Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Cold Heart

by Jonathan Kellerman
432 pgs

I stopped buying and reading Kellerman's books several years ago. He was one of those authors that I read pretty regularly when I was younger, but whom I eventually lost interest in following. That being said, I bought A Cold Heart a long time ago and finally decided to get around to reading it.

It's one of his books that feature Alex Delaware, a psychologist who is regularly called upon by the LAPD to assist with murder investigations. This time it's a string of homicides involving various artists: a guitarist, a punk singer, a painter, and a concert pianist, that are all killed seemingly without connection to each other that Delaware's long-time friend in the LAPD asks him to take a look at. Delaware helps in the investigation and is quickly able to identify the common thread they all share. Armed with that information, the search for their killer is on.

If you've read other books by Kellerman, you'll enjoy this one. It's on par with most of his others. It's an interesting story and it's got some pleasant surprises thrown in for good measure. It wasn't however, good enough to convince me that I shouldn't have moved on from reading his books back when I did.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mr. Mercedes

by Stephen King
436 pgs  (Bill Hodges trilogy #2)

Bill Hodges is a retired police detective who's having a difficult time adjusting to his retirement. He's overweight, lives alone, and several of the cases that he was unable to solve while on the force haunt his mind--so much so that he regularly takes out his weapon and considers putting an end to his misery. One of those cases involves a man who stole a Mercedes Benz and drove it into a group of people lined up for a job fair less than a year before Hodges retired. Eight people died that morning, and the man behind the random act of violence was never caught.

It's a letter that Hodges receives one morning, claiming to be from the man behind the wheel of the Mercedes, that draws him out of his depression and gives him a reason to live. It's very clear from the letter that it's from the perpetrator of the crime--he knows details of what took place that were never released to the media. But it's also clear that he's been watching Hodges and knows that he's been contemplating suicide. He even ends the letter by goading Hodges into going though with it. This letter reignites Hodges and sets him on a course to find the man responsible.

King quickly gets you to care about Hodges and his supporting cast of characters, and just as quickly creeps you out with the deranged antagonist he creates for Mr. Mercedes. And while I prefer King's horror books or the ones that at least have an element of the supernatural to them, Mr. Mercedes is a enjoyable book and well worth the time to read.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Son

by Jo Nesbø
402 pgs

Remember the name Jo Nesbø. He's a Norwegian author who's best known internationally, and ever increasingly here in the U.S., for his series featuring Harry Hole, an anti-authoritarian cop. With Martin Scorsese slated to direct The Snowman (Harry Hole # 7), I think Nesbø's time of relative obscurity here in the States will be coming to an end soon. The Son is a stand-alone novel and therefore a great book to serve as an introduction to Nesbø if you've never read anything by him.

Sonny Lofthus is an addict whose life spiraled out of control at the age of 18 following his father's apparent suicide. Sonny has been serving time in prison ever since for crimes he didn't commit. He confessed to committing them on the promise of a constant supply of drugs for as long as he's locked up. He's a self-hating tool being used by a ruthless crime lord in Oslo, but that all changes when he learns from another inmate that many years ago his father was murdered. Sonny's life finally has a purpose again and he sets into motion his plan to escape from prison and exact revenge against those responsible for his father's death and his own imprisonment.

It's a great story and it reminded me throughout of one of my all-time favorite books, The Count of Monte Cristo. The characters are complex, from Sonny to Simon Kefas, the cop trying to stop his killing spree, and you can't help but pull for both of them, even though neither one of them is a knight in shining armor.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kindness Goes Unpunished

by Craig Johnson
388 pgs  (Longmire series #3)

Sheriff Walt Longmire is far outside of his jurisdiction in this third book in the series. Normally called upon to keep the peace and to deal with those who'd disturb it in some of the remotest parts of Wyoming, this time his deductive skills and no-nonsense approach to law enforcement are called upon in the City of Brotherly Love.

He travels to Philadelphia with his long-time friend Henry Standing Bear, whose photography collection is being put on display by a museum there and since Walt's daughter Cady practices law there, Walt decides to join Henry on the road trip. Shortly after arriving in, and before Walt has any time to spend with his daughter, Cady is assaulted and left in a coma. Things go from bad to worse for Walt a couple of days later when Cady's ex-boyfriend is killed and even those who know Walt can't help but suspect him of being involved.

This wasn't the best Longmire book I've read so far, but it was still enjoyable. Walt's a fantastic character and even during the parts of the book that fell flat for me, he more than made up for.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