Monthly Archives: September, 2013

The Trial of Dr. Kate

The Trial of Dr. Kate (Round Rock #2) by Michael E. Glasscock III

Rating:  * * *

Shenandoah returns to the home of her youth to support childhood friend Dr. Kate Marlow and to write a newspaper article about the doctor’s arrest and upcoming trial for the murder of one of her patients.  Set in 1952, The Trial of Dr. Kate explores social class structure in a small community in Tennessee through the eyes of a woman who escaped the bounds of her dirt-poor youth to become an independent working woman, a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), then a college-educated newspaper reporter.

This is an OK book, a quick read.  It skirts some heavy issues – homophobia, sexism, alcoholism, racism, political maneuvering – without fleshing them out.  There are a few anachronisms in speech, but nothing I find jarring.  My only big beef is that the husband of the deceased patient doesn’t speak out until…well, you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.

If you like Nicholas Sparks’ books, you may also like this book.

I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley.

Coincidence Detection, a Jane Wilkinson Mystery

Coincidence Detection, a Jane Wilkinson Mystery by Selaine Henriksen-Willis

Rating:  * * * *

Jane Wilkinson, PI, would rather read than do almost anything else.  When investigating, she uses whatever story she is currently reading as a personal sounding board to note what resonates with her, allowing her detection skills and her intuition to work together.  When a character from the book pops into her head during an investigation, she makes note of it and explores the parallels between the character and the investigation, and why she is reading what she is reading into the book.  Her intuition draws her to parts of the story which ultimately help her solve the case.  “It works for her.”

I look forward to further books in the Jane Wilkinson series.  (None published at this time, to my knowledge.)

Jailbird by Heather Huffman

Jailbird by Heather Huffman

Rating:  * * * *

A young woman convicted of murdering a socially connected young man escapes from prison after 10 years behind bars and re-learns how to hope, dream, plan…live. She meets Charlie and his daughter, who help her define normal. She is reunited with relatives she hasn’t seen since her conviction. She soon learns that the family of the man she killed is close to finding her and returning her to prison. With the help of good friends and lawyer Charlie, she is able to evade capture.

Huffman writes about social justice issues, but writes them in a non-preachy, very readable style. This is the second of her books that I have read. It comes complete with the expected happily ever after, but the happiness doesn’t come without cost. Social injustices and attitudes are highlighted, but not dwelt upon ad nauseum. A little simplistic perhaps, but palatable for that very reason.

Ripe toast

One of my fond memories of living in Reno is a waitress in a hole-in-the-wall cafe who always wrote “ripe toast” on my ticket rather than “rye toast.”  What a sweet lady she was, and how wonderful was that ripe toast!

Survival Lessons

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Rating:  * * *

One thing stands out for me in this book:  the word “Choose,” which heads up each chapter.  Choose your heroes, choose whose advice to take, etc.  Good advice anytime, not just during a difficult time.  Survival Lessons is a collection of short sections, quick and easy to read, flip through, and re-read.  It is vague on details and large on possibilities.

I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley.

The Heist

The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Rating:  * * * * *

Kate O’Hara, FBI, and Nick Fox, con man and thief, have a thing for each other.  After years of skirmishes, O’Hara chasing Fox and him narrowly escaping each time, she finally nabs him.  Then the fun begins!  The FBI makes a deal with Fox to put him and O’Hara together on an assignment to catch an embezzler.  Assembling an unlikely team, they set out to chase the bad guy and recover the money, slinging sarcasm and woo liberally along the way.

Movie, TV, and book references abound:  James Bond, Overboard, Fantasy Island, Rudyard Kipling.  Who knew such a varied collection could be lumped into one story and make any kind of sense?  As with any good tale, the mere mention of these other stories evokes background images that enhance The Heist even more.

At one point I laughed so hard it became necessary to set the book down for fear I would drop it and lose my page.

Having read the prequel, a novella called Pros and Cons, I knew I would be reading this book.  Now I can hardly wait for the next installment in the series.

If you like this book, you may also enjoy Star Island by Carl Hiaasen.

Tranquility

Crooked tree with canoe tip

I nestled into the canoe seat and the moment my paddle touched the water I felt it: a calmness, a serenity drifting over me, settling over me like a cloak. Despite the raucous calls and splashing from other happy lake-goers, all I heard was the soft plink of droplets falling from the paddle and the nearly inaudible ssshhhhhh of the canoe gliding over the surface of the water. Tranquility.

Silenced by Allison Brennan

Silenced by Allison Brennan (Lucy Kincaid series, Book 4)

Rating:  * * * *

Lucy and her FBI cohorts unravel the secrets and lies surrounding the brutal deaths of young call girls in Washington, DC.  Memories from Lucy’s own painful past – being near-fatally attacked by a predator – figure heavily into her reasoning and reactions to this case, both assisting the search and causing the FBI to doubt her abilities.

Suspenseful and intriguing, Silenced – the first book I have read by this author – drew me in from the first and kept me hooked with well-developed characters, interconnecting story lines, enough detail to be compelling without drowning in it, and a race to the finish.

The recurring characters in the story (Lucy, boss Noah, boyfriend Sean) are well fleshed out in this story, but they clearly have more facets to be explored.  I was left with enough questions and interest that I’m already starting to read the next book in the series.

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