018), The Mother In Law (April 2019), The Good Sister (April 2021) and The Younger Wife (April 2022). Hollywood actress and producer, Amy Poehler, has optioned The Mother In Law for a TV series.

Sally’s books have been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”. Sally’s novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 10+ languages.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.

©2022 V Williams

V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman – #BookReview – Historical World War II Fiction

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanAs captain of a destroyer in the US Navy, Merrill Kendrick plays a crucial and dangerous role in protecting the convoys that are essential to Britain’s survival in the Second World War. Despite pressure from his father to join the family company, a supplier of military radios, Kendrick chose to fight on the front lines of the war, a decision he’s never regretted. But when technical issues with his family’s Gatekeeper radios lead to devastating consequences in combat in the Atlantic, Kendrick needs answers. 

Joe Horiuchi, a second-generation Japanese American, gave up a prestigious future to fight in the merchant marine on behalf of the United States. Though he is faced with harsh discrimination, his brilliance with electronics proves invaluable. When his expertise is most needed, Horiuchi does not flinch in the face of danger—and he suffers the devastating consequences.

Kendrick is a seasoned veteran when it comes to battle—but facing off with U-boats is nothing like facing off with his own father, who may be guilty of treachery. With the help of Horiuchi and his radio communications expertise, Kendrick must uncover the truth of his family business before more lives are lost. 

His Review:

Germany’s U-boats and E-boats were a constant harassment in the North Atlantic Ocean. The German submarines were everywhere in the waters off the eastern coast of the United States all the way to England and France. If a ship is not sunk immediately, an SOS and ship’s position is sent along with the coordinates where the torpedo struck the ship. This would give the rest of the convoy the chance to avoid the area.

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanJoe Horiuchi is the radioman. His orders are to send the final message in hopes that rescue would come for the stranded sailors. Being a Japanese serving in the merchant marines was extremely difficult at that time. Although a Nissei or second-generation Japanese American, Joe had gone to Tufts University and then Rensselaer Polytechnic in New York getting a degree in electronics.

A major defense contractor was cutting corners on preparing vital radio equipment for the military and many of the communications equipment was poorly manufactured. Joe was busy trying to prepare a satisfactory radio from three “junk radios” purchased prior to the voyage. Captain Birdsall had also attended Rensselaer and had a fondness for his Seaman Radioman. They were able to get the distress signal out before abandoning ship.

Running defense and interference for the merchant marine ships delivering defense weapons to England and the North African coast was always a very dangerous endeavor. Throughout the war, many tons of shipping were sunk in transit in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of operation. In June of 1944 Captain Birdsall and his ship and crew were an integral part of the landing of troops and supplies to the Normandy Coast.

CE WilliamsThis book is an excellent memorial to the many men who fought and died freeing Europe from the Third Reich. The description of weapons used and tactics employed were quite illuminating. Catching companies who were cutting corners and seeking profits while endangering our troops was fascinating. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys history and the saga of WWII. 5 stars – C. E. Williams

Much appreciation to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary review copy of this book that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Covenant Communications
ASIN: B09K38GLWN
Print Length: 170 pages
Publication Date: April 4, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Dark Seas [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble

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Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanThe Author: Jerry Borrowman is a best-selling and award-winning author of historical fiction, historical non-fiction, and co-authored biographies.

Compassionate Soldier won the 2018 Indies Gold (First Place) Award from Foreword Reviews in War and Military. Compassionate Soldier and Three Against Hitler (with Rudi Wobbe) are George Washington National Award Winners from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Jerry has given voice to true heroes — Rudi Wobbe, a German boy who stood up against the Third Reich, Joe Banks in A Distant Prayer who served on 49 combat missions deep into German territory in a B-17 bomber, only to be shot down and taken prisoner of war, and Colonel Bernard Fisher, USAF, a career Air Force pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for Valor Above and Beyond the Call of Duty in Vietnam, (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).

But for those who enjoy historical fiction, his World War I and World War II series provides insight into the great European wars of the 20th Century in a unique and exciting way.

Here’s what Jennie Hansen, reviewer for Meridian magazine has to say: “Borrowman does a superb job of portraying life, including the values and prejudices of the early twentieth century. He brings a realism to that period that is slower and more innocent than teens experience today, yet the reader is led to an awareness of and learns to care about the hopes and dreams of these soon-to-be-men, who live in a time when automobiles are still new and airplanes are little more than toys…”

Jerry’s books are for readers of all ages, men and women. They will inspire you by the great sacrifices made by those who have fought for American freedom.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Publishing

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin - Banner

A Reading Ireland Month book

“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”

Book Blurb:

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in best-selling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. 

My Review:

It was in August 1974 when 24 year old Frenchman Philippe Petit made it his “le coup” to illegally walk on a high wire across the top of the twin towers a total of eight times, the “artistic crime of the century.” And the feat was so bizarre, so over-the-top astounding that a film was released about it October 2015 called “The Walk.” I wrote a short article about the headline capturing story on July 2, 2016, not knowing that Colum McCann released this book in January 16, 2015. To be fair, I have not viewed the film.

