The Song of Achilles: A Novel by Madeline Miller – #Audiobook Review – Literary Fiction

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

The legend begins…

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

My Review:

Granted it’s been so long ago that I read Homer’s Illiad that all I remember is the opportunity for naps. But here we are with the classic being brought into the modern world told romantically through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles long term companion. The POV as told by Patroclus weaves the intimate story between Homer’s “gentle” character, who is banished by his father to Peleus, father of Achilles, following the unfortunate death of another child purely by accident at his hands. In this retelling, Patroclus and Achilles gradually bond leading to a life-long intimate and devoted relationship.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerWhile the Illiad concentrates on the Troy war with which Greece becomes engaged following the kidnap of Helen of Sparta, Miller’s novel chooses to tell the story of the two young men; one, the most storied and gifted warrior of ancient Greece, the son of Thetis, a goddess.

Thetis never accepts Patroclus and often tries unsuccessfully to separate them.  Achilles develops a devoted intellectual relationship with a slave girl that leads to Achilles’ refusal to fight for the Greeks when Agamemnon steals her away. What Patroclus lacks as a warrior, however, he provides as a healer when the Greeks converge on Troy to rescue Helen. Many years into the fight, he will eventually take up a sword to protect Achilles who is still refusing to fight. Patroclus vows to save Achilles’ reputation.

He’ll die at the hands of Hector of Troy who spurs an enraged Achilles to engage and kill Hector in return only to be killed himself by the legendary arrow from Paris to his unprotected heel. While there is certainly sufficient material regarding the war with Troy, you aren’t buried in battles (though there are some protracted descriptions of combat) and the real story behind the conflict remains the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus.

This is only a part of the Trojan War fable that fired the imagination made stronger by the mythological Trojan horse.  There is still debate that it actually happened against evidence of a possible site. Fascinating tale from the 12th or 13th century BCE made famous by Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey. And who’s to say this version might not have been any more or less true than the other?

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. The narrator does a good job with ancient names and pronunciations as well as provides depth and emotion to the atmosphere.

Do these classics hold an attraction for you as well? Gods and Goddesses, powerful warriors, and perceived disrespect starting wars? Oh, wait—guess that’s still happening.

Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B007HI3IQ6
Listening Length: 11 hrs 15 mins
Narrator: Frazer Douglas
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Song of Achilles [Amazon]

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

Madeline Miller - authorThe Author: Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel. Find Ms Miller at http://www.madelinemiller.com/.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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Roaring Liberty: The Queenstown Series – Book 4 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 New Release in Historical Irish Fiction

 Book Blurb:

New York City, 1922

Roaring Liberty by Jean GraingerHarp Devereaux is torn. Part of her desperately wants to return to Ireland to finish what she and her family and friends started, and to witness the departure of the British forces from Ireland after eight hundred long years. But the other part finds life in America during the Roaring Twenties too exciting to trade for the sleepy streets of County Cork.

She and JohnJoe are united and determined to sample all that life after the Great War has to offer, but life Stateside is not as free and easy as Harp first imagines and soon she finds herself longing for the simplicity of her homeland.

She wants to live life on her own terms but life is never simple, on either side of the Atlantic, and there are sinister forces at work, determined to bring them all down..

My Review:

Book 4 of the Queenstown series wraps it up in classic style, managing to resolve all the issues in a fast-moving and immersive conclusion.

While I was not able to walk in Harp’s shoes, I do so enjoy all the characters, especially JohnJoe and in this entry to the series Jerry, Elliot, and Celia. Harp and JohnJoe hesitantly form a vaudeville act upon the insistence of Jerry who will act as manager and promoter, as well as Elliot (on violin) and Celia, their bookkeeper and seamstress.

Roaring Liberty by Jean GrainerAfter Rose and Matt return to Ireland, Harp feels free to live as she wants to live her life and that’s as a performer—beginning in New York where they find a lucrative level of success, particularly after Elliot pens an original that is picked as a favorite in their venues.

But there are issues back home and Jerry opens an opportunity to play in Dublin allowing Harp to see her mother again. While in Ireland, however, they discover the tentative and long-awaited peace treaty with Britain divides their country between those who are agreeable to the terms and those who are not, creating a dangerous climate and turning former friends to enemies.

Also, there is the issue of the home that Harp inherited when her “father” claimed her as his heir, bypassing his own brother who took possession of Cliff House following their hasty exodus to the states.

