Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

Mini-Reviews: Monk novel and more FreakAngels

May 22nd, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Book adaptation, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Kelly, Mystery, TV v. Book
 

TV Tie-In: Monk series

A literary agent complained on Twitter about seeing someone read a Monk TV tie-in novel. The complaint wasn’t that someone was reading, but that the publishing industry could be more creative when choosing novels to publish. This made me wonder about the series, and I checked one of the novels out from my local library.

Mr. Monk on the Road is the eleventh (11th!) book in the series about the TV detective. These novels are based on the TV series, as opposed to the show being derived from the books. The 11th novel takes place after the end of the show, and so Adrian is dealing with life after solving his wife’s murder.

My big question when picking up this novel was does the novel satisfying on its own, or does it rely on the TV series? The novel is told in first person from Natalie’s point of view, and having seen the TV show helped me understand her description of Monk’s mannerisms and other quirky attributes. Natalie and Monk essentially kidnap Monk’s agoraphobic brother Ambrose and take him on a road trip in motor home. (Since Ambrose has only left the house twice in thirty years, a motor home will allow him to see things without having to go outside.)

Of course, they stumble upon murders, and Adrian unveils a serial killer. I knew how the murderers were when they were introduced. The ending is a bit rushed as the murder storyline is resolved, and some of the coincidences are a little much. But overall the novel is fun and I can see how uber-fans of the show will enjoy these books.

FreakAngels: Volumes Three and Four

Since FreakAngels Volume Three ended on a cliffhanger, I had to pick up the fourth installment as well. I’m going to say much about these graphic novels, other than I loved them and really enjoy the series.  They’re fast, fun reads set in an interesting world. The writer and illustrator are still world-building, but the stakes for the FreakAngels are getting higher as they take on responsibility for building a new world in Whitechapel.

Title: FreakAngels Volume Three
Author: Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
Source: Public Library
Read: May 2011

Title: FreakAngels Volume Four
Author: Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
Source: Public Library
Read: May 2011

Title: Mr. Monk on the Road
Author: Lee Goldberg
Source: Public Library
Read: May 2011

Read by: Kelly

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Mini reviews: Snow Angels, Ella Enchanted, and Big Red Tequila

April 17th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Award-Winning, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Mystery, Young Adult
 

I’ve been on the fence the past few days about reviewing the three—three—books I’ve read in the past week. I enjoyed all of them, but I didn’t want to write an in-depth reviews. But then I realized a short blurb for each book meets the spirit of my 52 books in one year challenge. Plus all of these books are worth mentioning.

Snow Angels is the first in the Detective Vaara series by James Thompson. (The second novel in the series, Lucifer’s Tears was reviewed on this site earlier this year.)

The scenery and climate of Northern Finland during December, aka the darkest days of the years, is as important to the novel as the actual crimes of the novel. Adding to the complexity of the story are facets of the Laestadian religion and Finnish culture. As someone who’s lived in Finland—and has Laestadian ancestors—I appreciated this book on multiple levels, including for its insight into Finnish culture. This is a good series for mystery buffs.

After reading and reviewing Fairest, I picked up Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine from my local library. There’s not much to say other than I loved it. It’s a great retelling of Cinderella. It’s easy to root for Ella as a character, and I love the idea of gifts (like Ella’s gift of “obedience”) turning into curses.

Last of all, since I’ve read all of Rick Riordan’s middle grade novels, I decided to pick up the first in his Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. In Big Red Tequila, Tres Navarre returns to his hometown of San Antonio to rekindle a relationship with his childhood sweetheart. He left town ten years before after seeing his Sheriff father gunned down in the front yard of his home. His father’s murder was never unsolved, and now it’s time for Tres to use the private investigator/English PhD/tai chi skills he honed in San Francisco.

Big Red Tequila is a fun read, and it’s definitely meant for an adult audience. Robert Johnson, Tres’ cat, is perhaps the best drawn character in the novel. The setting—San Antonio, Texas—adds color to the novel. This is a good choice for mystery fans.

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Double review: Changeless and Blameless by Gail Carriger

February 11th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Fantasy, Fiction, Kelly, Mystery
 

ChangelessFor years, I would have said the Sookie Stackhouse series were my guilty-pleasure reads, but I’d know I’d say the Parasol Protectorate/Alexia Tarabotti series has taken the Southern Vampire series place on my bookshelf. These novels are simply fun: witty, entertaining. The novels are full of eccentric characters, and the supporting cast around Alexia makes the novels. Plus the series is a (gentle) parody of historical novels . . . with steampunk elements. And werewolves. And vampires. What’s not to like?

As I said in my review of Soulless, I can’t let myself contemplate some of the ins and outs of Alexia being “soulless”, as logically it doesn’t always hold up. The world of these books, however, generally holds up.

The storyline of Blameless is dependent upon Changeless, and so in some ways the books have one long story arc although a smaller mystery is resolved in each novel. Carriger clearly laid the groundwork for more novels and it will interesting to see how the series plays out.

BlamelessRead by: Kelly

Title: Blameless
Title: Changeless
Author: Gail Carriger
Date Read: February 2011
Source: Public Library

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Åsa Larsson’s Sun Storm

February 5th, 2011    Posted in 52 Books in one year challenge, Award-Winning, Crime, Fiction
 

Sun StormReading Swedish crime fiction makes me wonder: is Sweden really so full of murder and evilness? Or do the dark, cold winter days and nights encourage sinister novels focused on the dark area of the human psyche?

Sun Storm, winner of Sweden’s Best First Crime Novel Award, deals with religion, hypocrisy, abuse, mental illness, and perhaps redemption over the course of the story. It’s setting of Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, is important. Its remoteness and isolation are integral to the story.

The story starts off when charismatic religious figure Viktor Strandgard is brutally murdered in the revivalist church he created, The Source of All Our Strength. Rebecca Martinsson returns to Kiruna, her hometown, to support Viktor’s sister. The reader slowly learns Rebecca’s past as she unravels the truth and protects Sanna’s children from multiple forms of evil. Pregnant inspector Anna-Maria, her counterpart Sven-Erik, and a blow-hard Assistant Chief Prosecutor round out the cast.

Fans of Henning Mankell or Stieg Larsson’s The Millennium Trilogy will appreciate Sun Storm.

Read by: Kelly

Title: Sun Storm (published as The Savage Alter in the UK)
Author: Åsa Larsson
Read: February 2011
Source: Public Library

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