Posts Tagged ‘Private Investigators’

Best New Books of 2014: Amy W’s Picks

December 1, 2014

I enjoy a well-balanced diet…of books. Here we have something for EVERYONE from light and fun page-turners to thought-provoking non-fiction. Don’t let 2014 end without checking out any (or all) of these awesome books!

This Dark Road to MercyThis Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash
Easter and Ruby are two young girls placed in foster care after the sudden death of their junkie mother. The girls are used to watching out for themselves. They hope to be adopted, but do not want to live with their maternal grandparents in Alaska, total strangers, living in a strange land. Their estranged father, a washed up amateur league baseball player, appears suddenly and confuses the already precarious situation. In the backdrop of the novel and adding to the tension, is the home run rivalry between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. The scores go back and forth and the competition is of interest to everyone. This Dark Road to Mercy is a well-constructed, page-turner that artfully tells a moving story in which children are once again thrust into an adult world.  See my full review.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
Roz Chast, a longtime New Yorker cartoonist, documents the slow decline of her aging parents. Not only does this impact her life at the time, but spending time with them at their most vulnerable brings up old anxieties. No surprise, Chast tackles this subject with great humor and candor. I found this book to be comforting and thought provoking. The graphic memoir format really lends itself to exploring a topic I would ordinarily shy away from reading.

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Remember back in the 80’s when you would talk on the phone for an eternity until your ear actually hurt? I do. I loved talking on the phone, not so much cell phones— and texting has its moments if you can get past all the auto-correct errors. Nothing will ever surpass the old school telephone when it comes to connecting with another person. Georgie McCool is in crisis mode. She is a writer for a sitcom that just may get a pilot. Her marriage, family, mental health and personal hygiene suffer from the effort. She needs to reconnect. Her old yellow phone becomes her lifeline to the past and the present. Told with great humor and tenderness, Landline is a delight!

All Joy and No FunAll Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior
Why, why, why is parenting so hard today? This thought has crossed my mind a lot, well, more accurately, this thought lives in my mind and it ain’t goin’ nowhere. Parenting seemed easy for my mom (it also did not hurt that I was a perfect child, am I right?). This is really the only parenting book I have ever read and boy, do I love it! It is not a book about how to parent , but a look at what parenting is about these days from a sociological and psychological perspective. So, I was right — it is hard–but now I spend a lot less time focusing on the no fun aspects of parenting. See my full review.

Thousand Dollar Tan LineThe Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas
I loved the Veronica Mars television series! This book takes place a few years after the series ends when Veronica gets really close to joining the FBI but decides to live and work in her small, California beach-side hometown, Neptune. Written by the series creator, writer and producer, Rob Thomas, stylistically the book is true to the spirit of the show and the 2014 movie. I know you are thinking, “that sounds kind of low-brow for you, a well-read librarian”. Well, it’s not. This book is not great literature, but it is perfectly entertaining and it was great to be reunited with old friends (this is the part where you remember the catchy theme song…A long time ago, we used to be friends….).

When the Thrill Is Gone by Walter Mosley

September 2, 2014

When the Thrill is GoneWhen the Thrill is Gone was my first introduction to the Leonid McGill series, I’ve read the majority of Walter Mosley’s, Easy Rawlins series and thoroughly enjoyed them. Leonid, who is a private investigator in a pinch for money, wearily takes on a new client offering a stack of money for his services. Leonid’s new client, Chrystal Tyler, is afraid she is going to end up dead like her husband’s previous wives. Chrystal is hopeful that Leonid can keep her from becoming victim number three. Leonid is trying to focus on Chrystal’s case when he receives a phone call from Harris Vartan, a very dangerous man, he finds it hard to focus knowing that he is on Vartan’s radar, but Leonid is street savvy, well connected and makes the right moves to get his missions accomplished and stay alive.

Leonid has a bad feeling as he immerses himself into Chrystal’s case, he soon discovers that his client is not who she says she is. As the story unfolds, someone has killed Chrystal’s sister and her nieces and nephews are now parentless, Leonid is trying to find out if it has anything to do with Chrystal, and if she is in immediate danger. Mysterious persons and circumstances are waiting around every corner as Leonid gets deeper into this case.

Most of us can find some solace at home, unfortunately for Leonid this is not the case. His wife, Katrina has a history of being unfaithful and his friend, who is dying from cancer, is sleeping on his couch. Joy comes to Leonid through his three children and his sometimes girlfriend, Aura.

In this fast-paced read, you never know what will be revealed on the next page. Walter Mosley always does an excellent job of bringing his characters to life; you will love them or hate them. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this series.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Runaway Man by David Handler

February 21, 2014

Ben Golden , or as he is affectionately called, Benji , helps his mother Abby run a small private investigation firm, Golden Legal Services in upper Manhattan. The two of them plus a computer savvy secretary, Rita, make up the entire staff. Enter a high priced attorney, one Peter Seymour, from a high priced law firm seeking their help. He wants the firm to locate, Bruce Weiner. Seymour refuses to name the party that has hired him, but he suggests that a benefactor may have left Weiner a considerable amount of money.

Benji soon discovers that Weiner has disappeared and he may be hard to locate. He is attending a prestigious New York college named Canterbury but no one has seen him for several days….neither his roommate, Chris nor his sister Sara, nor his basketball buddy, Charles Willingham. What Benji soon discovers is that this may be a much more complicated case than at first it appears. Using his smarts and some connections, Benji finds that Bruce is holed up in a cabin in Connecticut. When he gets to the cabin he finds  Weiner shot dead but he also realizes that his car and his office have been ‘bugged’ and that is how someone tracked him to the cabin.