The well-paced narrative slowed somewhat in the middle as issues having been introduced were more carefully examined and possible remedies posited, while song lyrics were introduced (including the iconic Irish ballad “Danny Boy” (which always brings tears to my eyes) or repeated. I must say the lyrics of Elliot’s “original song” “Your Heart Will Know” is absolutely, hauntingly beautiful.

There are themes of the struggle of women in society (“Until all women were free, none were”), lifestyle, as well as the continued troubles with the British and class distinction.

I am one of the lucky few to receive an advance reader’s copy of this author’s works. I’ve enjoyed all of them, including The Harp and the Rose, Book 3, and find each delightful, atmospheric, and educational as well as engaging and entertaining. Book 4, Roaring Liberty is out now and highly recommended although you might wish to begin (if you haven’t already) with Book 1, Last Port of Call.

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

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Book Details:

Genre: British Historical Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction
ISBN: ‎B09QFC6LNB
ASIN: B09DBWW184
Print Length: 480 pages
Publication Date: January 17, 2022 – Just Released!
Source: Author request
Title Link: Roaring Liberty  [Amazon] 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER – USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four…

[truncated…]

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

Read her complete bio on Amazon or visit her website at Jean Grainer.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - banner

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 

Book Blurb:

Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2014

Helene Wecker’s dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.

Meeting by chance, the two creatures become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures, until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Marvelous and compulsively listenable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

My Review:

Okay, don’t say it.

            This one is definitely not my usual genre. But there’s a reason for that.

I went hunting for audiobooks in which George Guidall narrates. He is one of my very favorite narrators and another reason I listen to so many Longmire audiobooks (written by Craig Johnson). This one caught my eye and oh my gosh! What an amazing journey!

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerMiddle Eastern fiction woven beautifully with historical fantasy—so much to learn—so fascinating. A major atmospheric classic in fairy tale proportions. And the names, the language, the insight into Jewish culture, literature—all very smoothly rolled off Guidall’s tongue like a man reciting romantic poets, bathing the reader softly in the moment, caressing the ears.

This is a book to be read leisurely, digested, and enjoyed. The pace is languid through introduction of main characters and into backstories, explanations of the who and why. The backstories provide a greater understanding of present-day activities, the protagonist’s issues, proclivities, limitations, and each their separate and not necessarily complementary powers.

The author also examines the lengths at which each, both golem (Chava) and jinni (Ahmad) (supernatural beings) had to go to manifest normal human characteristics—the toll that extracted from each—and the extreme relief each must have felt when they were finally able to expose themselves to the other.

Take the time. It’s worth it. The characters, both main and support, are amazing. Easy to become invested, engaged. Arbeely, the Rabbi, Maryam Faddoul, empathetic. Michael Levy, poor guy—and Dr Saleh (Ice Cream Saleh), poor guy–sympathetic.

It’s an immersive fantasy brought to life with characters that create an enchanting tale of the ancient arts and magic.

The last 15-20% of the book brings the whole tale into one giant wizardy conclusion that has your head spinning with visions. All but one issue satisfying. BUT.

[Spoiler ahead]

I hate what happens to Michael and is the only reason I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this as a 5+ star narrative. Surely there is an alternative! His only fault is his innocence. He loved the golem and I felt would have accepted her, knowing her powers, albeit some unfortunate. ARGH!

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker[Note: You may be interested to know that the author has produced a sophomore release called The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni. Declared “well worth the wait,” it was released June 8, 2021 and was also narrated by George Guidall.]

Book Details:

Genre: Historic Middle Eastern Fiction, Jewish Literature, Jewish Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:  HarperAudio
ASIN: B00BU8DV2K
Listening Length: 19 hrs 42 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link(s): The Golem and the Jinni [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Helene Wecker - authorThe Author: Helene Wecker’s first novel, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. A sequel, THE HIDDEN PALACE: A TALE OF THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, will be published in June 2021. A Midwest native, she holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.

George Guidall - audiobook narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

Talk: A woman’s search for purpose, treasure, and her Ojibwe heritage by Greg W Peterson – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Talk by Greg PetersonTalk is the story of Addie Young, a single woman with no known relatives. Her father dies leaving a letter of apology for his failures along with a second letter, cryptic and nonsensical—written by a civil war-era outlaw. The letter may provide directions for finding buried gold. Addie sets out to the small town of Talk, Minnesota, where she meets Jack Larson; together they start out to decode the ‘letter’. In the process, they discover Addie’s intriguing connection to an assortment of early American outlaws and a surprising ancestral relationship with the Ojibwe Nation of American Indians.

