Man from the Sky: a Novella by Danny Wynn
- Publisher: Bacon Press Books
- Publication date: 1/31/2014
- Pages: 140
Rating: * * *
This is a breezy little story starring wealthy, comfortably self-centered old Jaime, who passively longs for a Grand Adventure even as he languishes in discontent with his idyllic lifestyle. Lo and behold, a Grand Adventure lands right in his path in the form of Stefan parachuting in. Unencumbered by a sense of irony, Jaime merrily assists Stefan in making a fresh start in life.
I rather enjoy the blitheness with which Jaime and Stefan float through their days.
Thank you to Bacon Press Books and NetGalley for the copy I received in exchange for a review.
Tenderloin by Ty Hutchinson
Published June 3, 2013 by Patchwork Press
Rating: * *
Abby Kane, FBI agent and former homicide detective, is dispatched to Colombia, South America to investigate the brutal murder of a DEA agent.
And that’s where it falls apart. Abby does not inspire confidence, and without believing in Abby the story doesn’t work. Since she is not familiar with Colombia or the drug cartels, it never makes sense to me that she is the agent sent to Colombia. Worse, when she arrives in Colombia she demonstrates poor professional judgment on a number of fronts.
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
The Prostitutes’ Ball (Shane Scully series #10) by Stephen J. Cannell
Rating: * * * *
Shane Scully of the LAPD, lead detective on a triple homicide case at a posh estate, and his new movie-business-obsessed partner, Hitch, uncover details about another triple homicide that occurred at the same estate 25 years prior.
Despite the provocative title, what drew me to this book is the name Stephen J. Cannell. His name was a familiar sight on TV credits some years ago: he created/co-created The Rockford Files, 21 Jump Street and many other highly successful series.
This is a well-crafted, suspenseful story within a story. Really, it’s like a set of nesting dolls: open one set and find another nesting inside. Open that, find yet another inside. Every time I thought I had the plot figured out, it veered. Just when I was confident Scully was the guy wearing the white hat, he’d be faced with an ethical dilemma and I’d hold my breath and will him to make the right decision – only to realize all was not as it appeared and the whole situation was different than I thought. I had Hitch categorized in my mind, only to find he didn’t fit the categories into which I tried to squeeze him.
An engrossing tale encompassing murder, drugs, midlife crisis, greed, purpose and lack thereof, motivations personal and business, it unfolds like a 3-act play. I look forward to reading other books in the Shane Scully series.
Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong
Rating: * * *
Lainie Davis, on the run from her old life, ends up in Last Chance, NM. What she hopes will be a few hours’ stay while her car is repaired turns into months as she finds a job, makes new friends, and begins to trust others besides herself. She meets and befriends Ray, who is also in Last Chance by circumstance rather than by choice. Lainie finds herself wishing she could remain in Last Chance forever, although she fears her past will catch up with her and she will be forced to leave.
Welcome to Last Chance is a novel about chances: 2nd, 3rd, last chances. Every character in the story is offered chances: to make a better 2nd impression on someone; to see the impact of their words and deeds on others; to change lives in ways tiny to huge. What each person chooses to do with those chances makes the story.
Lainie is independent and stubborn. I cheered at her take-no-guff response to being harassed by a customer, and I laughed out loud at the outfit she chose for her first Sunday outing in town, an outing she was ordered to attend, much to her disgust. Her choices are not always the wisest, but she does take responsibility for her own actions.
This is Cathleen Armstrong’s debut novel. While at times it is awkward due to too much dialogue and a hazy timeline, I enjoyed the book. If you like this novel, you may also like Lisa Wingate’s Daily, TX series.
I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley.
The Desert Here and The Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey
(alternately titled The Desert here and the Desert There)
A short story in the collection Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down, edited by Clive Cussler
Rating: * * * * *
When his military buddy Cooper calls on him for help, Nick doesn’t hesitate. Now stateside, the bond that was forged in Iraq still holds strong. Nick learns that Cooper’s troubles are far larger than he implied, and more dangerous, causing Nick to have flashbacks to their time in Iraq. The story explores war through its toll on soldiers and through the bonds they form. Perhaps because the story is short, its punch is concentrated. If you like this story, you might also like the 2007 movie In the Valley of Elah.