It wasn’t long before I realized the book was about a particular group of people who may (or may not) have been impacted by this stupendous feat. The first half of the book is very slow, and for me, disjointed. I was trying to figure out how these characters had anything to do with the event that was unfolding before their eyes, or in some other unrelated capacity, connecting them. Indeed, for quite some time it didn’t.

It wasn’t a book about the feat itself or the man who walked the high wire. It was a deep-diving story that eventually begins to form a wire itself—uniting the stories of those five or six of the sixteen plus million people in mid-70s New York City.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCannYou probably couldn’t find a more disparate group of people to dissect, from Irish priest (okay, monk), to mother and daughter hookers. Tillie’s story is graphic and profane but at least she finally breathed some much needed energy into a novel long in the tooth, reveling in finding a topic and expanding on it sixteen different ways, “the wind of the…, the trees of the…, the whatever…eventually just feels like filler to me and indeed, this narrative manages to extend beyond fifteen hours. Not a style I particularly enjoy—the constant philosophizing. It seemed dark, depressing. And when I thought it would get on with the story simply introduced yet another new character that was then studied to within of that life with no discernible bond to any of the previous characters.

I especially had a problem with the “Nam” references since the CE is a veteran of that era; we lived through it. But at least I could identify with the gold star mothers since I lost a brother during that time, not as a mother, but a sister. A pain that gradually dulls but never lets go and also gripped the mothers in this emotional support group.

The author does draw the characters finally together in a cohesive, sensitive manner—a study of the people, of the time. Perhaps not the event, but event driven? In the end, we also get the inside story of the judge, laid open and bare, warts and all, the storyline tied by his wife’s support group, while he’s ecstatic he got the defendant of the year in his court–sufficient to relieve his judicial boredom.

Well, mercy. One final stinging epithet.

Book Details:

Genre: Urban Fiction, Fiction Urban Life, Family Life Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B00SC80QC4
Listening Length: 15 hrs 15 mins
Narrator(s): Richard PoeGerard DoyleCarol MondaJohanna ParkerRamon De Ocampo
Publication Date: January 16, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Let the Great World Spin [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

Colum McCann - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Colum McCann is the author of three collections of short stories and six novels, including “Apeirogon,” due to be published in Spring 2020. His other books include “TransAtlantic,” “Let the Great World Spin,” “This Side of Brightness,””Dancer” and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers.

“Let the Great World Spin” won the National Book Award in 2009. His fiction has been published in over 40 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Paris Review and other places. He has written for numerous publications including The Irish Times, Die Zeit, La Republicca, Paris Match, The New York Times, the Guardian and the Independent.

Colum has won numerous international awards and has been a bestseller on four continents. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Irish association of artists, Aosdana. He has also received a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres from the French government. He is the cofounder of the global non-profit story exchange organisation Narrative 4.

In 2003 Colum was named Esquire magazine’s “Writer of the Year.” Other awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Irish Independent Hughes and Hughes/Sunday Independent Novel of the Year 2003, and the 2002 Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He was recently inducted into the Hennessy Hall of Fame for Irish Literature.

His short film “Everything in this Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry, was nominated for an Academy Award Oscar in 2005.

Colum was born in Dublin in 1965 and began his career as a journalist in The Irish Press. In the early 1980’s he took a bicycle across North America and then worked as a wilderness guide in a program for juvenile delinquents in Texas. After a year and a half in Japan, he and his wife Allison moved to New York where they currently live with their three children, Isabella, John Michael and Christian.

Colum teaches in Hunter College in New York, in the Creative Writing program, with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Tea Obreht.

Colum has completed his new novel, “Apeirogon.” Crafted out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material, McCann tells the story of Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan. One is Israeli. One is Palestinian. Both are fathers. Both have lost their daughters to the conflict. When Bassam and Rami learn of each other’s stories they recognize the loss that connects them, and they begin to use their grief as a weapon for peace.

In the novel McCann crosses centuries and continents. He stitches together time, art, history, nature and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our times.

Sign up for Colum’s newsletter: http://bit.ly/mccannsignup

Website: http://www.colummccann.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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The Darkest Place: A Robin Lockwood Novel by Phillip Margolin – #BookReview – #legalthrillers

Book Blurb:

Defense attorney Robin Lockwood faces an unimaginable personal disaster and her greatest professional challenge in the next New York Times bestselling Phillip Margolin’s new legal thriller, The Darkest Place.

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinRobin Lockwood is an increasingly prominent defense attorney in the Portland community. A Yale graduate and former MMA fighter, she’s becoming known for her string of innovative and successful defense strategies. As a favor to a judge, Robin takes on the pro bono defense of a reprehensible defendant charged with even more reprehensible crimes. But what she doesn’t know—what she can’t know—is how this one decision, this one case, will wreak complete devastation on her life and plans.