His Review:

Minnesota was a very wild area at the end of the 19th and early 20th century. Jesse James and Cole Younger terrorized the area with train and bank robberies. Talk is a story of a young woman whose ancestors came from this area and is descended from the Ojibwe people. Greg Peterson has woven an endearing tale of honesty and family heritage wrapped around a treasure hunt.

Talk by Greg PetersonA classic love story starts with a car skidding off the roadway on a sharp turn. People watch out for each other and their properties in small rural America. The chance meeting of the two is well engineered and the caution in developing the romance is a welcome change from the normal fall in bed on the first date tryst.

The hints to find the treasure are hidden in an overgrown hundred acres not cultivated in nearly eighty years. Also, the discovery of the heroine, Addie’s, roots are engaging and endearing. Not all of the Younger offspring follow the path of their parental examples. Generations later there is much to be discovered.

An old family bible gives some of the information on the roots and family history. I recall wondering about some of my own families’ history as I read Addies’ quest. People often wonder about their ancestors and it was easy to identify with the young lady and her journey.

CE Williams, first review of the year
First book of the year for CE Williams, Talk by Greg Peterson

I’ve previously read both the author’s debut novel, Newgate’s Knocker as well as his sophomore release, Lie If You Can, and can recommend both. I recommend this novel to anyone who can identify with family mysteries, the heritage and history they would like to find. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Cultural Heritage Fiction
Publisher: Independently published
ISBN13: ‎979-8785975835
ASIN: B09NRBTPDD
Print Length: 259 pages
Publication Date: December 16, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: Talk [Amazon]

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Greg Peterson - authorThe Author: Greg Peterson is a prior naval aviator, commercial airline pilot, and air traffic control specialist. He holds nearly every fixed-wing flight certificate available and is a certified ground and instrument instructor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, USA.

Although Mr. Peterson has been published in a number of professional magazines. Newgate’s Knocker is his first full-length novel. The story is fictional, however, you may find it interesting that the historical background of the main character, Mac Macintyre is based on Mr. Peterson’s real life, and most of the aviation sequences are also taken from his flying experiences.

Mr. Peterson recently completed his second novel, Lie If You Can. A medical mystery that follows a young college professor on her search to find the person who brutally attacked her. She awakes in a hospital with little memory of the event and soon she begins to experience an unusual brain related anomaly—one which manifests in a new ability to determine a person’s truthfulness. Her condition is believably explained by an actual scientific condition known as Dual Processing. Julie develops a romantic relationship with her doctor and together they search for her attacker.

Greg Peterson is certified in seven different categories by the International Code Council and has owned and operated a professional residential home inspection company since 1999. His home inspection report supplement provides a comprehensive explanation of many common concerns reported in most home inspections. His home inspection supplement, Your Home Inspected-An Addendum For Residential Home Inspection Reports, can be purchased in Kindle, paperback or CD  form. He can be contacted by email at: gregpeterson@comcast.net

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Big Lies in a Small Town: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

North Carolina, 2018:

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, her dream of a career in art is put on hold – until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will get her released from prison immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy Southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to be free, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940:

Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and in great need of work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Press.

My Review:

WOW!

Just… WOW!

I listened to approximately 45 audiobooks in 2021 (four per month) and if I’d finished this one in time, it would definitely have been included in my favorites list for the year—audiobook or print.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane ChamberlainTold from two POVs, in 2018, Morgan Christopher and 1940 Anna Dale. Morgan is sprung from the North Carolina Correctional Facility on a conditional release—the promise to restore a mural that was to have been installed in the Edenton Post Office in 1940. Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey won a national contest out from under the town artist—considered the shoo-in. From New Jersey! An abomination! What did she know about the south or the town that the mural was to represent? The south is an alien world to Anna and Edenton not exactly thrilled to welcome a northerner.

Morgan’s benefactor, however, is a famous artist, Jesse Jameson, who dedicated himself to young artists with a history. Morgan knew his work and seriously loved it. She dabbled—loved painting—but restoring a mural was something she knew NOTHING about.

Jesse was within months of completing and opening an art gallery at the time of his passing and Morgan’s time frame was two months but when she initially saw the mural, very old, flaking, dusty; she thought impossible.

Completing the mural will keep her out of prison AND she’ll be paid for her work. It’s seriously important. She finds an ally in the project manager and though he’s not an artist can provide some basic start-up instruction in art restoration.

