Sunday, February 10, 2008

February reads

Island of Bones by P.J. Parrish (5th in series)
Protagonist: Private investigator Louis Kincaid
Setting: Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers, Fla.
Rating: 3.5
While I had some quibbles with the book (would have liked to have known more about Kincaid), this is another book that I enjoyed for its Florida setting. Here, Kincaid finds a skull washed up on the beach after a hurricane. A few days later, a woman's body is found among the mangroves. Then a woman hires Kincaid because she suspects her father, a mild-mannered librarian, has had something to do with two women who went missing years ago. Yes, it's all somehow related in this complex plot.

No Graves as Yet by Anne Perry (first in series, on audio)
Protagonists: Matthew and Joseph Reavley
Setting: England, 1914
Rating: 3.7
While I found one book to lack characterization, this book almost had a little too much! There were times I wished the author would get on with the plot. On the eve of World War I, Reavleys' parents are killed in a car accident; the sons soon suspect this is no mere accident. Their father was on his way to see Matthew, an intelligence officer, with what he claimed was an explosive document about a conspiracy that would disgrace England. Then just days later, a student of Joseph's is murdered in Cambridge -- a student who was adamantly against England becoming involved in a war. Can the two be connected? Excellent plotting. I already have the second book in hand!

Transgressions by Sarah Dunant
Protagonist: Lizzie Skorvecky
Setting: London, England
Rating: 4.6
Once in a while comes a book I absolutely cannot put down. Transgressions is one such book. Lizzie lives alone, after a breakup with her longtime boyfriend. Weird things start to happen: some CDs go missing, music is playing when she comes home. She changes the locks, but the next morning she wakes to find the breakfast table set for two. Is she going crazy? Does she have a poltergeist at home? Or will Lizzie have to deal with something much more human and more terrifying? A very smart female thriller.

Rampart Street by David Fulmer
Protagonist: Valentin St. Cyr
Setting: New Orleans, 1910
Rating: 3.7
When a rich man ends up shot dead in a bad part of town, his family wants to know what happened. But there are plenty of people who would just as soon cover it up. Valentin, a down-on-his-luck, has-been detective, is hired because the powers-that-be think he won't do a good enough job. Well, of course, he does. As a bonus, we get to see New Orleans at a time when it was filled with "jass" clubs and whorehouses. A very atmospheric book. I only wish I could have liked Valentin more -- he's an aloof, cold character.

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