As she recovers from those consequences, Robin heads home to her small town of Elk Grove and the bosom of her family. As she tries to recuperate, a unique legal challenge presents itself—Marjorie Loman, a surrogate, is accused of kidnapping the baby she carried for another couple, and assaulting that couple in the process. There’s no question that she committed these actions but that’s not the same as being guilty of the crime. As Robin works to defend her client, she learns that Marjorie Loman has been hiding under a fake identity and is facing a warrant for her arrest for another, even more serious crime. And buried within the truth may once again be unexpected, deadly consequences.

His Review:

Sequestered in a remote location in Oregon, Marjorie Loman was surprised by a knock on her door late at night. Two police officers were standing at her door. They give her the news that her husband’s body was found in an alley behind a trash can near Portland. Laughing might not have been the best response to the news!

The Darkest Place by Phillip MargolinHaving your assets tied up in probate calls for desperate measures. Surrogates were being paid around $50,000 to carry another families’ child. The nine months would cover the period waiting for the courts to release their joint properties. She will then be well set for the rest of her life. Her husband had taken most of the couple’s assets and converted them to gold bars but no one knew where the bars were hidden.

Author Margolin always writes intricate plots with some clever twists. This book is no exception. I formed a quick empathy for Marjorie and did not understand why the people in Oregon were so caustic towards her. She wants to keep the baby after a nurse lets him sleep with her the night of his birth. The subsequent psychosis that followed that error made a very gripping tale. I was not aware of the post-partum problems associated with surrogate births.

CE WilliamsThe author held my interest throughout the book and kept me intrigued as well as educated me. I suggest the book to anyone who is considering surrogacy for overcoming the inability to have their own child. The author weaves parallel plots in a gripping manner and releases a very satisfying read. 5 stars – C.E. Williams 

We’ve read two previous Robin Lockwood series novels, most recently A Matter of Life and Death, and in 2020 A Reasonable Doubt, and enjoyed both, although more so the former. We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Kidnapping Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ASIN: B092T8M4K8
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: March 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Darkest Place [Amazon]
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Phillip Margolin - author
Phillip Margolin – author

The Author: I grew up in New York City and Levittown, New York. In 1965, I graduated from the American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in government. I spent 1965 to 1967 in Liberia, West Africa, as a Peace Corps volunteer, graduated from New York University School of Law in 1970 as a night student. I went nights and worked as a junior high teacher in the South Bronx to support myself. My first job following law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the chief judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, and from 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice, specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Oregon Court of Appeals. As a trial attorney, I handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court, and have represented approximately thirty people charged with homicide, several of whom faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use battered women’s syndrome to defend a woman accused of murdering her spouse.

Since 1996, I have been writing full-time. All of my novels have been bestsellers. Heartstone, my first novel, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar for best original paperback mystery of 1978. My second novel, The Last Innocent Man, was made into an HBO movie. Gone, But Not Forgotten has been sold to more than twenty-five foreign publishers and was made into a miniseries starring Brooke Shields. It was also the Main Selection of the Literary Guild. After Dark was a Book of the Month Club selection. The Burning Man, my fifth novel, published in August 1996, was the Main Selection of the Literary Guild and a Reader’s Digest condensed book. My sixth novel, The Undertaker’s Widow, was published in 1998 and was a Book of the Month Club selection. Wild Justice (HarperCollins, September 2000) was a Main Selection of the Literary Guild, a selection of the Book of the Month Club, and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. The Associate was published by HarperCollins in August 2001, and Ties that Bind was published by HarperCollins in March 2003. My tenth novel, Sleeping Beauty, was published by HarperCollins on March 23, 2004. Lost Lake was published by HarperCollins in March 2005 and was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Proof Positive was published by HarperCollins in July 2006. Executive Privilege was published by HarperCollins in May 2008 and in 2009 was given the Spotted Owl Award for the Best Northwest Mystery. Fugitive was published by HarperCollins on June 2, 2009. Willamette Writers gave me the 2009 Distinguished Northwest Writers Award. My latest novel, Supreme Justice, was published by HarperCollins in May 2010. My next novel, Capitol Murder, will come out in April 2012.

On October 11, 2011, HarperCollins will publish Vanishing Acts, my first Young Adult novel, which I wrote with my daughter, Ami Margolin Rome. Also in October, the short story “The Case of the Purloined Paget,” which I wrote with my brother, Jerry, will be published by Random House in the anthology A Study in Sherlock.

In addition to my novels, I have published short stories and nonfiction articles in magazines and law journals. My short story “The Jailhouse Lawyer” was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 1999. The House on Pine Terrace was selected for the anthology The Best American Mystery Stories 2010.

From 1996 to 2009 I was the president and chairman of the Board of Chess for Success. I am still heavily involved in the program, and returned to the board after a one-year absence in 2010. Chess for Success is a nonprofit charity that uses chess to teach study skills to elementary- and middle-school children in Title I schools . From 2007 to the present, I have been on the Board of Literary Arts, which sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, the Writers in the Schools program, and Portland Arts and Lectures.

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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