We begin to get filtered narration by Anna, an enormously engaging and sympathetic character, young and naïve, definitely out of her element but very serious about providing the town with the best representation of the area she can. Then as the mural is gradually restored, painstakingly inch by inch, Morgan begins to uncover some disturbing and bizarre inclusions into an otherwise masterful mural. What happened to Anna? Did she go mad?

Anna’s story is mesmerizing, one you can’t tear yourself away from. I loved her philosophy, her openness, and the two boys she took in to help with the work on the mural; especially Jesse. He’s an enigma, a brilliant natural artist, obviously enormously talented. Coming from a “colored” family, however, holds no hope of an artistic career. His family needs his help on the farm and only his aunt encourages and supports his work with Anna. It’s 1940; in the south. And Anna is a white northerner.

What happens next is shocking. A quick intake of breath, a sharp refusal that this is how Anna’s story will end. What happens to Jesse? The mural?

Undeniably the greatest hold is Anna’s story. But Morgan keeps digging and now her heart and soul are in uncovering Anna’s story along with restoration of the mural.

The characters are extremely well developed, the heart goes out to Anna and Jesse, truly the force in this amazing narrative. Storytelling at its finest! From heart-thudding moments to anger, revulsion, and back again to tearful hope. Totally invested in Anna, Jesse, and to a lesser extent Morgan.

Themes of poverty, racism, violence, and rape. Easy to switch back and forth between the POVs, each advancing the tension, the questions swirling maddingly around the mind. How can this be resolved? Or CAN it?

And the conclusion: beautiful.

I read five final nominees in the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2020 and this was not even listed. If I have a problem with a book, I check to see if or why I’m off base in my assessment, pursuing both low and high reviews. It looks as if I’m in agreement with most reviews this time. So, what happened?

This is a truly immersive read from beginning to amazing end. Strong, individual and believable characters. The mural, during the restoration process, took shape and color in my mind becoming both awesomely jaw-dropping and then bewildering, confusing.

Brilliant! Did you read or listen to the audiobook? What was your reaction?

Book Details:

Genre: Family Life Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Historical Thrillers
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07T8C3RT3
Listening Length: 13 hrs 19 mins
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Big Lies in a Small Town [Amazon]

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Diane Chamberlain - authorThe Author: Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and (London) Sunday Times best-selling author of 27 novels. The daughter of a school principal who supplied her with a new book almost daily, Diane quickly learned the emotional power of story. Although she wrote many small “books” as a child, she didn’t seriously turn to writing fiction until her early thirties when she was waiting for a delayed doctor’s appointment with nothing more than a pad, a pen, and an idea. She was instantly hooked.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey and lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C, and a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

More than two decades ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She wrote two novels using voice recognition software before new medication allowed her to get back to typing. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she’s able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their odd but lovable Shetland Sheepdog, Cole.

Please visit Diane’s website at http://www.dianechamberlain.com for her event schedule and for more information on her newest novel, Big Lies in a Small Town, as well as a complete list of her books.

Susan Bennett- narratorThe Narrator:  [NOTE: I think this is the correct Susan Bennett. If it is not, please let me know and I’ll correct immediately.] Susan Alice Bennett is an American voice actress and a former backup singer for Roy Orbison and Burt Bacharach. She is best known as the female American voice of Apple’s Siri personal assistant, since the service was introduced on the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011. Wikipedia

©2021 V Williams

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City of the Dead: An Alex Delaware Novel (Book 37) by Jonathan Kellerman – #BookReview – #crimethrillers

Book Blurb:

The past comes back to haunt psychologist Alex Delaware and Detective Milo Sturgis when they investigate a grisly double homicide and uncover an even more unspeakable motive in this riveting thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

City of the Dead by Jonathan KellermanLos Angeles is a city of sunlight, celebrity, and possibility. The L.A. often experienced by Homicide Lt. Detective Milo Sturgis and psychologist Alex Delaware is a city of the dead.

Early one morning, the two of them find themselves in a neighborhood of pretty houses, pretty cars, and pretty people. The scene they encounter is anything but. A naked young man lies dead in the street, the apparent victim of a collision with a moving van hurtling through suburbia in the darkness. But any thoughts of accidental death vanish when a blood trail leads to a nearby home.