Now the fun begins as Benji finds the case is much more complicated that he thought and more lives may be in danger. It may involve a politically powerful family and some mobsters, plus a family secret buried for years! David Handler keeps the pace moving and mixes in the right amount of humor to make this a fun read. It has that special ‘New York’ spin to it.’

Find and reserve this book in our catalog

Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

January 24, 2014

This debut mystery novel by Ingrid Thoft promises to be the first in a series that has elements of two of my favorite genres—the legal thriller and the female private investigator. The main character, Fina Ludlow, is the investigator for a Boston law firm run by her take-no-prisoners father and her three brothers. Fina (short for Josefina) is in the tough-girl mold of others of the genre such as Kinsey Millhone, Carlotta Carlyle, and V.I. Warshawski. She’s smart, stubborn, and tough, and not always law-abiding.

The book begins quickly with three plot lines. A woman is dumped into the ocean, Fina’s father asks her to find her missing sister-in-law, and a woman is introduced who appears to be running an escort service. These plot lines will eventually come together as Fina uses all her resources and skill to find out what has happened to her sister-in-law. Her family loyalty will be tested as she tries to figure out why her brother seems so unconcerned about his wife’s disappearance and about what his teenage daughter does when she’s not at school.

Loyalty was a real page turner for me, and so I was willing to overlook the small things that annoyed me, like how Fina uses a contact at the telephone company to find out the owner of a phone number she finds in her sister-in-law’s recipe box. Hey, Fina, why not just Google it? And even though she realizes that in a missing person case, every hour counts, Fina doesn’t call her contact until the day after she finds the number. Sheesh.

But these are just quibbles. Overall, Loyalty was a well-written fast-paced thriller. I look forward to the next book in the Fina Ludlow series.

Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

Best ‘New to Us’ Books in 2013: Stephen B’s Picks

December 18, 2013

My name is Stephen Bank and I have been working in Wake County Public Libraries for over 12 years. My favorite genre is mysteries, but I also like Historical Nonfiction and sometimes human interest stories as you will see from the following 5 short blogs.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill
Having been raised in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in New York City, I have found no one who captures the essence of the Big City like Hamill. This touching story takes place in Brooklyn just after WWII, where an extraordinary relationship develops between 11 year old Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch, a Polish refugee. Michael’s Dad was killed in the war and he and his Mom are just surviving. The relationship between Michael and the Rabbi teaches us how all people can live together in all types of circumstances.   Read my full-length post here.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
It’s 1890 and Chicago politicians will do anything to bring the next World’s Fair to their city. As various factions battle against other sections of the United States for the Fair, something very diabolical is going on. Chicago wins the rights to the World’s Fair and now there will be the infighting from those factions who want to profit from producing the Fair. There is also a serial killer loose, but at first no one realizes that the dead women have not died of natural causes! We are really dealing with the two stories, the Fair and the murders.  Larson’s unbelievable research makes you feel like you are there, living in Chicago. And this is a true story!  Read my full-length post here.

The  Informationist  by Taylor Stevens
In this book you will meet one of fiction’s most interesting leading protagonists, Vanessa “Michael” Munroe.  Abandoned in darkest Africa by her missionary parents as a teenager, Vanessa has to learn every possible survival skill…which she does. As an adult, she is self-sufficient and capable of anything, including killing to save herself and her clients. She is not evil and she hires herself out to secure information for clients.  She is fascinating and if you become “hooked” as I did you will seek out Stevens’ two successive novels with ‘Michael’ as the main heroine. If you do some research on author Stevens and her background, it may become clearer to you how she arrived at this talent and the development of ‘ Michael ‘ as a leading character!  Read another review here.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
This was a new discovery for me. This book is the first in a series of books where our main protagonist is Kate Burkholder, the chief of police of Painters Mill, Ohio. I always thought that the main Amish community was in Pennsylvania but there is a strong Amish community in Ohio. The Amish and English residents have lived besides each other for years but not entirely peacefully! Although they were peaceful, there always was some resentment of the Amish.  Kate was brought up in the Amish community but a series of brutal murders convinced her that she didn’t belong there.  Despite that, she returned to Painter’s Mill after some big city training to be the new Police Chief. A new murder and Kate is convinced she must find the culprit before there is another murder. Castillo has followed this initial story with several other books with Burkholder as her leading protagonist. Not only is this a solid read but you will learn some things about the Amish communities.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
This is the different selection, one I would not ordinarily select but it was suggested by a fellow librarian I trust. Samuel Lake is preacher, a good one but one who has alienated his parish enough that they don’t renew his contract. Now it is time for Samuel and his wife, Willadee and their three children to return to her family’s farm in south Arkansas and the annual reunion of the Moses’ family. And that is the catch…..family!  You will fall in love with Samuel and Willadee’s precocious eleven year old daughter, Swan. And as you get to meet and know the rest of the Moses clan, you will see the good and the bad. If you have an extended family as I do, you will understand their trials and tribulations.  Samuel has to face his own demons … why can’t he hold on to a congregation? Plus there certainly are members of the Moses’ clan that will present their own challenges. This book will touch your heart, I promise.


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