Inside, a young woman lies butchered. The identity of the male victim and his role in the horror remains elusive, but that of the woman creates additional questions. And adding to the shock, Alex has met her while working a convoluted child custody case. Cordelia Gannett was a self-styled internet influencer who’d gotten into legal troubles by palming herself off as a psychologist. Even after promising to desist, she’s found a loophole and has continued her online career, aiming to amass clicks and ads by cyber-coaching and cyber-counseling people plagued with relationship issues.

But upon closer examination, Alex and Milo discover that her own relationships are troublesome, including a tortured family history and a dubious personal past. Has that come back to haunt her in the worst way? Is the mystery man out in the street collateral damage or will he turn out to be the key to solving a grisly double homicide? As the psychologist and the detective explore L.A.’s meanest streets, they peel back layer after layer of secrets and encounter a savage, psychologically twisted, almost unthinkable motive for violence and bloodshed.

This is classic Delaware: Alex, a man Milo has come to see as irreplaceable, at his most insightful and brilliant.

His Review:

City of the Dead by Jonathan KellermanA gripping mystery of unsolved murders. The murderer is very sophisticated and leaves no physical evidence. A move into an upscale neighborhood is disrupted when a moving van hits a nude man at 4:00 in the morning. Everything comes to a complete stop as the investigation begins.

A gorgeous young thirty-something is found killed in her property a few houses away! Can these crimes be connected? The moving van operators are completely baffled by the accident and subsequent investigation. The nude body had appeared out of nowhere. At 4:00 in the morning, how is this even possible?  Could it have been a fraternity or sorority prank gone terribly wrong?

Jonathan Kellerman keeps the suspense clouded through much of the book. His development of criminal cases dovetailing upon each other without a tangible path is masterful. It took nearly three-fourths of the book to begin to piece together the sequence of events. Meanwhile, dead-end trails were skillfully knit into the narrative to keep me as a reader on the hook.

CE WilliamsI would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of a well-developed who-done-it and enjoys a cunning read. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

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: Crime Thrillers, Murder Thrillers, Mysteries
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ASIN: B094GS94R4
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: February 8, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: City of the Dead [Amazon] 
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Jonathan Kellerman - authorThe Author: Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Christmas bough

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

Amazon Charts #17 this week 

Book Blurb:

The Dark Hours by Michael ConnellyThere’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.

Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.

Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.

His Review:

New Year’s Eve is never a good time to pull duty. Detective Ballard has been working the midnight shift for a number of months. She is partnered with another female, Detective Moore, who wanted the night off. Ballard is not a popular member of the Hollywood police unit. Everyone is happy she is on the night shift.

The Dark Hours by Michael ConnellyHer boss does not like her. His objective is to have her investigate and solve the crimes and then have them turned over to the day unit so he can take the credit. Ballard’s partner wants to have New Year’s Eve off and does not show for her watch. This is definitely a breach of protocol.

A group of thugs called “The Midnight Men” were committing brutal rapes in Ballard’s territory. She is tasked with investigating the case but is also forewarned that the case will more than likely be turned over to the day watch fairly quickly. The ugly job of interviewing the victims is given to her. Looking for a common modus operandi in three quick cases makes for a ton of paperwork. Ballard prefers field work and generating case work is less than satisfying.

Victims of crime are forced to relive the crime to help in solving them. This makes Ballard a very unpopular detective. Similarities in the way the crimes evolve lead to a very identifiable pattern. But finding out the sequence of events leaves the detective on the low end of the popularity scale.

CE WilliamsTrue to his understanding of the craft, Michael Connelly develops a very plausible sequence of events and the story becomes more gripping as time goes on. The clues in the book make the attempt to solve the crime more satisfying. This novel certainly will not disappoint. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

[Note: I previously listened to three audiobooks by this author, one from his Harry Bosch series (surprised to discover there is an Amazon Prime TV series Bosch), Two Kinds of Truth, one from Renée Ballard series, The Late Show, and one from the Mickey Haller series, The Law of Innocence. All audiobooks, I appreciated the latter the least, so decided it was time I got an eBook for the CE. He read this one.]

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–and interestingly enough–just about the same as mine.

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

Book Details:

Genre: Private Investigator Mysteries
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: ‎0316485640
ASIN: B08WLRG1L2
Print Length: 401
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Dark Hours [Amazon]
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Michael Connelly - authorThe Author: Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty-five foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include The Law Of Innocence, Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, Two Kinds Of Truth, and The Late Show. Michael is the executive producer of Bosch, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, “Sound Of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story’ and ‘Tales Of the American.’ He spends his time in California and Florida.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

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